State representative and Speaker pro tem Jan Jones (R-Milton) has filed House Bill 801 to raise the standards for high school students to obtain and maintain the HOPE scholarship in Georgia.
Carried by Jones and co-signed by House Majority Leader Jon Burns and the Governor’s floor leaders, the bill seeks to set higher qualifications for students enrolled in Georgia high schools. The bill would do the following:
- Require students to obtain 4 hours of one beginning in the 2017-2018 school year:
- advanced math (algebra, trigonometry, or Math III)
- advanced science (chemistry, physics, biology II, computer science)
- AP courses in core subjects
- Dual credit courses in core subjects
- International baccalaureate courses
- USG core subjects (not remedial)
- Advanced foreign language
The bill would allow for more than one course to be taken in a category, but courses may only be counted one at a time. The 3.0 GPA requirement would remain in tact, but beginning in 2017, anyone taking certain sciences, technology courses, engineering courses, and some mathematics courses would be eligible for an addition “0.5” on the course grade. Classes eligible must be “rigorous” and “required for leading in high demand fields.”
Of concern, however, is whether or not some smaller school districts with less resources have the capability to offer the wide variety of courses applicable for the 4 hour requirement proposed. Additionally, the bill requires that the Board of Regents work with the Technical College System of Georgia, the Georgia Department of Education, and Georgia Department of Economic Development to set standards to determine what is and is not rigorous and in a high demand field. Parents have voiced concern over the missing timeline for a high demand field. They argue if standards change year by year, students trying to obtain HOPE will be chasing a moving target.