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Here are the legislative priorities for Georgia education agency

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Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 3:39 PM EDT
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ATLANTA (WRDW/WAGT) - The Georgia Department of Education on Friday announced its 2022 legislative priorities.

The key public-education issues will guide state Superintendent Richard Woods’ interactions with lawmakers in the upcoming regular session.

“Our legislative priorities are aligned with the greater vision of creating a public education system that is student-focused and classroom-centered,” Woods said.

Here are the priorities:

EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS

  • Provide access to a 21st-century classroom by recognizing the need for affordable and quality high-speed internet access as a basic utility for all of Georgia’s families.
  • Strengthen civics education and students’ understanding of American government and the nation’s history.
  • Encourage the elimination of austerity cuts for programs that expand learning opportunities for students.

INCREASING SUPPORTS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

  • Support updates to the funding formula to ensure sufficient resources for students in residential treatment facilities.
  • Propose additional funding to support the effective facilitation and implementation of the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship.

ELEVATING THE TEACHING PROFESSION AND STRENGTHENING THE TEACHER PIPELINE

  • Support fully funding the pay raise for teachers
  • Encourage removing the threat of certification loss as a punishment for new teachers identified as “needs development” through the teacher evaluation system.
  • Pursue the establishment of a pilot to design an evaluation system built on professional progression with embedded supports for educators.
  • Promote changes to allow districts to utilize retired educators full time in high-need teaching positions.

STRENGTHENING THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN SCHOOLS AND THE COMMUNITY

  • Promote strategies that encourage informed decision-making to ensure the health and safety of students and educators, recognizing the authority of families to make health-related decisions for their children and employees to make health-related decisions for themselves.
  • Foster unity among students, educators, parents, and communities around the common educational challenges facing our students by protecting against divisive teachings or ideologies.
  • Ensure instructional materials, resources, and programs are age- and developmentally appropriate and are adopted using an established process that promotes transparency and community engagement.

FUNDING PUBLIC EDUCATION

  • Encourage the elimination of austerity cuts for districts and schools, and encourage additional funding for regional education service agencies.
  • Pursue additional funding for transportation costs for school districts.
  • Pursue additional funding for student support staff at the local level.
  • Support efforts to increase facilities funding for local charter schools.

FEDERAL PRIORITIES

  • Promote federal legislation to extend the use of federal ESSER funding to maximize the efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability of these funds and support the long-term recovery of Georgia’s schools.
  • Pursue legislative resolution that supports amending the Every Student Succeeds Act to further reduce high-stakes testing by only requiring grade-band testing (elementary School, middle school and high school) rather than testing in grades 3-12 each year.

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