Passed: House Bill 517

Passed: House Bill 517

Passed: House Bill 517

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The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill, which increases the cap on our state’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program

On Monday, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 517, which increases the cap on our state’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program from $100 million to $120 million per year. HB517 also doubles the amount individuals, LLCs, and S Corporations may contribute and removes the automatic sunset of the program.
The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “The real beneficiaries of this legislation are the thousands of Georgia kids who will benefit from expanded access to a great education,” said Buzz Brockway, vice president of GCO. “We commend lawmakers for taking these important steps forward to strengthen the tax-credit program. At the same time, we’re disappointed the Senate retreated from raising the cap to $200 million as passed by the House. The new $20 million increase is a marginal gain and appreciated, but the program needs dramatically increased capacity. Our hope is that lawmakers will raise the cap even further in the next legislative session.”

 

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Georgia Senate Failed to Pass Senate Bill 601, The Georgia Education Freedom Act

Georgia Senate Failed to Pass Senate Bill 601, The Georgia Education Freedom Act

Georgia Senate Failed to Pass Senate Bill 601, The Georgia Education Freedom Act

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The Georgia Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 601, the Georgia Education Freedom Act, by a vote of 20-29.

Today, the Georgia Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 601, the Georgia Education Freedom Act, by a vote of 20-29. The bill would have created Promise Scholarships, offering Georgia families up to $6,000 a year for any approved education expense, such as private school tuition, tutoring, homeschool curriculum, virtual classes, college classes, therapies (for kids with special needs), or technology.

The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “What a sad day for kids in Georgia. It’s disappointing that the best interests of Georgia’s schoolchildren have once again fallen prey to politics and special-interest groups,” said Buzz Brockway, vice president of GCO. “While lawmakers will soon return to their relatively safe districts and jobs, tens of thousands of Georgia kids will be left—once again—without access to the options that would let them flourish. Simply put, a vote against S.B. 601 was a vote against the many Georgia families who desperately need help. Particularly as our state emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic where so many students are left behind, it’s unconscionable that we would deny this lifeline to families.”

A recent poll from GeorgiaCAN found that 72% of respondents favor “expanding educational options by allowing a child’s state education dollars to follow that student to the school that best fits their needs, whether that is public, private, magnet, charter, virtual, or homeschool.” Support cut across party lines, with 79% of Republicans in favor, 78% of Independents, and 64% of Democrats.

 

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Approved– Senate Bill 601, the Georgia Education Freedom Act

Approved– Senate Bill 601, the Georgia Education Freedom Act

Approved– Senate Bill 601, the Georgia Education Freedom Act

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The Georgia Senate Education and Youth Committee has approved Senate Bill 601, the Georgia Education Freedom Act, by a 6-4 vote.

The bill would create Promise Scholarships, offering Georgia families up to $6,000 a year for any approved education expense, such as private school tuition, tutoring, homeschool curriculum, virtual classes, college classes, therapies (for kids with special needs), technology, etc.

The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “Promise Scholarships step far beyond a typical voucher by fully putting parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to their child’s education,” said Buzz Brockway, GCO’s vice president of public policy. “The funds could be used for private-school tuition, but there is added flexibility depending on each family’s unique needs, extending to paying for things like tutoring, specialized therapies, or homeschool co-ops. Passing Promise Scholarships would put Georgia at the forefront nationally of giving all children the opportunity for a great education.”

 

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Education Rally: Access to More High-Quality Education Options

Education Rally: Access to More High-Quality Education Options

Education Rally: Access to More High-Quality Education Options

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Join other parents and community leaders on Liberty Plaza to spread the message that it is time for change in education

Today, hundreds of parents, families, and advocates will come together for a rally at noon on Liberty Plaza at the Georgia State Capitol to voice their support for more educational options through Promise Scholarships.

The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “The time for Georgia lawmakers to act is right now. Already, 23 other states have passed legislation in recent months to create or expand educational opportunity for their families,” said Buzz Brockway, GCO’s vice president of public policy. “Our state must follow their lead by passing Promise Scholarships, which are a huge leap in the right direction to put kids first.”

 

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New Research: School Students Lag Behind in Literacy Almost Two Years Into the COVID-19 Pandemic

New Research: School Students Lag Behind in Literacy Almost Two Years Into the COVID-19 Pandemic

New Research: School Students Lag Behind in Literacy Almost Two Years Into the COVID-19 Pandemic

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 New research brief shows that elementary school students lag behind in literacy almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic

The mid-school-year assessment concluded that students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade are the furthest behind compared to their pre-pandemic counterparts. Black and Hispanic students are bearing the brunt of those learning losses, with the literacy gap between minority students and white students larger than before the pandemic.

The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s (GCO) take: “Count this report as yet another entry in a long line of research studies showing the devastation of learning loss due to school shutdowns,” said Buzz Brockway, GCO’s vice president of public policy. “Georgia kids need the flexibility provided by Promise Scholarships now more than ever. We urge lawmakers to pass either House Bill 999 or House Bill 60 immediately. Both bills would provide up to $6,000 a year for families to choose alternatives to their locally zoned public school.”

 

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