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Statement on Georgia's Race to the Top grant


Statement from State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge on the U.S. Education Department initiating procedures to withhold $9.9 milllion from Georgia's Race to the Top grant:


“We listened to our educators in districts across the state, who told us that we needed another year to work on the implementation of performance measures for high-stakes personnel decisions in subjects where we do not have a standardized test. The state of Georgia is not ready to implement a statewide merit pay system. Because four years ago that was written into our Race to the Top application, the U.S. Education Department is initiating withholding procedures for $9.9 million of our $400 million grant. That portion of our grant has not yet been spent in Georgia. We will continue to work with federal officials to develop a plan regarding this issue. But it is critical that we establish an accurate measurement tool for educator performance before we ever consider linking it to merit bonuses for Georgia’s teachers. This notification from the Education Department does not hinder the implementation of our Teacher and Leader Keys Effectiveness Systems. We remain ahead of schedule for statewide rollout in 2014-15, and we are currently training and credentialing evaluators in districts across the state.”
Letter from the U.S. Education Department: