A disturbing turn of events has occurred with the new Advanced Placement History Test. The AP has been around since 1956, offering high school students the opportunity to gain college credit by taking a very difficult class and passing a very difficult test. Unfortunately, the College Board (the same folks who write the SAT) has suddenly created a biased and left-leaning test.
This is worse than the worst aspects of Common Core. The dogma taught is anti-American and severely negative, ignoring the greatness of our country and focusing on real or alleged injustices of our history. The topics for the old tests where brief, bipartisan, and included a wide range of perspectives. These new topics are lengthy, partisan, and decidedly leftist. They tell students what they must think, replacing any flexibility teachers might have. For example, the one time they mention Reagan was to call him a war-monger. They also emphasize race, class, and ethnicity instead of the Founding Fathers, which are barely mentioned. I participated in a long debate on this issue, where the AP people essentially said, “This is what college professors are teaching, so you need to get over it.” What is being taught in college is an entirely different conversation, but I will be supporting a resolution to find an alternative for Georgia.
On the positive side, several good bills are now in motion. SB 5, which passed both the House and Senate by unanimous vote, will enable the Georgia Ports Authority to accept $42 million in federal dollars for the Savannah Harbor. Georgia has already designated $266 million towards the project which began last month and should be finished by 2020.
HB 198 passed unanimously in the House. It will require training for teachers to help increase suicide awareness and prevention. While I generally dislike placing even more requirements on our teachers, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens. Additionally, the military requires all of its members to undergo this training.
HB 100 passed the House by a near unanimous vote. This was the slightly controversial bill that requires a child be 5 years old by August 1 in order to be eligible to enroll in kindergarten. This bill changes the current cutoff date from September 1 and would go into effect for the 2017-2018 school year and July 1 for the 2018-2019 school year and all years thereafter. I voted for this bill after it was modified to NOT apply to children enrolling in Kindergarten this or next year.
HB 16 would allow kids who go to a Magnet School to return to their school of “origin” and play a sport as long as the Magnet School did not offer that sport. Presented by a Democrat, I nonetheless vigorously defended it. More and more, our schools will become more of a menu of choices instead of the “one-size-fits-all” model of yesteryear. This bill is a great way to expand school choice – perhaps in the future to allow Home-Schoolers to participate (they already do so in Florida via the “Tebow Law”). Keep in mind, the student could not “shop around” and go to another school for recruitment purposes - he or she could only return to the school for which he or she was originally districted.
The Transportation Bill (HB 170) changes every day. The new idea now appears to be about a break even for counties, cities and schools. There would be a quarter percent increase in sales tax for SPLOST, LOST, and ELOST on things other than gas. The fuel tax would also increase around 8 cents a gallon and then continue to rise (automatically) on a yearly basis as CAFE standards improve and construction costs go up. This is very troubling for a number of reasons.
My bill, HB 130 (“Kelsey’s Law”) is in Rules. It usually takes a few days to get it out of there, but I’ve been assured that it will get to the floor next week. HB 1 (medical cannabis) passed the House by a near unanimous vote and is now at the Senate.
I enjoyed spending time with Kristofer Ramdhanie from Oxford, Police Chief Stacey Cotton from Covington, Todd Teasley from the FFA Camp, and Vincent Passeriello from the Covington Airport.
I hope you will contact me with your constructive ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Belton is the newly elected District 112 Georgia Representative. The Morgan and Newton County representative is serving in his first term in Georgia’s House. He is a resident of Morgan County.