This week continues with an analysis of what I consider to be the education bills from the “Top 15” pieces of legislation passed by the 2011 General Assembly. I will cover HB 186 and HB 192, two bills designed to improve our education system.
HB 186 expands options for high school students to ensure their readiness for college or a career.
Beginning with students entering high school in the fall of 2012, the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and the Board of Technical and Adult Education will develop policies to ensure that a student’s core curriculum will be accepted at any institution of higher education.
There will be stronger coordination between high schools and higher education institutions to prepare students for postsecondary endeavors and provide for expanded dual enrollment opportunities.
In addition, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development will establish a certification in soft skills. These soft skills include areas such as punctuality, dress, ability to learn and working in a team. The purpose is to assist both the existing and emerging workforce.
The terms “soft skills” and “soft education” first came to my attention when I learned that KIA had to interview some 40,000 potential workers to find 1,900 who qualified. Lack of punctuality (being late for meetings and work sessions) was the number one factor for disqualification.
“Soft skills” means those disciplines that we should all have developed as growing children; those skills needed to maintain the respect of adults, teachers and bosses.
“Soft education” means majoring in subjects that offer very few opportunities for objective reasoning. These students are more likely to support emotional issues, e.g., illegal immigration, free tuition, etc., without any thoughts as to costs or who pays.
Thomas Sowell (The Gainesville Times, May 11, 2011) wrote: “Soft education leads to unrest and unemployment.
“One of the sad and dangerous signs of our times is how many people are enthralled by words, without bothering to look at the realities behind those words.”
He contends that “education” is one of those words.
“Education can cover anything from courses on nuclear physics to courses on baton twirling.”
Sowell went on to say: “Students can graduate from some of the most prestigious institutions in the country without ever learning anything about science, mathematics, economics or anything else that would make them either a productive contributor to the economy or an informed voter who can see through political rhetoric.”
HB 186 recognizes that our schools must do a better job of emphasizing society’s expectations to our students so that they can be successful in obtaining a high school diploma that is both rigorous and relevant.
Conservatives expect choices in their daily lives, and nothing is more “daily” than a person’s education.
The legislation helps to provide more choices for parents and students to aid in the preparation for life outside of K-12 Education.
I was pleased to learn that Hall County is considering establishing a charter school that will specialize in science, technology, engineering and math.
These are subjects that have taken short-shift in many of our school systems. We need teachers capable of teaching these courses in all the grades of middle and high school.
Emphasis on need for good math teachers led the General Assembly to jump-start their pay scale. Teachers who can qualify with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math subjects can look forward to meaningful careers in Georgia schools.
HB 192 establishes The State Education Finance Study Commission which will evaluate the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Formula and any other matters relative to education funding in Georgia.
The commission will be composed of 20 members including individuals from local school systems, the business community, certain state entities and members of the General Assembly. The commission will look into the following areas: QBE funding formula, state and local funding partnership, equalization, charter schools, career technical and agriculture education, dual enrollment, virtual schools, teacher pay and more.
The commission’s recommendations will be completed by Sept. 30, 2012 and proposed legislation by Dec. 31, 2012. The education funding formula has not been revised in 25 years, thus a comprehensive study is needed to ascertain how educational funding can be improved to meet our goals of providing a quality education for our children in an efficient manner.
Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 689 N. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533; phone (706) 864-6589; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact Gerald Lewy at (706) 344-7788. He’ll know how to get your message to me.