Experts: Kemp right to recognize education in State of the State

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(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was right to recognize “the power of education to change lives” during his State of the State, the head of an organization supporting improved choice in education told The Center Square.

“All children deserve the opportunity to experience the best learning environment for their unique needs,” Cra⁠i⁠g Hulse, executive director of yes. every kid, told The Center Square via email. “That doesn’t yet happen in Georgia, but we have the opportunity to make good progress on that this year. The majority of Georgians—77%—want a customized educational experience for their children. That may be public school, private school, homeschool or some combination of those. We’re looking forward to working with Gov. Kemp and the Georgia legislature to make that possible for every Georgia kid.

“Families in Georgia reflect the strong support across the nation for education freedom programs that expand options and empower them to customize education to fit the needs of their children,” Hulse said. “This shared sentiment is what drove education freedom momentum nationwide in 2023, where we saw families empowered from Utah to Iowa to Florida, among many others. Georgia can certainly listen to families and deliver education freedom in 2024.”

Americans for Prosperity State Director Tony West said state lawmakers “narrowly defeated” Senate Bill 233 last year and lauded the governor “for highlighting education freedom and making it a priority for his administration this legislative session.” Last year, Georgia lawmakers rejected SB 233, the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act, which would have created state-funded education savings accounts.

“Every student – regardless of their family’s zip code or resources – deserves access to the best choices and educational opportunities,” West said in a statement. “…We echo the Governor’s call for all parties to come to the table and pass a strong education reform bill that puts students and families first. We look forward to working with our elected leaders in the General Assembly to make this a reality.”

While the speech garnered praise from some education advocates, the Democratic Party of Georgia was less than enthused about the governor’s remarks.

“Despite Kemp’s grandstanding, Georgians are all too aware that under his failed leadership, our state ranks among the highest for maternal mortality, uninsured rate, and children losing their health coverage; and among the lowest for quality of education and accessibility of child care – and all this as Kemp sits on a multi-billion dollar budget surplus,” Democrats said in a statement.

“If Kemp really cared about making Georgia the best place to live, work, and raise a family, he could stop blocking full Medicaid expansion, denying low-income children SNAP benefits and letting them lose health coverage, ignoring gun violence, ripping away reproductive rights, and hoarding a budget surplus that he should be investing in a better Georgia,” Democrats added. “Under Kemp’s failed leadership, Georgia families are falling further behind than ever – meanwhile, Georgia Democrats will never stop fighting under the Gold Dome to help them get ahead.”

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