Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

May 8, 2013

Charter schools, a closer look

VALDOSTA — Representatives from the Georgia Charter Schools Association greeted Valdosta citizens Tuesday evening to provide a closer look into the charter school system.  

Executive Vice President of GCSA, Andrew Lewis, and Director of Outreach, RaShaun Holliman, arrived at VSU’s Continuing Education building on North Patterson to address many questions and concerns about independent charter schools.

“We should be able to say we are doing good with these groups of students and we want the other schools to know about it,” Lewis said.

The Georgia Charter Schools Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that strives to advance education. They ensure every charter school to be free of tuition and open to the public, nonsectarian, free from regulations but are held accountable at all costs, and administer state mandated testing. However, the numerous factors that apply to an independent charter school also apply to a traditional public school, so what is the difference?

Independent charter schools give individuals the freedom to innovate, autonomy in selecting school leaders and staff, efficiently dismiss poor-performing teachers, are governed by a local, independent board, and will not be renewed if academic achievement declines.

“If a charter school is not performing, they can face closure,” Holliman said.

Holliman proceeded to discuss the formula for a successful charter school. Each organization combines flexibility, autonomy and accountability, equaling outstanding student achievement. A former public charter school principal himself, Holliman stands strongly behind this educational movement to further the well being of every child in the state of Georgia.

“The challenge is for us to up the game,” Holliman said.

The overall graduation rate in the state of Georgia is currently at 67 percent. With the option of choosing a public charter school over a traditional public school, GCSA hopes to see an increase in that percentage over the next couple of years.

“It empowers a parent to ask one question, what is the best setting for my child?” Lewis said. “The vast majority of Americans can not afford private school, which leaves us with the idea, are we satisfied with a traditional public school?”

Statistics show that during the 2011 school year,  Valdosta’s school system averaged around 54.7 percent, giving Valdosta the twelfth largest drop in the graduation rating in the state. The Lowndes County school averaged around 66.5 percent, giving Lowndes the 45th largest drop.

“Charters are not better or worse than traditional public schools. A number of charter schools are doing outstanding and then some are not,” Lewis said. “However, there is a role that charter schools can play in K12 education.”

Public charter schools play a key role in 48 out of the 50 states and are proven to be an innovative mechanism for students and their achievements. The majority of charter schools in this state are located towards the Atlanta area, including Ivy Preparatory Academy and Amana Academy, one of the higher performing academies in the state.

“Atlanta public schools are an outstanding authorizer of charter schools, despite the turmoil,” Lewis said. “I support the Atlanta public schools and how they have incorporated charter schools in the environment. I do believe the state needs to look at the areas that are most under served.”

As the meeting came to end, Lewis and Holliman encouraged citizens to ask questions regarding their charter school presentation and various concerns and opinions were addressed.

The primary concern voiced by Valdosta and Lowndes County citizens alike was the possibility of a charter school taking away the productivity and well being of students currently enrolled in the local public schools.

Other concerns included the funding for a charter school, transportation and its overall application process.

“You have an active board, it’s a rigorous process. They meet together to meet a specific need,” Lewis said. “It’s a seven member board that needs to be approved by the state board of education.”

 Lewis and Holliman closed their speech by informing the public their main goal was to show what a charter school can and can’t provide. They will continue their presentation in  Albany, Ga., and stop in Savannah and Augusta, Ga., next month.

For more information about Georgia public charter schools, visit www.gacharters.org, or call (404)-835-8900.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy College Gradu_Stew.jpg Job market for college grads better but still weak

    With college commencement ceremonies nearing, the government is offering a modest dose of good news for graduating seniors: The job market is brightening for new grads — a bit.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court TV On t_Stew.jpg Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was born in Franklin County, Pa.

    April 23, 2014

  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP520422034 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2014. There are 253 days left in the year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results