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New Report Shows Georgia Charter School Law Is Most Improved in the Nation

New Report Shows Georgia Charter School Law Is Most Improved in the Nation

January 22, 2019

ATLANTA, GA — Today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its annual state-by-state ranking of public charter school laws, Measuring Up to the Model: A Ranking of State Public Charter School Laws, Tenth Edition. Georgia, which has more than 70,000 students attending charter schools across the state, made the biggest jump in this year’s rankings, moving up 11 spots from No. 27 to No. 16. The leap is credited to legislation enacted last year that improves the state’s policies for special education, funding, and full-time virtual charter schools.

“Georgia’s public charter schools provide teachers with the freedom and flexibility to meet the unique needs of their students,” said Jan Jones, Speaker Pro-Tempore of the Georgia House of Representatives. “As a state lawmaker, I recognize that one size does not fit all in education. The innovative practices and successes of charter schools in our state have helped strengthen the entire public-school system and are ensuring that more Georgia students enroll and persist in college.”

Georgia’s charter school law does not cap public charter school growth, provides multiple authorizers to charter school applicants, and provides adequate autonomy and accountability. Georgia has also made notable strides in recent years to provide more equitable funding to charter public schools—although work remains to be done, especially with regards to equitable charter school facilities funding.

“We are encouraged to see Georgia recognized in Measuring Up to the Model as a leader in charter school law improvement,” said Tony Roberts, President and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. “Policy changes made last year have strengthened special education, funding, and accountability. However, we must continue to advocate for more equitable charter school facilities funding, which remains the biggest challenge to continued growth of high-quality charter schools here in Georgia.”

Potential areas for improvement to Georgia’s existing law include continuing to strengthen equitable funding, ensuring transparency regarding educational service providers, allowing multi-school charter contracts and/or multi-charter school contract boards, and strengthening accountability for full-time virtual charter schools.

The National Alliance’s 2019 rankings measure each state’s charter school law against the “gold standard” model charter school law, A Model Law for Supporting the Growth of High-Quality Charter Schools: Second Edition, released in October 2016. The Tenth Edition of Measuring Up to the Model ranks public charter school laws in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Each law receives a score based on 21 essential metrics, including accountability, flexibility, and funding equity.

For additional key findings in the report, please view the press release from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

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