Georgia Voters Approve Key Amendment to Strengthen Charter Schools
Posted on Thursday November 08, 2012 |
Strong showing by legislative candidates also buoys future of educational choice in Peach State
ATLANTA, GA (November 7, 2012)—Voters in Georgia last night approved a constitutional amendment that will restore a key charter school commission, and several pro-educational choice legislative candidates were victorious in races across the state, marking a significant achievement in the fight to expand educational options for Georgia families.
Tuesday night’s victories also set the stage for school choice advocates to push for expanded options in the upcoming legislative session.
The American Federation for Children—the nation’s voice for educational choice—commended voters for passing Amendment 1, which will result in a vast expansion of the number of charter schools able to operate in the state. The Federation funded an advertisement featuring Grammy-nominated gospel singer Marvin Sapp asking voters to support charter schools, while also supporting a bipartisan slate of state House and Senate candidates who have taken principled stands to ensure every child has access to a quality school.
The Federation praised the 32 endorsed candidates who were ultimately victorious in their races, including Michael Smith (D), who won an open House seat in Cobb County replacing an opponent of educational choice. A public school teacher and supporter of private school choice for low-income families, Smith’s victory represents the growing support for school choice among legislators and citizens all across Georgia.
“Last night, the people of Georgia made their voices heard, and they’re strongly on the side of giving families in need access to the educational options they deserve,” said Kevin P. Chavous, a senior advisor to the American Federation for Children. “Whether it’s in their support for charter schools or for legislators who stand up for all options, the future of education in Georgia is brighter today as a result of their votes.”
Among the other winners in Georgia last night was Hunter Hill (R), who won unseated State Sen. Doug Stoner, an ardent opponent of educational choice. Hill, who the Federation supported through its independent committee, American Federation for Children Action Fund – Georgia Independent Committee, is a former Army Lieutenant and businessman.
Smith and Hill were two of the six candidates who the American Federation for Children Action Fund-Georgia Independent Committee actively supported with independent expenditures. Four of those six candidates won their races.
One of the most consistent leaders in the effort to expand educational choice has also been Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
“We thank Gov. Deal and the rest of the state’s legislators who have committed to putting children first,” Chavous said.
Georgia’s two publicly-funded private school choice programs in operation—a voucher program for children with special needs and a scholarship tax credit program—served more than 12,000 students last school year.
Across the country, 32 publicly-funded private school choice programs have been enacted—five of them in 2012—in 16 states and Washington, D.C. This year, it is anticipated that approximately 250,000 children will participate in these programs.