Georgia Board of Education

In this Saturday, May 31, 2014 photo, members of the graduating class and faculty attend the SCAD Commencement in Atlanta. On Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, the College Board said the average cost of attending college crept up again in 2014.
John Amis / Associated Press

The Georgia House of Representatives has approved a bill letting thousands of Georgians who did not pass high school graduation tests petition local officials for diplomas.

It now goes to the Senate for consideration. Students have not taken the tests since the 2013 school year.

Former students who did not pass the graduation test can request a waiver from the State Board of Education. But officials say the board can only hear 300 cases a year.

Martha Dalton / WABE

The state board of education approved a new evaluation system for teachers and principals Thursday. The system will be fully implemented next year. However, most Georgia schools have been piloting the new evaluations already.

The system has been somewhat controversial. Students’ test scores comprise at least half of teachers’ evaluations. Before the board vote, retired professor Cita Cook urged a cautious approach.

With the snow and ice storm behind the state, how will school systems make up for more than a week’s worth of snow days?

The Georgia Board of Education Thursday gave school systems some flexibility in addressing that issue by unanimously approving a resolution to increase the number of emergency days a district can take without special board approval.

Districts now have the option to not make up as many as nine school days that may have been canceled due to the recent ice and snow storms that effectively shuttered the state.

Halley Belacore, a paraprofessional at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center, helps a student with an art project.
Martha Dalton / WABE

During the past year, there has been an intense debate in Georgia over a new set of education standards called the Common Core.  

Georgia is one of 45 states which have adopted the Common Core, but now some state lawmakers have filed bills to have the state opt out.  The debate has produced some statements that are more myth than fact.  

WABE's Martha Dalton sorted it out in a conversation with Denis O'Hayer.

The state board of education Thursday outlined a plan to review a new set of education standards. The move comes at the request of Gov. Nathan Deal.

Martha Dalton/WABE News

The state board of education is expected to set guidelines Thursday for a review of a set of education standards called the Common Core.  Governor Nathan Deal wrote a letter to the board last month requesting the review. 

The governor said he made the request because members of the General Assembly expressed concerns about the standards. Deal, a Republican, has faced opposition from members of his own party over the Common Core. But when the criticism began, the governor defended the standards.

Martha Dalton/WABE News

Gov. Nathan Deal has asked the state board of education to conduct a “formal evaluation” of new education standards called the Common Core. But State Superintendent John Barge says his department was already conducting a review.

Barge says he’s surveying teachers to see if changes need to be made after the first year of Common Core implementation. He says he didn’t know the governor wanted an additional evaluation.

Martha Dalton / WABE News

All day long, DeKalb County school officials have been making their case to the State Board of Education. 

At issue is whether the state board will recommend Governor Deal remove DeKalb school board members from office. The district is on accredited probation due to board governance issues.

WABE’s Martha Dalton is at the State Board hearing and provided this update:

Update 6:04pm

Textbooks have been a focus of this afternoon's testimony.

DeKalb School Board Hearing
Martha Dalton/WABE News

Will the Georgia school board recommend to Governor Deal that he remove the DeKalb County school board members?

Before a recommendation is made, the DeKalb board has been defending itself today in a hearing before the state board of education that is still underway.

WABE’s Martha Dalton is at the hearing and provides this update:

DeKalb School Board Hearing
Martha Dalton/WABE News

 A state hearing that could result in the suspension of all nine members of the DeKalb County School Board will proceed as scheduled. 

Attorney Bob Wilson filed a lawsuit yesterday to obtain a temporary restraining order to stop Thursday's scheduled hearing by the Georgia State Board of Education on whether to recommend to Governor Deal that the members of the DeKalb board be replaced.  But today Judge Kelly Lee denied the request because it wasn’t submitted five days in advance, as required by law.

Updated 5:20 PM -- See Below

The DeKalb County School District has filed a motion with the Superior Court of Fulton County asking for a temporary restraining order that would prevent the DeKalb school board's scheduled hearing before the State Board of Education on Thursday. 

The DeKalb school system was placed on probation in December by its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, for what SACS called board governance issues that were preventing major decisions from being made. 

Martha Dalton

At a hearing Thursday, the Georgia Board of Education unanimously voted to meet again with members of the embattled DeKalb County school board. The hearing was required because the DeKalb board was recently put on probation by its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. 

During the hearing, there appeared to be frustration on both sides. State board members, like Mike Royal, repeatedly said DeKalb's governance problems, outlined by SACS, didn’t happen overnight.

A state charter schools commission that’s being reestablished after voters overwhelmingly approved a controversial amendment to the state’s constitution is one step closer to reality. Along with the State Board of Education, the commission can approve charter schools over the objection of local school boards.

Members of the State Board of Education’s Charter Committee selected seven names from nominations submitted by Gov. Deal, Lieutenant Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston.

The State Board of Education voted Thursday to deny a petition for Fulton Science Academy Middle School to become a state charter special school. As a result the Academy, which has an enrollment of about 500 students, will cease to exist as a public school when its charter expires on June 30. However, the Academy plans to reopen as a private institution for the 2012-2013 school year.