Paper to portal

Georgia House of Representatives passes controversial bill

Lindsay Martin

On March 3, The Georgia House of Representatives voted up on a bill that approves of parents choosing whether their kids would take state rendered tests online or on paper.

The bill passed easily with the House and Senate but, could potentially cause problems with the Georgia Department of Education.

Photo courtesy of Billy Mitchell.
Billy Mitchell is Georgia’s 88th district house representative.

The State Department of Education is in the process of transitioning all state-rendered tests to an online assessment. Parents concern is what formulated the idea for the bill. The concern from parents is how the bill came about.

House Rep. Billy Mitchell agrees with the bills standpoints.

“[The bill] provides flexibility in testing and academic instruction; wherein all students do not learn exactly alike,” Mitchell said. “I believe that offering students testing flexibility and offering them the benefits of instructional activities, even if they aren’t participating in standardized testing, would be of benefit to many students in their educational pursuit.”

In addition to the choice of test, House Bill 425 also gives parents the choice to to opt  their kids out of state testing, with no penalty.

“[The bill includes] guidelines approved by the State Board of Education, to identify a range of appropriate policies which a local school system would be strongly encouraged to adopt when considering how students not participating in statewide assessments will be supervised and that they are provided with alternate instructional activities”, Mitchell said.

Even with the benefits, the bill has some disadvantages.

“It would require additional work, at no additional compensation for teachers who already operate in an overly bureaucratic environment,” Mitchell said. “Additionally, teachers would be required to adopt a lesson plan that calls for additional instructional opportunities for students who don’t participate in testing, that students who are testing would not have the benefit of receiving.”

To take advantage of this opportunity, parents and children need to communicate.

“Parents will have to be more attuned to the needs of their students, because their permission would be needed to allow the flexibility in standardized test taking flexibility.”

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