Some truly terrible bills have been filed in the Georgia General Assembly, but today we want to take a chance to share a few bills that could help many of our students and families. So here is some education policy good news for you.
HB 3 – This bill would allot categorical grant funding for children living in poverty. Georgia is still one of only six states that does not account for the unique challenges of educating students who are living with poverty. Filed by Rep. Sandra Scott.
HB 8 – This bill would expand state-recognized excused absences to include incidences of mental & behavioral health. Also sponsored by Rep. Scott.
HB 81 – This would potentially help even the funding playing field for many of our rural districts that are in desperate need for facility improvements. This bill has a hearing on Monday. Sponsored by Rep. John Corbett.
SB 82 – The CROWN act would allow any student to wear or style their hair however they choose without threat of racial discrimination in any educational institution, program or activity. Sponsored by Sen. Tonya Anderson.
HB 127 – This bill highlights the access obstacles faced by so many of our multilingual communities. It standardizes requirements for interpreters, with special emphasis on language access for students and families in need of individualized education plans (IEPs). Sponsored by Rep. Mesha Mainor.
HB 157 – This bill provides eligible students access to HOPE grants for coursework for programs of study leading to a certificate, diploma or associate degree, including remedial and developmental courses. Sponsored by Rep. Sacey Evans.
HB 173 – This bill would establish mandatory pre-K kindergarten for all children, which could be huge in overcoming literacy gaps for our youngest learners. Sponsored by Rep. Gregg Kennard.
HB 177 – This bill would expand sex education requirements to include HIV and AIDS prevention and lessons on consent, which Georgia still does not require. We have seen this bill in the past, but it has not gotten much traction before. Hopefully given the decision out of the Fifth Circuit, we might have a little more urgency on teaching our kids healthy relationship skills. Sponsored by Rep. Jasmine Clark.
I would like to give an honorable mention to Georgia’s new education committee chairs (Sen Clint Dixon, Rep. Chris Erwin, Sen. Billy Hickman) for bringing a diverse panel of experts to discuss education issues that impact our students across the state and a general sense of organization.