The following report encompasses legislation which passed before 8 p.m. on Legislative Day 39. PAGE will report on all education-related bills which passed after this report in the next Capitol Report.
SB 233, PAGE-opposed private school voucher legislation, had not been considered by the time of publication.
Literacy Bills Pass on Penultimate Legislative Day
The House and Senate each passed a literacy bill Monday. Both bills must now go back to their chamber of origin for an agree/disagree vote, since changes were made during the legislative process.
The House passed SB 211 by Sen. Billy Hickman (R-Statesboro), which seeks to establish the Georgia Council on Literacy to set new school district improvement requirements and oversight mechanisms. The council would undertake activities in multiple areas, including reviewing best practices in literacy instruction from other states. The council would work in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and the State Board of Education (SBOE) to implement requirements of early literacy requirements, as well as research and make recommendations for improving literacy rates among low-income students, minority students, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) students, and students with characteristics of dyslexia. The council would also:
Review and set annual literacy goals for students in grades three, five, and eight
Review and make recommendations to align teacher certification with evidence-based literacy instruction and education degree program requirements
Review and make recommendations for professional development for teachers in Pre-K – 3rd grade classrooms
The Senate passed HB 538 by Rep. Bethany Ballard (R-Warner Robins), which aims to increase the number of students reading proficiently by the end of third grade. Ballard described the bill as returning to "tried and true" principles of reading. Components of the bill include a required reading assessment of all K-3 students to be given three times a year, training for all K-3 teachers in the science of reading, and the use of high-quality instructional materials for reading as approved by the State Board of Education. No funding has been provided to assist the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) or school districts in implementing the bill. The bill was amended on the floor to direct the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) to consider out-of-state teacher certification programs.
Wednesday, March 29 - Legislative Day 40/Sine Die