Governor’s Safe Schools Act Passes Committee
Gov. Brian Kemp’s House Floor Leader Will Wade (R-Dawsonville) presented HB 147, the Safe Schools Act, to members of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. Wade described the PAGE-supported bill as modernizing school safety and reported that the Kemp administration worked with educator and law enforcement groups, including PAGE, on the legislation, which does the following:
Directs the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC), in consultation with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) and other state agencies, to create school safety and anti-gang endorsements for eligible certificated professional personnel.
Encourages postsecondary educational institutions with GaPSC teacher certification programs to include training in safe schools and deterring youth gangs.
Mandates that school safety plans, which are already annually required, be submitted to GEMA.
Requires schools to conduct intruder alert drills for students, school administrators, teachers, and other school personnel by October of each school year. Local school districts may allow parents to opt out their children by written notification.
Committee discussion focused on whether intruder drills would be unannounced. Wade indicated the decision to announce the drills would be made by each school districts.
The bill now moves to House Rules, which is expected to schedule a floor vote.
Alternative High Schools Bills Passes House
HB 87, sponsored by House Education Chair Chris Erwin (R-Homer), passed the House and now moves to the Senate for consideration. The legislation seeks to change school governance, academic accountability, and funding requirements for alternative high schools, including Mountain Education Charter High School, Foothills Education Charter High School, and Coastal Plains Charter High School. The schools serve non-traditional students who have dropped out or who are at risk of dropping out.
Senate Higher Education Committee Continues Literacy Exploration
After a series of joint meetings exploring literacy with the Senate Education & Youth Committee, the Senate Higher Education Committee met and heard from two additional literacy-focused organizations, The Literacy Lab and Science for Georgia, which advocates for evidenced-based literacy instruction. The committee took no formal literacy-related action today, however.
Thursday, Feb. 16 – Legislative Day 20
House Education, 9 a.m., 506 CLOB
Retirement, 1 p.m., Mezz 1 CAP
Tuesday, Feb. 21 – Legislative Day 21/PAGE Day on Capitol Hill