Education Information: Useful Data or Data Overload?

By Cindy Morley Investigative Journalist for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation Many agree that parents make the best decisions about their child’s education when they have reliable data: information they can use to compare the quality of school instruction, school climate, class sizes and more. So what do parents really need to know about school performance to make the right decisions? While education experts disagree on exactly what information to make available to parents and family members, they all agree the key to making the right decisions for their children … Continue Reading →

Foundation Welcomes Georgia Legislature’s Protection of Learning Pods

March 31, 2021 Atlanta — Parents of school-age children can breathe easier after the Georgia General Assembly approved the Learning Pods Protection Act, Georgia Public Policy Foundation President and CEO Kyle Wingfield said today. Parents needed the certainty that learning pods would be protected from overregulation, Wingfield said. “Remote learning, for one reason or another, is here to stay,” Wingfield said, “and some public school districts have already announced they will offer it as a full-time option in the fall. But we also saw earlier this month that, with severe … Continue Reading →

Four Reasons Georgia Needs to Protect Learning Pods

Learning pods aren’t new, but they’ve had a surge in popularity and interest during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this visibility has already put learning pods at risk from burdensome overregulation in some states and districts. Georgia should instead protect learning pods from government interference. Parents deserve peace of mind. By protecting learning pods, parents can rest assured that their voluntary choice to work with other parents to create group educational activities will not trigger unmanageable regulatory burdens on their households and children. Parents want pods A recent survey noted that … Continue Reading →

Three Big Reasons to Protect Learning Pods in Georgia

Learning pods aren’t new, but their popularity during COVID-19 has brought them to the forefront in childhood education. Regulators in some states and districts are using this new visibility to try to burden parents and students with new regulations on a model that works for them. Here’s three big reasons why now is the time to protect pods.

Doing Your Homework on Education Options

The appropriate use of public funds should be a priority for policymakers. But those who object to legislation to provide more education options for Georgia’s children, on the premise that these bills will result in misspent public funds, should do a bit more homework. The example always cited is Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program. A state audit of that program in the 2018 fiscal year found more than $700,000 in funds were misspent by participating parents. That dollar figure not only gets thrown around as if it’s the inevitable … Continue Reading →

Where Have All The Children Gone?

Part II: Tracking Truants and Absentees in Georgia Schools By Cindy Morley Investigative Journalist for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation Read part 1 of our investigation into Georgia’s missing schoolchildren. Absenteeism has long been a concern of educators and others who spend their days working with schoolchildren. For decades, officials have searched for ways to address chronic absenteeism. COVID-19 and the transition to online learning have intensified the challenge. Nationally, studies show, student absences have doubled during the pandemic, whether in fully remote schools, in-person learning, or hybrid learning environments. … Continue Reading →

Recognizing the Truth About Education Options

Georgia’s lawmakers have another opportunity to help thousands of children find the best education for their own unique needs. Rep. Wes Cantrell, a Republican from Woodstock, has proposed allowing state education dollars to follow a limited number of students to the education of their choice. Detractors will raise numerous objections, mostly about money. In seven years of following this debate, I’ve heard it all – and written about how those objections are wrongheaded. But here’s one basic claim I’ve never heard from opponents: “Every single child in our entire state … Continue Reading →

Busting 3 School Choice Myths

All families deserve the opportunity to choose the education that works best for their children. But there’s lots of myth and misrepresentation when it comes to education options. Many myths in the school choice debate crumble under the slightest bit of scrutiny. Here are three popular ones:  MYTH: School choice siphons money away from public schools. FACT: School choice returns money to the hands of students and their families. Families still have the option to take those dollars back to the same district-run public school if they want. If the … Continue Reading →

The Misleading Rhetoric Against ESAs

By Kyle Wingfield The pandemic has forced a lot of Georgia families to rethink the education of their children. Public-school enrollment this fall was about 36,000 lower than the year before, and that’s after the gains among public charter schools that offset some of the losses. Private schools and homeschooling have also become more appealing. It’s no wonder, then, that interest in expanding education options is likewise higher. Nor is it surprising that opponents are rounding up the usual excuses to try to prevent more families from gaining options. Around … Continue Reading →

It’s School Choice Week: Embrace More Education Options

National School Choice Week is January 24-30, and there’s an air of optimism among advocates of education options for children, across the nation and here in Georgia. Now is the time to promote school choice: Many families are learning – the hard way, unfortunately – that being at the mercy of education bureaucrats is much like being a puppet on a string. Schools open. Schools close. Schools offer hybrid learning options and remote options and change schedules at whim. Teachers and staff are paid, no matter what, but the upheaval … Continue Reading →

Six Ways Education Options Benefit Georgia’s Children

  Increasing education options for families empowers parents to choose an educational setting that works best for their children, and the logic goes beyond dollars and cents. Here are six real ways that increasing options benefit Georgia families.   Staying in school Students in public charter schools were 8% more likely to stay in college for two consecutive semesters and were 2% more likely to complete their degree or certificate. Higher Graduation Rates Access to an Education Scholarship Account could mean up to 15,000 more Georgians earn their high school … Continue Reading →

Where Have All the Children Gone?

By Chris Butler and Cindy Morley Investigative Journalists for The Georgia Public Policy Foundation For concerned parents and, by extension, Georgia taxpayers, the precise number of students attending the state’s public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic should matter a great deal: Those numbers impact the state budget.  Some parents choose to bypass Georgia’s traditional public schools in favor of alternative methods of education, including public charter schools, private schools and homeschooling. The COVID-19 pandemic, which began its U.S. spread early in 2020, has added to those numbers.  Tracking those students, … Continue Reading →

Study Shows Long-term Benefits in Georgia Education Scholarship Accounts

Education savings accounts could increase Georgia’s graduation rates and workers’ lifetime earnings as well as reduce crime and its related costs, according to a study released today by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. During the pandemic, while private schools and public charter schools have offered in-person learning, many traditional public schools have been fighting for the opposite, notes researcher Corey DeAngelis in his study, “Funding Students Instead of Institutions: The Economic Impacts of Universal Education Savings Accounts in Georgia.” Education savings accounts, also known as education scholarship accounts or ESAs, … Continue Reading →

Funding Students Instead of Institutions

The Economic Impacts of Universal Education Savings Accounts in Georgia Download the Study Here Executive Summary The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the massive power imbalance in K-12 public education in Georgia. Private businesses, including private schools and daycares, have already opened, or are fighting to reopen. Many public schools have been fighting for the opposite. A nationwide survey also found that private schools and public charter schools generally adapted better to remote learning than district-run public schools in the spring of 2020. A primary difference is one … Continue Reading →

AJC Publishes Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi’s Study Citing Benefits of Ga. Tax Credit Scholarships

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s November 30, 2020, edition published an op-ed by Georgia Public Policy Foundation Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi and Heidi Holmes Erickson that highlighted the benefits of Georgia’s Tax Credit Scholarship program to taxpayers and students. The op-ed can be read in its entirety below; access it on the newspaper’s website here. OPINION: Private school scholarships are win for students and taxpayers By Heidi Holmes Erickson and Benjamin Scafidi Georgia’s tax credit scholarship program provides substantial net savings to Georgia taxpayers as well as higher educational attainment among scholarship … Continue Reading →

Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones on Education: ‘One Size Does Not Fit All’

By Jan Jones I participated in a Georgia Public Policy Foundation virtual panel on July 21 to discuss what changes might come about in K-12 education during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. We are in the midst of a stunning and changing time. This includes school systems, teachers and parents preparing for the fall term when Georgia’s children will return to learning, a lot in an online format. My role as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Georgia House of Representatives puts me in different communities across our state. I’ve observed … Continue Reading →


Friday Facts: October 18, 2019

It’s Friday! Events November 15: The agenda is online for the 2019 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, which features nearly two dozen policy experts and leaders on issues affecting Georgia: education, healthcare, opportunity, regulation and transportation. Registration is $100 for the daylong event on Friday, November 15, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly. The theme: “Wisdom, Justice, Mobility.” Read about it here; register here. Quotes of note  “Retirement affords reflection. … I have had time to explore much of Georgia that the demands of a work life wouldn’t allow. I have seen … Continue Reading →