Charter Supporter Gather in Atlanta (of all places)

Georgia is an ironic place to be holding the national charter school conference given the recent state supreme court ruling that the Georgia Charter Schools Commission was unconstitutional. As the AJC reported, “The ruling dismantled the organization, voiding operating agreements with 16 schools in a move that affects 16,500 students. An appeal last week likewise was rejected by the court.”
The law strands high performing schools like Coweta Charter Academy located in Senoia, Georgia and Cherokee Charter Academy which would have opened in August.  Both are supported by Charter Schools USA, a Florida-based network with more than 20 schools.  Charter Schools USA has three years of local work and millions of dollars tied up in facilities.
About 5% of Georgia kids are educated in charter school but some of those are charter in name only–some early conversions were more about getting grants than charter characteristics. Despite some great leadership in both the house and senate, it will be really tough to get an constitutional amendment out of the legislature with the required 2/3 majority.
 
Charter schools only serve 3% of US kids but they are important models of:
1) performance contracting as accountability (at least in states that pay attention to authorizing),
2) mission-focused perpetual governance (rather than elected political leadership)
3) responsive management (in CMOs)
4) small supportive gap-closing schools
5) because they are small schools/networks with talented and often non-traditional leadership, charters will be a great source of blended learning innovation in the next two years (necessitated by the typically lower operating budgets than traditional public schools).
 
I’m speaking Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.  Caroline will be representing Digital Learning Now! in booth 801.  Stop by and say hi.
 
 
 
Watch the live webcast on June 21, 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM EDT
 
for more on the GA charter situation

Tom - Speaking Engagements

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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