Others discounted the results of a state Department of Education survey in which close to nine out of 10 of the 93,079 respondents supported Woods’ proposal.
Those board members suggested the survey was designed in its language and outreach to produce those results, a bizarre notion given the online query put three possibilities before Georgians in plain language. Should state exams count 20%, 10% or 0.01%?
Here is the question asked of Georgians, 93,000 of whom responded.
Georgia has to give the Milestones; U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos declined to waive the federal requirement for high-stakes exams, which means summoning students back to schools, even those whose families chose virtual learning for them or who attend schools that remain online only.
“The biggest concern, for me, among all of this, is the situation where we still have thousands and tens of thousands of students who are doing remote instruction whether it’s because their district isn’t open, because they’re quarantined, or because they choose to do that. And as long as the EOC continues to carry some percentage of student grades, we are asking them to make a decision between their health and their grade,” said Allison Timberlake, DOE deputy superintendent of assessment and accountability.
Woods argued the integrity of grades would not be diminished by relying on teachers and teacher-created tests. “My belief is in teachers of the state of Georgia, not a test given once a year, but in these teachers who deal with these children every day,” he said.
But state school board member Trey Allen said the 10% weight represented a fair compromise between the 20% now in place and the 0.01% sought by Woods. Yes, the parents, educators and administrators overwhelmingly supported the 0.01% in the survey, but Allen quoted 18th century statesman Edmund Burke: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays you instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”
I would suggest Allen consider another quote from Burke: “I have nothing to do here with the abstract value of the voice of the people. But as long as reputation, the most precious possession of every individual, and as long as opinion, the great support of the state, depend entirely upon that voice, it can never be considered as a thing of little consequence either to individuals or to governments.”