Decatur Charter School Update

11 11 2007

Decatur’s not the only Georgia school system seeking charter status.

The AJC reports on the steps taken by Decatur, Marietta, Gainesville and Webster County schools to go charter.

What differentiates the Georgia charter system from others around the country?

“[Georgia charter schools] would be unique nationally. Quite a few national folks are watching us in this process,” said Andrew Broy, state charter school director. Unlike charter school systems in Florida, he said, the Georgia emphasis would be on local school governance rather than control from a central district office.”

The article also gives some specific updates on Decatur’s pursuit of charter status.

Decatur City schools is further along [than Marietta] in the process. Board members are expected to vote Nov. 27 whether to move ahead with the city system’s petition for charter status.

Among notable goals Superintendent Phyllis Ed-wards wants her system to pursue: merit pay for teachers; academic credits for students based on knowledge, not just classroom seat time; and a move toward using national and not just state standardized tests to measure achievement.

Local community response has been positive if cautious. Parents especially have asked Edwards to give them time to understand her expectations so everyone knows what to do.

Decatur City Schools officials recently posted a second draft of their proposed charter —- totalling 86 pages —- on the system’s Web site at http://www.decatur-city.k12.ga.us.

The charter would become official only upon city school board approval. Once that approval is given, the application would go before members of the state Board of Education, with a vote expected by the state board sometime in the spring.