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Monday, December 27, 2010

More Virtual Charter Schools opening in Georgia for the 2011 school year

Parents will have four virtual charter schools to choose from come fall 2011. (photo by Judy Baxter via flickr)
The Georgia Charter School Commission recently approved the first K through 12 virtual charter school in the state.

It also raised the amount of money cyber charter schools get per child… from $3,200 to $5,800.

Renee Lord is president of the Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education.

"It will mean that our students in virtual schools will have access to complete education just like our brick and mortar counterparts have. They’ll have foreign language, art and music classes and more electives."

Right now, there’s just one virtual charter up and running in the state. It serves 6,600 kids grades K through 9. It will likely get the commission’s approval to expand that to 12th grade next year.

And with the additional funding, two other charters that passed last year will now be able to open, says Lord. That will mean four virtual charter schools for parents to choose from come fall 2011.

But the research on how well these schools perform compared to their brick and mortar counterparts is inconclusive says Georgia State University professor Caitlyn Dooley.

And the education model is changing. She says where before students might just interact with their teacher…

“Nowadays what they’ve done to improve retention and really build learning communities is they have more peer to peer support as well as teacher to student support.”

Dooley says Georgia is still fairly new at this type of schooling. Some states have dozens of virtual school options in public education.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Perdue Says Race No Issue In CRCT Investigation

By Susanna Capelouto


An investigation in possible cheating on the CRCT continues as racial bias is raised by black clergy in Atlanta (photo: GPB stock)
Governor Perdue today answered a charge by a group of black Atlanta pastors that the State’s investigation into cheating on the CRCT is a "witch hunt" against black teachers. The clergy is protesting possible criminal charges against educators.

Fulton County’s District Attorney, Paul Howard, said he will seek criminal prosecutions if warranted in the cheating allegations at some Atlanta public schools.

The Group called Concerned Black Clergy said the allegations unfairly target African-American teachers.

Governor Perdue says that’s not the case.

“We’re not out to criminalize any educator as long as they cooperate and are forthcoming with their testimony, and I believe the black clergy will find that out at the end of the day," Perdue said.

He said doesn’t know the ethnicity of any of the teachers, but that the students effected by the scandal are mostly African American.

“I’m more concerned about the children who are being cheated by being promoted without true education taking place.”

Perdue says he’s heard of cases where teacher’s jobs were threatened by administrators, if they did not change test results.

By Susanna Capelouto

Michelle DeShields, M.ED