Georgia’s Plan for Education Reform
Georgia's 2012 Legislative session ended with three big wins for Georgia students: the end of LIFO which will save great Georgia teachers, the Charter School Constitutional Amendment which will provide parents with more quality school options, and school report cards which will allow parents to make the best choices about their children’s education.
When teacher layoffs are necessary, the best teachers should be protected. Layoffs should be based on performance, not on seniority.
Prior to 2012, Georgia state law mandated that when teacher layoffs were necessary, they be based solely on seniority with no regard for teacher effectiveness. This outdated and bureaucratic practice known as "last in, first out" (LIFO) meant that the last teacher hired had to be the first teacher let go, regardless of the teacher's performance in the classroom. This made no sense. We should always keep our best teachers in the classroom.
The Georgia legislature passed a bill to end LIFO and to mandate that when teacher layoffs are necessary, the decision of who will be let go will be based on teacher effectiveness.
Parents deserve multiple quality school options, include public charter schools.
Every parent deserves multiple quality school options, including charter schools so they can pick the school that best fits the needs of their children.
Charter schools are public schools and are open to all students in the district. Charter schools operate independently from the traditional school district. Because of this, they have the flexibility to implement innovative programs to meet the needs of their students, like having longer school days. Public charters can serve as quality public school options in communities where the traditional schools are persistently failing our kids.
Not only is it important to allow charter schools, but it is also important to have an independent entity to approve petitions for new public charter schools, to make sure public schools don't get tied up in politics. In most instances, local school boards can play this role and approval local public charter schools. But in order for families in every community to have access to quality public charter schools, there must be an entity outside of the district school board that can grant approvals, in case politics get in the way.
The Georgia legislature passed the Charter School Constitutional Amendment which allows the Georgia Charter Schools Commission to continue to authorize community petitions to start new charter schools. The measure will now be placed on the ballot in November for voters to approve.
Parents deserve meaningful and usable information about the quality of their children’s schools and should be able to compare schools across their communities.
The Georgia legislature passed a bill which mandates that the Office of Student Achievement provide parents with report cards about the performance of their children's schools. The report cards will have a numerical academic score on a scale of 1 to 100 -- taking into account student achievement, annual student progress, and achievement gap closure -- so parents can easily see how their children's schools compare with others and can make informed decisions about their children's education.