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Georgia #4 in New Ranking of Charter School Laws

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,   - Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook       January 13, 2010  -- Georgia has the fourth best charter law in the nation when evaluating the state for its commitment to charter quality, according to a report released today by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (Alliance) entitled How State Charter Laws Rank Against The New Model Public Charter School Law.     “Georgia has long been committed to high quality charter schools and I am pleased to see that our efforts have been recognized by the Alliance,” said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox. “We will continue to implement our charter program in a way that provides quality options for parents while holding charter schools accountable for strong academic results.”     The report is the first to rank and evaluate states based on the strengths of their charter school law, including the following key indicators: quality and accountability, funding equity, facilities support, autonomy, and growth and choice. The report assesses the strengths of each state’s charter school law against the 20 essential components contained in the new model public charter school law. Grading each state law against each component – a total of 800 separate ratings – the Alliance ranks each law from strongest to weakest.     “Georgia’s law has long been cap-free and open to a wide variety of public charter school options, including new start-ups, public school conversions, and virtual schools,” said report author Todd Ziebarth, Vice President of Policy for the Alliance. “More recently, it has made several strong improvements, most notably by creating a statewide, independent authorizer and boosting facilities support. Georgia also fares particularly well on the model law’s quality and accountability components, which are critical to a high quality charter sector.”     As Georgia prepares to submit its application for the federal Race to the Top grant program, these rankings provide clear indication that Georgia is embracing policies designed to create only the highest quality charter schools.     The complete analysis can be downloaded at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools web site: . See detailed state-by-state summaries and color-coded maps of how states measure against each component at .      Georgia’s charter law was passed in 1994. There are currently 121 charter schools in the state serving 64,403 students. The 26 schools operating within charter systems were not included as part of this analysis.