It has been said, “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their real name.” Therefore, it is imperative that as the Education Finance Task Force considers its mission and scope of work, a realistic evaluation of QBE be conducted.
QBE was created with the intent of providing a quality basic education for all the children in Georgia regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic conditions. The result after almost twenty years of modifications is a funding mechanism that rivals the IRS Income Tax Code in complexity. In addition, student achievement has failed to meet the desired or expected results. By all measurable indicators and analysis of an array of success matrixes for education, there is no denying the cold hard fact that QBE is ineffective. Now is the time to step back and to begin the work of a new strategic educational initiative: Investing in Educational Excellence (IE²).
This name is an accurate description of the two key elements that are most needed if Georgia is to take bold strides in improving education. The first is recognizing that we need to view education as an investment in the most important resource we have: our children. However, it is important to remember that with any investment a return is expected. This should be the same with investing in education and this return should be measured in student achievement. And the level of expectation for student achievement should be nothing less than that of excellence, the second key element. To settle for anything other than excellence is to become satisfied with “basic” and to never reach the goal of leading the nation in improving student achievement.
When you make wise and prudent investments in educational excellence the results will be far more than small incremental improvements, but will yield significant results. That is the reason the acronym for Investing in Educational Excellence is IE² and not simply IEE. In other words, 1+1=2 is not good enough. This new initiative should yield improvements in student achievement that are best described in exponential terms.
Therefore, the vision of IE² is to focus on student achievement, ensure access to an excellent education for all Georgia students, be simple to understand and administer, and transparent for accountability purposes.
The Education Finance Task Force provides an excellent opportunity to formulate and design the framework of IE². To undertake such a bold and momentous task will require a crisp scope of work. There will be four phases to the scope of work.
The Governor’s Education Finance Task Force will meet November 23, 2021 beginning at 10:00AM – 3:00PM. The meeting will be held in the Board of Regents, 7th Floor - Board Room 7007, 270 Washington Street.
Beginning at 3:00PM – 4:00PM, the Task Force will have a joint meeting with members of the House and Senate Education Committee. This meeting will be held at the State Capitol in Room 403. Chair, Dean Alford will brief the Committees on the work of the Task Force.
Superintendent Buster Evans of Bleckley County Public Schools welcomes members of the Governor's Education Finance Task Force as Chairman Dean Alford and State School Superintendent Kathy Cox look on along with the President of Middle Georgia College, Dr. Richard Federinko
Click HERE for more pictures and information about the meeting.
Previous Governors have had task forces and commissions on education. I want this one to be different from some of the others. I want this one to raise our aspirations. I don’t want to tear down our educational system. I want to work together to improve it. I want business folks to sit down with educators and let them reason together. I don’t want front-line educators to be excluded.
Now let me set the charge to the members of the Education Finance task force. This is a big job, and an important job. It is not going to be easy. I want to publicly set the charge, and I want all of you in attendance to be witnesses—so the task force members cannot say they did not know what to expect.
You’re all familiar with QBE. We’ve had the QBE funding formula in place for almost 20 years now. At let me tell you, Quality Basic Education was a great step forward for Georgia when it passed.
But 20 years later, BASIC is not good enough. Georgians expect more. Georgia taxpayers spend a lot of money on education – more than half our state budget.
And our taxpayers rightly expect a high return on their investment.
They expect excellence for their children—just like you do for your students and for your own children. And just like Mary and I expected for our children.
It is time to change the way we think about financing education. And I mean right down to the level of our vocabulary.
We need to stop saying “basic.” When you aspire for basic, you are either going to get there or fall just short. We should aspire to excellence.
We need to stop talking about education funding and start talking about education investing. “Funding” sounds like money spent, money gone. “Investing” reminds us to focus on results.
We need to think in terms of investing for education excellence. We need to think in terms of tying every dollar spent to student achievement. Because I guarantee you, that is how taxpayers think.
Student achievement is why taxpayers give us their hard earned money for our schools. They expect a high return on their investment.
I want to publicly thank the chair of this task force, Dean Alford, for taking on this important charge.
Task force members, I ask you to consider 2 things:
1. What can we do to bolster QBE in the short run? QBE is the horse we have to ride for now. I want interim recommendations for improvement.
2. And that’s the second task. I want recommendations on what is the best possible formula for investing in education excellence. I believe the hallmarks would be a formula that is transparent, simple, and ensures all children have access to an excellent education.
This won’t be a quick, simple or easy process. But it will be a wide-reaching process. Listening to front line educators has been a hallmark of my administration.
Listening has served me well and it will serve the task force well. I ask you to hold a series of listening sessions to hear from folks on the front lines about how we can best invest in educational excellence.
I am serious about using this task force move us from settling for “basic” to demanding “excellence” … and from an attitude of “funding” to a mindset of investing in education excellence.
As I said at the beginning, this is a big job, a hard job. It will not be easy and it may take a long time to get it right.
Task Force Members
Budget Director of
Taylor County Schools
Georgia Department of Education
Chair, State Board of Education
Chief Deputy State School
Chair, Ben Hill Board of Education
President, Georgia Student Finance Commission
State Superintendent of Schools
Partnership for Excellence in Education
Executive Director, Human Resources/Savannah-
Chatham County Public Schools
Board of Education
Superintendent of Brantley
Georgia State Representative
Georgia State Senator
Former Georgia State Senator
Bartow County Schools,
Former teacher, principal,
Director, Office of Planning and Budget
Chair, Fulton Board
State Teacher of the Year
Dublin City High School
Georgia Public Policy Foundation
Chair, Warren County
Board of Education
Gwinnett County Public Schools
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