Frequent readers of the column may remember back last September two columns that covered Alabama's separate education budget. The columns explored the difficulties that earmarking funds can cause to limit the flexibility the state has to address shortfalls.
My recent open letter to Georgia's public school teachers produced as much response as I have received in a long time. Teachers from one end of the state to the other have weighed in and the comments are still coming.
Monday, May 18: This past Saturday I had the honor of delivering the commencement address for the graduating class of Frederica Academy on St. Simons Island. This was my first commencement address since being elected to Congress, and it was truly a delight to share a few words with such a fine group of young people. It was especially good to catch up with Mike Temple, who currently serves as principal of the high school at Frederica and who coached all three of my sons in baseball at a high school in Savannah.
Memorial Day weekend, as you've heard time and again, is that long weekend marking the unofficial start of the summer: beaches, boats and barbecue fun in the sun. With all the frolicking, many overlook that Monday is, first and foremost, a special day set aside to remember those Americans who have died serving in our armed forces.
Maybe it's a sign of better times, or a sign of clearer communication between the House, Senate Appropriations Committees and the governor's office, but there was only one veto of an appropriations from HB 76 when he signed the Appropriations Act in Statesboro last Monday.
I have been trying to figure out what to do with my free time now that I have decided not to run for president of the United States (or what's left of it.) Some of you wrote and asked me to reconsider my decision. I am humbled by your pledges of support but I don't want to broach the subject again with the Woman Who Shares My Name. She has access to a lot of broccoli and says she know where she can get more. I had best leave that alone.
Now that the General Assembly has adjourned for the year and all of the bills have either been signed or vetoed, what lessons can we take away from this latest legislative session? I can think of a few.
Each year since 1963, Small Business Week is held to recognize the contributions of America's small businesses. In America, 99.7 percent of all employers are small businesses and they employ more than half of America's workforce. Responsible for more than half of our gross domestic product, small businesses are the backbone of our nation.
While you were distracted by this year's transportation funding or Opportunity School District debates - or possibly ignoring the Legislature entirely - Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, and both parties in both chambers unanimously set a tiny pebble rolling from the top of the mountain known as public education.
While transportation legislation and funding along with issues such as medical marijuana took the headlines, important education legislation passed the Legislature this year and increased funding for education was a centerpiece of the fiscal year 2016 budget. High school students will have a wide array of opportunities from dual enrollment in colleges and universities to technical certification that will give them both a skill certification and a high school diploma.