2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 82%
Georgia’s Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit, a tax-credit scholarship program, was enacted in 2008 to help prior public school students access schools that best fit their needs.
The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program is a voucher program enacted in 2007 to serve students with special needs access specialized schools.
Charter Schools Score: 75%
Georgia earns a C in the Center for Education Reform’s new charter school law rankings. Georgia has no charter cap and fairly substantive operational funding. However, the law provides charters no blanket waiver from regulations that hamper districts and the sector is hindered by a lack of independent authorizers. Large funding disparities also adversely impact charter school quality and growth.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed: 1993
- Number of Charters: 105
- Estimated Charter School Enrollment: 84,400 (2 percent increase from 2015-16)
- Georgia does not cap the number of charter schools
- Virtual Charter Schools are allowed
- Charter Schools can contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes
- A study by the university of Arkansas found that there was a 12 percent funding disparity between charter schools in Atlanta and traditional public schools. The study also concluded that this discrepancy was largely based on the number of special education students enrolled in Atlanta charter schools.
- Georgia scores 6 out of 15 for “authorizing.” This is because Georgia has three entities who can authorize charter schools: local school boards, the State Board of Education, and the State Charter Schools Commission. Having multiple authorizers provides for an innovative and diverse charter sector. School boards (districts) have proven in most states to be ineffective authorizers, often subjecting charters to the same regulations as district schools. Georgia’s State Charter School Commission has also earned a reputation for making politically motivated decisions that adversely impact charters; it’s independence as an authorizer is in dispute. For these reasons, Georgia’s score in this category was affected.
- Georgia’s law does not cap the number of charter schools that can be authorized in the state. However, there has been a significant drop of the number of charter schools in recent years, suggesting that the states is not motivated to expand the sector in response to demand.
- Georgia earns 11 out of 20 points for “operations” because the law grants blanket waivers from most state and local regulations that apply to traditional public schools. While state sponsored charter schools are their own local education agencies and have a fair amount of autonomy, district-sponsored charter schools are heavily regulated. This lack of autonomy makes the charters behave similar to district schools. Additionally, the law requires charter school teachers to receive traditional certification. This undermines the autonomy of charter school operators to assemble the staffs that are right for their schools.
Georgia earns 5 out of 15 points for “funding equity.” The law states that charter schools should be treated “no less favorably” than conventional district schools with regard to funding for instruction, administration, transportation and food services. However, school districts negotiate funding with locally approved charter schools, resulting in inequities. Further, state-chartered special schools receive only state and federal funds, and cannot draw from a local tax base. All authorizers may deduct up to three percent of charter funding for administrative fees. Additionally, charter schools do not receive any per-pupil facilities funding, resulting in further inequities.
Teacher Quality Score: 82%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C+
Expanding the Pool of Teachers B-
Identifying Effective Teachers C+
Retaining Effective Teachers C+
Exiting Ineffective Teachers B