James.qxp May June 2019 web - Page 40



IT DOESN’T TAKE
A ROCKET SCIENTIST
TO HELP KIDS
WITH THEIR EDUCATION.
t the top of 2019 the Georgia Partnership
for Excellence in Education released the
15th edition of our highly-anticipated
annual Top Ten Issues to Watch report.
We outlined the key education issues
we believed would garner the most
attention among education stakeholders in Georgia during the year, particularly those who
serve in the General Assembly.
Given the overwhelming shifts in state leadership
from 2018 to 2019, Issue #1 in our report was dedicated to
exploring ways in which new leadership at the Capitol
could shape Georgia’s education policy landscape. The
overarching questions were: What will education in our
state look like under the leadership of a new governor and
lieutenant governor? What will it mean for Georgia education that the House and Senate Education committees
have new chairmen and the General Assembly is comprised of 40 freshman legislators? After a 40-day rollercoaster ride of a session filled with thrilling twists and
turns, we may have gotten a glimpse at the answers.
From dual enrollment and education savings
accounts (ESAs), to school safety and state-mandated
start dates, many of the topics we identified in our
report were in play during the 2019 legislative session.
Some of the resulting legislation got enough traction to
be passed by both chambers and sent to the governor’s
desk, while some fizzled.
Among the issues identified in our report, school
safety was one we predicted would be important
among legislators. Sen. John Albers introduced a pair of
measures within the first weeks of the session, SB 15
and SR 12. SB 15, known as The Keeping Georgia
Schools Safe Act, was the first and required that periodic threat assessments on buildings, facilities, and
campuses be conducted by providers approved by the
Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Agency. SR 12 proposed a constitutional
amendment to allow sales tax dollars earmarked for
educational purposes to be used for school security
projects. Although SR 12 didn’t make it out of committee, SB 15 passed both chambers and awaits the signature of Gov. Brian Kemp.
Like school safety, we also anticipated teachers and
the overall teaching profession being a topic. Our report
particularly focused on the importance of elevating the
status of teaching through increased wages, improved
benefits and greater professional opportunities. The
governor campaigned on a promise to increase teacher
pay and worked alongside the legislature to pass a
budget that allowed him to raise teachers’ salaries by
$3,000. There is more work to do. But increasing
continued on page 42
Nope. All it takes is a scratch or two. Because every time you play the Lottery, Georgia kids
are the real winners. That’s because for over 25 years the Georgia Lottery has contributed
more than $20 billion to education. On top of that, more than 1.8 million HOPE scholars have
gone to college and more than 1.6 million four-year-olds have attended a Lottery-funded
Pre-K Program. That qualies as a rocket booster in our book.
IT DOESN’T TAKE A ROCKET SCIENTIST
TO HELP KIDS WITH THEIR EDUCATION.
galottery.com
galottery.com
M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9
41

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