Teacher Bill Introduced
Tuesday, 23 March 2010

March 23-- The Georgia State Senate today voted unanimously to give teachers and schools financial relief during the state’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Under legislation authored by Sen. Lee Hawkins (R-Gainesville), the number of professional learning units (PLU) teachers are required to earn in order to keep their teaching certificate will be cut in half.

“When teachers are being furloughed and are watching their salaries continually being chipped away, it’s imperative that we find creative solutions to ease their financial burden,” said Hawkins.  “Some school systems pay for these continuing education courses, while many teachers shoulder the cost by spending money out of their own pocket.  Continuing education is important, but in light of budget cuts local school systems continue to face, we need teachers to be in the classroom instructing our students.”

Senate Resolution 1199 directs the Professional Standards Commission to cut the required number of professional learning units in half for the next five years.  Currently, teachers must earn ten PLUs every five years, which is equal to 100 hours.  Now they will have to earn only five PLUs, equal to 50 hours.  This change will be enacted for the next five years, and will be re-examined at the end of the allotted time period. 

The legislation also establishes a Certification and Professional Learning Task Force to review certificate renewal requirements and make recommendations on how to better cultivate an education system that improves teaching and student learning.  The task force will consist of 16 members, including representatives from the state’s K-12 and higher education systems.

“This measure will save teachers the money they would have to spend on additional course hours plus other expenses, like paying for a babysitter to watch their kids while they’re in class or valuable time spent sitting in traffic while driving to attend classes,” added Hawkins.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.


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