Gold Dome Update 
Highlights from the House 
Monthly Update
Over the last month our Georgia students, educators, parents and school administrators have begun to settle in for a brand-new school year. It is no secret that quality education takes priority within the General Assembly as we allocate over half of our annual Fiscal Year budget to meet the educational needs of our Georgia students.

One of the most interesting aspects of serving in the legislature has been learning about the progression of traditional educational systems slowly morphing into the acceptance of non-traditional curriculum. A clear-cut sign that we have slowly, but surely, been chipping away at the stigma of a “one size fits all,” where education is concerned. The evolution of educational partnerships with industry and business, more specifically our Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE), program is the perfect example of how slow but steady policy changes, eventually win the race. 

How has Georgia embraced educational change?

Did you know that the bulk of Georgia's economic health is maintained by small business owners? In order to foster further growth of our economy, the Georgia General Assembly began passing legislation, nearly a decade ago, to allow for schools to partner with local business and industries.  
Understanding that education is not a one-size fits all has been a key component of developing our scholastic programming. Of the many educational opportunities our state now offers, I have been very impressed with our Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE). This program works to prepare our Georgia students for their next step after high school--college, beginning a career, registered apprenticeships, or the military. Georgia CTAE pathway course offerings, and the new Educating Georgia's Future Workforce initiative, leverage partnerships with industry and higher education to ensure students have the skills they need to thrive in the future workforce.

CTAE offers students more than 130 career pathways within the 17 Georgia Career Clusters. Students can further their education in areas such as architecture, construction, energy, technology, finance and government- to name a few. CTAE curriculum includes national standards, CTAE standards, and Georgia Performance Standards, in addition to career development activities which allow students to make the connection between class activities and the workforce, allowing our students the much needed hands-on training needed to build our state's workforce. 
During FY 2018 over 271,064 middle school students (61.75% of all Georgia middle school students) and 385,431 high school students (67.88% of all Georgia high school students) participated in CTAE Career Cluster programs. The program has been a proven success as the graduation rate of students participating in CTAE in 2018 graduated at a higher rate than all Georgia students. The graduation rate was 96.3% for CTAE as compared to a graduation rate of 81.6% for all students statewide. If you are interested in learning more about CTAE, I encourage you to  click here  for more information. 

Special Committee on Economic Growth

In mid August, out of an abundance of caution about economic projections, Governor Kemp ordered state agencies to reduce their spending for AFY 2020 and FY 2021. 

Because of this, our House leadership has put forth new initiatives to begin working this fall on our 2020 legislative budget process, which normally doesn't begin until the second week of any given session. 

This committee will look at industries which may wish to enter the State of Georgia and would require legislation creating a new regulatory framework. State revenue collected from such new industries could be used to fund specific programs like education, healthcare or infrastructure needs while keeping the tax burden on Georgians as low as possible.

Thankfully, we have managed Georgia’s finances conservatively over the last decade and that has paid dividends in terms of a AAA-bond rating, healthy budget reserve fund and a strong economy. Adjusted for inflation, our citizens still pay less to operate state government than they did before the recession hit in 2007. 

In putting forth these efforts, we feel confident we can continue to guide the state responsibly and look forward to taking part in this important process. We will continue to update you on our progress as we move towards the 2020 legislative session. 
Be on the lookout for my monthly updates to ensure you are up to date on important issues regarding your state government! As always, if you need anything at all, please reach out anytime. Thank you for allowing me the humble honor of serving our community under the Gold Dome. We look forward to the coming days where we continue our efforts for strong for simple, smart and effective government.

Shaw Blackmon
Representative of Georgia's 146th House District

Representative Shaw Blackmon
District 146
Phone: 404-463-
Address: 401-K State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Rep. Shaw Blackmon represents District 146. He currently serves as a member of Economic Development & Tourism,Governmental Affairs, Insurance, Juvenile Justice, Rules, Small Business Development, Special Rules, and Ways & Means Committees. He serves as Chair of the Transportation Committee on Appropriations and also as House Appointee to the Joint Defense Commission.