House Education Passes Accreditation Bills, Outdoor Learning Pilot, & Athletic Association Oversight
HR 1048 by Rep. Ginny Ehrhart (R-Marietta), creates the House Study on Education Accreditation in Georgia. When presenting her resolution, Ehrhart expressed concern that education accrediting agencies are not held to a high level of accountability and reported that Cobb County has experienced unfortunate repercussions, as a result. She framed the study as an effort to bring all interested parties to the table. The committee will review school accreditation and is charged with focusing on opportunities to reduce costs; improve education and opportunity; ensure alignment with Georgia law and education policy; ensure effective and competent governance; protect the rights of students, families, educators, and elected members of boards of education; and, enhance the public's trust and confidence in the educational system.
SB 603 by Sen. Sheikh Rahman (D-Lawrenceville) creates an outdoor learning pilot. The committee approved a version of the legislation today which allows local school districts or private or non-profit organizations to fund the pilot.
A substitute of SB 51 was presented by Rep. Ben Watson (R-Moultrie), who currently serves on the House oversight committee for the Georgia High School Association (GHSA). The new version of SB 51, LC 491015S, which is not yet available online as of publication of this report, creates another athletic association oversight committee with 10 members who have a stake in Georgia sports. The oversight committee will examine travel distances for student athletes, game officials shortages, and other matters. Watson indicated that the bill is tied to the state school funding formula to “ensure participation.”
A substitute version of SB 498 was presented by bill sponsor Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta). The newest version, LC 491018S is not yet available online. SB 498 allows for accreditation of K-8 schools by any accreditation agency that meets Georgia criteria and would require accrediting agencies to place more emphasis on school and district academic achievement. The bill also seeks to mandate more transparency regarding accrediting agency findings.
All four bills now move to House Rules. The state site www.legis.ga.gov is expected to be updated soon with the most current versions of all legislation approved today. At the conclusion of today’s House Education meeting, Chair Matt Dubnik stated that he does not anticipate the committee will meet again this session, though added the anticipated schedule is subject to change. He thanked committee members for their work throughout the session and mentioned he may approach them for participation on ad hoc or study committees.
Friday, April 1: Legislative Day 39
Saturday, April 2: Committee Workday
Sunday, April 3: Committee Workday
Monday, April 4: Day 40/Sine Die