Georgia’s education plan will affect students, schools, testing

What’s next for Georgia in the continuing back-and-forth with federal educational authorities over setting achievement standards for students, schools and teachers?

Georgia will submit its latest plan to conform to federal guidelines on Monday. It wants to shift away from the tough test-and-punish regime of the past that some say was unrealistic and unfair but others say held schools accountable for all students, including their worst performers.

The federal authorities mandate that students be tested in math and reading starting in third grade, but states will no longer be required by Washington to impose heavy sanctions on schools with poor scores.

Proponents say Georgia’s plan increases the flexibility and incentives for school districts to give the state’s nearly 1.8 million public school students what they need. But some critics say it swings too far from tough oversight, and allows schools to get high scores on the state report card even as groups of students fail. The plan, according to Gov. Nathan Deal, is “a missed opportunity to set high expectations” for students and schools.

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