Senate Bill 2 passed the Georgia Senate today in an unanimous 56-0 vote. The bill, backed by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, seeks to provide local Boards of Education the ability to award a high school diploma to students that fulfill certain requirements in the completion of college coursework after their 10th grade year.
Cagle stated in support of the bill:
What we do in schools will determine what kind of state we are in the future and decisions we make on education policy today will determine what kind of jobs our students have tomorrow. If a student is ready to successfully begin a college level program of study after the 10th grade, let’s not hold them back! Instead, with the passage of a college entrance exam, let them enroll in one of our colleges, either in the University System or the Technical College System, and begin working on a degree or certificate program. There is no reason why the courses they complete should not count towards their high school graduation requirements. Under this initiative, we can finally fulfill our vision of seeing students graduate high school on Friday and college on Saturday.
This bill is in an important step to the future of Georgia’s workforce. It also provides an alternative path for high school students to choose from, especially those that plan to go to work in a technical field right out of high school. I work for a plumbing contracting company and it is distressing to see the large majority of applicants coming through without a high school diploma or a GED. Many of the applicants dropped out prior to completing the 10th grade. I believe it could be a huge incentive for certain students to remain in school if they are able to learn a trade or skill in a field that they are passionate about or at least see an opportunity to make a living in that field.
The full text of the bill can be seen after break.
The Senate Education and Youth Committee offered the following substitute to SB 2:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
To amend Part 2 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to competencies and core curriculum in elementary and secondary education, so as to provide that a student who completes certain requirements relating to postsecondary coursework may be awarded a high school diploma; to provide for rules and regulations; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
Part 2 of Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to competencies and core curriculum, is amended by adding a new Code section to read as follows:
(a) A local board of education may award a high school diploma to a student enrolled in coursework pursuant to Code Section 20-2-159.5 who:
(1) Completes rigorous coursework at a postsecondary institution which meets the requirements in paragraph (7) of Code Section 20-3-519;
(2) Is 16 years old or older and has completed at least the following state required ninth and tenth grade level high school courses: two English courses, two mathematics courses, two science courses, two social studies courses, and one health and physical education course; and any state required tests associated with any such courses;
(3) Receives a score of admission acceptable on the readiness assessment required by the postsecondary institution; and
(i) an associate degree program;
(ii) a technical college diploma program and all postsecondary academic education and technical education and training prerequisites for any state, national, or industry occupational certifications or licenses required to work in the field; or
(iii) at least two technical college certificate of credit programs in one specific career pathway and all postsecondary academic education and technical education and training prerequisites for any state, national, or industry occupational certifications or licenses required to work in the field as determined by the Technical College System of Georgia.
(b) The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia shall annually identify fields of study in which a critical need or shortage of trained personnel exists in the labor markets in this state and provide such information to the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education shall annually provide such information to local school systems for the purpose of emphasizing areas of critical workforce needs and shortages in the labor markets in our state to high school students to support their career pathway decisions.
(c) The State Board of Education, in consultation with the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, shall establish rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this Code section.
(d) A student who meets the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be deemed to have met all graduation requirements of the State Board of Education and shall not be subject to any assessments otherwise required for purposes of graduation.