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 that govern the state education program.
Title 20 created 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 elementary and secondary schools to hold state certification.
Certification regulations and procedures are established to evaluate the credentials of prospective teachers as well as other professional employees in the schools, to ensure they meet specified preparation standards and requirements. State certification provides a standardized base-level of professional knowledge and skills for the educators working in public schools. Like many other states, Georgia has adopted a combination of individualized requirements and some commonly used standards developed by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). The Georgia Professional Standards Commission outlines the state certification system in Rules and Procedures for the Certification of Education Personnel.
In addition to meeting the academic and assessment 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 Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Georgia, a member of the NASDTEC National Clearinghouse, reports state disciplinary actions imposed against certified individuals to the national database. While state and federal police background checks are not part of the certification process, fingerprinting and FBI background checks are required for professional employment in Georgia public schools.
For more information on the history of certification in Georgia, click here