SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As the country continues to see a shortage of teachers, Governor Brian Kemp is taking a step to solve the problem in Georgia by signing six education bills into law.
The new law is designed to boost the state’s ability to recruit and retain teachers. Senate Bill 88, the “teacher pipeline legislation” creates a pathway to encourage qualified veterans to teach and promotes education as a career in Georgia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
“Next year, we look forward to working with the General Assembly to allow our retired teachers to return to the classroom full-time in high needs areas.”
Lawmakers plan to continue pushing the “teacher pipeline legislation” potentially allowing teachers to collect retirement and continue teaching full time. Right now, they can only work part-time.
Director of Employment Dr. Heather Bilton told News 3 this new legislation is nothing new to the Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS). They hire veterans through their Troops to Teachers program and started a campaign earlier this year targeting Georgia HBCUs.
“Amazingly when COVID hit last year we were just at the beginning of our recruiting season and we were still able to hire all the teachers we needed,” Bilton said.
About 350 teachers have come through their alternative pathway and with diversity a top issue the district continues to push for more teachers of all backgrounds.
“Well the research says that it makes a big difference to have a teacher that looks like you,” Bilton said.
SCCPSS is able to hire more than 400 teachers a year and this upcoming year they’ll need about 300.
Hiring is also happening outside of the country through Teach Savannah International to diversify the workforce.
“We’re just really allowing our students to get a wide cultural experience,” she said.