Category: Issues

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 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 funding.” In 2009,… 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  benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org (404-256-4050) Landmark Study on Georgia’s K-12 Options Unveiled at School Choice Week Event 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 Leadership Breakfast celebrating National School Choice Week. Scafidi, a professor of economics at Kennesaw State University and Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, unveiled a comprehensive, 54-page study at today’s event: “Georgia 2020: Educational Choice for All K-12 Georgia Students.” In it, he proposes a system that would enable families “to choose the schools and non-school… View Article
Metro magazine takes a comprehensive look at the game-changing ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, including Lyft and Uber, that are meeting the needs of commuters and reducing operating costs for public transportation. The article by Michaela Kwoka-Coleman, “Mobility-On-Demand: The Future of Transportation,” was posted on December 26, 2017, and can be accessed online here. It examines examples around the nation of how transit agencies are partnering with on-demand services, for first-mile/last-mile transportation, paratransit and carpools.  Public transportation ridership rates have been decreasing for years, and unless transit agencies adapt their service to embrace this innovation, they will lose even more riders. The University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies reported in October that urban ride-hailing passengers decreased… 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 benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org (404-256-4050) Georgia Public Policy Foundation to Mark National School Choice Week, Unveil Study on Georgia’s K-12 Options 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 educators. It coincides… View Article
By 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 in between.… View Article

Technology Can Trump Tough Love

By Benita M. Dodd “It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones,” Calvin Coolidge wrote in 1910 to his father, a newly elected senator in Vermont. Coolidge, an advocate of limited government, wrote those words 13 years before becoming the 30th U.S. president in 1923. More than a century later, it seems politicians still need reminding of this imperative. We wrote recently about a proposed victims’ rights constitutional amendment that has had unintended consequences.  Feel-good and tough-love approaches are especially appealing in election years. This year is no exception. Candidates and legislators often woo voters with minimal regard for the cost or consequences of their proposals. Sometimes, efforts to legislate and regulate turn ordinary… View Article

Don’t Miss the Bus on Transit

By Benita M. Dodd Most of the large-scale development in Atlanta in recent years has been near transit stations, The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. According to the narrative, corporations are being motivated to move close to MARTA stations because millennial employees prefer staying off the highways and living closer to their jobs.   Interestingly, none of these moves have resulted in improved MARTA ridership. Unlinked rail passenger trips dropped 1.16 percent in the first half of 2017 over the same period in 2016, while bus ridership dropped 3.31 percent. (An unlinked passenger trip is a trip on one transit vehicle; each transfer is counted as a separate “trip.”) This decline is not temporary. It’s a national trend, a result of lower… View Article

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation has hit another homerun with its Guide to the Issues. This is must reading for anyone interested in public policy in Georgia, and it is an outstanding road map for conservative, common sense solutions to our challengers of today and tomorrow.

Former Georgia Senate Minority Leader Chuck Clay more quotes