Area 2 Gwinnett PTSA
Georgia PTA Legislative Priorities For 2013-2014
Support Education Quality and Accountability
Georgia PTA supports strong principal and teacher-quality requirements, as well as adequate technical and financial resources to address specific problems in testing and accountability systems that ensure schools can meet high standards, provide quality instruction, support common core, and improvements in student learning.
Georgia PTA supports constitutional authority of local boards of education to control or manage the schools in their systems and oppose any legislation that limits their authority or ability to raise revenue under state constitutional provisions.
Support Funding for Education and Other Child Related Programs
Georgia PTA supports efforts to increase state spending for education and to secure critical financial support for state, school districts, and local schools so schools and districts can provide a quality education to all children, meet the high accountability standards, and prepare students for employment; and supports passage of state appropriation bills providing adequate levels of funding for education and child-related programs and the use of public funds for public schools only; and opposes funding proposals and budget processes that cut or negatively affect the availability of such funding.
Georgia PTA supports efforts to strengthen and stabilize special education funding and other methods to invest in, and reform the special education funding system; and supports legislation which requires full funding for mandated programs and services to maximize assistance to children with special needs and disabilities.
Support Safe and Nurturing Environments
Georgia PTA supports state efforts to improve child nutrition and wellness including the support of school nurses, school meal programs, health regulations, nutritional awareness, and other related efforts that prepare children for learning and improvements in student attendance and behavior.
Georgia PTA supports strong state legislation and policies needed to ensure that child victims of sex and labor trafficking are identified by the appropriate state agencies and these agencies provide adequate support and services and encourage severe prosecution for perpetrators under the law; and supports multiple efforts to increase public awareness of human trafficking issues affecting children.
Georgia PTA supports efforts for a safe and supportive school environment that ensures all children are safe in their schools and on their buses; supports strong legislation and policies to establish and strengthen bullying prevention laws to include notification to parents, protection of target, and correction of bullying behavior; and promotes required training for students, parents, and all school personnel on bullying and the procedures for addressing and reporting cases of bullying behavior; and opposes any legislation and policies that permit guns on school premises except by use of an authorized school resource officer in every school.
Support Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Georgia PTA supports revisions to the judicial system practice and policies relating to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention that treat youths in the justice system in age-appropriate manner and provide evidence-based services and support, promote efforts to remove children from adult jails and provide community-based or family alternative programs for non-criminal offenses; and ensure equity and competence with regard to race, ethnicity, culture, language, gender, and sexual orientation before courts.
Support Parent Involvement in Education
Georgia PTA supports strong parent involvement policies and requires policies in all appropriate measurable laws and programs; and encourages local and state government and schools to incorporate the participation of parents in every facet of education and development for their children
2014 Legislative Session Update:
The Legislative Session ended on March 20, 2014, and the following are a few pieces of legislation that passed affecting education in Georgia:
House Bill 744 (State Budget): Sets forth the budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (spending to take place between 7/1/14 and 6/30/15);it provided for increased funding for education with an increase of approximately $314 million dollars to Quality Based Education.
House Bill 60: Authorizes school districts to appoint staff members to carry guns at schools, presumably to defend and protect students in the event of an attack on school grounds.
House Bill 826: Relaxes the zero tolerance policy that has been in effect for years and puts discretion in the hands of local boards or education when disciplining students who bring objects such as pocket knives to school. This piece of legislation is in the hands of Governor Deal to either sign or veto.
House Bill 284 (“Return to Play Act”): Establishes new protocol for informing parents about the dangers of concussions and for identifying and treating players who sustain head injuries; requires both public and private school students who show signs of concussions to be removed from practices and games until a note is provided from a physician stating that the child can safely return to play.
House Bill 766: Modifies the current Youth Apprenticeship Program to reflect Work Based Learning, which is a curriculum designed to create an educated workforce and allows students to learn in a real-world environment in order to prepare them for career opportunities; permits students that are at least 16 years old to participate as opposed to the existing requirement of being a junior or senior in high school.
Anti-Common Core Bill: This controversial bill was struck down by the Georgia House Education Committee. It passed the Senate but met strong resistence in the House. The intent of this bill was to separate Georgia from the national Common Core standards for public education which were implemented in local schools several years ago in the areas of math and language arts. The supporter of the bill argued that the Common Core was an intrusion on state control of public education by the federal government. The opponents argued that the bill would result in Georgia taking a step backward from the high standards contained in the Common Core. This issue will likely be a hot legislative item again next year.
Legislator Contact Information: Go to Capitol Watch at www.georgiapta.org