Commentary

Charter School Districts In Georgia

In a potentially strong form of public school choice and competition, Georgia has passed a new law allowing entire school districts to seek charter status. This law would allow districts to opt-out of work rules and credentialing mandates and state mandates like class-size reduction in exchange for fiscal and academic accountability.

A plan that could give Georgia school systems a wider range of freedom to educate students was signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue on Tuesday. The bill, which was pushed through the Legislature by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, would eventually allow school boards to apply for the same flexibility for their entire systems that are already granted to charter schools. The plan creates a pilot program in which five systems would be allowed to pursue charter status as early as next year.

Lisa Snell is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Snell has frequently testified before the California State Legislature and numerous other state legislatures and government agencies. She has authored policy studies on school finance and weighted student funding, universal preschool, school violence, charter schools, and child advocacy centers.

Snell is a frequent contributor to Reason magazine, School Reform News and Privatization Watch. Her writing has also appeared in Education Week, Edutopia, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications.

Ms. Snell is also an advisory board member to the National Quality Improvement Center for the Children's Bureau; is on the charter school accreditation team for the American Academy for Liberal Education; and serves as a board member for the California Virtual Academy.

Before joining Reason Foundation, Snell taught public speaking and argumentation courses at California State University, Fullerton. She earned a Master of Arts in communication from California State University, Fullerton.