Georgia has become the latest battleground over charter schools this week, after the state’s top court ruled on Monday that only local education boards have the power to create and fund charters. The 4-to-3 decision overturned 2008 legislation that allowed the state to create and fund “commission charter schools.” Georgia has approved 17 of these schools, nine of which have already opened their doors, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Some of these schools are now back at square one, faced with asking the local school boards that originally denied them for a charter once again.
And while research shows that charter schools aren’t necessarily more effective than public schools, they remain incredibly popular with some parents trying to provide their kids with a better education.
Rehema Ellis, NBC News’ chief education correspondent, recently visited the D.A.T.E school outside of Atlanta during its lottery drawing. She writes:
It seems unlikely that the 5,000 public charter schools with 1.7 million students are about to become the norm for the nation's 50 million public school children in almost 100,000 schools. But maybe, just maybe, the spirit that makes a parent stand-in line, fill-out forms, and do what's necessary for their child to have a chance at a good education will spread.
In that spirit, more than 400 charter supporters rallied in Georgia on Tuesday to protest the Supreme Court ruling. The state superintendent of schools, John Barge, said he would work with the state Board of Education to do whatever it takes to sustain the affected schools.
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