ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Nathan Deal signed two bills into law Thursday that remove barriers to dual enrollment participation both for students with dim hopes or plans of attending college and also for high school youngsters who want to earn college credits before being handed their diplomas.
Senate Bill 2 allows certain high school students to earn a diploma and a trade or technical school certificate at the same time.
Senate Bill 132, the "Move on When Ready Act," permits high achieving high school juniors and seniors to earn their diplomas while at the same time taking college courses for credit.
"Since taking office, one of my top priorities has been preparing students to enter the workforce with the skills and tolls necessary for them to succeed," Deal said in a statement. "There are currently jobs that require highly skilled technical workers that remain unfilled," which he said is what SB 2 addresses.
He said the legislation "streamlines current dual enrollment program options, removes transportation and other barriers to participation and streamlines how students earn course credits."
In the future, he said, Georgia will produce a "deep talent pool to fill much-needed positions in a wide range of industries across our state."
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said a major challenge facing Georgia is "preparing students to succeed in a 21st century economy" that will require technical skills as much as people with college degrees.
Tim Callahan, a spokesman for the 86,000-member Professional Association of Educators, said both measures "offer promise to Georgia students in moving forward."
For the brightest high school students who "are bored to death, SB 132 is for you."
SB 2 is aimed at helping students "who are not academically motivated and who might waste time in high school to get a head start." After two or three years studying auto mechanics, welding or another trade, these young people would be awarded both a technical school certificate and a high school diploma, he said.
"We are in favor of these bills," he said. "The purpose of education is to educate young people for their roles in life. Not everyone needs a college degree."