Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a “teacher pipeline” bill, along with a half-dozen other education-aimed bills, on Tuesday, May 4th. His priority was Senate Bill 88, which is aimed at making teaching more accessible and more attractive. It includes new certification paths for veterans, mentoring incentives for existing teachers, and new training requirements. Backers hope that it will stop the shrinkage of Georgia’s supply of teachers. This teacher pipeline bill also includes focus on providing resources to encourage minority students to go into teaching.
Kemp describes SB88 as “focused on recruiting, preparing, mentoring, and retaining the best and brightest in education.” To that end, it appoints the Georgia teacher of the year, an educator elected on merit by other educators, to serve in an advisory position on the state board of education. Next year, Kemp intends to push for legislation that will encourage retired teachers to return full-time to teach in “high needs” areas where their experience can be most useful.
Other education bills signed at the Tuesday ceremony, which took place at Kennesaw State University, include the following:
- Senate Bill 59 – more funding for charter schools, including access to the state insurance plan for educators.
- Senate Bill 66 – merges two foundations for public education funding.
- Senate Bill 153 – changes oversight over three “dropout recovery” charter schools from the State Charter Schools Commission to the state Department of Education.
- Senate Bill 159 – allows schools to use regular vehicles to transport homeless and disabled students when a bus would be unnecessary.
- Senate Bill 213 – allows schools to spend sales tax revenue on green appliances and equipment.
And a notable bill that was passed over and not signed, Senate Bill 47, which would have expanded eligibility for the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program to include a greater range of disabilities, including autism and substance abuse. The scholarship program provides vouchers for private school tuition to students with accommodation plans.