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Georgia House Minority Leader Statement on Passage of HB 338
ATLANTA, GA – Today, Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams voted in favor of House Bill 338 — legislation introduced by Representative Kevin Tanner to address struggling public schools. The Georgia House Democratic Caucus did not take a position on this bill.
“I strongly opposed the Opportunity School District for taking power away from local schools and concentrating power in the hands of the Governor without any accountability or investment in our students,” said Leader Abrams. “H.B. 338 is not OSD. While the legislation is imperfect, this bill is a necessary first step towards improving public schools in Georgia. Inaction is not acceptable.
"Opponents of the bill rightly argue that more resources are needed for our schools, and I strongly believe we must invest more in our students’ education. Passing this bill will allow us to move past our current stalemate where one group focuses exclusively on issues of accountability, rather than acknowledging the dearth of resources for our most vulnerable students. H.B. 338 allows us, for the first time, to collect the information about impediments to student performance. With the assessments and other critical steps in H.B. 338, we will gather the empirical evidence to demand the increased funding we know is desperately needed for children and communities mired in poverty.”
In her remarks on the House floor, Abrams cited further reasons for her support, noting that H.B. 338 will require the collection of necessary evidence to diagnose the causes of struggling schools – like determining whether students have proper nutrition, hearing tests, and eyeglasses – needs that must be addressed before any state intervention takes place. Moreover, she noted the “Chief Turnaround Officer,” who will no longer report directly to the Governor but to the Board of Education, must hold extensive credentialing and experience in the field of public education. The appointment of the CTO and turnaround coaches will be advised on by organizations like Georgia Association of Educators and the Georgia Parent Teacher Association.
"Students in low-performing schools deserve every investment and effort necessary to guarantee their access to a quality education. Any legislation that moves us closer to that objective deserves a chance."
To read Leader Abrams' full remarks, click here.