General Assembly Passes Legislation to Ensure Career and College Readiness

ATLANTA – The Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 186 on Thursday, April 14, 2011, by a vote of 154 to 4 in the House and a vote of 53 to 0 in the Senate. Sponsored by State Representatives Randy Nix (R-LaGrange) and Steve Davis (R-McDonough), this legislation establishes broader education options for high school students to ensure their career and college readiness by requiring a stronger coordination between high schools, colleges, and technical schools.

“The fact that both chambers passed this legislation with overwhelming support is further evidence that Georgians want more education options that meet the unique needs of individual students and prepare them for success,” said Rep. Nix. “This legislation provides a framework for our schools to do a better job of offering options to our students so that they can successfully earn a relevant and rigorous high school diploma. HB 186 provides options that will lead all Georgia students to success, whether they plan to go to college, technical school, or immediately enter the work force.”

“The final passage of HB 186 shows that the House and Senate both recognize what teachers, parents, and students have been saying for years: we don’t all learn in the same ways, and we need to give students educational options that meet their personal interests and talents,” said Rep. Davis. “Rather than forcing all Georgia students to fit one set rigid system, HB 186 creates a flexible education system that parents and students can adjust to fit their needs.”

HB 186 would require the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, and the Board of Technical and Adult Education to develop course standards that ensure the core curriculum of all Georgia public high schools will be accepted at any institution of higher education in the state beginning with students entering high school in the fall of 2011. This coordination will ensure the readiness of students wanting to continue their education and lessen the need for remedial classes in Georgia colleges and technical schools.

Additionally, the legislation would require students on the Career, Technical, and Agriculture Education (CTAE) pathway to take academic core subject courses and pass end-of-course assessments. These assessments would allow CTAE students to receive credit upon demonstration of proficiency, rather than attendance of a mandatory number of classes. Each student’s proficiency would be graded based on a state wide plan to be developed by the State Board of Education, which will provide standard methods for recording demonstrated proficiency on high school transcripts.

Further, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development would be required to establish a certification in soft skills for students. Some of the areas included in the certification are punctuality, ability to learn, working as a team, reading for information, and applied mathematics. This soft skills certification will help students strengthen the life skills required for success in the workforce, while continuing to receive the standard education.

Educators have rallied behind this legislation.

“The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) is lending their support for HB 186,” said GAE President Calvine Rollins. “HB 186 will be in the best interest of the students of Georgia.”

“PAGE is in complete support of the new pathways initiative in HB186 and we want to thank Rep. Davis and Rep. Nix for their hard work on this bill,” said Margaret Ciccarelli, a representative for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE).

HB 186 is the culmination of work resulting from the GEM Act that Rep. Davis introduced during the 2009-2010 legislative session and the work of an education study committee that met this past summer. The GEM Act would have brought back the Technical Diploma, which the state is currently phasing out, while also adding personal finance classes.

“This summer’s education study committee really produced a great piece of legislation,” added Rep. Davis.

HB 186 will be sent to the governor for consideration. For more information on HB 186, please click here.

Representative Randy Nix represents the citizens of District 69, which includes portions of Carroll, Heard, and Troup counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2006, and is currently Vice Chairman of the Natural Resources & Environment Committee and Secretary of the Banks & Banking Committee. He also serves on the Education, Economic Development & Tourism, and Judiciary committees.

Representative Steve Davis represents the citizens of District 109, which includes portions of Henry County. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2004, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Information & Audits Committee and as the Secretary of the State Planning & Community Affairs Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations, Insurance, State Institutions & Property, and Transportation committees.