By Kathy Jefcoats
Local, state and federal officials along with others interested in public education in Henry, Clayton and DeKalb counties and the city of Atlanta are meeting this weekend in Stockbridge in the second annual education summit.
Themed "Collaboration for Excellence," the summit gets under way Saturday with registration at 8:30 a.m. at Stockbridge Middle School. Discussions are expected to continue until noon. Among those expected are Lt. Gov. Taylor and U.S. Reps. Mac Collins, R-Ga., and David Scott, D-Georgia.
"We're pretty excited because we've got two congressmen and the lieutenant governor coming here," said Henry schools spokeswoman Cindy Foster. "We'll also have a representative from the Secretary of Education's office available for questions and answers.
That representative, Ken Meyer, is also well-versed in the No Child Left Behind Act.
"He is the key person to help people understand changes," she said.
Collins said he plans to discuss that Act at length.
"I'm looking forward to the conference," he said. "I enjoy talking to people and getting input from them on important topics such as the No Child Left Behind Act."
Scott said making sure Georgia students get the best education possible is a priority for him.
"Ensuring that all of our children receive a high quality education is a major priority for me," said Scott. "In Congress I've been busily working to improve the quality of education available to Georgia students."
Hiring and keeping equally high-quality educators are essential to guaranteeing that goal.
"It is vitally important that we attract and retain highly qualified teachers to our schools, keep the teacher-to-student ratio low in all Georgia classrooms," Scott said, "make certain that our schools safe and improve student achievement."
Last year, the summit was held in DeKalb. Foster said the plan is to rotate locations every year.
In addition to elected officials, Foster said she hopes educators, parents and even students attend the event.
"It is very important to offer all concerned citizens the opportunity to speak with people on the state and federal levels about education issues," she said.