CHICAGO — A new report released today by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) offers a first-ever look at the trends in Georgia’s charter school pipeline—what kinds of schools are being proposed and approved across the state. The report, Georgia’s Charter School Pipeline: Insights into Proposed and Approved Schools, reveals a growing, diverse charter sector driven by the State Charter Schools Commission and freestanding schools.
“Our data shows charter schools are providing Georgia families and communities access to a tremendous variety of educational models and approaches unlike anything we see in the country,” said Greg Richmond, President and CEO of NACSA.
Charter school authorizers play a crucial role in shaping the quality and availability of charter schools throughout Georgia. In partnership with the State Board of Education, state law allows local school districts and the State Charter Schools Commission to approve and oversee charter schools.
The report examined all charter school proposals submitted to school districts and the Commission over the last five years. Key findings include:
- Georgia has a unique charter sector, rich with a variety of school models and approaches that are being proposed by independent operators. Georgia is attracting a diverse pool of charter school applicants, with STEM (35 percent) and inquiry-based (32 percent) models proposed most frequently. More than four in five charter schools (84 percent) opened over the past five years are unaffiliated with a charter school network of any kind, the highest proportion in any state included in NACSA’s national analysis.
- Georgia’s charter school growth is increasingly being driven by the State Charter Schools Commission not by its school districts. Over the past five years, three out of every four new charter schools in the state (72 percent) were approved by the commission. In 2013-14, 43 percent of all new charter schools were approved by school districts, but by 2017-18 no new charter schools were approved by school districts.
- Very few applicants identified support from an incubator or philanthropy, but those that did had higher approval rates. For instance, just 11 percent of proposals named the support of an incubator, but those that did had an approval rate of 67 percent. Similarly, 12 percent of proposals named support from a philanthropy, and of those 85 percent were approved.
The report is the first local analysis of data collected for NACSA’s national report, Reinvigorating the Pipeline: Insights into Proposed and Approved Charter Schools. Working with Public Impact, NACSA collected and analyzed nearly 3,000 charter school applications submitted to authorizers between 2013-14 and 2017-18, located in 20 states, that oversee nearly two-thirds of all charter schools nationally.
Read more at www.qualitycharters.org/research/pipeline/georgia
WHY AUTHORIZING MATTERS
Charter schools don’t just pop up in a community. Behind every charter school is an authorizer. An authorizer’s core responsibilities—approving new schools, monitoring performance, and closing failing schools—determine the overall quality of charter schools in a community. When done well, authorizing is a catalyst for charter school quality and growth. Unfortunately, the quality of charter laws and authorizing institutions varies across the country, which has led to uneven charter school quality and availability. Find out more about how good authorizing leads to great charter schools at www.authorizingmatters.org.
The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) is an independent voice for effective charter school policy and thoughtful charter authorizing practices that lead to more great public schools. Our research, policy, and consultation work advances excellence and accountability in the sector. With authorizers and other partners, we have built the gold standard for authorizing. Through smart charter school growth, these authorizers give hundreds of thousands of children an opportunity for a better education each year.