Georgia lawmakers seek to change who controls career, technical and agricultural education

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Ranking members of the Georgia House of Representatives want to shift control over career-oriented education from the state agency for public schools to the agency that oversees technical colleges.

House Bill 778 introduced this week by the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Terry England, R-Auburn, seeks to change who controls content standards, testing, administration and money for career, technical and agricultural education. Co-sponsors include chairmen of other committees.

Currently, the state Department of Education and the state education board oversee these programs, along with the rest of K-12 schooling. But HB 778 would transfer control to the Technical College System of Georgia’s board.

“The intent of the transfer,” the bill says, “shall be to establish a single entity to have the sole purpose of training students with employable skills and aligning those skills seamlessly from secondary to postsecondary education.”

The TCSG board would have to develop advanced courses that line up with Georgia’s high school “career pathways” while also meeting  credit requirements at the state’s public colleges. The agency would also have to find tests for industry-specific certificates and credentials.

The elements that would be transferred include extended day grant programs, extended year technology and career education, young farmer programs, youth camps, youth apprenticeships, industry certification and the area teacher program.

Should this become law, on July 1, 2019, TCSG would get the funding for these programs, along with the related staff and administrators currently assigned to DOE. DOE’s budget this year for Technology and Career Education is $68.3 million. The agency got another $11.8 million for agricultural education.

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