Multistate 2024 Education Legislative Update

May 23, 2024

In 2024, education continues to dominate legislative agendas as states struggle to regain learning loss and combat widespread teacher shortages. States seek to advance legislation and increase funding to improve student outcomes through:

  • licensure changes and enhanced benefits for teachers;
  • comprehensive overhauls of literacy and mathematics instruction;
  • advancing school choice options; and
  • ensuring state funding for early childhood education as federal funds diminish.

In higher education, policymakers are focused on access and affordability as well as strengthening workforce development programs. This year, policymakers push to protect student athletes and institutions through expanding “name, image and likeness” legal protections. A number of states also are following the U.S. Supreme Court decision banning legacy admissions to higher education institutions.

Here is a summary of some key education issues McGuireWoods Consulting is following in its footprint states.

North Carolina

North Carolina’s 2024 short session began on April 24 with lawmakers focusing on the following education-related issues:

  • expansion of the state’s literacy support programs to middle grades;
  • interventions and support programs for mathematics; and
  • additional funding to the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program in response to the unprecedented demand that far outpaced the available funding after the Legislature significantly expanded the K-12 voucher program in 2023 by removing the income cap for eligibility.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Legislature reconvened on Jan. 9, 2024, and adjourned sine die on May 9. Top education issues this legislative session included:

  • passage of a bill that updates “Read to Succeed” endorsements for teachers and requires science of reading-based literacy instruction in classrooms, as well as science of reading professional development for teachers and in educator preparation programs;
  • consideration of legislation related to diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives at the state’s higher education institutions; and
  • consideration of universal education savings account legislation.


Florida’s legislative session adjourned on March 8, 2024. While 2024 was not as active as the 2023 session in terms of education policy, legislators addressed significant issues for schools and families. These include:

Social Media Ban for Minors

  • After the original bill passed by lawmakers was vetoed, legislators worked with the governor to pass a new, compromise bill to allow parents more influence regarding teen accounts.
  • HB 3, now signed by the governor, prevents children under the age of 14 from having their own social media accounts and requires platforms to terminate those that exist. Children ages 14 and 15 may open an account with parental consent.

Public School Deregulation

  • In a legislative package known as “Learn Local,” lawmakers greatly expanded efforts that began in 2023 to provide more flexibility in public schools. This deregulation package (SB 7002 and 7004) addresses everything from personnel contracts, teacher apprenticeships and collective bargaining to school board facilities planning, instructional material adoption cycles and virtual instruction.
  • An earlier version would have eliminated assessments for purposes of high school graduation and third-grade retention, but those did not make it in the final bill.

Districtwide Tutoring Programs

  • HB 1361 creates the New Worlds Tutoring program at the University of Florida’s Lastinger Center to help districts fund and implement large-scale tutoring programs for students in grades K-5 with substantial deficiencies in math and literacy.
  • The Lastinger Center will administer a new AI grant program for districts to purchase subscription fees and provide professional development on artificial intelligence programs for students in grades 6-12.

Expanding Opportunity for High School Dropouts

  • Lawmakers passed SB 7032 to create the Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education (GATE) program. GATE will allow students 16-21 years old who have withdrawn from school prior to completion the opportunity to earn postsecondary credits in a career education program, while also earning a high school diploma at no cost to the student.


The Virginia General Assembly adjourned on March 9, 2024. This legislative session brought the most education legislation in recent history with over 75 bills introduced. Top issues in Virginia included:

  • continued implementation of the Literacy Act with additional resources to strengthen implementation;
  • passage of a bill that allows for a local referendum to raise sales tax for school construction;
  • a ban on legacy admissions at public colleges and universities;
  • comprehensive legislation to codify early childhood education funding, better data collection and an early childhood teacher incentive program; and
  • legislation to require the Department of Education to develop guidelines for school boards for dissemination of evidence-based materials concerning the risks to health and safety posed by opioids.


The Illinois General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 24, 2024, with a tentatively scheduled extension until May 31, if necessary. The education proposals under consideration this year include:

  • creation of the Department of Early Childhood and expansion of the Smart Start Illinois program for early childhood education;
  • legislation to create an evidence-based reading program;
  • additional funding for Chicago public schools and other school districts to support the thousands of asylum-seeking children arriving in Illinois; and
  • funding for Healthy School Meals for All — a program helping local school districts provide free school meals to all students — which remains to be determined since the enabling legislation passed last year.

In addition, a bill signed on March 18 allows city of Chicago voters to select 10 of 21 school board members in the Nov. 5 election, creating a hybrid-elected school board for Chicago. Mayor Brandon Johnson will appoint the remaining 11 members, and all 21 members will be up for election in the 2026 general election.


Georgia’s 2024 legislative session — the second and last year of a term that saw new leadership emerge in both chambers — adjourned on March 28, with several education bills passing. Below are two highlights:

  • Senate Bill 233 (Georgia Promise Scholarship Act) passed after several related school voucher bills failed every year since 2015. The current version failed in the House in 2023. However, this session, a substitute bill passed by one vote above the break point in the 180-member chamber. The Senate moved to agree along party lines, securing $6,500 scholarships for Georgia families to use for qualifying education expenses.
  • Senate Bill 464 became the first bill in the nation to codify a teacher school supply stipend for educators. The bill was amended on the Senate floor to include reforms aimed at strengthening Georgia’s literacy screener requirements. In response to concern that the majority of the literacy screeners employed by many of Georgia’s school districts are severely inadequate, the amendment requires schools to use only those screeners vetted and approved by the Sandra Deal Foundation, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, and Georgia’s Literacy Council.


The Texas Senate released interim committee charges for the 89th Legislature convening in January 2025. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued 57 charges to guide Senate committees in preparation for the 89th Legislature. Over the coming months, the committees will hold public hearings to gain input from the community, state agencies and stakeholders as they research potential legislation. Committees must submit reports with their specific findings and policy recommendations before Dec. 1, 2024. Among the changes for the education committee are the following.

  • Reading and Math Readiness: Study local, state, and national policies and programs that improve student achievement in reading and mathematics, with an emphasis on “early readiness” in grades pre-K-5. Make recommendations to ensure every student has a strong academic foundation in reading and math.
  • Testing Reform: Review the state’s development and phase-in of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test redesign and ongoing innovative assessment reforms, including the Texas Through-Year Assessment Pilot. Recommend ways to accelerate testing improvement efforts and the development of a real-time testing program that meets the educational needs of Texas students.
  • COVID-19 Funding Oversight: Examine and report on how public schools spent federal COVID-19 funds since the beginning of the pandemic, including funds received under the American Rescue Plan Act, with a dual focus on demonstrated improved student outcomes and efficient use of taxpayer funds.
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Education passed by the 88th Legislature, as well as relevant agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction. Make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance or complete implementation of:
    • measures ensuring public school safety;
    • oversight of public school library procurement and content policies; and
    • high-quality instructional materials and open-educational resources for public schools.

Please contact the authors if you have questions on these or other legislative items as state legislators grapple with significant education challenges during 2024 legislative sessions.