Legislature 2017

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Education News from the 2017 Legislative Session

State Sen. Lindsey Tippins, Chair of the Senate Education and Youth Committee, addresses a recent Education Policy Fellowship Program colloquium about the legislative process as it applies to education policy. Joining Tippins on the panel are Margaret Ciccarelli, Directive of Legislative Affairs, Professional Association of Georgia Educators, and Cosby Johnson, Government Affairs Manager, Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

Sine die!  The 2017 session formally closed at 1 a.m., March 31.  We will continue to post relating stories as they develop.

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that does not take a political position on issues.  Inclusion here does not indicate Georgia Partnership endorsement.

Georgia universities release guidelines on "campus carry" law

Georgia's university system says campuses won't provide gun storage facilities or signs when a new state law permitting concealed handguns takes effect this summer. (May 25)

Guns at tailgates: They are now legal

This from Steve Wrigley, the chancellor of the University System of Georgia:  While it's long been known that college stadiums were exempt from the law, the exemption "does not extend to so-called 'tailgating' areas where fans may congregate outside the gates of the sports facility." (May 25)  

Nathan Deal received 100x more calls, letters against campus carry than for it. Signed it anyway.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal encourages Georgians to contact him, and they did so by the thousands in opposition to campus carry. But he ignored them. (May 17)

The campus carry law brings challenges, questions
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The new state law allowing students over 21 to carry concealed weapons on Georgia's college campuses has many unanswered questions and challenges for those required to implement the legislation. (May 13)

GHC, CTC prepare for campus carry law to take effect
Daily Tribune News

The two colleges in Bartow County are preparing for a new law that directly affects their campuses to take effect. (May 11) 

Gov. Deal vetoes bill that would have given parents ability to opt their children out of standardized state testing
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Gov. Nathan Deal today vetoed HB 425 that said parents could opt out of state testing without penalty. (May 9)

Bill Aims To Create More Space For Pre-K In Georgia

The Georgia lottery provides money for about 84,000 4 year olds to attend the state’s pre-kindergarten program. But only 81,000 children are served, due to a lack of space. (May 9)

Will guns run off top faculty? Yes, says a departing professor.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) After a decade at the University of Kansas, noted scholar Jacob Dorman resigned his tenure position in response to conceal carry being allowed in Kansas college classrooms starting July 1. That is the same date a law signed by Gov. Nathan Deal Thursday will open public campuses in Georgia to guns. (May 8)

Local families say hearing aid bill will help with costs
Gwinnett Daily Post

Gov.  Deal is set to sign a bill that will provide help for families dealing with children with hearing loss. (May 8)

Residents protest campus carry
Valdosta Times

A small group of local citizens gathered for a rally against the campus carry bill just signed by Gov. deal that will go into effect in July. (May 7)

Another question: Why did Gov. Deal sign campus carry so quietly?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After last year's veto of a similar bill, why the turnaround and why did Gov. Deal quietly sign the bill into law.  Here are some possible answers. (May 6)

A campus tour as Georgia colleges prepare for armed students

Now that licensed gun owners can bring their weapons on o Georgia campuses, what's the talk around the state? (May 6)

Controversial campus gun measure becomes law in Georgia
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a measure Thursday that would allow college students and others to carry concealed weapons on campus, despite vetoing similar legislation last year amid an uproar from gun control advocates. (May 5) 

Campus carry backlash: If governor wouldn't allow guns in his office, they shouldn't be in my kids' classrooms
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Parents are expressing their disappointment over Gov. Deal's decision to sign the controversial campus carry bill in to law. (May 5)

Campus carry causing parents to rule out Georgia colleges. But other states may allow guns on campus.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Many folks are saying on social media posts they won’t send their kids to Georgia public colleges now that Gov. Nathan Deal signed campus carry into law, but will have them attend out-of-state schools. (May 5)

Opinion:  State launches latest effort to fix struggling schools
Tom Baxter

We have seen this all before, many times. Gov. Nathan Deal staged an event at the Capitol to sign yet another bill that will supposedly be the magic solution to improving the state’s low-rated public schools. (May 3) 

If governor needs reason to nix campus carry, go back to his 2016 veto statement
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal is not being subtle in his clues to whether he plans to sign the campus carry bill this week. Unlike last year when he vetoed similar campus carry legislation, Deal appears ready to sign House Bill 280. (May 2)

DeKalb student to governor: Veto campus carry so I can feel safe at a Georgia college
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jacob Busch is a junior at Chamblee Charter High School in Brookhaven. He is also editor of his school newspaper. In this piece, the DeKalb County honors student explains how guns on campus will likely cause him to decide against attending a Georgia public college. (May 2)

Deal urges more police patrols as he weighs 'campus carry' bill
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal urged civilian police departments to tighten security around college campuses as he weighs whether to sign a sweeping gun rights expansion that would legalize more firearms on university property. (May 2)

Deal signs school turn around bill, other education legislation
Office of the Georgia Governor

Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday signed into law a number of education bills including his signature piece of legislation designed to turn around some of Georgia most chronically failing schools. (April 28)

Deal signs school turn around legislation; calls it dramatic first step
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With the stroke of a pen Thursday, Gov. Nathan Deal initiated an experiment that could yield innovative strategies for improving Georgia's lowest performing schools or saddle him and future governors with an intractable problem. (April 28)

Gov. Deal  signs "School Turn Around" bill into law
Albany Herald

Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into law HB 338 which is designed to improve student outcomes at some of the state's most consistently failing school. (April 28)

New Georgia law strips funding from state's "sanctuary campuses"
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Deal has singed into law a measure that will strip state funding from any Georgia college that declares itself a "sanctuary" campus in defiance of President Trump's immigration policies. (April 28)

What is Georgia's "First Priority Act" for state schools?

Last year Georgia voted down the Opportunity School District legislation strongly supported by Gov. Deal.  This year the state legislature made their own move which offers a toned down version not requiring voter approval. (April 27)

University of Georgia students protest campus carry bill

Students at Georgia's largest public university took to the streets urging Gov. Nathan Deal to veto the latest legislative effort to allow the carrying of concealed weapons on campus. (April 27) 

Opinion:  Crime data show Georgia college students, faculty, staff don't need guns
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.)  Will he or won't he? That's the question thousands of parents, Georgia college students and professors are wondering as Gov. Nathan Deal has 27 days left to veto the campus carry bill. (April 14) 

Opinion: Governor should veto should veto Georgia's 'mean-spirited and divisive' sanctuary campus bill
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) House Bill 37, targets undocumented immigrant students by prohibiting private colleges and universities from adopting so-called “sanctuary policies.” This legislation should be vetoed because it will put campus safety at risk and undermine Georgia’s reputation and economy. (April 12)

Law to increase state involvement in failing schools
Golden Isles News

Gov. Nathan Deal is soon likely to sign House Bill 338 into law, giving state government the ability to take a more active role in the improvement of what it considers failing schools in Georgia. (April 10)

'Campus carry' critics take their message to the Masters
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Some of the state's most prominent politicians and executives will be at the closing round of the Masters in Augusta on Sunday. And a gun control group is hoping that they’ll take notice of a full-page ad in the Augusta Chronicle about controversial Georgia legislation. (April 9)

The big question:  Will Gov. Deal sign Campus Carry II?
Albany Herald

For the second consecutive year, the Georgia General Assembly has passed a bill that will allow guns, with some exceptions, on public college campuses. And, like last year, reaction has been mixed. (April 7)

Lawmakers approve public charter school bill
CrossRoads News

Public charter schools will receive dedicated facilities funding for the first time ever under legislation approved on March 30 by the Georgia General Assembly. (April 7) 

Sen. Sims: HB 338 will address Georgia’s chronically failing schools
Albany Herald

Last November, Georgia voters roundly rejected Amendment 1, which would have allowed the state to take over “chronically failing schools.” The Opportunity School District amendment’s rejection struck at the very heart of Gov. Nathan Deal’s education reform plans. (April 6) 

Lawmakers help failing schools; reject mandatory recess
North Fulton Herald

Mandatory recess is out, but flexibility in testing – and tests – could soon be Georgia law. On the final day of the 2017 Georgia General Assembly on March 31, lawmakers put the finishing touches on education legislation, while tabling others till the next session. (April 5)

House Bill 145 - Dental hygienists; perform certain functions under general supervision; authorize
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An education issue? Think about it. Georgia has 16 counties without a dentist and 35 counties that do not accept Medicaid patients.  How would you like to be a third grader trying to learn when you had a toothache? More - subscription needed for full article. (April 5) 

Opinion: 10 reasons Gov. Deal ought to veto campus carry bill
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Matthew Boedy, an assistant professor at the University of North Georgia, has researched whether guns are needed on Georgia's public college campuses. Based on his research, Boedy says they are not needed and will not enhance safety. (April 4)

Education bill increases governor's control but not completely
Savannah Morning News

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal will get the opportunity to take over schools after all, but probably not as many as originally planned. (April 3)

What passed, what didn't as Georgia's legislative session closes
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Georgia General Assembly has wrapped up its work for the 2017 session.  Here is a list of the significant bills that were introduced and how they turned out. (April 2)

Roundup of education bills considered by the legislature
Savannah Morning News

There were several education bills introduced and debate during the 2017 General Assembly.  How did they turn out? (April 2)

Charter schools when a building boost after funding bill passes in legislature
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The General Assembly passed House Bill 430 on the last day of the 2017 session that will improve the chances of charter schools to find or build new schools. (April 2)

Georgia House, Senate pass school turn around plan
WTOC-TV, Savannah

Last year, Georgia voters turned down a plan to turn around failing schools.  This year, the legislature passed a similar but different plan to make it law.  What does it mean? (April 1)

Campus gun measure among tough decisions facing Georgia governor
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Nearly a year after Gov. Deal issued a forceful veto of legislation that would allow guns on college campuses, the bill returns to him for his approval which will make it the law. (April 1)

Georgia lawmakers approve tax credit for lowest-performing schools grants
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia lawmakers approved the funding for Gov. Nathan Deal’s school turnaround mandate. (March 31)

Legislature approves guns on campuses, but fails to vote on campus rape bill
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The AJC reports Georgia lawmakers gave final passage early this morning to a law legalizing guns on the state’s public college and university campuses, sending it to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature. (March 31) 

Near Session's End, Ga. Lawmakers Rush On Taxes, School Bills
Associated Press

State lawmakers worked late into the evening Tuesday, rushing to pass legislation affecting Georgians' income taxes, treatment for opioid addiction and a strategy to turn around the state's lowest performing schools. (March 30) 

Georgia Legislature: School testing, high school top honors for the dual-enrolled bills merged
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Bills merged Tuesday passed the House and now must pass the Senate Thursday, the final day of the legislation session. (March 30)

Six things to know about Georgia’s new plan for low-performing schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) No state takeover like with the Opportunity School District, but state gets new powers under The First Priority Act. (March 30)

Rape survivors still hopeful campus rape bill will die
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Many thought this bill was dead but has found new life attached to another bill that has the possibility of passage.  The legislation provides due process protections for those accused of rape and sexual assault. (March 30)

Georgia Senate approves "Campus Carry" bill

The Georgia State Senate voted Tuesday to let licensed gun owners carry concealed weapons on most places on public college campuses. (March 29)

Back from the dead and in new form, campus rape bill lives another day. Anyone got a stake?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The Legislature produces its own version of  "The Walking Dead," legislation that appears lifeless yet manages to climb out of its coffin amid horrifying screams, "It's alive! It's alive!" (March 29)

Debate over role of schools' Chief Turn Around Officer continues
Insider Advantage

(Subscription required for full article.) The education turnaround legislation being debated before the General Assembly, now labeled the First Priority Act, has gone through several revisions. (March 28)

Senate passes Gov. Deal's school turn around plan

Gov. Nathan Deal may be looking forward to signing one of the bills that will soon make its way to his desk. The state Senate approved his plan to turn around low-performing schools Friday in a vote of 37-18. (March 27) 

Opinion:  Senate listened to student survivors of sexual assault; House mocked them
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Sexual assault survivor and law student Grace Starling helped lead the fight against state Rep. Earl Ehrhart's campus rape bill, which passed the House but failed to advance in a wary Senate. (March 26)

Opinion: School choice measure fails - where else? - Georgia Senate
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) For the first time in several years, a standalone measure to expand school choice was considered on the floor of the Georgia Senate. It went down in flames but the debate and vote are worth examining. (March 24)

Must reading for parents of students in grades 3, 5 and 8
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

If you’re a parent or guardian of a Georgia public school student in grade 3, 5 or 8 and you want them to be promoted to the next grade, sorry to ruin your spring break, but... read on. (March 24)

Opinion: Three bills in Legislature threaten Georgia's colleges and universities
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) In this column, state Rep. David Dreyer, D-Atlanta, says three bills moving through the Legislature toward passage threaten our higher education system, quality and reputation and don't help or serve students. (March 24)

Mandate for recess in schools gets amended in Senate committee
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Children across Georgia scored a legislative victory Wednesday when a Senate committee passed a bill requiring that elementary schools plan for recess. Before kids pop the cork on the sparkling apple juice, though, they should read the fine print. (March 23)

Will the legislature deliver on education reform?
Georgia Public Broadcasting - Political Rewind

Today on “Political Rewind,” Georgians didn't approve Governor Deal's Opportunity School District measure last November, so what education reform bills will come out of the Gold Dome this session? (March 23) 

What to do with failing schools?
Johns Creek Herald

With only days left in the 2017 Legislative Session, a number of education bills remain to be considered, most notably how to fix the dozens of schools in Georgia considered failing.  (March 22)

Tax breaks for private school scholarships would grow under new legislation
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) A program that lets taxpayers erase some of their debt to the state if they earmark the money for private school tuition would grow by $7 million a year under new amendments by Georgia lawmakers. (March 22)

Legislature advances OSD-lite bill and more tax credits for private school scholarships
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) In its countdown mode, the Legislature advanced several education bills Monday, although few will engender meaningful reform. (March 21) 

School improvement bill passes Senate panel with changes
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The legislative proposal to improve Georgia's lowest performing schools exited a Senate panel Monday and could soon be on its way to the governor, assuming lawmakers agree to the changes. (March 21)

Senate Education panel OKs state power in weak schools
Associated Press

A bill giving the state more power to intervene in Georgia’s struggling schools is one step closer to a vote in the Senate. (March 21)

Bill advances to eliminate redundant tests
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The House Education Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 211 that replaces national tests like the SAT and ACT with state tests. (March 21)

Recess plays key role in kids' health
Golden Isles News

House Bill 273, which passed the state House earlier this month, would require school systems develop and implement a policy that allots 30 minutes of unstructured play time for every school day. (March 21) 

Bill to expand industry certifications in public schools advances
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The House Education Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 3 that would expand industry credentialing in public schools. (March 21)

Editorial: New school oversight bill grades as incomplete
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia lawmakers must ensure any "Plan-B" to boost low quality schools doesn't waste money and fuel bureaucratic clashes. (March 19) 

Opinion: Bill is step in right direction for improving struggling schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An effective public education is the greatest predictor of economic success and mobility. (March 18)

Mandatory recess on track to become state law next year
Johns Creek Herald

Georgia lawmakers are poised to make recess mandatory for elementary school children, joining fewer than half the states in making “unstructured activity time” as important as reading and writing. (March 17)

Lawmakers shoot down option of electing school superintendents to slow revolving door
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The House Education Committee rebuffed a Senate-led initiative Thursday to give Georgia counties the option to elect their local school superintendents who are now appointed by school boards. Related story. (March17)

In Georgia, backlash builds on campus rape
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) This subject has two very different sides to the story.  Victims rights and accused rights are both drawing supporters. (March 17)

Senate committee approves "campus carry" bill with some changes
Associated Press

Licensed gun owners could carry concealed handguns on college campuses under legislation backed by a Senate committee. (March 17)

Georgia Senate OKs $49 billion budget, cuing up House talks

The Georgia Senate has backed two percent pay increases for teachers and other state employees as part of a $49 billion state budget proposal. (March 17) 

Georgia superintendent denies strained relations with governor over HB 338

Gov. Nathan Deal has said his top priority this year is to address struggling schools. That's what House Bill 338 aims to do. The plan creates a "Chief Turnaround Officer" to oversee low-performing schools. But there's disagreement on who that person should report to. (March 16)

Senators consider, amend House's plan for turn around schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The legislative proposal to turn around some of Georgia's lowest performing schools got a hearing and some amendments Wednesday, but did not advance through the Senate. (March 16)

Legislature is focused on struggling schools when it should focus on struggling students in poverty
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) In this column, Mark Elgart says the Georgia Legislature misses the mark with House Bill 338, because it does not focus on the true problem that causes some students to struggle no matter how good the school and instruction are. (May 15) 

Plan to give county schools more power in tax split fails in House
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Legislation that would give county schools more power to negotiate with local city schools on how to split tax dollars failed in the Georgia House on Tuesday. (March 15) 

Lawmakers consider alternatives to standardized tests
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Legislation - Senate Bill 221 - that could enable Georgia students to take fewer, more useful tests, moved out of a Georgia House of Representatives subcommittee yesterday. (March 15) 

Georgia legislature: Should recess be mandatory or optional?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Legislation - House Bill 273 - that mandates recess in Georgia elementary schools may become just a recommendation. (March 15)

Key Senate Panel Approves Bill Barring 'Sanctuary Campuses'

Sanctuary campuses are schools that adopt policies that protect undocumented immigrants. No Georgia colleges have such policies right now. Under a bill now under consideration, schools that adopt such policies in the future would lose state funding. (March 15)

Are parents turning kids into "snowflakes" by opting them out of testing?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) House Bill 425, which spells out Georgia parents’ rights to refuse standardized state tests for their children, passed the state Senate Education and Youth Committee 4-1 Monday. It has already cleared the House. (May 14)

30-minute recess bill passes state House
Newnan Times-Herald

A bill to require daily 30-minute recess periods for students kindergarten through fifth grade has overwhelmingly passed the Georgia House of Representatives and is now before the state senate. Related: Restoring recess for Georgia public schools (WGCL-TV, Atlanta). (March 12)

Senate OKs legislation that would allow voters to select local superintendents
Rome News-Tribune

Legislation moving through the Georgia General Assembly would set up a statewide vote to return to a system of local voters choosing their own superintendent. (March 12)

Happily, effort to turn around failing schools becomes bipartisan effort
Augusta Chronicle

In Atlanta, rare bipartisanship is working in an effort address schools that have a long track record of not serving the children who walk through their doors. (May 12)

Bill seeks escape hatch from testing; using it wouldn't ruin kids
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Increasingly, parents in Georgia and elsewhere are considering pulling their children out of standardized state tests because of stress and doubts about appropriateness. (March 12)

Former legislator: Schools need resources not takeover
Rome News-Tribune

Fifteen years ago, a Floyd County lawmaker had a solution for failing schools  but it was derailed by the fight over the state flag. (March 11)

Power struggle emerges over struggling Georgia schools
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal demanded Georgia's superintendent explain what he’s doing to reverse a “downward spiral of failure” of struggling schools, as the state education chief steps up his argument that he should be in the middle of any major school turnaround effort. (March 9)

Editorial: Grim news for public schools: More schools failing.
Savannah Morning News

Contrary to public perception, the Chatham County public school district does not have six public schools that the state labels as chronically failing. Unfortunately, it now has twice that number. (March 9)

Low-performing schools initiative takes a step forward
Dick Yarbrough Column

Last week, the Georgia House of Representatives passed HB 338 by a vote of 138-37. That is a margin of roughly 73 percent. (You might want to double-check my figures. I am, after all, a product of the public education system in Georgia.) The measure got strong bipartisan support, including Democratic House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams. (March 9)

Misguided March to Expand Tax Credits for Private School Scholarships
Georgia Budget and Policy Index

The Georgia Senate is considering a plan to expand the state’s private school scholarship tax credit program after the House recently approved House Bill 217. The bill proposes to raise the annual cap on tax credits from $58 million to $100 million for donations to organizations issuing the scholarships. (March 9)

Senate education committees hear game changing bills

Two big pieces of legislation came before Senate education committees at the Capitol Monday. (March 8)

Contradictions in Bills on public education
Dawson News

Last week Rep. Kevin Tanner's bill on how to help our challenged schools in Georgia passed through the State House and will now be discussed and studied in the Senate. (March 8)

Disagreement over who should control Georgia’s school turnaround work
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s elected school superintendent argues that he should be in the middle of any major school turnaround effort as lawmakers consider a bill that focuses on struggling schools. (March 8) 

Some surprises part of state health care legislation - Children's health focus of several state legislative measures
Albany Herald 

The health care scoreboard on Crossover Day shows some expected results — and some surprises as well.  A large number of health care bills had moved from one legislative chamber to the other by the end of Crossover. (March 7)

Nathan Deal keeps the door open for campus carry legislation            Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gov. Nathan Deal has left the door open for legislation that would legally allow weapons on the states' college campuses although he vetoed a similar measure last year. (March 7)

State Senate approves bill to test schools' water for lead contamination
Georgia Health News

The state Senate on Friday overwhelmingly approved a bill to require Georgia schools and child care centers to test for lead contamination in their water. (March 6)

Education, health care top issues as Georgia lawmakers pass deadline      Associated Press

Struggling schools, opioid addiction and the state's marijuana program appear likely to dominate the rest of the state's legislative session. (March 5) 

House Bill 425: Should parents decide what tests their kids take and how?    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Short and simple, House Bill 425 seems straightforward, but it could create complex problems for school districts with its opt-out protections and its push for pencil and paper testing alternatives. (March 5)

Georgia House of Representatives approves charter school recommendations                                                                                  Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Georgia House approved a bill Friday night that implements charter school recommendations from the Governor's Education Reform Commission. (March 4)

Legislature bypasses voters in education Plan B                                            Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

When voters last fall rejected the Opportunity School District Amendment, an obviously frustrated Governor Deal said voters had opted for the status quo. (March 4)

Bill seeks way to address struggling schools after constitutional amendment voted down

Rome News Tribune

After 60 percent of Georgia voters said "no" last November to a statewide constitutional amendment creating a process to take over failing schools, legislators are now working on a plan to take over struggling schools. (March 5)


New bill aims to remediate state’s failing schools
Newnan Times-Herald

Voters rejected the Opportunity School District back in November, but Georgia legislators haven’t given up on remediating the state’s chronically failing schools. (March 3) 

Local advocate concerned with new campus assault bill
Gainesville Times

Local advocates for sexual assault victims are voicing concerns over a Georgia General Assembly bill passing the House that would change disciplinary procedures on college campuses regarding sexual assault. (March 3)

Bill Mandating Lottery Education Funding Level Advances
Georgia Public Broadcasting

Legislation that would mandate what percentage of Georgia Lottery revenue goes to education programs has passed the state Senate. (March 3)

Georgia House OKs increase in private school scholarships cap
Atlanta Business Chronicle

A popular tax credit program funding private school scholarships in Georgia would get more funding under legislation that cleared the state House of Representatives Tuesday. (March 2)

Georgia House approves limits on campus sex assault hearings
Associated Press

Legislation limiting colleges’ disciplinary hearings on sexual violence has passed the Georgia House despite opposition from advocacy groups that work with victims. (March 2) 

New plan for struggling schools clears House of Representatives
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This legislative effort to intervene in chronically failing schools - Plan B as it is called after the defeat of the OSD last fall - now moves to the Senate for discussion and vote. (March 2)

Deal hails House passage of education legislation
Augusta Chronicle

A bill passed Wednesday by the state House of Representatives designed to create a turnaround plan for Georgia’s lowest performing schools could have a significant impact on the Richmond County school system that has more than 20 fitting the description. (March 2)

Governor applauds House for passing milder version of Opportunity School District
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The House passed House Bill 338 this morning, a milder version of the Opportunity School District in which struggling schools are more akin to partners in state takeover rather than victims of it. (March 1) 

Georgia's 2018 budget emphasizes education
Creative Loafing

In his proposed fiscal year 2018 state budget, Gov. Nathan Deal has his sights set on increasing Georgia’s education standards. (February 28)

School choice presents challenges in rural Georgia
Georgia Public Broadcasting

This year could be a big one for school choice. State lawmakers are considering expanding a program that gives tax credits to Georgians who help bankroll private school scholarships. (February 27)

Editorial: "Campus Carry" again: Will it get by Gov. Deal?
Rome News-Tribune

Here we go again with “campus carry” legislation, an ongoing effort by gun rights advocates to allow anyone with a concealed weapon license to take a handgun to classes and other spots. (February 27)

Bill proposed as answer to failing schools
Forsyth County Schools

A Senate bill sponsored in part by a Forsyth County legislator could help alleviate the problem of failing schools in the state. (February 26)

Opinion:  Lawmakers depict campuses as dangerous places and in need of guns. Crime reports show otherwise.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I continue to be amazed by the exaggeration of crime on our public colleges and universities by state lawmakers trying once again to overrule common sense  and University System policy by forcing guns on Georgia's campuses. (February 26)

New plan for lowest performing schools advancing through legislature
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) After failing to persuade Georgia voters last year to allow the state to take over low performing schools, lawmakers are proposing what they are calling a "collaborative" alternative to avoid another bruising battle. (February 25) 

Opinion: A kinder, gentler Opportunity School District? Maybe so, but still unnecessary.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) House Bill 338 could be described as a kinder, gentler OSD, where the state does not big-foot its way into seizing control of struggling schools but rather dances a delicate waltz with willing districts. (February 24) 

Opinion:  Failing-schools bill needs to add choices for students
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Lawmakers are taking another crack at improving Georgia’s failing schools, and it seems the new approach is to make it an inside job. (February 23)

Proposal would nearly double tax credits for school scholarships
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Legislation to increase the limit on state tax credits for private school scholarships took a step forward through the General Assembly Wednesday. (February 23)

Georgia House strikes at sanctuary campuses
Z Politics

On Wednesday, The Georgia House of Representatives cast a major vote against "Sanctuary Campuses" - colleges and universities that have promised to ignore federal immigration laws. (February 23)

Education savings accounts carry huge price tag
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

Georgia lawmakers are considering a bill to allow parents to take state money to pay for private educational services. Senate Bill 68 proposes an Individual Education Savings Account, or ESA, program. (February 22)

Lawmaker wants to make recess mandatory

A state lawmaker wants to make recess mandatory for students kindergarten through 5th grade. (February 22)

Campus Carry Bill gets rough ride in committee

Opponents of this year’s version of Campus Carry loudly raised their objections at the state Capitol today. It was a lengthy hearing were speakers opposed to the bill outnumbered its backers by almost five to one. (February 21) 

Ga. University System Head Opposes New 'Campus Carry' Bill

The head of Georgia’s university system on Monday spoke publicly for the first time against a bill that would allow guns on college campuses around the state. (February 21) 

Commentary: The ABCs of funding Georgia education
Georgia Trend

Education – including funding and reform – has been a hot political topic as long as there have been teachers and politicians. In Georgia, passage of the Quality Basic Education Act (QBE) in 1985 was one of the first significant reform and funding acts – and its funding formula is still used today – 32 years later. (February 21)

Low performing school bill being reworked
Insider Advantage

(Subscription required.) Only minutes after members of the House Education Committee got their first in-depth look at HB 338, the plan for addressing the lowest performing schools, State School Superintendent Richard Woods presented a substitute bill. (February 20)

After failure of Opportunity School District Amendment, New Bill Addresses Failing Schools
Georgia Public Broadcasting

A new education bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Kevin Tanner would allow the state to provide systems of support and assistance for low-performing schools in Georgia. (February 20)

Opinion: Georgia won't improve its schools until it stops teacher blame game
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Tim Mullen has taught seventh grade life science in Gwinnett County Public Schools for 24 years. In this op-ed column, Mullen discusses House Bill 338, better known as Nathan Deal's Plan B, which comes in the wake of  the Opportunity School District's defeat in November. (February 19)

Does Nathan Deal's plan for struggling schools go too far or not far enough? Should it include school choice?
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Disappointed over the defeat of his Opportunity School District, Gov. Nathan Deal has offered up an alternative state takeover plan that could be imposed through legislation. That legislation is House Bill 338.
(February 18) 

Opinion: Guns on Georgia college campuses endanger lives
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) The General Assembly has revived its campus carry bill, a bill the overwhelming majority of Georgians who attend colleges, teach at them or send their children to them oppose.  (February 17)

Georgia bill would require recess through 5th grade
WMAZ-TV, Macon

Critics say recess has become a thing of the past as schools become more competitive and try to put more time into instruction. If passed, a bill in the Georgia state legislature would require daily recess for all public school students through fifth grade. (February 16) 

'Plan B' for failing schools under consideration
Johns Creek Herald

Gov. Nathan Deal’s anxiously awaited “Plan B” to fix low performing schools was unveiled last week in the Georgia Legislature with a more realistic vision of raising achievement levels for thousands of students. (February 15)

School takeover Plan B debuts
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

The virtues and flaws of … well, pretty much everything, as pretty much everyone knows, are in the details. Georgia voters resoundingly rejected last year’s proposed constitutional amendment allowing for a state takeover of chronically underperforming public schools. (February 15)

Editorial: Add value to working teachers and their students
Savannah Morning News

Georgia lawmakers are wise to be concerned about the big state subsidy that’s required to pump up the state’s pension programs for its retired educators in 2018 – an amount that’s expected to hit a whopping $223 million. (February 15)

Georgia lawmakers reach final deal on money for big pay hike
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

(Subscription may be required.) Georgia lawmakers agreed Tuesday to a mid-year spending plan that adds $600 million to this year's budget. (February 15)

Georgia GOP proposing new state role in struggling schools
Associated Press

The state would have broad authority to intervene in struggling schools and make significant changes to staff and management under legislation introduced by Georgia Republicans. (February 15)

Bill in Georgia legislature recasts Deal’s “Opportunity School District” proposal, rejected by voters
Athens Banner-Herald

Gov. Deal is asking Georgia lawmakers to support a new plan for fixing low-performing schools after voters last fall rejected a proposal for state takeovers of schools that consistently struggle. (February 14) 

Day 16!  And it's here... the long awaited Plan B
Georgia School Boards Assn.

Yes, the long-awaited "Plan B" is here and can now be called HB 338 instead.  This is a new approach at turning around failing schools after the Opportunity School District Amendment failed. Related story. Note: Visit the GSBA daily Capitol Watch column by Angela Palm. (February 13)

Overview: 2018 FY Budget for Higher Education
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed budget of nearly $2.3 billion for the university system and approximately $360 million for technical colleges includes money to increase salaries, which should help both systems attract and retain faculty. (February 13)

 Belton: Many bills on the General Assembly's agenda
Covington News (February 12)

Georgia Legislature introduces another campus carry bill
Athens Banner-Herald (February 10)

Student:  Georgia lawmakers endanger victims of sexual assault with campus rape bill
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (February 9)

Filling the Gaping Hole in Public School Budgets
Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (February 8)

'Campus Carry' has been reintroduced in the Georgia legislature
ZPolitics (February 8)

Losing isn't permanent, quitting not an option
GeorgiaPol.com (February 7)

State Rep. Taylor introduces schools resolution
Sandy Spring Reporter (February 6)

Georgia Republicans take aim at "sanctuary campuses" while Emory U ducks fight
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (February 3)

Georgia lawmakers propose almost tripling private school scholarships
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (February 2)

Opinion:  Plans for public education - vague and discouraging
Dawson News (February 1)