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Perdue releases final report from education group

ATLANTA - Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue released in late April the final recommendations that an educational work group prepared as a vision for Georgia's educational system over the next 10 to 15 years.

Dean Alford, a Conyers resident and member of the Technical System of Georgia Board, and Charles Knapp, President Emeritus of the University of Georgia, co-chaired the group of 22 other educational leaders.

Alford said in January they planned to present to Perdue the group's recommendations later that month, and Perdue announced April 20 the final recommendations, which fall under three categories: Move on When Ready, Recruiting and Retaining World Class Teachers and Development of Students' Analytical and Creative Problem-Solving Skills.

"We hope these recommendations will bring about a serious and productive debate on these important issues," Knapp said in a press release from the Office of the Governor. "There is much work left to be done."

The recommendations include ensuring that all students in Georgia have access to post-secondary options in high school; creating a comprehensive community college system; exploring private/public partnerships to fund demonstration sites; encouraging value-added teacher evaluation system, teacher leadership programs and restructuring the teacher compensation system; and refining the Georgia Performance Standards curriculum and corresponding assessments to emphasize problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, among others.

"If Georgia is to compete in the global economy, we have to increase graduation rates and increase the number of students in our post-secondary programs," Alford said in the press release. "This work was intended to begin a serious dialogue on how we must change the 'educational model' to make major strides in the outcome of our educational system."

One of the recommendations, which Alford and others had discussed publicly before the group presented its recommendations to Perdue, dealt with creating an administrative merger of the technical colleges and two-year colleges to create a seamless entry for students. But if the two systems remain separate, they should create pathways for student transfers between institutions and systems.

"These recommendations provide a useful framework for addressing critical areas such as teacher preparation and gauging when high school students are ready for additional challenges," Perdue said in the press release.

Perdue asked the group to continue to meet and present him with more recommendations.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At a glance

Select recommendations

· Ensure that all students in Georgia have access to post-secondary options in high school

· Create a comprehensive community college system

· Explore private/public partnerships to fund demonstration sites

· Encourage value-added teacher evaluation system, teacher leadership programs and restructuring the teacher compensation system

· Refine the Georgia Performance Standards curriculum and corresponding assessments to emphasize problem solving and critical thinking skills

Source: The Office of the Governor