A recent Atlanta Journal Constitution article quoted comments made by Governor Nathan Deal at an event held with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Governor Deal said that he wants lawmakers to study a plan for a statewide school district that could significantly increase the number of charter schools in Georgia. Louisiana pioneered just such a program in 2003 that created the state-run Recovery School District. Now, more than 90% of students in New Orleans are in charter schools.
Under the Louisiana system, the state can intervene in schools deemed “academically unacceptable” for four or more consecutive years. Louisiana’s law allows the state board of education to take over failing public schools or to provide others to do so. It also authorizes the board to receive, control and spend the state and local per pupil share of the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) for these schools. The MFP is the formula that determines the cost to educate students and determines state and local funding contributions to each district.
Louisiana charter schools now serve 59,251 students. “There are too many kids in American who are trapped in failing schools,” said Jindal. “And charter schools are simply one more way to give those parents and children another option.”
State rankings show that New Orleans schools rose from next-to-last in the state to the middle of the pack after Hurricane Katrina transformed that school system into a predominantly charter system.
Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said the governor is not tied to any specific proposal, but that he wants legislators to study the Louisiana plan as a way to boost failing schools.