Georgia educators will soon implement new programs for the state’s youngest students. Governor Nathan Deal announced Thursday the state was one of six to earn a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Vermont were also awarded RTT-ELC grants.
The Georgia Federation of Democratic Women is conducting a letter-writing campaign trying to convince Governor Nathan Deal to expand Medicaid in the state. They say accepting $40.5 billion from the federal government will help hundreds of thousands of Georgians without healthcare and could generate 70 thousand jobs. Federation President Gail Buckner says too many poor people in Georgia have no health insurance. She says they wait until they are really sick, then go to the emergency room, which puts pressure on hospitals who provide care with no reimbursement.
Educators want the state to give them more flexibility to make budget and classroom decisions. That has been one of the consistent requests Representative Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, and others on the joint education committee have received as they have toured the state over the last few months.
Georgia could be missing out on $35 billion in federal money over the next 10 years, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute. The group held a forum Thursday to discuss why the state could benefit from expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Georgia’s Board of Education plans to discuss a request next month by Governor Nathan Deal to review the Common Core. Common Core is a set of standardized benchmarks of academic progress that several states voluntarily adopted. Georgia signed on in 2010 and implemented the standards beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.