Education in Athens, GA
The County Commission has the power to fight for fair access to lifelong education opportunities for every single person in Athens, regardless of economic status or past history with drug-related crime. In a city where upward mobility is scarce, continuing or finishing your education as an adult should not be a privilege. All Athenians should be afforded the opportunity to finish educational programs that could improve their employment opportunities and earning potential.
We cannot have a conversation about education without talking about the need for job training programs. There are hundreds of skilled jobs in Athens, such as welding, that remain unfilled because of a lack of trained workers. Supporting local education, from K-12 to adulthood, includes protecting youth development programs & educational programs that will give our community members a larger pool of jobs to choose from.
Access to quality and affordable childcare is also an essential component to a functioning society. Without it, families are denied the ability to protect the well-being of their most vulnerable. With it, families have greater access to quality of life for their children and the resources necessary for improved social mobility.
We must examine this issue, review successful case studies, complete a needs assessment for Athens-Clarke County, and then help design comprehensive reform on local childcare. As part of that needs assessment, we should take care to listen carefully to the voices and concerns of local parents who have historically been ignored and kept out of this process. We absolutely should expand access to childcare subsidies, encourage more childcare providers to become quality rated, and incentivize quality rated providers to accept children receiving subsidies. Yes, it may be costly and difficult, but our government is more than capable of confronting these challenges, especially when the lives of all of our children hang in the balance.