Let me start off by saying that I am happy with efforts made in education by the General Assembly during the session. Three very good bills passed last night that I believe will take us in the right direction, which is more parental and local control and less bureaucracy.
Senate Bill 10 will provide “scholarships” to children with special needs. It puts the power back in the hands of parents. They can decide what is best for their child. That should always be welcomed, but I’m disappointed in how close the vote was in the House. Democrats demagogued the bill to death, but were unsuccessful.
I also believe SB 10 sets us up for a debate over school vouchers in the next few years. It’s success or failure will in somewhat be guided by how well these scholarships work. I don’t think were there yet on the voucher issue, but the passage of SB 10 should give hope to those of us that support school choice. Rep. David Casas summarized SB 10 the best. He said, “SB 10 is about freedom. What could be more fundamental?”
Senate Bill 39 will allow charter school districts. Simply put…charter schools put control back in the hands of the community. The City of Decatur is looking in to turning their entire school system into a charter school district, as is one Metro Atlanta county, though I can’t remember which one off the top of my head.
Senate Bill 123, another education bill that passed, had to do with classroom sizes. School systems can now allow up to 32 students per classroom in certain high school classes. This move could save million for taxpayers in growing areas like Henry County.
I personally believe that the General Assembly addressed some legitimate concerns and education and took necessary steps to fix our failing school system. They should be applauded for that.