Clinton at Charters Conference; Deal Meets With Gates Foundation

Good morning from the 2011 National Charter Schools Conference at the World Congress Center in Atlanta.  Former President Bill Clinton will deliver the morning keynote address to some 4,000 conference attendees.  The 42nd President pushed charter schools development during his eight-year administration, increasing them from virtually none to more than 2,000.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Public Policy Foundation has learned Governor Nathan Deal, state schools Superintendent John Barge, legislators and several influential business leaders will meet with a representative from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today to discuss Georgia education reform and potentially, financial assistance for the former state commission charter schools.

Topic Number One in Georgia is the fallout from last month’s state Supreme Court decision that overturned the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.  The state is determining how many of 16 state commission schools can re-open in August, serving about 15,600 students.  Two sources have said it is unlikely that all 16 commission-approved schools will re-open in August.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has a significant education footprint, noting on its website, “The foundation has set an ambitious goal in K-12 education: to graduate all students college-ready. Currently, only a third of students graduate on-time with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed beyond high school.  Together with our partners, we are working to provide all students—especially low-income and minority students—with the opportunity to realize their full potential."

The GPPF Forum will update today and Wednesday from the Charter Schools Conference.

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