Category: Education

By Benita M. Dodd Crossover Day, day 28 of Georgia’s legislative session, is the deadline by which legislation must pass out of one chamber into the next in order to have a chance at becoming law. The Georgia House ended its Crossover Day past the midnight hour Thursday. Among the casualties was legislation to establish education savings accounts. This mechanism would have allowed parents to spend their child’s state public education dollars on a menu of pre-approved education services, including private school and tutoring expenses. Not even an amendment to restrict the program to one quarter of 1 percent of the Georgia’s public school enrollment – fewer than 4,500 students – would sway opponents. The Department of Audits and Accounts… View Article
The Atlanta Journal Constitution published an op-ed on school choice by Georgia Public Policy Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on Sunday, February 4, 2018.  The op-ed, “Schools need more choice, not more money,” can be accessed online at this link and is reprinted in its entirety below. Schools need more choice, not more money By Benita M. Dodd  Legislators and policymakers continually debate how and how much funding to allocate to help Georgia’s public school students and public education in general. But there is a little-discussed, bigger challenge: How to meet the choices Georgians demand. How big is that challenge? The Georgia Charter Schools Association finds more than 15,000 students are on waiting lists to attend a public… View Article

College Fees: Sticker Shock for Georgia Families

By Lee Brewer Jones Lee Brewer Jones With revenue and spending contingent on the new tax law, the uncertain future of PeachCare funding (Georgia’s CHIP), and the possibility Georgia may spend on tax incentives aimed at luring Amazon’s new headquarters, it’s no surprise Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2019 budget of $26 billion has been described as “very fluid.” In education, state budget “austerity cuts” during the Great Recession a decade ago resulted in an Institutional Fee, “a general-purchase fee charged system wide by the University System Board of Regents at all ‘teaching’ institutions.” The University of Georgia notes that the purpose of the fee, implemented in 2009, was “to ensure continued academic excellence during times of reduction in state… View Article
By Ben Scafidi Georgia could have a system of universal educational choice beginning in the fall of 2020, enabling families to choose the schools and non-school education services they deem best for their children and enabling educators to offer their best versions of school and other educational services to the public. The system is outlined in my new study, “Georgia 2020: Educational Choice for All K-12 Students,” unveiled on January 23 to coincide with National School Choice Week. I base the recommendations on logic, experience and the systemic evidence from Arizona, the state with the most educational choice in the nation. Georgia 2020 would provide students annually with $5,000 universal education savings accounts (ESAs) increase to $150 million… View Article
News Release | For Immediate Release January 23, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd (404-256-4050) Landmark Study on Georgia’s K-12 Options Unveiled at School Choice Week Event Showing off their trademark National School Choice Week scarves at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s event are Scott Johnson, State Board of Education member; Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd; Mark Peevy, Executive Director of Secondary Education Initiatives at the Technical College System of Georgia; and keynote speaker Dr. Ben Scafidi, education expert and professor of economics at Kennesaw State University. Atlanta – Georgia can and should implement universal educational choice for K-12 students beginning in the fall of 2020, national education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi told attendees today at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation… View Article

Lawmakers Have Some Unfinished Business on the Table

By Benita M. Dodd Part two of Georgia’s two-year legislative session is under way. Weather delays notwithstanding, campaign fundraising for this year’s elections is on legislators’ minds so expect a quick 40 days. The governor announced January 10 that he would call a special session if Georgia became a finalist in online behemoth Amazon’s search for its next headquarters. On January 18, Atlanta became one of 20 candidates (out of 238 applicants) that made the first cut. Before legislators rush off, however, there is some important unfinished business on the table since 2017.  Education legislation held over, especially, needs attention. Last year, legislators approved providing grants of $100,000 to fund facilities for public charter schools, which often struggle to pay… View Article
News Release | For Immediate Release January 16, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd (404-256-4050) Georgia Public Policy Foundation to Mark National School Choice Week, Unveil Study on Georgia’s K-12 Options Dr. Ben Scafidi Atlanta  – The Georgia Public Policy Foundation celebrates National School Choice Week on Tuesday, January 23, with an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast at the Georgian Club featuring Foundation Senior Fellow Dr. Ben Scafidi. Dr. Scafidi, a professor of economics at Kennesaw State University and national expert on education funding, will unveil his latest study: “Georgia 2020: Educational Opportunity for All K-12 Students in Georgia.” This Leadership Breakfast is open to the public and is expected to draw about 80 attendees, including elected officials, policymakers, business interests and… View Article
By Russ Moore Russ Moore For the fifth year in a row, in 2017 Site Selection Magazine named Georgia the nation’s No. 1 state for business, a significant milestone reached thanks to a singular focus on workforce development.  Two-thirds of jobs nationally require college training shy of a four-year degree. Georgia’s greatest workforce innovation may be how it brings access to college courses and workforce training – in particular, technical training – directly into public high schools through “schools of choice.” Its growing network of “college and career academies” (CCAs) is especially worthy of national attention. This innovation started in Newnan (Coweta County) in 2000; today, Georgia boasts college and career academies from Rome to Brunswick and dozens of points… View Article

2017 Forum Delivers on Education Innovation

By Benita M. Dodd Vicki Davis (left) and Gordon Rogers shared their thoughts on education transformation at the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum in October. Ask around the Gold Dome whether Georgians can expect significant reform in education in 2018 and you’ll probably hear, “It’s an election year; nobody wants to rock the boat.” Ask those who heard Vicki Davis and Gordon Rogers outline opportunities in Georgia education during their talks at the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum and you’ll hear optimism: Change can still happen, for students, teachers and classrooms. Davis’ infectious enthusiasm reflects why the teacher from the tiny town of Camilla, Ga. – blogger “Cool Cat Teacher” – has 138,000 Twitter followers, hosts two iTunes chart-topping podcasts… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd With politics and the weather in unusual and untimely states of flux in 2017, the 2017 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum was undoubtedly one of the most difficult to organize since the Georgia Public Policy Foundation established the event in 2010. Happily, the annual Forum produced some remarkable, practical solutions to policy challenges in Georgia. About 150 attendees attended the daylong session October 13 in Atlanta, learning from speakers about tax, health care and education reforms specific to Georgia. The morning keynote speaker, chief economist Jonathan Williams of the American Legislative Exchange Council, shared his optimism about the GOP framework proposed for federal tax reform, noting that it has been more than 30 years since President Reagan… View Article

Finally, a one volume resource from an independent source that gives those of us in public life a new view on which to make public policy.

Governor Roy Barnes more quotes