The role of the State Charter School Commission in GA education

The role of the State Charter School Commission in GA education

By Jose Perez – Charter schools are public schools of choice, meaning that families choose them for their children. They operate with waivers from some of the regulations normally imposed upon district schools. Georgia voters by approving the constitutional amendment have turned public education into a two-sector system. One is a traditional school district, centrally managed. The other, charter schools, is independent, not owned by a central school board. Both are public, but they’re organized in different ways.  But, to be clear, charter school laws don’t create schools. It enables a process for we, the people to create charter schools that encourage innovation, that push new ways of teaching, that provide disruptive competition encouraging educational improvement in both sectors. The charter school concept was created in 1974 by a professor at the University of Massachusetts.  The model was then and remains today, a legally and financially autonomous public school that would operate free from many state laws and district regulations.  It would allow better focus on a less traditional curriculum, and more accountability for student outcomes rather than for processes. Georgia’s charter school law was enacted in 1994, and originally only allowed for the creation of conversion charter schools. In 1998 a law was passed allowing for the creation of start-up charter schools, and the first start-up charter school in the state opened in 2000. In 2008 the Georgia Charter Schools Commission was established as a state-level charter school authorizer. In 2011 however, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the commission’s existence violated the state constitution. However, on November 6, 2012 Georgia voters approved a constitutional amendment that gave the Georgia State Legislature the right to create...

Around the South for May 26: MS, TN & VA

  Mississippi: Wicker wants bigger Navy. “It is clear that our current fleet of 275 ships is insufficient to address the security challenges we face today,” US Sen. Roger Wicker (R), said in opening a hearing on the US Navy fleet. “We want to help and we want to lead in this regard,” continued Wicker, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee’s sea power subcommittee. Some estimate that the goal of 355 ships, supported by Navy officials and industry executives, could be reached by the 2040s, but the top Navy official, Adm. John Richardson, wants to reach that goal by the 2020s, reports The Hill ……. Tennessee: Roe opposes campus restrictions on free speech. “As a Vietnam-era veteran, I saw first hand how colleges and universities served as hotbeds for free speech and debate,” US Rep. Phil Roe (R) wrote in an op/ed in The Hill. “Recently, however, free speech has come under attack at the very same institutions,” he continued, citing the shouting down of speakers, withdrawal of invitations to speakers and “so-called free speech zones … to keep students from expressing their thoughts outside of restricted areas.” Roe, who is a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, has introduced a resolution designed to protect the First Amendment on college campuses ……. Virginia: More women running for legislature. In this year’s elections for 100 seats in the House of Delegates, 61 women are running, about 30% of the field of candidates, thought to be a record, reports the Washington Post. Fifty of the women are Democrats, 11 are Republicans...

Around the South for May 25: AR, TX & VA

  Arkansas: Hutchinson will seek reelection. To no one’s surprise, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced last week that he will run for a second term in 2018. In a news release, the governor stated, “I am running for reelection to expand on our progress from pro-growth tax reform to marketing our state to the world to create more jobs here at home.” His previous positions include US Representative, Drug Enforcement Agency director and Homeland Security undersecretary ……. Texas: Voter ID law watered down. In response to a federal court order declaring its previous law requirement a photo ID to vote, both chambers of the Texas legislature have passed new versions of the law designed to pass muster with the courts. The version passed in both the Senate and House versions of the amended law allows persons without a photo ID to vote by signing an affidavit explaining why they don’t have a photo ID. The House version, passed by 93 to 55, varied from the federal court order in that it provides for a Class A misdemeanor for lying on the affidavit ……. Virginia: Democratic lite guv race could make history. Depending on the outcome of the June 13 primary, Virginia could elect its first African American to a statewide office since Douglas Wilder was elected lieutenant governor in 1985 if former federal prosecutor Justin Fairfax wins. Or the state could elect its first woman to a statewide office if lobbyist and party activist Susan Platt wins. Also running is former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi, who is largely self-financed, reports the Washington Post. All three are from Northern Virginia,...

Around the South for May 24: GA, NC & TX

  Georgia: 6th District polls mixed. The last three voter surveys, one by the Jon Ossoff (D) campaign, one by the Karen Handel (R), and one independent, all showed close races, but none of them gave either candidate 50% or more of the vote. Perhaps as a result, the money spent on television is staggering, with one estimate that by the June 20 vote, $50 million or more will be spent on political TV ads in the race ……. North Carolina: District lines held unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court, in a 5-3 decision, held that the Tar Heel legislature’s congressional maps for two districts, the 1st and 12th, were drawn to include more African-Americans than was necessary to meet Voting Rights Act requirements, thus diminishing the influence of black voters. One critic, from the Heritage Foundation, commented, “You can use race a little bit, but you can’t use it too much. It has to be just right,” reported The Hill ……. Texas: Challenger says Lamar Smith out of touch. Joseph Kopser (D), a Bronze Star veteran of the war in Iraq, is challenging 16-term US Rep. Lamar Smith (R). Kopser is supported by 314 Action, a group of science professionals interested in public policy. Kopser says Smith, who chairs the House Science, Space and Technology, is out-of-touch with science; Smith recently said climate change is based more on “exaggerations, personal agendas and questionable predictions than on scientific method,” reports Roll Call...
Gov. Deal willing to spend to grow port

Gov. Deal willing to spend to grow port

By Cosby Woodruff – Gov. Nathan Deal’s commitment to spending an additional $20 million in state money to deepen and expand the Port of Savannah is likely to spur additional visits to the port from the largest container ships in the world. Deal made his commitment to spending the money last week during a welcoming ceremony for the COSCO Development, the largest container ship ever to call at a port of the U.S. East Coast. When the work on Savannah’s port is complete, such visits could almost become routine. “I support whatever’s going to be necessary for us to complete this project in a timely fashion,” Deal said last week during the ship’s visit. “And if that’s what it takes, I think the citizens and the voters and the elected representatives in the General Assembly will be willing to do that extra part.” John Vaughan, a Deal spokesman, told Insider Advantage this week that it is more than just squeezing huge ships into the port. “To maximize efficiency, shipping lines choose ports with the maritime and landside infrastructure to accommodate not only the size of the ship, but also the massive exchanges of cargo they deliver,” he said. “A timely completion of the port deepening will ensure that more Neo-Panamax ships are able to navigate through our port more quickly, thereby moving a greater volume of goods through the state and benefiting all parties involved. “Once finished, the deeper harbor will help the Port of Savannah keep up with growing demand and maintain its position as the Southeast’s dominant gateway to global trade. We look forward to the federal...