Category: Education

Public Charter Schools and Local Control

Questions and Answers about Charter Schools and the Proposed Constitutional Amendment Does the proposed constitutional amendment conflict with the concept of local control? Under the proposed constitutional amendment, the state simply authorizes a state charter school to exist. Not a single dime of ongoing public funding goes to a state charter school unless families choose to enroll their children. This puts parents in control, not the state. Parents are the ultimate form of local control. The authorization process is similar to accreditation, which is required for all public schools. However, unlike accreditation, which is performed by unelected, unaccountable, private organizations, the State Charter Schools Commission will be a public board, appointed by and held accountable to elected officials. The authorization… View Article

What Are Public Charter Schools?

Questions and Answers about Charter Schools and the Proposed Constitutional Amendment What are charter schools? All charter schools are public schools. A charter is simply a contract that gives public schools flexibility in return for being held accountable for improved student achievement. By law, all charter schools: Must accept all applicants as long as space is available (a public, random lottery is held to select students if more apply than available slots) Must abide by all health, safety and civil rights laws Must be audited each year by an independent auditor Must be governed by an independent, local, nonprofit board Must comply with all state standards, testing and accountability requirements Must not charge tuition of any kind May be closed… View Article
Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Eric Wearne Last fall, then-new Coahulla Creek High School in Whitfield County made a bold move and issued all of its students tablets rather than textbooks.  Now a new report by Learning Untethered titled “Learning is Personal,” noted by Getting Smart, takes a closer look at how tablets are actually used in some 5th grade classrooms over the course of a school year.  This is a “project,” rather than a full research paper, but it is a project schools might want to take note of.   The questions the authors asked were “whether handheld and tablet form factors are adequate for student production of content, or just consumption, and… View Article

Charter School Successes Well Documented

By Jay P. Greene Jay Greene, Adjunct Scholar, Georgia Public Policy Foundation According to the Global Report Card, more than a third of the 30 school districts with the highest math achievement in the United States are actually charter schools. This is particularly impressive considering that charters constitute about 5 percent of all schools and about 3 percent of all public school students. And it is even more amazing considering that some of the highest performing charter schools, like Roxbury Prep in Boston or KIPP Infinity in New York City, serve very disadvantaged students. As impressive and amazing as these results by charter schools may be, it would be wrong to conclude from this that charter schools… View Article
By Mike Klein When he recorded a Georgia Public Broadcasting studio audience program this week Governor Nathan Deal needed just two sentences to precisely capsulize why nearly everything that we think we know about learning and education should be reconsidered and re-engineered.  Mike Klein, Editor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation “We still live in an era in which everybody seems to think that unless your child has a college degree they are not successful.  We know that is not true,” Deal told a studio audience that watched the taping of Ignite, a GPB education web program. His conversation with host Anne Ostholthoff focused on college and career initiatives, a priority under Deal whose administration has recognized states left behind in… View Article
  Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation By Eric Wearne  School systems have debated the use of technology in the classroom for years.  Several stories, from Education Week and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, covered the topic just this summer. Both point out that we still don’t quite know the most effective strategies for technology in the classroom.  But two new research projects might bear some fruit and lead us in some new directions. Inquire bills itself as “A prototype of an intelligent textbook that answers students’ questions, engages their interest, and improves their understanding.”  The short version of that is that Inquire is an iPad app that takes the popular Campbell Biology textbook and adds artificial intelligence (AI)… View Article
By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is a national organization that “works with schools, districts and states to provide excellent teachers to the students who need them most and advance policies and practices that ensure effective teaching in every classroom.” TNTP recently published a report called “The Irreplaceables,” which discusses the “real retention crisis in America’s urban schools.”*  For the purposes of this report, TNTP defines “Irreplaceables” by looking at the value-added test data provided by four large urban school systems. Those whose students gained 5-6 more months of learning each year compared to lower-performing teachers were deemed “Irreplaceable” – about 20 percent of the teachers in each… View Article

Homeschoolers: Just Let ‘Em Play

By Mary Chambers Our favorite sports movies often arise out of stories of hardship: the athletes who were told they couldn’t or shouldn’t play but proved everyone wrong.  All of these stories have two things in common: stellar athletes with an incredible amount of dedication and people who, at some point, saw the injustice of what was going on and did something to help them out. Someone let them play. Mary Chambers, Marketing Intern, Georgia Public Policy Foundation From the big screen we remember the African-Americans brought onto the Titans team, who were looked down upon at first.  We think of Rudy Ruettiger, seen as someone who could do nothing for Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish.  Remember Jackie Robinson, the first… View Article
By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Massively Open Online Courses (“MOOCs”) are a growing trend in higher education.  According to Educause’s “7 Things you Should Know About MOOCs,” they are simply “a model for delivering learning content online to virtually any person—with no limit on attendance—who wants to take the course.” Sometimes these courses are attached to colleges and offer credit, but often they are free to anyone who wants to “attend” and learn the content, usually at the student’s own pace.  To give just one example, Georgia Tech runs a MOOC focused on instructional technology, which currently includes 31 weeks of content, is free, and can be accessed whenever learners have the… View Article
By Eric Wearne Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Each year the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announce results for tests that make up the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  This week, results of 2009 school year science tests in grades four, eight, and 12 were announced in a report titled “Science in Action.”  This announcement was different because for the first time results include assessments of interactive computer tasks (ICTs). The results include both hands-on and interactive computer tasks.  Students have been doing hands-on activities on NAEP science tests since the 1990s. A video describing the hands-on tasks is here.  In these tasks, students receive… View Article

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