There are over 100 schools across the state identified as chronically failing. Governor Deal’s plan to address these chronically failing schools with the Opportunity School District (OSD) referendum was voted down by the public last November.
Plan B, otherwise known now as House Bill 338 (HB 338), is being billed as a collaborative effort with the Governor’s office, legislators from both parties, and various interest groups to address these schools.
The committee will also consider the possible consequences of losing state accreditation that could be administered, such as removal of local board of education members.
SUMMARY OF PLAN B – HB 338
Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO)
A Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO) would be appointed by the State Board and report directly to them. The CTO will recommend “Turnaround Coaches” to assist schools identified as in the greatest need of help with ongoing assistance and input.
Turnaround Coaches wil assist in creating local collaborations to address personal and community conditions, which shall include the needs, issues, and problems within the communities of such school or schools, such as poverty, lack of economic development, safety, transportation options for parents and students, adult educational opportunities, wellness, and mental health services and shall assist in identifying state and community resources that are available or that could be built upon, reallocated, or repurposed to address the issues impacting such school or schools.
The Chief Turnaround Officer shall annually identify the low-performing schools that are in the greatest need of assistance based on the number of years such schools have received an unacceptable rating and any other factors deemed appropriate by the Chief Turnaround Officer. The number of schools identified annually shall be at the sole discretion of the Chief Turnaround Officer, based on the capacity and resources available to the Chief Turnaround Officer.
If after two years of implementing the plan, the school is not improving, as determined by the Chief Turnaround Officer, the Chief Turnaround Officer shall require that one or more ofthe following interventions be implemented at the school, taking into consideration the ongoing cooperation and collaboration exhibited by the school:
- Give it some more time on the same plan
- Appoint a school master or management team to oversee and direct the duties of the principal of the school
- Removal of school house personnel
- Implementation of a state charter school
- Remove all personnel and reconstitute the school
- Mandatory parental option to relocate students to another public school in the school district
- Restructure the school’s governance arrangement
- Change governance of school to another school district
- Change governance of school to a private non profit entity
- Any other interventions or requirements deemed appropriate by the Chief Turnaround Officer and the State Board of Education for the school.
Removal of Local School Board
If One-half or more of the schools in a local school system have received an unacceptable rating, as defined by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), for the fifth or more consecutive year, the State Board of Education will conduct a hearing and recommend to the Governor whether to suspend all eligible members of the local board of education.
According to the AJC, Richard Woods is not taking a position on the bill yet. A spokesman said he will comment eventually, but needs time to review it. “He looks forward to working with the legislature and Gov. Deal on a bill that appropriately addresses improving under-performing schools,” the spokesman said.
I hope that everyone will pay close attention to this bill. When our students graduate from high school, some of them go to colleges in different areas of the country. Along with test scores and transcripts a college usually request information about the agency that accredits a school.
Secondly, it is not the BOE that recommends or makes hiring decisions. The only person they hire is the superintendent.
How can members of the BOE and not the superintendent be held accountable? If a school has an ineffective leader, the superintendent should be held responsible first.
‘Remove all personnel and reconstitute the school’ If things are so critical the entire school must be reconstituted, will anyone first look at what has been done to support the school? I don’t mean just words but will someone talk to the staff to see the support that they are given?
Often in the BOE work sessions the people that talk about all of the wonderful services that are provided for the school are not the people working in the school.
At 2:00 o’clock the people in the schools are still at work.
Where last year s Opportunity School District proposal to let the state take over chronically failing schools galvanized opponents across much of Georgia s educational spectrum, the legislation that some call the OSD Plan B is a much more pragmatic attempt at a law that can begin to make a change, if not on the same scale as the one voters rejected in November.