What new education laws go into effect today?

July 1 is the day new state laws go into effect. This year Georgians have 89 new laws, including several tied to schools.

The new school laws include:

HB 149 (the “Move on When Ready Act”) allows high school juniors and seniors to attend college and earn credit toward a high school and college diploma.

HB 251 allows families to transfer their child to any public school within their home district provided the campus has room. The bill’s sponsor and others have complained about the rules the state education department developed concerning this new law.

SB 8 allows students with allergies to administer epi-pen injections at school.

HB 280 provides salary increases for math and science teachers in 2010. No money has been set aside, but there has been some discussion about applying for stimulus money the U.S. Department of Education doles out for innovative programs.

What do you think of these new laws? Will these help schools or just create more headaches for teachers, principals and other educators?

41 comments Add your comment


July 1st, 2009
9:06 am

HB 149 is interesting given that ‘joint enrollment’ has always been available for HS students. IMO, the key benefit to this is that it does not count against the HOPE allocation for students, if they continue to matriculate at a Georgia college/university. This could potentially mean that one could get their Masters degree on Hope dollars.

It seems I also heard at one time that if a student leverages this, they cannot participate in extracurricular activities at school. While this may not impact athletics as much, it could possibly impact some of the academic teams such as Quiz Bowl, Debate, Science competitions, etc..

For those in DeKalb, the rules with respect to HB 251 has been posted. You can see this at:


Those of you in other districts please post your links also, assuming they exist.


July 1st, 2009
9:12 am

HB 149 seems like a good idea overall. Some kids advance faster and are more prepared to start college sooner.

HB 251 is a complete waste of time and effort. I don’t foresee any real good coming from this one. It sounds good on paper but the implimentation sucks.

SB 8 is a total no-brainer. My wife requires an epi-pen and I’m not sure that I could administer it if needed. She could (hopefully I never have to test this)

HB 280 I agree with in principal though I hate unfunded mandates. If the State wants to increase salary for these teachers, then they need to fund it.

Chem Teacher

July 1st, 2009
9:38 am

As far as HB 280 goes, I’m happy for the NEW science teachers coming in (since they’ll be the ones actually getting the money), but it would be nice if they had incorporated some sort of “salary enhancement” for those of use who already have 6 or more years teaching science.

Sonny, your veteran science teachers are getting jealous….and angry….

Also, the bill states: “After five years, such teacher may continue to be attributed one additional year of creditable service on the salary schedule each year IF HE OR SHE MEETS OR EXCEEDS STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT CRITERIA ESTABLISHED BY THE OFFICE OF STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.”

I’d like to see that criteria….oh wait–has it not been written yet?!?


July 1st, 2009
10:22 am

Chem Teacher, they don’t figure that we veteran science teachers are going anywhere….

Reality 2

July 1st, 2009
11:03 am

Math and science teachers should definitely get paid more. Although I believe more experienced one deserves better pays, too, I think it is a good idea to start with newer ones as they are the ones who probably have much more marketability than those who have been teaching 10+ years. Besides, I doubt they will be making more than those teachers who have been teaching 6 years.

Cobb Science Teacher

July 1st, 2009
11:27 am

“…unless he or she is already on or above such salary step. From such salary step, the teacher shall be attributed one additional year of creditable service on the salary schedule each year for five years…

…(2) After five years, such teacher may continue to be attributed one additional year of creditable service on the salary schedule each year if he or she meets or exceeds student achievement criteria established by the Office of Student Achievement.”

Chem Teacher & SciTeach671 – I’ve been reading this to mean that those of us over 6 years get an extra step – not much in this day and age, I agree – what do you think? I, too, would like to know what they mean by “exceeding student achievement criteria.”

For Ernest: http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/communications/news/2009/20090625_SchoolChoice.htm

If you know anything about Cobb schools, the choices for middle and high are somewhat laughable – those are more likely the schools people want to get out of and not into…I can see people opting for choice if their students can get their needs better met somehow, but overall, the law is not really effective, particularly when it is superseded by NCLB – eliminate full schools, charter schools, and schools less than four years old and you’re not left with much.


July 1st, 2009
1:31 pm

In our county the HS kids can’t transfer (one high school). One middle school’s kids can leave, but they can only go to one (less preferred school). Kids at that school cannot transfer, since the other m.s. has not been around more than 4years. At the elem. level, kids from 2 schools can transfer into the (less preferred) school, but kids from that school cannot transfer out because the other schools have trailers. So in our county the only option is to transfer into the least preferred schools at the middle and elementary level, whose kids cannot go anywhere. Wanta bet how many transfer into these least preferred schools?

Ya gotta love our legislature: Same old, same old, and they keep getting paid to do it! Woohoo, let’s give the legislators a raise! And a year’s retirement credit for their 2 months of work!

Spanish Teacher

July 1st, 2009
1:34 pm

I hate that Math and Science teacher’s are getting paid more. To me, yes we need them but they do the same job as every other teacher in the building. Maybe treating teachers as professionals, with respect, and with equality they will want to join the profession.

You shouldn’t pay someone more because they teach a certain subject. It will have horrible results as a 20 year old teacher gets more than the experienced veteran teacher down the hall, for no reason but they fact that they teach something “more important.”

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Joy in Teaching

July 1st, 2009
2:35 pm

I’m just waiting for the news when some idjit middle school kid stabs another child with his epi pen.

Hate to sound like a downer here. It’s a good law and a needed one. But you know that it will happen.

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July 1st, 2009
3:42 pm

Spanish teacher, there are A LOT more high paying jobs available to folks who have expertise in math and science than to those who excel in Social Studies, English or Spanish. Starbucks is full of baristas who were Literature or History majors in college.

AP Teacher

July 1st, 2009
3:52 pm

Spanish Teacher – they are willing to pay us (Math & Science teachers) more money because they know that we can take our knowledge and degrees out into the private sector and make tons more money. They are trying to sweeten the attraction for those who get a degree in math or science to come into the teaching field. Unless and until there’s a section about Spanish on the CRCT, ITBS, Gateway, or the Georgia High School Graduation Test – that’s the way it will be.


July 1st, 2009
4:21 pm

Allowing Kids to transfer schools within a district is not going to make a school system better. This will just give the parents more control on picking what jersey young Johny wears on Friday night. Good news good football programs that cheat to retain athletes will have more athletes.

Law of inevitability

July 1st, 2009
5:13 pm

Where there any laws addressing discipline? Or should we just check back here this time next year and lament why haven’t things gotten any better?


July 1st, 2009
5:18 pm

This college credit offering is such crap. If the kid is ready for college – graduate them and send them to college.

In actuality, this law only goes to further expose the 12th grade as the joke it has become. College credit? Minimum day?

Dumping the 12th grade ought be one of the first steps when the severely outdated K-12 model gets revisited (if it ever does).

highly qualified teacher

July 1st, 2009
6:06 pm

Spanish Teacher,

As others have noted, math and science teachers aren’t doing the “same thing,” and they have many more options, higher paying options than other teachers, including sped and esol teachers (whereelse will they get jobs?).

So, I have no objections that they are getting paid more.


July 1st, 2009
7:23 pm

Cobb Science Teacher – your interpretation seems to me to be correct, but one would think that with all the lawyers in the legislature, they could have worded the law more clearly — unless they wanted a little weasel room to keep from paying all of us more.

“Exceeding student achievement criteria” will probably be pretty easy to determine in grades with science CRCTs or classes with EOCTs, but that would leave out a lot of teachers.

Cobb Science Teacher

July 1st, 2009
7:53 pm

Scienceteacher671 – My problem with “Exceeding student achievement criteria” is that at the middle school level, while we do have the CRCT, 6th, 7th and 8th grade are different subjects (Earth, Life, and Physical Science, respectively). Are they going to compare my 8th graders with how they did on the 7th grade CRCT? Or this year’s 8th graders against last? Either case is really invalid – the first is like comparing a 10th grade Chemistry teacher’s students performance this year to how well they did on the Biology EOCT last year (and correct me if I’m wrong, but biology is the only HS science with an EOCT, so that wouldn’t work either). In the second case, I could have a situation like I did this past year – two years ago I taught 2 gifted classes; this year I taught 3 inclusion classes – and yes, there was a definite overall drop in performance if you were to look at how many “exceeded” standards. The only fair assessment is a pre- and post-test of the same students in the same year – I can’t see that happening.

Actually, I can’t see the pay increase happening either, not for a long, long time, if ever.


July 1st, 2009
10:00 pm

Cobb Science Teacher – all year to year comparisons of CRCT scores are invalid but they do it anyway.

They left out the Fat Child bill from the above list. We are supposed to administer some sort of physical fitness test to all children, record the results, report the results to someone, who in turn sends a report back to tell us how many unfit kids we have in our school.

I’m afraid the extra pay for science/math teachers is still too little to truly attract high calibre teachers. They’ll pull the plug on it in a few years anyway. Has the legislature ever kept its promises to teachers?

you're kidding, right?

July 1st, 2009
10:11 pm

TW – my kid did exactly what you recommend. When he was told after 10th grade that he would have to stay in school for 2 more years and earn 16 more credits when he only needed 8, we decided to ditch public school and sent him to a private school that allowed him to take the 8 and graduate a year early. He starts college this fall… whew!


July 1st, 2009
11:36 pm

Cobb Science Teacher, HS has EOCTs in physical science and biology. I suppose they could look at how results compare with the previous year, how many students exceed expectations, or how results compare with state averages – but Georgia isn’t Lake Wobegon, and they won’t all be above average…Also, you’re correct about inclusion vs. gifted.

I suspect Tony is correct – they’ll find a way to pay as few of us as little as possible, and then do away with the program altogether. It’s also true that it won’t come close to making up the difference in what those new teachers could be making in the private sector…but with the economy in the tank, some of them may decide to opt for teaching anyway.


July 2nd, 2009
6:52 am

Unfunded mandates cannot be implemented. And if it is, it’s always mired in controversy.

But HB 251 is a joke. I live in Cobb County. But our elementary, middle, and high schools are fantastic. And I was worried that we will get some huge influx of kids.

But our elementary school is full. Our middle school is 2 years old. And our high school just finished it’s 1st year. And by the time the middle and high schools are eligible, the novelty would have worn off.

So the only real issue here will be athletics. Some of these parents would want their kids to attend a particular school because they want their kid to play football in a particular program, and that would be the scandal. And it would be this issue that will eventually get HB 251 overturned.

William Casey

July 2nd, 2009
8:34 am

My son is a math/science guy who is off to college this fall. I have nothing against paying math/science teachers more. However, in today’s economy, I doubt that all these high paying opportunities in the private sector exist for math/science guys. Good luck!

I spent 31 years teaching A.P. history courses (not a day at Starbucks.) I quickly discovered (to my dismay sometimes) that I was much more valuable because I was willing and able to also coach football, basketball and baseball. I received many more rewards when my teams did well than when my AP students scored “5’s” on their tests. Tells you something, doesn’t it?

high school teacher

July 2nd, 2009
9:16 am

AP teacher – “Unless and until there’s a section about Spanish on the CRCT, ITBS, Gateway, or the Georgia High School Graduation Test – that’s the way it will be.” –Last time I checked, English was on all of the above as well, yet I am not considered as important as the math and science teachers.

Regarding an additional step on the pay-scale for veteran math and science teachers: if you have 19 years of experience, you will not see any pay increase because you are on the last pay step that the state offers.

Manny, the Georgia High School Association still requires a student to live within a district to be eilgible to play there, or they can’t play sports at their new school for a year. The real recruiting will be seen with 8th graders since freshmen usually don’t play varsity sports, and therefore can play a JV sport for that first year.

AP Teacher

July 2nd, 2009
12:48 pm

high school teacher – you said –

AP teacher – “Unless and until there’s a section about Spanish on the CRCT, ITBS, Gateway, or the Georgia High School Graduation Test – that’s the way it will be.” –Last time I checked, English was on all of the above as well, yet I am not considered as important as the math and science teachers.

I assume that you are a Language Arts teacher. So, please read my original post (or your reprint) once more. I was speaking to a Spanish teacher about Spanish, not to a Language Arts teacher about the Language Arts section on these “high stakes” exams!

I am not of the opinion that Language Arts is less important than Math in the curriculum – so, please don’t take my aforementioned post as such! In fact, I believe that Language Arts (or English, as it was called back in my day) is MOST important! If the students cannot articulate and read for understanding, they cannot excel in ANY subject! On the other hand, these students will be able to function without knowing how to speak Spanish. Now, before I get bashed for that last comment, I truly believe that being bilingual is important as well, but, not to the detriment of learning to speak proper English.

I never said that I agree with the new mandate(s); but, I do understand.

Are we okay now? :)


July 2nd, 2009
7:10 pm

AP Teacher, high school teacher, with all due respect…it’s not so much a matter of which subject is “most important” — given the general level of respect we receive, and the amount we are paid relative to other fields, perhaps the general public doesn’t feel any of us are important — it’s a matter of marketability.

Out in “the real world” there is a lot more demand for science and math majors than for English and Spanish majors, and in general, science and math majors get paid quite a bit more. There is a shortage of science and math teachers for that reason. Of course, we also have a shortage of SpEd teachers, but I don’t see the General Assembly offering those teachers supplements…


July 3rd, 2009
7:40 pm

So, math and science teacher should get more money than Language Arts and social studies teachers because they can take their skills and knowledge elsewhere? If they want more money, let them go elswwhere. The last time I looked at the job description for teachers, as well as the evaluation instrument, there was NO mention of differences because of subject taught. As a Language Arts teacher, I grade 150 5-paragraph essays every week in addition to all my other duties just so that my kids can improve their writing skills. These essays are graded at home, not at work. If the kids can’t read and write , they can’t do anything else well. So just because there are more of me, I get no extra pay? Fine. But when the time comes to assign extra duties such as Team Leader, Department Chair, SST chair, Leadership team member, ect., then make certain that you assign the ones who are getting the extra pay because their JOB DESCRIPTION is the same as mine. Their evaluation is based on the same critera that are used to evaluate me. Extra pay means extra work. So don’t come to me to do the extras . Go to the ones getting extra pay because until my pay is equal to theirs, I will decline any extra duties.

Your logic is flawed

July 3rd, 2009
8:13 pm

The argument that math/science teachers automatically have more professional options is weak at best. The argument that we should actually pay more to anyone and everyone with a degree in those fields — regardless of their competence — is insulting. Someone who scrapes by with a C- average in biology and gets rejected from every med school she applies to is worth more than the summa cum laude English major who forgoes law school because he wants to teach? Really?


July 3rd, 2009
9:50 pm

Elizabeth, the problem is that too many of them HAVE been going elsewhere. That’s why there’s a shortage.

Math Teacher

July 4th, 2009
7:27 am

I can see what they are trying to do higher pay for math and science teachers – - it is the basic concept of supply and demand. It’s the administration that will be difficult. In math, you may teach an AP course or a “repeater” course (a course where all of the student have taken the course before and failed). How do you compare student acheivement? Sooner or later, you will not have any teachers willing to teach the “repeater” courses because of the fear of not receiving as much of an annual increase. As of right now, there is no good measurement of achievement of the students. Even comparing one year scores to the previous year scores will not accomplish it, you are not measuring the students acheivement of the students in the current class- – you are measuring how will they compare to the previous years students. Much thought is needed to determine acheivement.

high school teacher

July 4th, 2009
7:36 am

AP Teacher, I was just commenting that your argument to Spanish teacher is invalid because there are other subjects on the high stakes tests whose teachers are not receiving higher pay. I do understand that the shortage of math and science teachers poses a problem, but paying them more isn’t the answer, IMO.

But yeah, I’m okay now. :)


July 5th, 2009
10:23 pm

I am certified to teach middle grade science……and Language Arts and Social Studies and Reading…..and Special Ed. and Gifted ed….but if my administrator doesn’t assign me to science, I don’t get the extra bucks.

Food for thought

July 6th, 2009
10:53 am

To those of you complaining that math/science teachers shouldn’t get paid more because they do the same job as you, how do you justify the boost in pay for advanced degrees? Teachers at my school who have MS/MEd/EdSs don’t necessarily do more work that those with BA/BSs – and there are teachers with only BA/BSs who are team leaders and department heads…

Same argument with step increases – how do you justify that? I know I worked a lot harder and many more hours my first year than later years, yet I get paid more now.


July 6th, 2009
11:29 am

As a math teacher for 15 years, you’re darn right I should be getting more money. A pe teacher with the same numbers of years as me gets the same pay and does what exactly? In the “real” world, the jobs that are more demanding get paid more so why not in education? Every time my school has mandatory department meetings, the pe teachers are excused to go do whatever it is that they do which is close to nothing. I’ve got a bulls eye on my head every year due to benchmarks and crct and claims of grade inflation and I could go on. Every year when we have our retention meetings(not that anyone ever gets retained)only core courses are considered. Not spanish, art, pe or any other specials class. Give me a break people. I deserve more because my job comes with greater responsibility and risk. So there!


July 8th, 2009
12:13 am

So a math or science teacher is more valuable than me? I have certification in all subjects at all levels, yet my principal wants me to teach English so I get less money? Why did we determine that math and science are more important, because there isn’t enough of them? That’s not my problem. I bet you as a English or a Social Studies teacher I work just as hard if not harder than a math or science teacher, lets see them try to grade 100 multi page essays every week. While we are at it why dont we do like the olden days and pay the elementary teachers less than the secondary teachers, since the thought was that teaching them was easier. And as for allowing children to go anywhere they want in the district, what is the thought behind that? This is what happens, you get a student who fails in one school one marking period, they move to another, then another then another. Guess what the kid learns, its not their fault they failed, must be all the schools!

There you are, two stupid laws written by people who have no idea about education. Why educators allow these simpleton glorified parents to create these laws is beyond me.I mean you wouldn’t go to a doctor and tell him how to perform surgery or get on a plane and tell him how to fly it would you?


July 8th, 2009
12:59 am

Hey, RC, speaking of doctors – why do specialists get paid more than general practitioners?

Food for thought

July 8th, 2009
11:43 am

“Why did we determine that math and science are more important, because there isn’t enough of them?”

Exactly RC – it’s called supply and demand (you know, supply goes down; demand, and therefore cost, goes up).

“…lets see them try to grade 100 multi page essays every week.”

OK, RC, as long as the English teachers are willing to grade the multi-page lab reports and non-multiple choice math tests…let me ask you, do the English teachers with advanced degrees have a more difficult time grading those “100 multi-page” essays? Do they grade more? Then why are we ok paying a premium for advanced degrees, but not for certain content matter? Is it really that different?

We all realize that this is a moot point, because math and science teachers are never going to see this pay increase, right??

Literate Science Teacher

July 8th, 2009
4:58 pm

Judging by the grammar in the 12:13 a.m. post, RC is not a very good English teacher….


July 16th, 2009
11:36 pm

It is my understanding that all Fulton County teachers are taking a 4% pay cut next year. Did our state and national legislators take a pay cut?

If Georgia keeps the new math curriculum, the pay will not matter, no one will want the job.

Miscellaneous Teacher

July 21st, 2009
11:57 pm

Math and Science teachers are getting paid more than others b/c yes, the “demand is higher than the supply”. Perhaps this is because no one wants to teach math or science because just maybe teaching them IS harder than other subjects. Just a thought.