Georgia Parents and Teachers United announces full support of Georgia Senate Bill (SB) 355 sponsored by Senator William Ligon. This vital bill provides for student and teacher rights regarding dangerous federally required standardized testing mandates, such as the Georgia Milestones. SB 355 will begin to return the joy of teaching and learning to the classroom.

SB 355 will provide students and their families the ability to refuse participation in mandated standardized tests without penalty and will protect students from retribution if refusal is chosen. SB 355 will provide for alternate assessments for cognitively disabled students. Currently, these students are required to test at grade level, not ability level. Most importantly, SB 355 will protect students who do not participate in standardized tests from retaliation in their academic communities. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) ignored these critical issues. Georgia citizens are urged to correct this federal error by actively supporting SB 355 that will serve to protect Georgia students.

SB 355 will prevent the Georgia Milestones test from counting for more than 10% of a high school student’s final grade. SB 355 will allow the Georgia Milestone’s test to count no more than 10% of a teacher’s evaluation.

Further, SB 355 will allow Georgia’s educators to expand and enrich content standards for the benefit of Georgia’s students. Georgia’s laws have previously prohibited Georgia’s educators from making these decisions crucial to the betterment of the state’s students. Georgia legislators are urged to support SB 355 to protect and to ensure the best education for Georgia’s students.

SB 355 will enable Georgia teachers to be steadfast in teaching as “testing season” approaches. SB 355 will limit the amount of time standardized testing and test preparation can absorb from teaching in the classroom and discourage a “teach to the test” atmosphere in Georgia’s classrooms.

Georgia teachers and students will be protected by the passage of SB 355. SB 355 paves the way for Georgia’s teachers to get back to the business of teaching rather than testing. Georgia Parents and Teachers United urges you to contact your legislators as soon as possible to urge them to represent students and teachers in support of SB 355.

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