Friday Facts: November 17, 2023

Education leaders have descended upon Atlanta for ExcelInEd’s National Summit on Education. 

They are coming to Georgia at an interesting time. Over the past couple of years, every state that borders Georgia – save for Alabama – has adopted education savings accounts that empower families to choose the right education for their children. So while the most immediate showdown between Georgia and Alabama will take place in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 2, we will also see which state moves quicker on education freedom next year. Or which state comes in last.

At its core, education freedom is about empowering parents and students to have more control over their education by allowing them to choose an education that best fits their needs. Georgia came close to adopting a limited ESA program last year, and that issue will return with the legislature in January. 

Why should we do this in Georgia? In our commentary this week, we outline six reasons to empower Georgia families with education choice:

  • It provides the opportunity for personalized education
  • Education freedom empowers parents to take an active role in their children’s education
  • School choice policies can address educational inequality
  • School choice promotes competition—a powerful driver of improvement
  • Education freedom removes politics from the classroom
  • School choice encourages innovation in education

Let’s make Georgia the next state to give that freedom to parents. Have a great weekend,

– Kyle Wingfield

Friday’s Freshest

Georgia government employees stole Social Security funds and used taxpayer money on personal items

The former payroll clerk for the Milledgeville Housing Authority admitted she stole $575,000 of taxpayer money. She faces 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000. This story, and more, in our monthly compilation of waste, fraud and abuse in Georgia.  

4 issues facing the Buckhead community in Atlanta

A debate over whether the Buckhead community should be allowed to separate from Atlanta came to a head during the 2023 legislative session when bills were introduced to allow a vote on creating “Buckhead City.” Although these bills were rejected by the Senate, the discussion endures and issues remain. 

There is wisdom in the past

Americans are accustomed by now to hearing, and maybe even believing, that the stakes are higher than ever. But is it true this time? During a recent visit to our nation’s capital, the tone was markedly more worried than usual. 

Not just hospitals: Georgia CON laws also limit medical technologies

Certificate of Need laws in Georgia prevent healthcare providers from adding medical equipment without first getting state approval. They also allow other healthcare providers to oppose these requests. For Monroe resident Gary Galloway, it’s equipment he needs to live.

The Latest


Georgia lawmakers release recommendations for growing workforce

Establishing a statewide portal which employers could use to help fill job openings is among the recommendations a legislative study committee looking for ways to grow Georgia’s workforce adopted this week. The state Senate’s Expanding Georgia’s Workforce Study Committee has approved the final report for the Senate to consider in 2024.

Inflation rises 3.2% in October, less than expected

Inflation eased in October for the first time in months, providing some welcome relief to consumers who have been crushed by unrelenting price increases. The Labor Department said this week that the consumer price index was unchanged in October from the previous month. Prices climbed 3.2% from the same time last year. 

Commerce EV battery plant to furlough workers, cut production

SK Battery America will furlough employees at its Jackson County plant in efforts to reduce production as demand for electric vehicles remains sluggish. The subsidiary of South Korea-based SK Innovation indicated that this reduction effort is temporary and the electric vehicle battery plant will remain open.


State rolling out new literacy initiative

The Georgia Department of Education is launching a literacy initiative aimed at both improving literacy among students and training educators on the science of reading. The Georgia Literacy Academy, a partnership between the state and the Atlanta-based Rollins Center for Language & Literacy, will roll out in nine school districts and three charter schools for its first two years.

Augusta University presidential search committee named

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia recently named members of the Augusta University Presidential Search Committee. The committee will conduct a national search to replace President Brooks Keel, who recently announced plans to retire after the 2023-2024 academic year.

Cobb Schools and Wellstar announce partnership

Cobb Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale recently revealed a new $2 million partnership between the school district and Wellstar Health System. Ragsdale and Marietta Schools Superintendent Grant Rivera praised the work of their districts’ career centers, which offer students different pathways to work right out of high school through certification programs.

Government accountability

Cobb County abandons Israel-Hamas resolution 

The Cobb Board of Commissioners will not issue a resolution on the Israel-Hamas war, and the board seemed to end its attempts to weigh in on the matter this week. Instead, Cobb Chairwoman Lisa Cupid said in remarks at the start of the meeting that the board could continue listening to those in the county impacted by the war. 

How police are allowed to seize your money at Atlanta’s airport

In what are known as civil forfeiture cases, drugs are rarely found, and the passengers usually are not arrested or charged with crimes. In an Atlanta News First review of more than a year of seizures from 2020 and 2021 at the Atlanta airport, passengers rarely got all their money back even after filing a claim with receipts.


DOT mulling long list of highway improvements in Savannah area

It’s going to cost at least $1.4 billion – and probably a lot more – in highway improvements in the Savannah region to keep pace with economic growth, an official with the Georgia Department of Transportation said this week. This would be for 12 major highway corridors, including Georgia 21, U.S. 80, interstates 16 and 95, and Effingham Parkway.

First segment of Highway 20 widening project to be completed by end of year

Drivers traveling on Georgia Highway 20 should soon see the completion of the first segment of the highway widening project, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. The department said that the widening of the first section on Highway 20, Interstate 575 in Canton and Scott Road, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.


MLB awards Atlanta 2025 All-Star Game

Two years after pulling the Major League Baseball All-Star game from Atlanta due to pressure from the left and sports media, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Thursday that Atlanta will host the 2025 All-Star Game. Gov. Brian Kemp welcomed the news, saying, “Georgia’s voting laws haven’t changed, but it’s good to see the MLB’s misguided understanding of them has.”

Former Isakson colleagues praise his brand of political civility

A U.S. senator and a former senator traveled to the University of Georgia to tout the benefits of political civility at a time of extreme partisanship. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and former Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., highlighted the first annual Johnny Isakson Symposium on Political Civility, held to honor the legacy of the late Georgia senator.

The best gift ahead of Black Friday: Lower prices at stores

The era of price hikes for consumer goods is waning. Walmart and other retailers say that price increases are slowing and, in some cases, shoppers are getting better deals on food and clothes than a few months ago.

Quotes of the Week

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” – E.F. Schumacher

“Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

“Good and evil increase at compound interest. That’s why the little decisions we make every day are of infinite importance.”  – C.S. Lewis

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