Hey Nancy,

What's Up With That

If you have a question and would like to ask Nancy "What's up with that?", please email Nancy@NancyJester.com.

Moving To NancyJester.com

Hey Nancy,

Did you move your blog?

What’s up with that?
 

I have moved this blog to NancyJester.com You may go there and sign up for notifications and read up on the latest in education in Georgia and around the Country.

–Nancy

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What is Grover Norquist Referring To?

Hey Nancy,

Local Boards of Education are required to publish tax and expenditure data. See https://ted.cviog.uga.edu/ted/Default.do . Don’t know what Grover Norquist is referring to, but it appears [you are] campaigning on something that is already there.

What’s up with that?

Del Parker
Accounting Manager at Ga Dept of Education


  1. I hope this offers clarity:

    I am advocating for adopting a system of financial integrity indicators that are rated and disclosed via a report generated by the State DOE. I would like to see us adopt a system similar to the Financial Integrity Reporting System of Texas (FIRST). This system collects data on 20 indicators of fiscal health for each district in Texas (they have over 1000). Each indicator is scored and a composite FIRST rating is then given to the district. Districts are required to hold a public meeting to discuss and disclosure their FIRST rating. Furthermore, Texas has a list of consequences for districts with poor performance records, including poor fiscal management. We have nothing like this in the state of Georgia.

    Here is what the Texas Education Agency says of the FIRST:

    The purpose of the financial accountability rating system (Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Title 19, § 109.1001) is to ensure that school districts and open-enrollment charter schools are held accountable for the quality of their financial management practices and achieve improved performance in the management of their financial resources. The system is designed to encourage Texas public schools to manage their financial resources better in order to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes. The system will also disclose the quality of local management and decision-making processes that impact the allocation of financial resources in Texas public schools.

    I also advocate for on-line check registers. Most districts in Texas now have these so that taxpayers can see timely data for each financial transaction. They can find this information easily on the district’s website. There is no need to hunt for data or only have access to old information.

    The Cato Institute released a report titled “Cracking the Books” in which Georgia received an F for reporting of educational expenditures. I agree that we need to improve our financial reporting and disclosure for our educational tax dollars. School districts are not even required to hold a public review of their proposed budget. (If there is a change to the millage rate they must hold meetings about that.) This year HB 886 was introduced to require school districts to hold 2 public meetings prior to passing the budget, requires the budget be placed online, and requires that a line item budget be made available upon request at no charge.

    Another missing aspect in Georgia’s stewardship of the public’s money is that we do not determine the efficacy of each dollar spent. Other states are performing studies where they are “studying the intersection of academic progress and spending for efficiencies in public education.” Georgia should be doing this as well.

    The Georgia DOE website does not offer an intuitive and helpful system of data that can combine relevant and timely information on the finances of each district. Georgia’s citizens should be able to access a report that not only has financial data but also the correlating achievement and staffing data. This will allow Georgia’s citizens to see the results they are getting for the dollars they are spending.

    The bottom line is that HOW we spend the taxpayers’ money will drive results. We are not even measuring this. We make getting information difficult and often provide old data. We must do better.

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Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform support Nancy Jester

Red 

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform, and the Cost of Government Center announced their support of Nancy Jester today in the Republican Primary for Georgia State School Superintendent.

“ATR and COGC  laud the efforts of Ms. Jester to improve the education system in the state of Georgia through sensible spending, increased transparency and strong accountability” said Norquist.

Mr. Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group he founded in 1985 at President Reagan’s request.

Jester said, “I am honored that Mr. Norquist, ATR, and the Cost of Government Center are supporting my campaign.  I am dedicated to giving Georgians transparency and robust disclosures so they can see how their education tax dollars are being spent.”

Please help spread the word by forwarding this email to your friends and family.  Ask them to join you, Grover Norquist, Erick Erickson, Sen. Josh McKoon and former Sen. Eric Johnson in voting for Nancy Jester, the proven, effective, conservative candidate for Georgia State School Superintendent.

And on election day, or when you go vote early, remember, “Nancy Jester is sixth on the ballot, first for kids and taxpayers.”

 

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Shrink Bureaucracy and Help Teachers and Taxpayers

 
StaffingSurge

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Georgia Loses Money Earmarked For Teacher Merit Pay

With all of the talk about recent weather and traffic events, we’ve lost an important education story.

Georgia, has now become the first and only state to forfeit Race to the Top (RT3) grant money.   Officials in Georgia were warned last July to address failures in implementing a new teacher evaluation system or lose almost $10 million in funding for a teacher merit pay system.

In the letter regarding the forfeiture, federal officials stated:

On September 16, 2013, I notified the State of my intent to withhold $9,904,629, pursuant to sections 454(a)(1) and 455 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) (20 U.S.C. § § 1234c(a)(1) and 1234d), until the State submitted a credible plan detailing its strategy for coming into compliance with this section of its Race to the Top grant. To date, the State has not submitted such a plan. ….. To date, the OALJ has not received an application for a hearing nor have I received a written show cause response. As a result, the Department is withholding $9,904,629 of Georgia’s Race to the Top grant award, effective with this letter.

I’m not a fan of some of the aspects of RT3 but if the state commits to it, one has an obligation to manage it properly.  Whether you like RT3 or not, this is an embarrassment at the national level for Georgia.  The headline draws attention to the poor state of affairs regarding education management in our state.  Furthermore, it removes funding that would have gone to our best performing teachers.

Georgia’s Department of Education created the very evaluation system they failed to implement.  The evaluation system had problems from the start.   The length of the 358-page evaluation handbook is a clue that the system may have failed under the weight of its own complexity.

Given that it is National School Choice Week, the story of a failed evaluation system is ironic.  The simplicity and equilibrium of parent choice in education as a metric and driver of success is all the more compelling, compared to the byzantine and lengthy teacher evaluation system created by bureaucrats.

Georgians deserve more choice and less bureaucratic failure.

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