by Corey Burres | Jun 10, 2019
The kids are on summer break and the parents are looking to make the most of the time together.
What do you do? Family road trip? Go to the park for a barbecue? Head out to the local ballpark and catch a game?
Family Activities Equals Family Values
Whatever you do this summer, do it with the purpose of connecting (or reconnecting) with family. Join GCO’s Healthy Family Initiative as we promote and foster family-promotion.
While many understate the importance of family, we know that a strong family can lead to the support necessary for opportunity. This is especially true to those that are stuck in poverty.
Share and Inspire
Because of this we are asking everyone to share and tag their family fun on social media with the hashtag #HFISummerFun. This lets your followers and all that use the tag view and be inspired by the value of a strong family.
Even if you don’t have pictures of your own to share, simply liking or commenting can go a long way to get out the message of the importance of family.
by Corey Burres | Jun 4, 2019
Joshua Brown will tell you without much prompting that he served three years in prison for aggravated assault.
He’s not proud of it. But he owns it. The Vidalia native, who lives in Perry, said his jail sentence was the result of a series of bad decisions.
Two-thirds of those released from prison in Georgia will likely be rearrested within three years of their release, according to the Georgia Center for Opportunity’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative.
Read the full article here
by David Bass | Jun 4, 2019
America is in an economic and cultural crisis, as millions lack the tools that make a fulfilling life: A great education, stable job, and healthy relationships. The chief question, of course, is how to best connect our neighbors with opportunities that lead to a flourishing life.
Tim Carney—best-selling author, Washington Examiner commentary editor, and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute—has some excellent answers in his latest book, Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse. Tim will be highlighting his findings at this years Breakthrough event in Atlanta, GA.
Hot off the press in February, Alienated America examines the dissolution of our nation’s most cherished institutions—nuclear families, places of worship, and civic organizations. In this his third book, Carney chronicles how life is getting worse for people in some parts of the country because folks are facing their problems alone.
And after visiting all corners of America and digging deep into the data, Carney concludes what we here at the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) have been saying for years—failing social connections are driving a great divide in America that can’t be fixed solely with job-training programs or more entitlement spending.
Specifically, Carney makes the case that just three groups represent most of America: the elites, the religious conservatives, and the alienated. And while community and civil society has been eroding across all groups across the nation in recent years, it has not done so equally for each group.
In alignment with GCO’s view, Carney argues that working class people in America are currently suffering more than other groups because they no longer have the institutions to connect them to others—and provide an all-important sense of purpose. It’s this profound lack of belonging—and an inability to see this disconnect—that drives a sense of alienation that not only divides us as a nation, but tragically leads to despair and an erosion of individual self-worth and belief in opportunity.
While the problems before us as a nation often seem daunting, the good news is that both GCO and Tim Carney’s Alienated America present a framework for positive community-focused solutions that overcome deeply entrenched obstacles to opportunity and unleash prosperity at the individual, family, and community levels.
We’re thrilled that Tim Carney will be joining us for Breakthrough 2019 on September 11 in Atlanta. The event brings together some of America’s most innovative researchers, policy experts, and community-based practitioners to lead timely discussions on solutions that unlock human potential—and enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish in Georgia and around the country. Stay tuned over the course of the summer as we announce additional event keynote and discussion panel speakers.
by David Bass | Jun 3, 2019
As the dust settles on another Georgia legislative session, we are pleased to report that the overall results for bills that GCO worked on to achieve passage were positive and encouraging.
Education Opportunities Expand Once Again
For starters, in the education arena we collaborated with key legislators to put into action House Bill 787, which had been approved by the legislature in the previous session. This new law creates equitable facilities funding for charter schools—allowing them to receive funds for their facilities on par with those given to traditional public schools.
Job Licensing Reform
On the employment front, our team successfully worked to pass a key piece of occupational licensing reform legislation. Now, people who get behind on their student loan payments won’t risk losing their occupational licensing—helping to ensure that more Georgians will be able to get a good job and keep it after completing their education.
Removing The Welfare Cliff of Healthcare
On welfare reform, we worked with Governor Brian Kemp’s administration to move forward healthcare waivers for Georgia. This crucial step toward full welfare reform would remove built-in benefit cliffs while adding work requirements for public assistance. Ultimately, this helps our fellow Georgians break free from governmental dependency and lead renewed lives of dignity and purpose.
We Are Just Getting Started
While we are proud of these successes, there’s still much work to be done in the next legislative session, particularly in the educational arena. Unfortunately, lawmakers fell short of passing Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs) this year. However, the good news is that we came closer than ever to success—and we’re optimistic that ESAs will become a reality next year. In fact, the high level of co-sponsor support from Governor Kemp’s floor leaders signals that this important issue will likely return for consideration in the next legislative session.
When it comes to ESAs, the stakes are high for thousands of Georgia students and their families. Not only would ESAs help parents like Katie Gonzalez—a mother of seven adopted children, including six with special needs—they would offer much-needed flexibility and assistance to students from low-income families, those adopted from foster care, children of active duty military stationed in Georgia, students with an Individualized Education Program, and those with a documented history of being bullied.
Looking ahead to 2020, GCO will continue to work toward implementing common-sense reforms on not just ESAs, but also in welfare and occupational licensing to ensure that every Georgian has the opportunity to flourish through a great education, steady employment, and healthy family life. The bottom line is that we are optimistic that the legislative successes coming out of the 2019 session will translate into passage of more key legislation next year.