Getting It Right the First Time

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Nathan Deal 2014 State of the State Address
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Education and economy were at the forefront of Gov. Nathan Deal’s State of the State address yesterday.

Speaking to Georgia’s pre-k through high-school programs, he said we must work to avoid the necessity of costly remediation, that if we hope for the greatest results, we must get it right the first time.

This is more than just an education issue. With nearly 70 percent of Georgia’s 8- and 9-year-olds not reading at grade level, this epidemic of illiteracy is undermining our state’s economy. This is a crisis for all Georgians and the consequences are serious.

The good news is that this is a solvable problem, and both the governor and Mrs. Sandra Deal are committed to making sure all kids in Georgia are reading on grade level by the end of third grade and then following through as they continue their education journey.

 Here’s what the governor outlined for education:

  • Because Georgia Pre-K is now recognized as one of the best programs in the country, we have been awarded an Early Learning Challenge Grant of more than $50 million. This money will be used to accelerate the reforms that we implemented last year.
  • In the FY15 budget proposal, nearly 82 percent of new revenue receipts are dedicated to education, with 68 percent of those new revenues going to k-12.
  • Georgia will spend close to $8 billion in next year’s budget on k-12 education.
  • Gov. Deal said this additional $547 million “will enable Georgia, in partnership with local school districts, to restore instructional days, eliminate teacher furloughs and increase teacher salaries.”
  • Beyond that, the governor also proposed $44.8 million to “better connect every classroom in Georgia, including those in rural areas, to the Internet and digital resources students need to thrive.”

The governor also talked about the need for more Georgians to acquire education and skills beyond high school. He proposes to expand the HOPE grant for technical college students that would pay 100 percent of tuition for technical college students who maintain a 3.5 grade point average, and he would like to set aside $10 million for loans for technical school students with financial needs. The 1 percent interest loans would help pay for tuition, books and fees.

Watch Gov. Deal’s State of the State address.

Here is the full text of the governor’s address.