Sunday on GPB-TV, a new episode of Lawmakers: Beyond the Dome explores education-related laws in Georgia.

Those laws include House Bill 1178, Parents' Bill of Rights; House Bill 1084, which rules how race is taught in schools; and Senate Bill 377 which focuses on divisive concepts.

Host and Capitol correspondent for Lawmakers Donna Lowry will lead the discussion. Lowry has extensive experience reporting on education and has worked with Fulton County Schools and the Cobb County School District in communication positions.

The episode opens with interviews with people from Cumming and Newnan talking about their take on education-related issues such as divisive concepts, obscene materials, and parental rights.

Two panels present multiple perspectives on the discourse surrounding Georgia’s education laws: The first panel exchanges views on divisive concepts such as so-called critical race theory. The discussion also includes the previous legislative session and Senate Bill 226, which deals with reading explicit materials and certain books in schools.

The first panel includes Amy Dees with the Georgia School Boards Association; Noelle Kahaian with Protect Student Health Georgia; Kevin Myles with Southern Poverty Law Center; and Maureen Downey, an education columnist at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Lowry said the panel had a lot to say about these hot-button issues which have dominated school board meetings across the country and Georgia.

“I think during the 20 minutes or so, that’s all we were able to get into...because we were so focused on that,” Lowry said.

Panel Two analyzes what is happening in schools now. This conversation highlights the problems behind teacher shortages and what can be said about that state of education based on test scores. 

“Part of the teacher shortages is some of the things coming out of the pandemic, the feeling that there’s mandates coming down and they’ve got to deal with them,” Lowry said.

The guests are Lisa Morgan with the Georgia Association of Educators; Matt Smith, a senior political analyst with Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education; Stephen Ownes from the Georgia Budget and Policy Insitute; and Jo Vivian, a licensed professional counselor.

“I wanted [Vivian] because I wanted to talk about not only the mental health issues that young people are facing, but overall the behavorial issues that might be an outgrowth of that,” Lowry said.

This second panel also looks at what the legislature might deal with in the upcoming legislative session. To end things, the panelists answer what they think should happen in the legislative session regarding Georgia’s schools. 

Watch GPB-TV’s Lawmakers: Beyond the Dome on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., or watch it on demand at