Legislative Session Focuses on Increasing Graduation Rate, Restoring HOPE and Ending Discrimination

Democratic state lawmakers are focusing on, among other topics, educational opportunities in the 2013-2014 legislative season. Do you think they're focusing on the right thing?

This month the Georgia House Democratic Caucus offered its legislative agenda for 2013-2014. On Tuesday, they held a public hearing focusing on education.

In a press release, House Democrats said their agenda "concentrates on supporting successful students, promoting empowered parents and securing stronger schools."

One of their areas of focus is preventing dropouts. Currently, Georgia ranks among the lowest in the nation for graduation rates, at 67.4 percent, according to most recent data. Gwinnett County, ranks 67.6 percent. Want to know how your child's school stacks up against others? Click here.

Although Brookwood High School had the second highest graduation rate in 2011, led only by the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, South Gwinnett and Shiloh have a 62.01 and 68.79 percent graduation rate respectively. 

Rates for 2012 should be available in the spring. 

-- What do you think about the House Democrats education agenda? Does it do enough or go too far? --

The bills presented include:

  • The Restore and Build HOPE Act (HB 54): This bill would amend the HOPE Act to lower the required GPA from 3.0 to 2.0 for students at technical colleges to retain the HOPE Grant. This also has been adopted by Gov. Nathan Deal as part of his higher education legislative agenda.
  • Anti-Discrimination Act: This bill would ensure that schools receiving state funds from Schools Scholarship Organizations (SSOs) do not discriminate based on race, gender, national origin, religion, sexuality, or disability. Patch recently posed this question to readers as it relates to private school polices that allow officials to deny enrollment based on sexuality.
  • Education Transparency Act (HB 221): This bill would require schools that receive funds from SSOs to disclose program donors and other financial data, such as level of funding.
  • Parent Protection Act (HB 166): This bill would guarantee work leave for parents to attend school conferences and medical appointments.
  • Drop-Out Deterrent Act (HB 19): This bill would increase the age requirement from 16 to 17 to drop out of high school without parental consent. 

Have school news or story idea you want to share, contact Local Editor Joy L. Woodson at Joy.Woodson@patch.com or 404-539-9256.


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