Legislative Affairs​

The Fulton County Board of Education believes that the legislative process can be a vital tool in providing a high quality education for all students. To that end, the school district closely monitors state and federal issues that have an impact on policies and programs that affect Fulton County Schools. 

Update on Senate Bill 211
During the 2017 legislative session, Senate Bill 211 was passed by both the Senate and House chambers of Georgia's General Assembly. The bill now heads to Governor Deal's desk for his signature. The Fulton County Board of Education believes in accountability, and that assessments should focus on real-time information for students, parents, teachers and school leaders. Senate Bill 211 is the first step of many on the path towards creating a state assessment system that impacts the day-to-day learning and teaching in the classroom. 

Below are provisions and timelines:

Assessments for Grades 1-2

-- Provisions in SB211 for Grades 1-2
In addition to a comprehensive summative assessment program for grades 3 through 12, each local school system shall administer, with state funding, a research-based formative assessment with a summative component that is tied to performance indicators in English Language Arts/Reading and Mathematics in grades 1 and 2.

Such research based assessment shall be selected after consultation with local school systems. The assessment shall provide for real-time data analysis for students, teachers, school leaders, and parents; allow flexible grouping of students based on skill level; and measure student progress toward grade level expectations throughout the school year.

-- Implementation Timeline
The implementation timeline of these grade 1 and 2 assessments will be determined by the actions of the Georgia Department of Education during the consultation and selection process. SB211 does not stipulate a timeline for these processes.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
In 2015, Congress made significant changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and reauthorized it as the "Every Student Succeeds Act" (ESSA). The passage of ESSA provides significant flexibilities to states, local districts, and school communities to develop new educational plans that address standards, assessments, and school/district accountability. In developing Georgia's new accountability plan, several work groups were established. The assessment workgroup is the subject of key provisions in SB211. 

Assessments for Grades 3-8

-- Provisions in SB211 for Grades 3-8
The State Board of Education is to direct the existing assessment workgroup to pursue maximum flexibility for state and local assessments under federal law with an application for an innovative assessment demonstration authority. This would allow local districts to pilot innovative approaches to assessments in grades other than high-school.

-- Implementation Timeline
The implementation timeline of any innovative assessments pilot will be determined by the following:

- The State Superintendent currently plans to submit Georgia's ESSA Accountability plan to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18, 2017
- The U.S. Department of Education will conduct a peer review of the state plan and must come to a decision within 120 days
- The decision may be 'approval' of the plan or a requested amendment
- ESSA currently provides for seven states to be granted the innovative assessment demonstration authority


Assessments for Grades 9-12

-- Provisions in SB211 for Grades 9 thru 12
The State Board of Education is to direct the existing assessment workgroup to pursue maximum flexibility for state and local assessments under federal law. This includes nationally recognized high school assessments, provided comparability can be established.

The State Board of Education is to conduct a comparability study to determine concordance of nationally recognized assessments such as SAT, ACT, and ACCUPLACER with alignment to state content standards in grades 9-12. This study is to be initiated no later than July 1​, 2017.

Implementation Timeline
The implementation timeline of any high school assessment, as an alternative to Georgia Milestones End-of-Course Assessments, will be impacted by the following.

- The comparability study being initiated by July 1, 2017
- The contracted completion date of the study commissioned by the State Board of Education


Georgia General Assembly Update
The 40-day legislative session of the Georgia General Assembly is well under way. Draft bills are being assigned to House/Senate committees and sub-committees. Following the defeat of the Opportunity School District Constitutional Amendment in the November general elections, a new bill addressing 'failing schools' is expected to be filed in the next few days. Crossover Day, the day whereby bills have to 'cross over' to the other chamber in order to remain active for this legislative session, is set for March 3, with the final legislative day being conducted on March 30.

Georgia ESSA Update
Georgia Department of Education recently posted an updated timeline for the state's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan development and submission. The public comment period for the new accountability plan is currently set for June 2017, with a planned submission to the U.S. department of Education in September. Follow this link for further information GADOE & ESSA: Developing a Plan for Georgians, By Georgians.

Federal Update
On February 7, Elisabeth 'Betsy' Devos was confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of Education by a vote of 51-50. Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote. The following day, the U.S. House of Representatives, under the Congressional Review Act, voted to overturn ESSA regulations associated with accountability and state plans. The regulations addressed school ratings, the timeline for identifying and intervening in struggling schools, indicators of school quality that go beyond test scores, and other issues. 

The Congressional Review Act has never been used on educational regulations so it is unclear how the U.S. Department of Education would proceed as far as issuing guidance or new regulations or how this will impact state accountability plans currently being drafted. A Senate resolution to overturn the regulations is expected in the near future.

More Information:
Fulton County School Board Legislative Priorites for 2017