More Choices for Teachers with School Choice

Legislatures across the country have been discussing education reform for many years, specifically educational choice options. This year Georgia joined the conversation considering education savings accounts. Much of the dialogue is student centered – as it should be. However, there is one audience that is not often mentioned, but stands to gain a great deal from more school choice options in the state, and that is teachers.

As education options increase across the state, so do employment options for teachers. Public schools, private schools, charter schools, online schools and many more options exist, allowing teachers to thrive and use their creativity and passion for teaching in just the right environment. This is highly beneficial for students as well!

Public school teachers often spend more time on administrative tasks, than actually teaching in the classroom. A study by Alliance for Excellent Education found that approximately “half a million teachers either move or leave the profession each year.

Florida is leading the nation in options for school choice, allowing teachers to use choice programs to open their own schools. Teacher run schools not only allow for an education model that tailors the curriculum to the students’ needs, but also allows teachers to maximize their expertise.

With a robust choice menu in Georgia, teachers would have more options than ever before to seek employment. Flexible work-from-home positions for online academies and higher teacher pay, are just two benefits of more choice programs. Choice also creates competition of free-market values among the profession so exceptional teachers will rise to the top and be rewarded.

Junior G.I. Scholarship: HOO- RAH!

As a military brat sacrifice was my middle name. My siblings and I spent many family events, recitals, school plays, family dinners and holidays without my dad. We became exceptionally good at packing up our lives every couple of years and starting over in a new place, including a new school. This often meant in the middle of the school year too.

In each duty station we faced new challenges such as making new friends, finding someone to eat lunch with in the school cafeteria, and most of all worrying if we would be ahead or behind in our studies as part of a new class.

My parents would spend hours discussing our education with new teachers in order to figure out what learning track or reading group we needed to be added to.

Today, Georgia legislators are considering a bill that would ease the burden on military families as they are often required to move to multiple areas and schools.

Sen. Hunter Hill has introduced Senate Bill 395, the “Junior G.I.” bill, to allow the children of veterans, active duty military, national guardsman, and reservists to attend the school of their parents’ choice – using the money the state is already spending on their education in their current public school.

Students would not have to attend public school in order to be eligible, allowing those just moving to military bases around the state of Georgia to also participate in the scholarship program.

As a now military wife and mom, I see the benefits a program would have had on my education over the years, but also the positive impact that this could have for my child.

The military does not just enlist the service member, but the whole family – including the children. Let’s show our support for our service members and their families by contacting state legislators in support of the Junior G.I. scholarship program.

Dancing A New Step in Education

The new year has begun, which means writing resolutions, reorganizing the closets, forced time in the gym and change. For many Georgia parents, the new year brings hope for the passage of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and expansion of meaningful education choice.

It’s that hope that is bringing together more than 2,000 parents, students, educators and community leaders for the school choice rally at the Georgia State Capital on January 27th. The rally will take place at Liberty Plaza, next to the Georgia Capitol Building, to show support for allowing parents to decide how best to educate their children and to celebrate the options some families currently enjoy. The celebration is part of National School Choice Week’s nationwide spotlight on choice and empowering parents with the best education options to fit their children’s needs.

The program will begin at noon and feature student speakers, the National School Choice Week Dance, and a state proclamation declaring School Choice Week in Georgia.

In 2015 there were more than 11,000 events in support of choice throughout the United States, this year more than 13,000 schools, of all types, are participating in national celebrations around the country.

Join fellow Georgians later this month at the state’s capitol and show your support with the school choice dance. We want to see your moves!

Click here to watch dance video
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Click here to watch dance video

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Meaningful


For many, December is a much awaited time of the year. While the holidays can issue in a frenzy of shopping and preparations, extended time away from school and work provide the prefect opportunity to relax and catch up with loved ones. Beyond the presents that may be given or the lights that may decorate our homes, fellowship with family, friends, and neighbors is what renews us during the holidays.

For me, the holidays have always been a time of celebration shared between the generations of my family. As a child I looked forward to going to my great-grandmother’s house. Preparing for the yearly family gathering, I would watch her whip up marvelous holiday delights. I would listen to her stories about Christmas when she was a girl. Once aunts, uncles, and cousins arrived, I loved the hum of the house filled with conversation and holiday cheer. It is the traditions shared with me in my youth that I still look forward to as an adult.

Keeping in mind what makes the season bright for you and finding fun ways to share time with others will surely make this the most meaningful and memorable holiday yet.

5 Activities to Try This Holiday Season

  1. Family book club: This year, select a book for the whole family to read over the holiday. Meeting weekly to discuss the plot, character development, and personal feelings about the story will not only help bring everyone together, but also help the kids (and adults!) keep their reading and critical thinking skills sharp over the break. Time spent discussing readings with family is also a special way to learn new things about each other.
  2. Holiday letter-writing: Nothing brightens a person’s spirits like receiving a hand written letter. Share season’s greetings by sending warm holiday messages to your neighbors, friends, or family members. Additionally, have the kids handwrite a letter to Santa Claus, send thank you cards for gifts received, or keep a holiday journal. These are all great ways to practice writing skills over the break.
  3. Christmas Caroling: Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a caroler in years! However, nothing makes me happier than to join-in (albeit off key) songs like Silent Night and the Twelve Days of Christmas. Revive the holiday tradition this year by starting a caroling circle of your own.
  4. Community service: Because the holidays are not only about what we receive, but what we give back, experiences such as working at a local food bank or collecting donations for less fortunate families provide the opportunity to build a stronger sense of community. Embrace the spirit of the holidays through volunteer work.
  5. Start a new tradition: Traditions provide a sense of closeness with your family and inclusion in a wider community, both contributing to developing a positive self-identity. This year I am happily starting a new holiday tradition with my siblings. Since Christmas is now one of the rare occasions we are all home together, we decided to make each other ornaments for our Christmas trees. Find a new family activity that will allow you to learn from and about those close to you. 

This holiday season don’t just catch up on your Netflix list. Whether getting out to ice skate, reading in front of the fire, or helping a neighbor out, make this a meaningful time by celebrating what matter the most: love shared and good will exhibited.