Investing in Educational Excellence
IE2 is an optional contract between an elected local school system and the State Board of Education. The contract includes sanctions based on local schools' CCRPI performance, including loss of governance with authority over schools being transferred to the Georgia State Board of Education (an appointed board). With this contract, local districts are able to waive the state maximum class size requirement, the requirement that 65% or more of the school system's budget be spent on instruction, certification, and salary schedule requirements.
Don't Do It!
The Fayette County School Board is about to enter into a contract with the appointed Georgia State Board of Education as of June 15, 2015. I am writing this letter to warn the citizens of Fayette County. Don’t do it! It is a trick. The contract is called “Investing in Educational Excellence”, or IE2.
The contract is based on meeting CCRPI score targets. The CCRPI (College and Career Performance Readiness Index) allots points for initiatives from the U.S. Department of Education such as PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), the completion of Career Pathways (workforce development over academics), the AP and IB program (initiatives that dictate what is taught and tested in advanced classes), strict adherence to lower level grade specific standards in math (Common Core), and many other programs. The CCRPI scores are calculated by the U.S. Department of Education. The percentages and categories for points have been adjusted annually by the U.S. Department of Education. The scores were contrived so that they would decrease each year, even with the same test scores. Look at Fayette County’s scores in 2013 and 2014. Notice that the average score at each level dropped. This did not happen because absolute student achievement on standardized tests decreased. The target scores increase each year, so the test scores would have to increase for the scores to stay the same. As the scores continue to drop, the schools will look for ways to earn extra CCRPI points. They will embrace any and every initiative of the U.S. Department of Education. The Fayette County superintendent wants to place a PBIS representative at every school. Why? He wants those CCRPI points from the U.S. DOE. PBIS is behavior modification for students. CCRPI is behavior modification for school officials. To avoid being taken over by the Opportunity School District, schools need to score a 60 on the CCRPI. But according to HB 441, which did not pass this year, Charter and IE2 schools would have needed an 80 on the CCRPI to keep local control.
What’s in it for Fayette County? Our local Board of Education would be able to waive certain state laws. But the laws they will be able to waive are the ones that benefit students.
Class size maximums- Why would citizens, parents, and students want larger classes than the law allows?
According to state law, 65% or more of the budget must be spent on instruction. After closing 4 schools, the percent of the budget spent on instruction actually decreased in Fayette County! Why would anyone want to spend less than 65% on instruction?
The state has a base teacher salary schedule based on years of experience and education. Local school systems go beyond that base schedule and pay teachers more than the minimum. This contract would allow local school systems to pay teachers less than the state minimum for years of experience and education. Local school systems are already permitted to pay teachers more than the minimum required by law.
Certified teachers- the contract would allow the school system to hire non-certified teachers. Some may disagree about the value of a certified teacher over a non-certified teacher, but research has shown that students with certified teachers perform better than students with non-certified teachers. This is already happening in other districts with programs such as Teach for America and the increased hiring of guest teachers who are not U.S. citizens and do not have to be certified.
In these next few weeks you will read about the FCBOE budget and how they want to spend $20,000,000 more for fewer students. As the arguments about taxes go back and forth, know that the FCBOE already voted to enter into a contract with the State BOE so they will have the FLEXIBILITY to do whatever they want with the money. They may tell you they will use the money to reduce class size, or pay teachers more, but they won’t have to do that because they voted to exempt themselves from those aspects of state law. In exchange for this FLEXIBILITY, they will have to do whatever the U.S. Department of Education wants them to do to get CCRPI points so Fayette County schools will not be taken over by the appointed State Board of Education. Details about these bills can be found at www.EducationalFreedomCoalition.com
A Comparison of Fayette County CCRPI Scores
|Fayette County School||2013||2014||Change|
|Bennett's Mill Middle||94.4||81.9||-12.5|
|Rising Starr Middle||93.8||92.6||-1.2|
|Flat Rock Middle||84.4||82.9||-1.5|
|Hood Avenue Primary||90.8|
|North Fayette Elem.||74.7||79.5||4.8|
|Oak Grove Elem.||89.3||90||0.7|
|Peachtree City Elem.||94.9||93.2||-1.7|
|Robert J. Burch Elem.||82.1||76.9||-5.2|
|Sara Harp Minter Elem.||87.5||90.3||2.8|
|Spring Hill Elem.||85.6||79.4||-6.2|
|Fayette County High||78.3||71.9||-6.4|
|Sandy Creek High||75.5||72.9||-2.6|
|Starrs Mill High||90.1||85.4||-4.7|
|Middle School Average||89.43333||86.95||-3.36|
|High School Average||84.12||81.52||-2.6|