Georgia Governor Signs Bill Offering School Vouchers to Students in Lowest-Performing Public Schools

Georgia's new school voucher program offers $6,500 for students in low-performing public schools to attend private schools, sparking debate over its impact on public education.

Mazhar Abbas
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Georgia Governor Signs Bill Offering School Vouchers to Students in Lowest-Performing Public Schools

Georgia Governor Signs Bill Providing $6,500 School Vouchers

Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia has signed into law a bill that provides school vouchers worth up to $6,500 for students enrolled in the bottom 25% of lowest-performing public schools who wish to attend a private school. The bill, known as Senate Bill 233, aims to give families more options and break down barriers to education.

The program, called the "Georgia Promise Scholarship," will start disbursing funds from the 2025-2026 school year. It is limited to 1% of the state's $14.1 billion K-12 school funding formula, which could provide more than 21,000 scholarships. Eligible students must have attended a low-performing public school for at least two consecutive semesters or be about to enter kindergarten at such a school.

Why this matters: The passage of this school voucher bill in Georgia is part of a broader push by Republicans nationwide for education savings accounts and expanding school choice. It has the potential to significantly impact the educational environment in the state, though critics argue it could have harmful long-term effects on Georgia's public education system.

Supporters of the bill, including Lt. Governor Burt Jones and policy experts, have praised it as a step towards educational freedom and enhancing educational results. They argue that the vouchers will help kids in underperforming schools succeed academically. Governor Kemp said the program is part of an "all of the above" strategy to support families in their educational choices.

Educational Voucher Controversy: However, the bill has faced criticism from groups like the Georgia Association of Educators, who argue that it will siphon resources from already underfunded public schools to private institutions with less oversight. Opponents say the $6,500 voucher amount is not enough to cover tuition at most private schools in Georgia and that the program will primarily benefit wealthier families in urban areas rather than low-income families.

Education Legislation Highlights: The legislature also passed other education-related bills alongside the voucher program. One bill requires social media companies to verify the age of their users and instructs the Georgia Department of Education to develop programs to teach students on safe social media use. Another bill requires parental permission for children under 16 to create social media accounts and bans social media use on school devices.

Despite concerns from critics that the vouchers could divert critical funding from public K-12 schools, Governor Kemp refuted these arguments, pointing to <a href="

Key Takeaways

  • Georgia passes law providing $6,500 vouchers for students in bottom 25% of public schools.
  • Voucher program, called "Georgia Promise Scholarship," starts in 2025-2026 and can fund 21,000+ scholarships.
  • Supporters praise it as enhancing educational freedom and results, but critics argue it will siphon resources from public schools.
  • Georgia also passed bills requiring age verification and parental permission for social media use by minors.
  • Governor Kemp refutes concerns that vouchers will divert funding from public schools, citing increased overall education funding.