Friday Facts: December 15, 2023

College and career academies are specialized educational programs that focus on preparing students for both higher education and specific career paths. These academies often offer a blend of academic coursework, technical training and hands-on experience in a particular industry or field. They aim to provide students with practical skills and knowledge that are directly applicable to their chosen career interests.

These academies typically partner with local businesses, colleges or industry professionals to offer real-world experiences, internships, mentorships, college credits and industry certifications. Covering a variety of fields, the goal of these programs is to help students explore their interests, gain relevant skills and make informed decisions about their future education and careers.

It makes sense that these academies are often embraced by lawmakers and communities alike. However, to better understand the outcomes, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has recently completed a comprehensive analysis of these programs.

As this report explains, the actual effectiveness of these academies is assessed by examining student outcomes tied to both individual advancement and job placement. Specifically, data on technical certificates, college credits and post-graduation employment reflect these outcomes. However, when it comes to analyzing the available data on student outcomes we found two main obstacles. 

We hope you will check out this week’s commentary on college and career academies. We also have the latest news and analysis from the last week, including:

  • Georgia tax revenue increases slightly in November
  • Secretary of State calls for ban on noncitizens voting 
  • Georgia and Alabama reach agreement in Chattahoochee River cases 
  • No Peach Drop on New Year’s Eve

Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Friday’s Freshest

Clarity in the need to repeal Certificate of Need laws

Clarity from leaders is a wonderful thing. It shows they know what they want to do and that they have the courage of their convictions to explain it plainly. Clarity is evident in the final report of the Georgia Senate’s Study Committee on Certificate of Need Reform, chaired by Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming. The directive is short and sweet: “the Study Committee recommends that Georgia’s CON laws should be repealed in their entirety.” Amen.

Will Medicaid expansion make its way to Georgia?

Georgia policymakers may be asked to consider a potential expansion of the state Medicaid program using Arkansas as the model. Proponents have made positive claims on health insurance premiums and decreased emergency room utilization for non-emergency cases, but are they true?

Missing MARTA money and crooked officers of the law headline this month’s waste, fraud and abuse

MARTA leaders lost more than $50 million from the More MARTA program. This is according to MARTA’s former deputy commissioner for Strategy and Planning. We have that story and more in our latest review of waste, fraud and abuse throughout Georgia. 

Time to redraw our economic future

With a $10.7 billion surplus, Georgia has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for transformative tax relief, because our neighbors are not sitting idly. States across the nation have been moving aggressively to position themselves as business-friendly through lower tax rates. 

The Latest


Georgia tax revenues increase slightly in November

State tax collections rose slightly last month compared to November of last year, the Georgia Department of Revenue reported last week. The state brought in $2.32 billion in November, up 1.5% over the same month a year ago.

Georgia economy headed for ‘soft landing’ in 2024

The economic growth Georgia experienced this year will slow down in 2024 but not enough to cause a recession, predicted Ben Ayers of the University of Georgia. Ayers said he expects Georgia’s Gross Domestic Product to increase by 1.1% in 2024, smaller than the 3% growth the Peach State saw this year but well above the sluggish national growth rate of 0.8% economists are predicting for 2024.

Inflation rises 0.1% in November, slightly more than expected

Inflation continued to moderate in November as a steep drop in gasoline prices helped to offset increases in the cost of housing, medical care and transportation. The Labor Department said that the Consumer Price Index, a broad measure of the price of everyday goods, including gasoline, groceries and rent, rose 0.1% in November from the previous month.


State adds Walker County college and career academy

The State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia has approved a grant totaling more than $3 million to establish a new college and career academy in Walker County. Named Walker Launch, this project is the result of a partnership between Walker County Schools and Georgia Northwestern Technical College. It will serve Walker and Dade county students.

Rome Schools open parent resource center

The Rome City School District opened the Parent Resource Center to support Rome City Schools’ parents, providing them with guidance, support and parental training.

Georgia organization supporting children’s literacy is awarded $200K grant

A couple of years ago, Literacy Lab partnered with Atlanta Public Schools in support of the school district’s pre-K classes. Fellows are currently working in more than a dozen sites around the community. The Literacy Lab program works by making sure these fellows are in the classroom, with these kids, regularly.

Government accountability

Secretary of State renews push for ban on noncitizens voting

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has renewed his call for a constitutional amendment prohibiting non-U.S. citizens from voting in elections in Georgia. Raffensperger said a recent surge in illegal immigrants crossing the nation’s southern border makes stopping non-citizens from voting more important than ever.

Georgia lawmaker wants voters to decide on gambling expansion

A state senator plans to introduce legislation allowing Georgians to decide on a constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling, sports betting, and pari-mutuel wagering. State Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said the initiative could bring in $900 million per year to the state, and half of the money would go into a freight and logistics fund for road, bridge and rail projects. 

Atlanta fire chief says electric engine is pushing department in greener direction

The Atlanta Fire Department is looking at innovative ways to provide service through the “Fleet Forward Initiative.” Atlanta Fire Chief Roderick Smith said the department is trying out an electric fire engine to see if it’s an effective way to move the department into the future. The pilot program starts next April with one electric engine most likely going to a Midtown station.

Comcast gives update on Gordon County rural broadband initiative

Wider access to high-speed broadband in most areas of Gordon County continues to move forward, according to internet company representatives. According to Comcast, more than 5,000 unserved homes in the county will be activated next year, representing “the majority, if not all” unserved homes.


Feds providing more funding for passenger rail in Georgia

The Federal Rail Administration has awarded $1.5 million in grants to explore linking Atlanta with Savannah; Charlotte, N.C.; and Chattanooga, Tenn. The grants are part of $8.2 billion in new funding for passenger rail projects announced last week.

MARTA advancing $338M Clayton County bus rapid transit project

MARTA is moving forward with a bus rapid transit link to Clayton County. With approval from its board, MARTA will solicit proposals for final design services for a 15.5-mile alignment and a potential Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport connection. The project is slated to cost $338 million.

Georgia committee issues recommendations to ease truck driver shortage

A Georgia study committee has developed a series of recommendations aimed at helping recruit more truck drivers in the state, including removing a provision that allows plaintiffs to target a carrier’s insurance company for damages. The recommendations came after holding four meetings around the state.

Congress spent $7.5 billion on EV chargers. After two years, none were built.

President Joe Biden has made a transition to electric vehicles a key part of his presidency. The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $7.5 billion to build 500,000 public charging stations across the country, yet a new report shows that not a single charger funded by the program is operational yet.


Georgia, Alabama bury hatchet in Chattahoochee River case but Coosa fight continues

The states of Georgia and Alabama have reached an agreement expected to end a long-running legal dispute over water allocation from the Chattahoochee River Basin. It’s not the end of water wars litigation. Alabama is continuing to pursue a legal challenge to the Corps’ 2021 decision to meet metro Atlanta’s water-supply needs from Allatoona Lake.

No Peach Drop in downtown Atlanta on New Year’s Eve, city says

The City of Atlanta has announced that there will not be a Peach Drop New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Atlanta. The city said they “dedicated their resources to celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop and other local activities directly serving the community.” After a two-year break because of the pandemic, the drop returned last year.

Majority of Americans feel U.S. economy is in recession: survey

The U.S. economy may not technically be in a recession, but most Americans believe it is. That’s according to a recent survey conducted by Bankrate, which found 59% of U.S. adults feel like the economy is in a recession. This feeling cuts across all ages.

Quotes of the Week

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain

“Talent will get you in the door but character will keep you in the room.” – Herm Edwards

“My life without books would be like my life without clothes — naked. Like everyone else, I know that books warm up a room, but they do much more than that. They warm up the soul.” – Norman Lear 1922-2023

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