James.qxp Jan Feb 2019 web - Page 42



With State School Superintendent Woods continuing his tenure at the Department of Education and
Kemp supporting the focus on early learning established under Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgia should see
some constancy in early learning and K-12 policy.
Issues of funding and school choice— especially where
vouchers and education savings accounts (ESAs) are
concerned— are likely to see increased attention by the
Republican legislature.
Finally, a hallmark of Kemp’s campaign and gubernatorial platform was a focus on rural Georgia. He has
developed a comprehensive plan, “A New Day in Rural
Georgia,” that empowers the private sector to offer
high-speed Internet, supports the agriculture industry,
and improves access to quality healthcare and high
paying jobs through economic development and investments. These types of strategies serve to help strengthen local school systems, which in turn, will support the
economic activities of the region through increased
high school graduation rates and successful post-secondary completion by rural residents.
In early 2018, an Atlanta-Journal Constitution survey of voters said education was the “single most
important issue facing Georgia today,” followed by
health care and economy/jobs. Last November, Georgia
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JAMES
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019
voters elected a new governor whose responsibilities
include setting the direction for a state education policy agenda and having a hand in appointing new leaders to help implement his plan.
This is an exciting time for education. The Georgia
Partnership for Excellence in Education invites all
Georgians— from state leaders to individual parents— to
join us in our continuing resolution to ensure every child
has access to a high-quality education, which allows
them to pursue their dreams. With strong, committed
leadership at all levels, we can meet our challenges and
accomplish great things.
The Top Ten Issues to Watch can help inform conversations with policymakers, educators, and community and
business leaders about these challenges and opportunities.
Together, with a common vision for excellence, we
can all commit and recommit to a strong public education system and evaluate strategies that ensure educational success and a brighter future for all our students,
our state, and our nation.
You can download a copy of the report at:
www.gpee.org.
Dana Rickman, PhD is the vice president of the Georgia Partnership for
Excellence in Education
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019
43

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