Officials with the Georgia Charter Schools Association visited Augusta on Monday to give their pitch as to why residents should be open to the concept of charter schools and what they can do to help launch one here.
They pointed to teachers who are innovative and care about quality education. Parents who are involved and informed. Students who receive a rigorous academic load and an array of extracurricular activities to enrich that education.
Mostly, they told the dozen in attendance for the meeting at the Augusta Public Library that charter schools are meant to offer parents another option if they are not satisfied with traditional public schools but can’t afford a private education.
“Charter schools are not a silver bullet for public education,” said Andrew Lewis, the association’s executive vice president. “Charter schools are simply one additional tool in a tool belt that needs new tools, where some old tools need to be thrown out and some tools need to be sharpened.”
Charter schools are public schools that receive state, federal and sometimes local funding, but are not controlled by local systems and have flexibility in structure, hiring practices and governance.
Debate sparked last year about the merits of these schools before Georgia voters passed Amendment 1 on the Nov. 6
ballot, which created a state committee that can approve charter schools even if a local district objects. Opponents said the schools divert money away from public systems and lack the accountability.