On Monday, August 7, 2023, the Georgia Council on Literacy held its inaugural in-person meeting and roundtable discussion at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. Nearly 200 people were in attendance, including legislators, teachers, children’s literacy experts and members of the public. The Council, which operates under the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, is dedicated to improving literacy outcomes for Georgia students. The first meeting included an introduction of the Council’s purpose and its members, an overview of the science of reading, reports from the Georgia Literacy Coach, discussion of literacy initiatives in schools and public comment.
“Low literacy rates are an epidemic plaguing Georgia’s students,” said Chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education Senator Billy Hickman (R – Statesboro). “According to studies, Georgia students in 2012 were reading at a higher level in comparison to students in 2023. The Georgia Council on Literacy is working tirelessly to ensure that this gap is remedied through increased literacy instruction. I am eager to continue collaborating with the legislators, teachers and industry experts to put an end to childhood illiteracy in the Peach State.”
“Less than a third of third graders in our state are able to read on grade level,” said Senator Jason Esteves (D – Atlanta). “Literacy is one of the most critical issues affecting our education system and it is the role of the Council to address this issue head-on. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to working with stakeholders across the state to identify evidence-based solutions to improve literacy education so that every child in Georgia is reading on grade level.”
"This meeting underscores the urgency of initiating open dialogues with educational leaders and experts,” said Senator Freddie Powell Sims (D – Dawson). “With literacy rates declining, particularly in rural Georgia, I'm eager to continue collaborating with my fellow Council members to address this pressing concern."
For more information on the Georgia Council on Literacy and the full itinerary of the meeting, read here.
Sen. Billy Hickman serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education. He represents the 4th Senate District which includes Bulloch, Candler, Effingham, Evans, and a small portion of Chatham. He may be reached at 404.463.1371 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Jason Esteves represents the 6th Senate District which includes portions of Cobb and Fulton County. He may be reached by phone at 404.463.1562 or by email at Jason.email@example.com.
Sen. Freddie Powell Sims represents the 12th Senate District which includes Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Dougherty, Early, Miller, Mitchell, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Sumter, Terrell, and Webster County. She may be reached at 404.463.5259 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.