Eighteen months ago, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the state’s charter school commission, declaring that only local school districts may decide who can open schools in their communities. That decision set off a statewide debate and legislative struggle that will culminate on November 6. That’s when voters will decide whether to re-create the commission through a constitutional amendment.
Advocates and foes of Amendment 1 debate whether it’s necessary to expand educational opportunity in Georgia, or if it will duplicate existing government.
Funding for new charter schools under Amendment 1 would increase the state’s current investment in public education, but opponents wonder why that money shouldn’t be used to offset years of cuts to traditional public schools.
Georgia’s current charter schools are more likely to serve African-American students than nearby traditional public schools and less likely to serve low-income students and those with disabilities.
Charter school advocates and an increasing number of policymakers around the country argue that giving charter schools multiple routes to opening will improve education, though research that shows whether that might be true is scant.
Opponents of a state charter school commission argue that only local elected school boards should decide what schools open in a community, but charter school advocates say that constrains educational opportunity for students and families.
See an interactive maps showing the demographics of Georgia’s current charter schools compared to the demographics of nearby school districts.
See an interactive map showing how Georgia’s charter schools perform compared to their surrounding school districts.