Governor Brian Kemp this week provided an update on the success of teacher pipeline initiatives:
“When I took office in 2019, I promised to put students and teachers first, and my administration has done just that,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “During my time in office, we have raised teacher salaries by $5,000, cut certification costs by 67.25 percent, strengthened professional development opportunities for educators, and reduced the number of high-stakes assessments that were creating undue burdens on our teachers and students without sacrificing quality.
“In Georgia, teachers know that they have my family’s full support, and I am proud to announce today that our initiatives have positioned us well-above the national average with an overall retention rate of 67 percent,” continued Governor Kemp. “Furthermore, this year, we are projected to have 10,000 teachers entering the workforce in Georgia, and we look forward to continuing to build our pipeline while supporting our brand new educators, existing teachers, and those looking to return to the classroom in the years to come.”
Governor Kemp’s education policy initiatives are informed by and have the backing of leaders in the education field. Since taking office, he has hosted more than 25 round-table discussions and listening tours with superintendents and leaders in education. Overall, the Kemp Administration has focused on recruiting, preparing, mentoring, and retaining Georgia’s talented educators.
“During the tenure of Governor Brian Kemp, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) has further strengthened its focus and commitment to supporting the educator pipeline by examining how the agency, under its purview, can do its part to streamline policies and practices, enhance support and service initiatives, and remove potential barriers, while still ensuring educator effectiveness,” Executive Secretary of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, Matt Arthur.
As a result of Governor Kemp’s efforts, 4,900 new teachers completed their educator preparation program last year alone. This is a jump in almost 500 over the prior year. 10,000 additional teachers are projected to enter the profession this year.
Retention numbers for Georgia educators are also significantly higher than the national average. 67 percent of all teachers were retained through the first five years in teaching or administration, well above the national average of approximately 50 percent. Even more impressive, roughly 75 percent of teachers prepared in the state are retained through the first five years on the job.
The following sections highlight actions taken by Governor Kemp throughout his first term regarding the recruitment, preparation, mentoring and retention of Georgia teachers. SB 367 (2020), SB 88 (2021), and HB 385 (2022) are pieces of legislation the governor has championed to grow and reinforce the teacher pipeline.
Following their implementation, the below policies have strengthened the recruitment of teachers:
* SB 88 (2021) enhanced the existing pathway for veterans who meet degree and testing requirements to become certified teachers in Georgia.
* HB 385 (2022) allowed retired teachers to return to the classroom 100 percent of the time in high-needs areas.
* Cut assessment costs for certification of new teachers will be down 67.25 percent.
* In partnership with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC), state education leaders removed the costly and burdensome EdTPA certification requirement to improve reciprocity for teachers from other states.
* Streamlined processes and added convenience and flexibility for the education community, GaPSC shifted to a paperless certification process. Georgia currently has one of nation’s quickest turnaround times and least expensive certification fees.
Following their implementation, the below policies have improved preparation of teachers:
* SB 88 (2021) improved instruction for future teachers so that they can better serve students who are at-risk, English language learners, those with disabilities, and gifted students.
* SB 88 (2021) improved literacy instruction for future teachers and their students.
* SB 88 (2021) ensured that the GaPSC works with HBCU’s to create innovative ways to increase minority representation in Georgia classrooms.
Following their implementation, the below policies have enhanced mentoring of teachers:
* SB 88 (2021) ensured observational resources are better directed to mentor new teachers or teachers who need support.
* GaPSC added 70 new endorsement programs, among them, 12 Dyslexia Endorsement programs, 9 Computer Science Endorsement programs, and 13 Online Teaching Endorsement programs.
* GaPSC has focused on preventing ethical missteps to avoid violations of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators (COE), strengthening the safety and quality of the learning environment.
* GaPSC created a statewide Ethics Task Force to examine specific areas of the COE, processes, and other related items to further efficiency.
* The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) served more than 1,400 educators across the state through the Georgia School Leadership Academy (GSLA) and partnered with 13 districts to support their respective development. For the 2022-2023 school year, more than 350 Georgia educators will be directly supported by GSLA.
* GOSA supported 90 schools and approximately 600 teachers through the Growing Readers program. In the 2021-2023 cycle, the program is projected to serve 99 schools and more than 750 teachers.
Following their implementation, the below policies have improved the retention rate of Georgia teachers:
* SB 367 (2020) reduced the number of high-stakes assessments, cutting the number of high school tests in half and removing the 5th grade Social Studies exam to reduce the burden placed on teachers and students.
* SB 88 (2021) allows the Georgia Teacher of the Year to serve as Advisor Ex-Officio to the State Board of Education, streamlining the communication between the State Board of Education and Georgia’s classrooms and teachers.
* Governor Kemp provided every teacher and paraprofessional with $125 to spend on classroom supplies to enhance learning through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEERS) Fund.