Georgia Legislature

Georgia commission will examine state’s civics education, make recommendations for improvements

(The Center Square) — A Georgia commission will explore ways to promote civic engagement and improve the state’s K-12 curriculum on public service.

Senate Bill 220, known as the Georgia Civics Renewal Act, established the 17-member Georgia Commission on Civics Education.

“While every educational discipline is important and should be taken seriously by students and educators alike, there is no single subject more relevant to our day to day lives than civics,” Sen. Jason Anavitarte, R-Dallas, said in an announcement.

“Aside from learning essential foundational knowledge about the branches of government, the origins of the Constitution, or how a bill becomes a law, students need to be prepared beyond that in order to fully understand and participate in the civic process,” Anavitarte added. “Through this Commission, I hope to find ways we can bridge the gap between civics education and civics participation and find approaches for students to gain a thorough understanding of civic knowledge, skills and values.”

Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan is responsible for appointing three Senators to the commission, while state House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, is responsible for appointing three House members and Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, is responsible for appointing four members. The remaining members include representatives from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Association County Commissioners of Georgia and the Georgia Municipal Association.

“It is imperative that we maintain a comprehensive understanding of civic duties and governmental operations within our state in order to sustain a flourishing society,” Sen. Freddie Powell Sims, D-Dawson, said in an announcement. “With this commission, it is my hope that we will be able to uncover more innovative ways to continue to uphold these standards of proper civic duties as they [relate] to governmental operations.”

Emma Johnson, Duncan’s director of communications, said the commission’s budget will come from agency funds included in the fiscal 2023 budget.

“Since this commission comprises members affiliated with various state government agencies, their respective agency will cover expenses associated with participating in matters related to the commission, Johnson told The Center Square. “Since commission business falls under the Dept. of Education, their agency will cover costs associated with the commission that fall outside of the responsibility for participating legislative members and state employees.”

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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