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Assuring Georgia Educators Meet High Standards and are Well Prepared

The people of Georgia established within our state Constitution that "the provision of an adequate public education for the citizens shall be a primary obligation of the State of Georgia." Educating our children continues to be Georgia's most important undertaking. Title 20, Education, of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), outlines the legal guidelines, which govern the state education program.

Title 20 creates the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) and assigns it responsibility for providing a regulatory system for "certifying and classifying" professional employees in public schools. Title 20 also requires the professional employees of all Georgia public schools to hold state certification.

Educator preparation regulations and standards are established to assure the citizens of Georgia that public school educators meet high standards and are well prepared to teach in the classrooms of this state. Providing a quality education for all Georgia children requires partnerships among state agencies, program providers, and professional and community organizations. The GaPSC is at the center of forging a strong partnership involving the work of the Commission, the Georgia Department of Education, private and public colleges and universities, regional education service agencies (RESAs), and local school systems. The GaPSC outlines the educator preparation standards and program approval procedures in Rules and Procedures for Educator Preparation.

Certification regulations and procedures are established to evaluate the credentials of prospective teachers as well as other professional employees in the schools, and to ensure they meet specified preparation standards and requirements. State certification provides a base-level of professional knowledge and skills for the educators working in public schools. Like many other states, Georgia has adopted a combination of "Special Georgia requirements" and some commonly used standards developed by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). The GaPSC outlines the state certification system in Rules and Procedures for the Certification of Education Personnel.

In addition to meeting preparation and certification requirements and standards, Georgia professional educators are expected to be of good moral character. Title 20 creates an Educator Ethics section, responsible for adopting state "standards of performance and a code of ethics for educators." The Educator Ethics is also responsible for investigating allegations of educator misconduct and providing recommendations for disciplinary actions to the GaPSC. Georgia, a member of the NASDTEC National Clearinghouse, reports state disciplinary actions imposed against certified individuals to the national database. Fingerprinting and FBI background checks are required for professional employment in Georgia public schools and state background checks are required to renew professional certificates.

For more information about the history of educator certification in Georgia, click here

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