Georgia wins Most Improved charter policy set this year. But the new law creating room for more charters and funding parity is already under attack.

While visiting with Tony Roberts and the Georgia Charter School Association, we discussed the need for restart capacity. I think charter restarts have a better chance for success than most district “transformations” but it depends policy and capacity. Georgia has a bad track record of weak conversions that are charter in name only. District administrators have been known to brag that “kids don’t even notice the difference.”

We need a bunch of restart CMOs that with a talented SWAT team are prepared and capitalized to step in to very difficult situations and take over full schools (not the typical luxurious grade-at-a-time opening schedule). Let’s hope we see a bunch of i3 Development Grants in this category.

Spent the afternoon with the talented Communities in Schools of Georgia team. Neil Shorthouse is a co-founder of CIS and has made an enormous contribution to education over the last 30 years. CISGA was instrumental in developing the role of school coordinators for community services. They find or create supports for students and families. CISGA also created a network of Performance Learning Centers to help over aged and under credited students get back on track. Neil is also on the board of the Georgia Charter School Association and a great new Mosaica school, Atlanta Prep.

CIS made an investment evaluation of their site coordinator program and PLCs that is likely to pay off at i3 award time.

Previous articleSIGs likely to cause heat
Next articleCharter applications tougher but better?
Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


  1. Don’t be fooled, dig a little deeper. Look at ‘who’ is allowed to operate charters and ‘who’ is served. Better yet, look at ‘who’ makes final decisions, their professional affiliations (also known as friendships, good ole boy network) before praising the false progress being made in Georgia.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here