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Gov. Nathan Deal said to be working against testing overhaul

UPDATE from Maureen this afternoon: In a rare show of pique, House Education Chairman Brooks Coleman just opened the meeting on Senate Bill 364, the testing reform bill, by denouncing PAGE's alert to its members warning the governor was attempting to block the bill by strong arming Coleman and three other House Ed members.

Coleman said the AJC called him this morning to ask about it, and he told the reporter, "That is a lie...I immediately demanded a retraction" from PAGE.

He is not happy with what PAGE issued in response, which Coleman said was not a retraction but an attaboy to PAGE members for rallying so quickly around the issue.

Clearly, the PAGE alert mobilized teachers. Coleman said he and other House members received more than a thousand emails and calls. PAGE says the tip about the governor's efforts to block efforts to reduce testing in educator evaluations came from reliable source. Coleman never mentioned PAGE by name, citing only a state teacher's group.

Back to original blog by my AJC colleague Ty Tagami:

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the state's largest teacher advocacy group, emailed an alert early today to more than 70,000 members warning that Gov. Nathan Deal has been trying to halt the progress of popular testing overhaul legislation.

Senate Bill 364 passed the Senate unanimously and has the support of major education groups in Georgia, including the PTA and associations for superintendents and school boards.

The governor's office isn't commenting. PAGE claims Deal has been calling members of the House Education committee about the legislation, which reduces the number of tests and their relevance in teacher evaluations. But the chairman of the House Education committee, Rep. Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, says he got no call from the governor. Committee members Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta, and Randy Nix, R-LaGrange, also said they were not contacted by the governor about this.

The governor's office neither confirmed nor denied the report, with a spokeswoman saying she was "unable to comment on anything surrounding pending legislation."

Read more about PAGE's claims here.

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About the Author

Ty Tagami writes about K-12 education, focusing on statewide issues.