Photo: Georgia State Senate

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, who is currently running for the Republican nomination as Georgia’s next Governor, released an education intiative on Wednesday outlining his education plans for the 2018 legislative session.

Cagle has been in elected office since 1994, serving as a State Senator until 2006 before becoming Lieutenant Governor, where he has overseen the operations of the state senate for the last 10 years.

The plan, Cagle says, ‘is a plan to build on our state’s continued pursuit of greater opportunities for our students and to grow a workforce that mets the needs of our state’s expanding economy.’

“Georgia’s education system must be built around the needs of each individual student – and that begins with local control. Our highest priority must be to continue introducing new educational pathways and choices for our students, while freeing teachers to focus their efforts around actual learning over bureaucratic mandates,” Cagle said in his own press release.

From his press release:

Cagle’s 2018 priorities include:

  • Local Control: Communities, principals, and teachers know what is best for students. Cagle will continue to break down the compliance mentality of our state’s educational bureaucracy and eliminate burdensome mandates, which hold students back academically and force educators to teach to the test. This approach will build on and expand flexibility for local schools to innovate under the mandate-free governance structure created by Charter Systems – which now enroll 30% of Georgia’s students and outperform traditional schools on nearly every metric. 
  • No More Teaching to the Test: Cagle will empower Georgia’s schools to replace one-size-fits-all standardized testing with innovative individualized learning plans, real-time data analytics, and formative assessments that lead to measurable academic check points. During 2018, up to ten school systems will be selected to pilot innovative assessment models without any state restraints or mandates. These systems will then collaborate to develop the foundation that informs the improvements needed to replace Georgia’s school accountability and achievement system (CCRPI) with a more localized approach to evaluating the performance of Georgia’s schools, teachers, and students.
  • College and Career Academies (CCAs): More than 20,000 students are enrolled in Georgia’s 40 CCAs, which offer college-level courses and industry training through associate degree and industry certification programs. College and Career Academies have graduation rates as high as 99% – and since Cagle founded the CCA network in 2007, Georgia’s high school graduation rate has increased by more than 22 percentage points, rising from 58% to over 80%. To extend these offerings to more students, Cagle will establish three new academies in December, another step forward toward providing every high school student access to a CCA by 2020.
  • Georgia CATT: In 2016, Cagle launched the nation’s first high school German apprenticeship program. This highly competitive program affords students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma, an accredited industry certification, and an associate degree – all while earning $25,000 in compensation as an apprentice. Cagle is committed to growing the program statewide and expanding to more industry sectors such as logistics and aeronautics. 
  • Charter Schools: In preparation for the upcoming legislative session, Cagle continues his work with the Georgia Charter Schools Association to improve the quality of Georgia’s charter schools and strengthen their partnerships with local school systems. Cagle remains committed to fully funding start-up charter schools, increasing grant funding to lower facilities costs for new public charter schools, and focusing the resources of the State Charter Schools Commission to promote, recruit, and support quality charter schools.
  • Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs): With nearly 13,000 students taking advantage of the nation’s fourth largest student scholarship program, many Georgia families have gained access to high quality educations which previously would have been out of reach. Because of the growing demand for these competitive scholarships, Cagle will work to pass HB 217 to substantially increase the program’s funding – extending this same opportunity to thousands of additional students. 

“Acting on these specific measures will better enable local education leaders and parents to make the right choices for our students. Education is the great equalizer that gives every person the ability to earn success with hard work and perseverance,” continued Cagle. “By rewarding individual student progress and achievement over compliance – we will make Georgia a national leader in lifting 3rd grade reading levels, declaring war on high school dropout rates, and growing a workforce that is second to none.” 

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Jessica Szilagyi is statewide contributor for All On Georgia and Market Manager for Southeast Georgia. Her main focus with All On Georgia is state and local politics as well as agriculture. She’s served as a policy analyst at the State Capitol and as a campaign manager in political races across the state.

She writes for and has two blogs of her own: ‘The Perspicacious Conservative’, a political blog, and ‘Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers’, a blog on moving from Atlanta to rural Georgia. Jessica is also a contributor for Fox5 Atlanta’s ‘Like it Or Not.’

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