School Choice Score: 82%
The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program allows students with Individualized Learning Plans, whose parents are unhappy with their public school, to receive a voucher to attend private school. There is no income-eligibility, or cap on the number of vouchers that can be distributed and the scholarship is worth the full public per pupil funding. Georgia also has a relatively small tax credit program serving 13,285 students who either went to public school the previous year or are enrolling in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, or first grade. The program is capped at an annual amount of $58 million. As of 2014, only $48 million in credits have been claimed. The state also permits parents a choice among public schools, allowing students to attend any public school in the state if there is room.
Charter Schools Score: 78%
Without the addition of true independent authorizers, problems remain with districts often rejecting applications without justification. Funding continues to be a major concern especially for online charters receiving significantly less funding per pupil. Facilities funding has improved, with charters receiving per-pupil funds and the state has instituted a competitive grant program as well.
Online Learning Score: 82%
Georgia passed two landmark pieces of legislation that create a statewide online course marketplace for students and the state has a robust mix of statewide and district-run online programs. Georgia has implemented a path to personalized learning and continues to work to create a blended, yet personalized approach to learning for each student. Additionally, Georgia offers both full and part-time online courses to its students.
- Source: Digital Learning Now!
Teacher Quality Score: 82%
Student achievement and growth makes up at least 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation. Neither tenure decisions nor licensure advancement and renewal are connected to teacher effectiveness, however. Tenure is given to teachers after three years and it’s not tied to performance. When determining which teachers to lay off, the “last hired, first fired” policy is prohibited. There is bonus performance pay available as well as bonuses for high-need skills or jobs.