For Immediate Release
Monday, September 12, 2022
ATLANTA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp was joined by Lieutenant Governor nominee State Senator Burt Jones, leaders in education, and local elected officials at Dove Creek Elementary School in Statham as he announced his K-12 education priorities to address learning loss, recruitment and retention in education, and school security.
“Whether it’s been a historic teacher pay raise, allocating more state funding per student than ever before, or ensuring parents have a say in what their kids are learning in the classroom, Governor Kemp’s first four years in office have been historic for education in Georgia,” said Tate Mitchell, Press Secretary. “The policy priorities announced by the governor today will build on the success of his first term and ensure we can build a safer, stronger Georgia for all who call our state home.”
Building a Safer, Stronger Georgia: K-12 Education
Throughout Governor Kemp’s first term, the Kemp administration – in partnership with the General Assembly – has put our students and educators first. From the largest teacher pay raise in state history and funding school security grants, to reducing high-stakes testing, fully-funding our schools, strengthening the teacher pipeline, and keeping divisive politics out of the classroom, Governor Kemp has delivered on his promises to stand with our educators, ensure our students have a bright and promising future, and give parents a voice in their child’s education.
Governor Kemp’s priorities for a second term build on these historic successes by focusing on addressing learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing our educator and school counselor workforce, and implementing stronger school safety measures.
Addressing Learning Loss:
While Georgia led the nation in reopening under Governor Kemp’s leadership, a few local school systems chose to play pandemic politics with their students’ education. Ignoring the science and the negative impacts these decisions would have on our children, a handful of school boards and superintendents chose for their students to learn almost exclusively at home in front of a screen – instead of being in the classroom. As a result, in 2019, 73% of 3rd graders in Georgia were reading at or above grade level, and in 2022, that critical statistic had dropped to 63%. In fact, state data shows that over 44,000 students are currently reading below grade level as they enter 4th grade.
While the overwhelming majority of school systems across the state did the right thing by getting their students back in the classroom as soon as possible, a select few did not. Governor Kemp is committed to making sure every child in our state has the opportunity to reach their full potential and succeed in the classroom. Utilizing state funds in his 2023 budget recommendations, Governor Kemp will propose $25 million for a Learning Loss Opportunity Scholarship Grant (LLOSG).
• The LLOSG will be a $25 million grant program in the Governor’s Amended Fiscal Year 2023 budget recommendation.
• With approximately 44,000 3rd graders entering 4th grade reading below grade level, the LLOSG will provide a grant to eligible schools across the state.
• Schools may apply for these grants to leverage additional tutoring services, non-traditional staff, or supplement existing learning loss services.
Educator and School Counselor Workforce:
From the beginning of his service as Georgia’s 83rd chief executive, Governor Kemp has made strengthening the Peach State’s education workforce a top priority of his administration. From historic pay raises and record state funding for schools and staff, to reducing the cost of becoming a teacher by 67% and cutting high-stakes testing, Governor Kemp has delivered major reforms that made Georgia a better place to be an educator.
But our work is far from over. The need for more qualified, passionate teachers in our classrooms and counselors in our schools has never been greater. That’s why the governor is proposing two key initiatives for his second term that will build upon our state’s successes over the last few years in recruiting, retaining, and appreciating those who serve our students.
• With approximately 9,000 paraprofessionals who have a four-year degree, Governor Kemp is proposing $15 million in state funds for a $3,000 reimbursable grant program to help these hardworking Georgians offset the certification costs of becoming a teacher.
• The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget proposals will also recommend an additional $25 million for local school systems to recruit more school counselors across the state.
Enhancing School Safety:
In his first year in office, Governor Kemp proposed and signed into law school security grants of $30,000 to every school in the state. Schools used these funds to harden their campuses, utilize technology, and train staff.
In his second term, Governor Kemp will propose the following legislation to further enhance school safety efforts statewide:
Offer “intruder alert drills” for teachers and staff once during the months of August and September.
• Intruder alert drills are not currently required in code and there is no reporting requirement
• Legislation would require intruder alert drill notification to GEMA
• Parents may opt their child out of these drills
• District will have local control on what specific drills look like
Schools Safety/Anti-Gang Voluntary Training Endorsement for New Teachers
• New teachers will be allowed to take school safety training and gang prevention training, developed by GEMA and GaPSC, as a voluntary endorsement with no cost to the teacher.
School Safety/Anti-Gang Voluntary Training Endorsement for Current Teachers
• Current teachers will be allowed to take school safety training and gang prevention training, developed by GEMA and GaPSC, as a voluntary endorsement with no cost to the teacher.
School Safety Plans must be submitted to the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA)
• Currently districts submit plans to the local emergency management agency and local law enforcement. This will allow GEMA to ensure that schools have appropriate school safety plans.
• This is not an additional burden on the school system because they already have to submit plans
Continuing education for School Resource Officers (SROs)
• Recommendation for continuing education for SROs every two years as approved by POST
Tate Mitchell – Press Secretary
Kemp for Governor