Bill for $6,500 vouchers creeps toward Georgia House passage – By Jeff Amy, AP News

Georgia conservatives are getting closer to a long-held goal of broadening state funding for private school tuition and home schooling, with a House committee passing a bill Tuesday that would give $6,500 educational vouchers to students who would otherwise attend low-performing schools.

The House Education Committee passed a revised version of Senate Bill 233 on a split voice vote, sending it to the full House for more action.

Voucher bills have historically gotten cool receptions in the House, but Republican House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, of Milton, a longtime proponent, has been in the forefront of this year’s push. The second-ranking member of the House, Jones helped clear the way for Republican Jon Burns, of Newington, to become speaker earlier this year.

The Georgia push is part of a nationwide GOP wave for what supporters call education savings accounts following the COVID-19 pandemic and amid contentious culture war fights over what children should learn in public schools.


What we do (and don't) know about teacher shortages, and what can be done about them – By Cory Turner, NPR

Wearing an effortless smile and a crisp, gray suit with a cloth lapel flower, Tommy Nalls Jr. projects confidence. Which is the point. In a ballroom full of job candidates, no one wants to dance with a desperate partner. And, as badly as his district needs teachers, Nalls doesn't want just anyone.

"They have to have this certain grit, that certain fight," says Nalls, director of recruitment for Jackson Public Schools, in Mississippi's capital city. "That dog in 'em,' so to speak."

On this sun-kissed morning in March, he's a couple hours north of Jackson, in a ballroom on the campus of Mississippi State University, at a job fair full of soon-to-graduate teachers and school district recruiters from all over the state, and even out-of-state, competing to hire them.

Many districts across the country are grappling with teacher shortages large and small. Limited federal data show, as of October 2022, 45% of public schools had at least one teacher vacancy; that's after the school year had already begun. And schools that serve high-poverty neighborhoods and/or a "high-minority student body" were more likely to have vacancies.


Iowa schools add naloxone to medical emergency tool kits – By Grace King, The Gazette

An Iowa law passed last year allows schools to stock and administer the lifesaving medication naloxone to combat the effects of an opioid overdose.

Since then, many Iowa schools have adopted policies and procedures to add naloxone — brand name Narcan — to their tool kit, said Sandy Byard, Cedar Rapids schools health services coordinator.

“Absolutely we want to have it to help students, staff or family members who have a medical emergency in our schools,” Byard said.

Naloxone is a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration that quickly reverses an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids. It can restore normal breathing within two to three minutes in a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped because of an opioid overdose.

Last May, the Iowa Legislature passed a new law — House File 2573 — allowing school districts to receive prescriptions for Narcan and creating a fund to cover the cost.

The law also established an Opioid Antagonist Medication Fund to ensure first responders have access to naloxone and other potentially lifesaving medications to reverse opioid overdoses.


Pa. lawmakers want defibrillators in schools ready in case of cardiac emergencies – By Jan Murphy, Pittsburg Post Gazette

Most Pennsylvania public schools have an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, available in case of emergencies but a state lawmaker wants an assurance that the device is in working order and someone on site knows how to use it.

Sen. Katie Muth, D-Montgomery County, has a two-bill package in the Senate Education Committee that seeks to impose that mandate on schools. One bill would mandate school buildings not only have a working AED in a central accessible place, but require a safety team certified in CPR and trained in AED use.

A second bill requires all coaches and supervisors of after-school activities also be certified in CPR and trained in AED use and renew that certification every two years.

The Senate Education Committee will consider the Muth bills and a bill by Sen. Rosemary Brown, R-Monroe County, requiring AEDs at school sporting events this spring, according to Chairman Dave Argall, R-Schuylkill County. Similar bills have been offered in the House.

“Learning not every school has an AED on site is really kind of a scary thing,” said Ms. Muth, a former athletic trainer who worked with teams at the high school, college and professional levels. “Having that life-saving tool is essential to keeping us all safe.”