A Forsyth County legislator and Georgia gubernational candidate was recently recognized by a school choice organization for his education policies.
State Sen. Michael Williams, a Republican whose District 27 spans the majority of Forsyth, was one of seven state senators to receive a grade of A+ from the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO), which assigns grades to members of the Georgia General Assembly based on how they vote on legislation addressing school choice policies.
He also received an honor roll distinction for “supporting legislation [GCO] designated as key to ‘creating or expanding parents’ ability to choose high-quality public and private education for their children,’” a Senate news release said.
Legislators could earn an honor roll distinction for sponsoring or co-sponsoring legislation that would expand school choice options.
“It is an honor to be recognized by GCO, an organization that appreciates the importance of education in shaping a child’s future,” Williams said. “Educating our children and expanding opportunities for them and their parents continues to be a top priority. Children are our future and we must do all we can to ensure the highest quality education is available to them through choice and new initiatives.”
During the 2017 legislative session, Williams sponsored HB 217, which would have expanded the current Tax Credit Scholarship Program, currently capped at $58 million, to $65 million initially, with a 10 percent growth allowance per year up to $100 million.
The bill, which did not pass, would have allowed an estimated 12,000 additional children to receive scholarships to attend a school that better meets their individual needs.
Legislators also could earn a plus to their grade for sponsoring school choice bills and received a promotion of up to a half-letter grade in their overall score for sponsoring two or more bills.
Four House bills introduced during the 2017 legislative session were used to grade scores.
Williams scored 13 out of a possible 13 points, a score consistent with his Senate and gubernatorial platform.
Having been a longtime proponent of school choice, Williams said it is one of the issues he would focus on if elected to replace term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal in 2018.
“Grow our school voucher programs and provide additional ways to put parents in charge of their children’s education,” his website says. “Children born in communities with under-performing schools should have options. This also increases competition among schools, ultimately improving the quality of education.”