The Georgia Senate passed its FY 2015 general budget, which included $314.3 million for the Quality Basic Education formula for increases in funding “intended to put children and teachers in the classroom for a full 180 days.” The budget also has a “strong focus on technical education” with “$7.3 million in lottery funds for a Zell Miller Scholarship for technical college students achieving a 3.5 GPA or higher” and “another $10.0 million proposed for a low-interest loan program.” The Senate also “restored $3.6 million for books for dual-enrolled technical college students” and $750,000 for “‘soft skill’ development to assist in career development” (Sen. Jack Hill, “Notes from the Senate”).
I am a little worried about the focus on skills training that I see. While I agree that technical colleges and technical programs serve an important need–and I know that technical colleges can and often do provide more than “training” for students–I would like to see more awareness from our state legislators that education is about more than job training.
Rumor has it that there might be money in this year’s budget for some (small) merit increases for higher education faculty. At my institution, if true, this will be our first increase in 6 years.