Category: Education

Drilling Down on Learning Tech and Who Pays For It

By Eric Wearne “For state and district leaders, it comes down to two decisions: what devices and who pays.”  These are always fundamental concepts surrounding the adoption and implementation of school technology.  A new paper by Digital Learning Now! attempts to address both. Eric Wearne, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation According to its website, Digital Learning Now! is “a national campaign to advance policies that will create a high quality digital learning environment to better prepare students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in college and careers.”  Convened in 2010, and currently co-chaired by former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, last week DLN released the first installment in its “Smart Series,” which… View Article

The Financial Impact of State Charter Schools

Questions and Answers about Charter Schools and the Proposed Constitutional Amendment What is the financial impact of the proposed constitutional amendment? The proposed constitutional amendment ensures state charter schools will not take local tax dollars from existing, traditional public school systems either directly or indirectly. The total funding for state charter schools will be lower than the average in all but two school systems in the state. FACT: The constitutional amendment addresses the direct use of local tax dollars by stating “no bonded indebtedness may be incurred nor a school tax levied for the support of special schools without the approval of the local board of education and a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon in each of the… View Article

How Do Public Charter Schools Impact Minorities?

Questions and Answers about Charter Schools and the Proposed Constitutional Amendment How do charter schools impact minorities? Charter schools have significantly closed the achievement gaps between minority, low-income students and wealthier, non-minority students. In fact, research shows that minorities benefit more from attending charter schools than non-minorities. As a public school, not only is it against the law for any charter school to discriminate by race or ethnicity, but charter schools in Georgia disproportionately serve minority students overall and more than two-thirds of independent startup charter schools in Georgia enroll a larger percentage of minorities than their local school system. And considering that parents must make a conscious decision to place their children in a charter school, this is clearly… View Article

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

…One of the best things about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is that it has such a broad membership base.

Dr. Wendy L. Gramm, Former Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more quotes