It’s that time of year again — the start of the school year!
While the end of lazy summer days is always bitter-sweet, I know that many 159th District students are excited to get back to school. They’re excited to make new friends, see old friends, and yes — get back into the classroom.
And as the husband of a career educator, I can say for sure that our teachers are just as excited to get back to school as our children.
Georgia cannot thrive without a strong K-12 education system, and our education system can’t be strong without active and enthusiastic collaboration between our teachers, our students, and most importantly their parents.
That is why I’m so excited about some of the great work we’ve done in Georgia to keep our education system strong!
role of parents
Despite what some liberals say, our schools serve our students and their parents, and must answer to them.
And when schools don’t follow the law, parents have the right to put a stop to harmful behavior.
That is why I supported several pieces of legislation all focused on protecting our students and the rights of their parents — and giving parents the chance to raise concerns when they see them, and have those concerns addressed.
The Parents Bill of Rights guarantees the rights of Georgia’s parents to direct their child’s moral and religious upbringing, to review classroom material, to enroll their child in the school of their choice, and to access their child’s school records.
HB 517 increases the opportunity for parents to take advantage of GOAL scholarships that provide educational opportunity and choice for parents and students.
SB 226 creates a transparent process for flagging and addressing concerns regarding obscene materials in our school libraries.
SB 588 requires school boards to keep meetings open, and allow the public to weigh in. School board decisions affect the public and our children more than many other government actions — they should be heard.
The Protect Students First Act prevents schools from bringing divisive concepts and ideologies into the classroom.
Recognizing our teachers
Georgia’s teachers are just as concerned about the intrusion of politics into the classroom as anyone else; in addition to protecting them from the politicization of their classrooms, we need to recognize their efforts.
We did so in many ways this session, including through providing the balance of Governor Kemp’s promised $5,000 teacher pay raise.
We enacted HB 385 to fill the gap in our teacher workforce by allowing retired teachers to come back to the classroom without losing their benefits.
Careers in Georgia
College isn’t the right choice for every Georgia student — and that’s okay.
We took an agricultural education pilot program statewide, allowing students in rural and urban areas to learn about Georgia’s agricultural heritage and career opportunities.
And I was most proud of the Senator Jack Hill Veterans Act, legislation that I carried that gives every taxpayer the ability to share his or her tax refund for technical college scholarships for disabled veterans.
Georgia and the 159th District have great schools, and they are institutions that make us all proud. But we must ensure that parents and children remain at the center of our schools — and I am proud of our efforts to do just that.
Always remember that should you have questions, comments, or concerns about issues affecting District 159 and our region of Georgia you can always reach out to me at (404) 656-5052, email, or engage on Facebook.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.