Celebrating our district's diverse and successful schools

Augusta Chronicle

As a father of four and grandfather of 14, it’s such a joy to watch children develop their personalities, with their own unique skills and interests. I know firsthand that what works best for one child may not work for another.

That is why parental involvement in a child’s education is absolutely critical. However, while each parent knows the uniqueness of their child, it truly takes a team.

Students thrive when there is a partnership amongst parents, educators and a community. For example, if a single mom can’t help her child with homework because she has a late night shift, afterschool tutoring and transportation can be a valued resource to set that child, and their family, up for success.

We should provide all families and schools with the flexibility needed to offer additional resources that will create the best opportunities and learning environments in which students can succeed.

Whether it’s public, public charter, public magnet, private, online schools, technical training, work-based learning or homeschool groups, there are an array of education options out there, and we must expand the availability of these opportunities so families can utilize what best works for them.

As we celebrate National School Choice Week, I’d like to highlight the great work being done in Georgia’s 12th District. I believe we can serve as an example for districts around the country.

In Richmond County, the school district offers families variety, from magnet schools that focus on engineering or fine arts, to specialized programs like JROTC or robotics and computer programming.

But they are taking it even further, working to equip students with training and skills to secure a job right at home. The Cyber Academy of Excellence offers students Cybersecurity Training in addition to Industry Certification - which is great for the talent pipeline with Fort Gordon and U.S. Army Cyber Command just down the road.

At my alma mater, Evans High School in Columbia County, the school offers several hands-on training programs through their Career, Technical and Agricultural Education Department. These courses can enable students earn to an industry-recognized certification or licensure.

In Bulloch County, the Statesboro STEAM College, Careers, Arts and Technology Academy is a public charter school that equips students with the tools necessary to be ready for a career field that accentuates their individual talents, whether that’s science, technology, engineering, arts or math.

In 2019, Dublin City Schools was recognized by the Charter System Foundation as the "Charter System of the Year," with a graduation rate of 96.1%. This is an incredible achievement and it shows how invested the community is in ensuring students are ready for college or a career.

These are just a few of examples of the variety of options available to students and families in the 12th District. Programs like these are critical to student success and ultimately lead to stronger communities, which is why I’m optimistic about the future of our nation.

As a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, I have championed changes to federal education policy that will allow flexibility when it comes to our children’s education, and I will continue to fight for education freedom for our families and students. We know one-size-fits-all approaches to education do not work, and by creating more opportunities for our next generation to succeed, we are opening the door to increased innovation and a brighter tomorrow.

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