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Kemp announces 'Teacher Pipeline' legislation package to recruit, retain educators

'Today I am proud to rollout my administration's teacher pipeline package to recruit, prepare, mentor and retain the best educators across the Peach state.'

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp is hoping his administration's "Teacher Pipeline" legislation package will help the state recruit and retain educators in classrooms across the state.

The governor rolled out the package Tuesday, which includes several initiatives to help teachers in the classroom and provide them with support.

"In a year when many other states are facing no other option but to slash education dollars, furlough teachers, and cut back on essential student programs, Georgia is restoring funding to our schools, backing our teachers, and launching new initiatives to keep kids enrolled," the governor said.

One of the ideas proposed is to get more veterans with a passion for educating

"To help recruit more teachers, we will strengthen an armed force veteran pathway to teacher certification," he said. 

Kemp said veterans would have first priority for enrollment for teacher preparation programs and would have continued mentorship support in classrooms.

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Another group that the governor wants to target are retired educators. 

"This legislation package will also lean on prior experiences to fill classroom positions with well-equipped professionals by allowing our retired teachers to come back to the classroom full-time to teach in high-needs areas," he said.

And the person who is selected to be the state's teacher of the year would be able to serve as an ex-officio advisor to the state board of education.

The governor also wants to make sure there is minority inclusion. He said it's critical to focus on representation.

"Our Historically Black Colleges and Universities have played a significant role in teacher preparation and they should play a major role in teacher placement," Kemp said. "I want to make sure they lead the charge to create ways to get more minority teachers into our classrooms so students from all backgrounds and ethnicities can see themselves in their teachers."

Overall, Kemp hopes the legislation helps supports educators by putting teachers, students, and their parents first.

Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods said he was very pleased with the governor's entire proposal. 

“This bill addresses several of my top legislative priorities for the year, and demonstrates the Governor’s continued commitment to public schools," Woods said. "As we cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis as a state, it is more important than ever that we elevate the teaching profession and improve our recruitment and retention of excellent teachers.”

Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Association of Educators, thanked Kemp for his proposal. She singled out Kemp's provision to increase the involvement of HBCUs and minority educators as well as the opportunity for retired educators to return to the classroom. 

"Georgia is facing a critical shortage of educators, particularly educators of color -- a need made more acute by the COVID pandemic. The proposed legislation also includes a provision similar to legislation filed last year that would allow retired teachers to return to the classroom while drawing their retirement, in subject matters where there are critical shortages," Morgan said. "GAE welcomes the opportunity to sit down with Gov. Kemp about his continuing efforts to address the issues of retention, recruitment, and promotion of the education profession to both ensure each child has a caring, committed and qualified teacher, and that the priority becomes the physical, social, emotional well-being and academic success of our students.”

Hear the governor's full remarks below.

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