— Press Release

NEW: Stacey Abrams’ Plan to Support Our Children by Supporting Our Teachers 

Abrams’ comprehensive plan will ensure that Georgia’s children have a strong early start and the chance at a better future

ATLANTA – Today, Democratic nominee for Governor, Stacey Abrams, released part of her comprehensive plan to ensure that Georgia’s children have a strong early start and the chance at a better future by supporting teachers and building Georgia’s teacher pipeline. Along with a previously announced plan to raise minimum teacher pay to $50,000, Abrams also has plans to increase the number of teachers entering the education field and overturning legislation that infringes on teacher autonomy. 

“We must ensure that Georgia’s children have the resources and support they need from cradle to career. A critical component of ensuring that our children have a strong early start and the chance at a better future is supporting the teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff who help us grow resilient children,” said Stacey Abrams. “As Governor, not only will I raise the state base salary from $39,092 to $50,000 and support living wages and advancement for our education support professionals, I will also address our state’s teacher recruitment crisis by building our state’s teacher pipeline and ensure that our teachers do not fear giving our children a complete and honest education. Building One Georgia requires that we serve our students by supporting educators, administrators, students and support staff, and we can do it all without raising taxes.”

Today, Abrams released an op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution laying out her plan to support Georgia’s children from cradle to career. 

Georgia has a severe teacher shortage and a teacher recruitment crisis with about one-third of our educators leaving the field in their first five years of teaching. In a recent survey, about 70% of current teachers said they would not recommend the profession to someone else. Georgia educators face a range of challenges; however, chief among their concerns is pay. Low wages force teachers to drop out of the profession or leave the state, and fewer teachers are entering the profession due to the long-term lack of financial growth. These same teachers face a barrage of disrespect from political figures who disregard their expertise and autonomy.

Additionally, Georgia does not have a statewide plan to increase teacher recruitment. The number of college students choosing to teach has dropped significantly with only 3,800 people completing a teaching degree in Georgia in 2019. While our neighboring states have worked to anticipate and address teacher shortages, Brian Kemp has done next to nothing. We need long-term, meaningful investments in teachers and their recruitment and retention to get the best results for students. 

Stacey Abrams is the only candidate with comprehensive plans to fully fund education and support Georgia’s children, cradle to career, without raising taxes. To ensure that we invest in our teachers, paraprofessionals and support staff at unprecedented levels, Stacey will: 

Increase teacher pay and make Georgia a leader in teacher pay. Move Georgia from 21st in the nation in teacher salaries to the top 10.

  • Raise minimum teacher pay. Increase the state base salary for teachers from $39,092 to $50,000.
  • Raise teacher salaries overall. Increase teacher salaries from the current average of $62,500 to an average of $73,500 in the first gubernatorial term.
  • Ensure living wages and advancement for education support professionals (ESPs), as well as fund professional development that will aid them in advancing in the education workforce.

Support our kids with a whole, and complete education — not lies; overturn legislation infringing on teacher autonomy. Recent legislation has devalued teachers’ professional judgment and expertise as educators. No teacher or school should live in fear of sanctions for teaching an accurate history or having meaningful class dialogues. Schools and parents are most effective when they work together in partnership and share a common interest in growing and educating children.

  • Repeal legislation that pits parents against teachers rather than encouraging collaboration.
  • Repeal legislation mandating that educators mislead or lie by omission to students about history related to slavery, bigotry or discrimination.
  • Veto legislation that would further micromanage educators by detailing instruction or compelling educators to constantly revamp curriculum and lesson plans.
  • Repeal legislation banning books and oppose efforts to sanction librarians and others.

Support an excellent education for our children by increasing the number of teachers entering the profession in order to reduce class sizes, increase student performance and support the ability of educators to focus on their daily activities rather than serve multiple functions due to shortages in the classroom and in the schools.

  • Invest in a rural teacher pipeline project. Create a Rural Teaching Fellowship program, where we partner with state teaching colleges, universities, and districts to recruit high-performing college students to teach in rural areas for four years in exchange for free college tuition. These students will have rural student teaching hours as a part of a cohort model to build support and mentorship upon entering the profession. Similar programs in neighboring states have produced thousands of teachers who create more robust student results. 
  • Create partner schools with state colleges and universities’ colleges of education to serve as centers of teacher education and recruitment and education innovation all over the state, with a focus on HBCUs, HSIs and strategically located academic institutions.  
  • Invest in “grow your own” model programs that help interested paraprofessionals pursue teaching as a profession. Elevate alternative certification programs like the Relay Graduate School of Education and GaTAPP, we can help people gain their teaching certification while they work. Some of these programs are free or low-cost when combining AmeriCorps awards and the federal TEACH grant.
  • Develop new teacher preparation programs to expand access to the profession. Champion innovative approaches to teacher preparation in coordination with our state university and technical college systems, like ‘2+2’ and teaching apprenticeships, that will allow districts to develop and retain their own educators.

Stacey Abrams’ full plan to support Georgia’s children by supporting our state’s teachers can be found here.