by Georgia Charter Schools Association
By Leo Smith
Muhammad Ali once spoke of his boxing strategy as a flurry of different punches all working together for one goal. Georgia’s emergence as an inspiring fighter for quality education depends on the innovative punching power of public charter schools in the state’s education mix.
With the establishment of Opportunity School Districts, Governor Deal and the legislators who get behind his proposed constitutional amendment will rejuvenate the spirit, will, and capacity of schools that have suffered in both academic performance and qualitative support.
The capacity of a school to teach effectively lies not just in the availability of operating funds, but also in the ability to operate with respect to the challenges the local environment presents. Everyone agrees that the situation for the schools that would be targeted by Deal’s proposal is dire and our need to respond with non-partisan solutions is urgent.
However, Opportunity School Districts are more than just a last-ditch effort in a bout with languishing schools and failing children. These districts, localized, empowered, and fairly funded like all public educational options, can be incubators of best practices. The flexibility to address economic and social nuances like family structure differences, as well as the stress of poverty, has long been cited by sociologists and psychologists as necessary in distressed communities.
This undertaking will require detailed work and a true commitment to the underserved. As the Governor stated, “Roughly 23 percent of schools have received either a D or an F, which constitutes a failing grade, for the past three consecutive years. When the system fails, our children have little chance of succeeding.”
Like charter schools, Opportunity School District legislation is the combination punch we need for comprehensive educational reform.
Leo Smith is State Director of Minority Engagement for the Georgia GOP and a member of the Georgia Charter Schools Association Advocacy Committee.
The views and opinions expressed on CharterConfidential are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency.