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October/November 2016

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Charter Schools Are Not Created Equal

Charter districts and many individual, locally approved charter schools in Georgia are sanctioned by local school boards. State charter schools, however, were approved by the state after being rejected by their local community.

Other Charter School Facts • Some charter schools perform very well; others do not. • Georgia’s traditional public schools outperform state charter schools. • Many state charter schools, and some local ones, are managed by private companies — and there’s mounting evidence that public education funds are diverted to these private concerns.

The Opportunity School District Connection • OSD takeover schools would be subject to becoming state charter schools operated by private firms. • Local taxes would fund OSD schools, yet they would be controlled by the OSD superintendent rather than the local community.

Rules Regarding Sick Leave | ‘A PAGE Turning Event’ Breaks Records


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Contents

October/November 2016

Vol. 38 No. 2

Feature

06  Charter Schools and the OSD

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• Charter Schools in Georgia: How They Measure Up • The Business of Charter Schooling • Charter Management Companies Profit From School Property and Facilities • With Amendment 1, the State Is Saying ‘Step Aside Taxpayers. We Know Best.’

Columns

Departments

4  From the President Amendment 1 Passage Would Silence Citizens and Privatize Schools 5  From the Executive Director All Charter Schools Are Not Created Equal

Professional Learning 22  New Principal and Teacher Leadership Cohort Gets Underway Legal 24  The Absent Educator: Rules Regarding Sick Leave

News and Information 30  Districts and Prep Programs Collaborate to Get New Teachers Up to Speed 32  PAGE STAR Region Winner Honored

Foundation News 26 Record-Breaking Attendance at ‘A PAGE Turning Event’ 28  PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees Annual Meeting

22

30

31  2016 PAGE Foundation Scholarship Recipients

PAGE One Official Publication of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators Providing professional learning for educators to enhance professional competence, confidence and leadership skills, leading to higher academic achievement for students, while providing the best in membership, legal services and legislative support. October/November 2016

EDITORIAL STAFF

NEW SOUTH PUBLISHING

Editor Craig Harper

President Larry Lebovitz

Graphic Designer Jack Simonetta

Associate Editor Meg Thornton

Publisher John Hanna

Production Coordinator Megan Willis

Contributing Editor Lynn Varner

Editor Lindsay Penticuff

Advertising/Sales Sherry Gasaway 770-650-1102, ext.145

Associate Editor Megan Thornton

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From the President

Amendment 1 Passage Would Silence Citizens and Privatize Schools Amy Denty

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n Nov. 8, Georgians will vote on whether the state constitution should be amended to allow the governor to take over schools that have scored 60 or below for three consecutive years on Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). The ballot will ask: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order The very name to improve student performance?” ‘Opportunity School To most people, those words innocuous. Who wouldn’t District’ is odd. sound want chronically failing schools to It indicates that a receive intervention to boost stupackaged plan for dent performance? Unfortunately, the wolf often comes to our doors improving schools is as in sheep’s clothing, and that is simple as appointing exactly what is happening here. First of all, the Georgia a new superintendent Department of Education (GaDOE) from far away who is is already authorized to step in to accountable only to the assist struggling schools. Perhaps we need to evaluate the GaDOE’s efforts governor rather than to in that regard. Do we really need to the local population. create a top-down bureaucracy that will rob communities of their voice and allow the state to convert struggling schools into charters run by corporations incentivized to make money and/or pay high executive salaries? I’ve reflected on the Opportunity School District proposal a lot over the past year. The

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very name is odd. It indicates that a packaged plan for improving schools is as simple as appointing a new superintendent from far away who is accountable only to the governor cloistered under the Gold Dome rather than to the local population. How can we prevent the passage of this proposed constitutional amendment? Let your voice be heard. Let friends, neighbors and the person sitting next to you at the high school football game know what this proposed amendment really means. Learn about Georgia’s CCRPI and understand how it has changed every single year since its inception. The very score with which the governor wants to label our schools, students and teachers is a moving target. Even with the moving target of CCRPI, student achievement has improved greatly at many of the schools targeted for takeover. Find those schools in your geographic area and communicate collaboratively with them regarding how they are moving students in an upward trajectory. Let’s learn from and support one another. One of my favorite quotes is by motivational guru Zig Ziglar: “The real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the job.” Educators who truly know their students and are prepared, supportive and supported offer Georgia students the very best opportunities for success. Encourage members of your community to vote “No” on Amendment 1 this Nov. 8. n

October/November 2016


From the Executive Director

All Charter Schools Are Not Created Equal

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he fight to maintain local control of public schools and defeat the state takeover amendment that would create the Opportunity School District (OSD) involves, in part, our concern about some types of charter schools in Georgia. Because PAGE and our members fought so valiantly against the amendment creating the State Charter Schools Commission in 2012, we are often viewed as anti-charter and pro status-quo. Nothing could be further from the truth. PAGE champions innovation and what works for local public schools as determined by people in their own communities. What PAGE does not support are charter management companies that use capital assets paid for with tax dollars to make money at the expense of students and communities. The OSD would allow an Atlanta-based superintendent — appointed at the sole discretion of the governor — to choose charter companies, including for-profit entities, to manage schools taken over from local boards of education and placed into the state school district. Georgia’s OSD model relies heavily on the ability to transform takeover schools into charter schools, including those run by private corporations. A July 2015 grant proposal from the Georgia Department of

While PAGE supports locally approved charter schools, PAGE does not support charter management companies that use capital assets paid for with tax dollars to make money at the expense of students and communities.

October/November 2016

Education to the federal education department shows that it “anticipates a steady increase in charter schools with a large increase in the number of charter schools in the third grant year due to the creation Dr. Allene Magill of the Opportunity School District.” If charter schools were a silver-bullet solution to closing student achievement nection will be even more devastated when gaps, Georgians would embrace them they grasp the reality a few years into the wholeheartedly. However, research shows schooling of their children. that charter schools are not inherently more Let’s defeat Amendment 1 by voting “No” successful than traditional schools (see page Nov. 8. And then let’s commit to the hard 11). And, similarly designed efforts in other work of holding our legislature accountable states have failed to fulfill their promises. for funding schools while we work hard in Once in charge of a struggling school classrooms, schools, districts and communi— especially one in which nearly all stuties to help all students achieve. n dents are impoverished — charter operators find out quickly what seasoned educators understand from long experience: Improving student achievement doesn’t just “happen” because you work hard and have high expectations. There is so much more The term “charter school” is confusto making a lasting difference in the ing because several types of charter life of a child. Experienced educators, schools operate in Georgia. Some chartherefore, know better than to make ter schools are approved — and heartily unsubstantiated claims and promises embraced — by local school boards. of excellence and rapid increases in Charter districts, for example, fall into this category, as do many individual charstudent achievement. Local public ter schools throughout Georgia. State schools, administrators and boards of charter schools, however, are not sanceducation are tasked with the difficult tioned by the local school board. Instead, work today, tomorrow and forever. A they were approved by the State Board charter management company can of Education after being denied approval afford to make such claims because it by the local community. The OSD takeover schools would be subject to becomhas no real investment in the commuing state charter schools. nity. When reality falls far short of the To help clarify the important distinctions charter hype after three to five years, among different types of charter schools operators have already realized their and how they operate in Georgia, please goal of pocketing the management read this month’s cover story package, fees and revenues squeezed out of the which includes descriptions as well as local school board. charts of performance data. PAGE appreciates the Georgia When the connection with a comDepartment of Education in assisting munity is transactional vs. relational, with data for our report and the State it’s hard to build trust and commitCharter Schools Commission for sharing ment. And communities that believe their expertise. they’re engaged in a relational con-

Some Charter Schools Are Approved Locally; Others Are Not

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he term “charter school” is confusing because it is used broadly, but there are important differences among the types of charter schools in Georgia: A charter school is a publicly funded public school that operates under contract with a local board of education and/or the State Board of Education. It is exempt from some state and local rules in exchange for expected gains in student achievement. A local charter school is authorized by a local board of education (and approved by the State Board of Education). Georgia has about 115 non-system charter schools with more than 325,000 students, nearly 20 percent of the state’s public school enrollment. Some were converted from traditional public schools, but most are start-up charter schools. A state-chartered special school is authorized by the State Board of Education after having been denied by the local school district. There are 26 state-chartered schools in Georgia, three of which are state or region-wide virtual/online schools. These schools are governed by the State Charter Schools

Commission. If Amendment 1 passes on Nov. 8, Opportunity School District schools converted to charter schools would be state-chartered schools. A charter system is a school district that operates under a charter agreement with the State Board of Education. Georgia has 32 charter systems with a combined 326 schools. These schools account for 65 percent of all charter schools in Georgia. Knowing the difference between a local charter school and a state-chartered school is important because the former denotes a school approved by its local community and the later denotes a school approved only by the state. On the following pages, you will learn that state-chartered schools are controversial. For one, student achievement gains in these schools are lacking (see page 11). Furthermore, if voters approve Amendment 1 Nov. 8, many of the schools that will fall under the control of the governor-appointed superintendent of the Opportunity School District are expected to be converted into charter schools operated by private

Charter Schools and the OSD

What you must know: It matters whether a charter school is locally approved vs. state approved, and if a private company is brought in to operate a school By Christine Van Dusen and Meg Thornton

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he traditional definition of the term “charter school” seems simple enough, referring to a school that gets government funding but operates independently of its public system. But in reality, the concept of charter schools is far more complicated than that, and in Georgia it’s a high-stakes issue. That’s because on Nov. 8, voters will decide whether to create an Opportunity School District (OSD). The passage of Amendment 1 would grant the governor sweeping powers to take over up to 100 failing schools throughout Georgia. A governor–appointed OSD superintendent would be in charge of takeover schools, and the districts of those schools would have to turn over control of local and state education tax dollars, as well as 6  PAGE ONE

school resources and facilities. Schools would then be reconstituted, turned over to private charter operators or closed. In short, the Opportunity School District would have significant repercussions for taxpayers, educators, districts, parents and students in Georgia. The goal, as stated by Gov. Nathan Deal’s office, is to “authorize the state to temporarily step in to assist chronically failing public schools,” which are defined as those scoring below 60 on the Georgia Department of Education’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), “and rescue children languishing in them.” The OSD would take control of up to 20 schools a year throughout Georgia and up to 100 schools at a time. Schools would return

to local control in five to 10 years. Though charter schools got their humble start in the late 1980s as public school incubators to develop innovative approaches to education, they have since evolved into a complicated and controversial construct, with more than 6 million schools nationwide. In Georgia, there are about 100 freestanding, nonsystem local charter schools authorized by district boards of education. In addition, there are 32 charter systems that house 326 schools. Finally, there are 26 state-chartered special schools that were authorized by the State Board of Education after local boards of education denied their approval. If Amendment 1 passes, the OSD schools would be statechartered schools. October/November 2016


entities. Local citizens risk losing the authority of their locally elected school board as well as control of how local education tax dollars are spent.

Private Management of Schools Raises Concerns Local and state charter schools are self-governed by a nonprofit board of directors operating independently of the local school district. These governing boards can either directly manage the schools and hire school leadership and staff, or they can contract with a private management firm to handle school operations. For-profit school management companies are called education management organizations (EMO). Nonprofit versions are often called charter management organizations (CMO). The use of the private entities raises the question of whether those firms put investors’ needs ahead of their students’. There is mounting evidence that EMOs, and to some extent CMOs, divert public education funds to private individuals and corporations (see page 19).

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lthough all charter schools in Georgia must follow state education guidelines, there’s no consistent model that every charter school follows, so oversight, approach and management can vary widely. “When you talk about charter schools it’s helpful to remember that you’re not talking about one thing; you’re talking about many different things,” says Matthew Welch, an educational researcher with the American Institutes for Research. “Why this is so big and difficult, in part, is because when people go to compare charter schools, they’re talking about a variety of different organizations that don’t always have a lot in common.” Dr. Bonnie Holliday, executive director of the State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC), adds that “Each authorizer is October/November 2016

responsible for evaluating the merits of the charter schools it oversees. As a result, there is some variation in standards from one authorizer to the next.” And with charter schools increasingly hiring outside management firms, they have become big business. Unlike in health care, energy and other areas of the economy that have moved from public to private hands, K-12 education has remained largely out of the control of investors — until recently. The U.S Department of Education estimates the 2016 market size of K-12 education at $584 billion, and much of that money is spent in the public sector. “It’s really the last honeypot for Wall Street,” Donald Cohen, executive director of In the Public Interest, a think tank that tracks privatiza-

tion, told The Nation magazine in 2014. A for-profit education management organization is called an EMO, while a nonprofit charter management organization is called a CMO. “The services provided by both nonprofit and for-profit operators are often very similar,” Holliday says. “These services range from ‘a la carte’ type supports, like HR and back office, to the full-service suite of academic programming, curricular models, staff recruitment, financial management, data management and more.” Opponents of the OSD’s charter option are concerned that education management companies are often more motivated by profit than by student success. Critics also point to recent data showing that only one Continued on page 8 PAGE ONE  7


Opponents of the OSD’s charter option are concerned that education management companies are often more motivated by profit than by student success. Critics also point to recent data showing that only one of the 26 state-chartered schools — Pataula Charter Academy in Edison — outperformed its comparison district, as measured by overall CCRPI single scores.

of the 26 state-chartered schools — Pataula Charter Academy in Edison — outperformed its comparison district, as measured by overall CCRPI single scores. “It’s absolutely not a magic bullet,” says Katrina Buckley, professor of educational leadership at Montclair University in New Jersey. “Simply creating a charter is not going to make it better.”

Autonomy Can Lead to Trouble

According to Holliday, high-quality charter school authorizers “have transparent expectations for both new applicants and existing schools.” Still, the autonomy and power granted to charter schools can lead to trouble, as was the case this year at Atlanta’s Latin Academy Charter School. Though the school’s academic performance was solid and the board of directors was composed of highly accomplished business executives, there was little scrutiny given to its finances: The founder was charged with stealing more than $600,000 in taxpayer dollars meant for the school. It can also take years to shut down a failing school, and once a school is closed, students must be reintegrated into district schools. One of many examples is Intown Charter Academy in Atlanta, which last year was shuttered in its fifth year of operation after four consecutive years of failing scores. If Amendment 1 passes Nov. 8, the OSD superintendent, along with school governing boards hand-picked by the OSD superintendent, may select from a pool of State Charter Schools 8  PAGE ONE

The U.S Department of Education estimates the 2016 market size of K-12 education at $584 billion, and much of that money is spent in the public sector. “It’s really the last honeypot for Wall Street,” Donald Cohen, the executive director of In the Public Interest, a think tank that tracks privatization, told The Nation magazine in 2014.

Commission-approved vendors and argument, spokesperson Alyssa Botts consultants — such as nonprofit or forof Georgia Leads — the state’s advocacy profit charter management operators or group for the OSD initiative — says that consultants specializing in something any management company hired by the like financial management or legal comstate would have contracts that include pliance — to work with the schools. “appropriate termination provisions, “This is where it gets interesting,” says reasonable fee schedules, clearly outlined Preston Howard, operations administraservices and deliverables. The OSD will tor for Marietta City Schools, a Georgia follow the same guidelines as all other Charter System and a member of the Georgia public schools when contracting Georgia’s Charter Advisory Committee with education service providers.” that reviews charter petitions and advises the State Board of Education. nother issue, Howard says, has to “Given the low-level academic perfordo with the legislation’s requiremance of SCSC schools, one questions ment that a local board of education the wisdom of using charters as a turn“cooperate fully” with the charter school around model. I believe the reason is to to make available services like special increase the number of charter schools education and transportation. “The authorized in the state and to provide an incentive for outside educational management Open Enrollment, organizations to come into the Performance Assessment state and set up shop.” Currently, “there is no incenAs public schools, charter schools tive for these outside organizareceive public funding and cannot tions to come into Georgia charge tuition. The schools must have because there is not enough open enrollment, so they cannot require money on the table,” he adds. students to pass a test or have a certain “Given the level of funding prograde point average, and they must vided to charter schools, orgaserve all student populations, including students with disabilities and English nizations cannot make enough language learners. Enrollment preference money to come in and run a is given to students who live within the single school or a few schools. attendance zone. However, with the approval of Charter schools participate in the same the OSD, charter companies statewide assessments and accountability will be able to bid on several measures as traditional public schools. The schools, and that will make school’s governing board is responsible for their entry into the state finanmonitoring academic performance. cially viable.” When presented with this

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‘Given the level of funding provided to charter schools, organizations cannot make enough money to come in and run a single school or a few schools. However, with the approval of the OSD, charter companies will be able to bid on several schools, and that will make their entry into the state financially viable.’ ‘Given the low-level academic performance of SCSC schools, one questions the wisdom of using charters as a turn-around model. I believe the reason is to increase the number of charter schools authorized in the state and to provide an incentive for outside educational management organizations to come into the state and set up shop.’ – Preston Howard, Marietta City Schools Operations Administrator and Member of the Georgia Charter Advisory Committee

state provides less than 10 percent of the cost of transporting students and most districts are organized in a manner to stretch their dollars and provide services to all constituents,” he says. “If the OSD wants to have a different bell schedule, extended day and field trips, according to the legislation, the district must provide those services. Though the legislation provides for purchasing those services at a reasonable cost, who determines what is reasonable and what is the response if those services impact the district’s requirement to serve the rest of its students?” Botts says the school can choose to purchase services from either the OSD, the local education authority or another provider of routine student support and operational services. “The schools will be required to purchase testing administration services and student information system services from the OSD or the education service provider,” she says. “The [local education authority] will be required to cooperate fully with the school, whether under the control of the OSD or a charter school governing board.” Howard also believes that the OSD would give a single school or set of schools the opportunity to “take resources from a district to provide needed services to students and claim success in turning the school around. Those services are a finite resource within a district October/November 2016

and must be allocated across the district in some semblance of equity. The law, if passed, will establish a priority for those resources to go to OSD schools, and the subtraction of those resources from the district may mean fewer resources to the other schools in the district. That is how the governor can claim that there is not a need for additional funding and this is also how the EMOs/CMOs will be encouraged to enter the state, because they will have to spend fewer dollars on auxiliary services, thereby increasing their profit margin.” Botts disagrees, asserting that highperforming schools in Georgia will not see existing funds diverted to fund schools in the OSD. “Rather, the local,

state and federal dollars allocated to a school district with failing schools will simply follow the child within that school district,” she says. “No more than 3 percent of the funds directed to a school within the OSD shall be held for administrative operations.” The restriction of no more than 3 percent hold out for administrative costs is the maximum fee that may be allocated to the charter school authorizer, whether it’s the local board of education, state charter commission or the OSD, Holliday says. The local governing board of the charter school determines how to allocate its funds at the school level, including costs for administration and contracts for services.

Oversight and Management Are Key

Charter Termination Most charters are granted for five years; terms may not exceed 10 years. A charter may be terminated under the following circumstances: •  A school fails to adhere to its charter terms, violates laws and/or acceptable fiscal management practices, or the state board determines the school no longer serves the best interests of students or the community. •  A majority of parents of enrolled students or a majority of faculty vote to request that the state terminate the charter. •  Upon the request of a local board of education, in the case of a locally approved charter school.

Other cities and states have tried creating OSD-like districts, including Tennessee and Louisiana, which Georgia officials see as models to follow. “The most public form of this has been in New Orleans, where after Hurricane Katrina the vast majority of public schools in the city ended up being run by the Recovery School District (RSD), a state-level entity,” says Montclair University’s Buckley. “The RSD took over a lot of schools very quickly, and there were areas where they struggled. In Tennessee, there has been more of an effort to go more slowly and Continued on page 10 PAGE ONE  9


‘The law, if passed, will establish a priority for those resources to go to OSD schools, and the subtraction of those resources from the district may mean fewer resources to the other schools in the district. That is how the governor can claim that there is not a need for additional funding and this is also how the EMOs/CMOs will be encouraged to enter the state, because they will have to spend fewer dollars on auxiliary services, thereby increasing their profit margin.’ – Preston Howard, Marietta City Schools Operations Administrator and Member of the Georgia Charter Advisory Committee

Charter Systems Atlanta Public Baldwin County Banks County Barrow County Calhoun City Candler County Carrollton City Cartersville City Catoosa County Clarke County Colquitt County Coffee County Commerce City Dawson County Decatur City Dougherty County Dublin City Fannin County Floyd County Fulton County Gainesville City Gilmer County Glascock County Gordon County Haralson County Hart County Jasper County Liberty County Lumpkin County Madison County Marietta City Morgan County Putnam County Randolph County Stephens County Tift County Union County Vidalia City Warren County White County

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to take over a smaller number of schools.” Howard cautions against using New Orleans’ Recovery School District program as a guiding example. “New Orleans is at or near the bottom in every educational achievement category, and the RSD is at or near the bottom of the state in terms of academic performance,” he says. “It boggles the mind that Georgia would entertain the idea of following [New Orleans’] example in anything.” Other school systems have struggled with this, including Detroit and Cleveland, where there are several different authoriz-

ers, therefore schools are opening up too close to each other. “Nobody is managing the overall set of schools,” says Buckley. Proponents and opponents agree on one thing when it comes to the OSD: Oversight and management are key. “It matters who the operators are,” says AIR’s Welch. “Certain operators tend to be very consistent from school to school, even if they’re in different states. But we’re now in a landscape where many different people can come in with a variety of ideas on how to run those schools.” n

Charter School Funding State-chartered schools, as opposed to locally chartered schools, do not receive local tax money. The loss of local dollars, however, is offset by additional dollars in the state charter funding formula. Locally approved charter schools get the same funding as other schools in the system, though they might have extra expenses, such as rent or transportation. Charter school authorizers in Georgia may withhold up to 3 percent of state and local charter school funding for administrative costs. For the 2015 fiscal year, the State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC) reduced the administrative withholding amount to 2 percent for existing schools and 1 percent for new schools in their first year of operation. State-authorized charter schools in Georgia may contract with local boards of education for administrative or transportation services.

Per-student State Funding for State Chartered Schools FY16 Average State Charter Funding for the 20 Georgia State-Chartered Schools = $6,079 • Total Funds ($182.1 million)/ Total FTE (29,269) • 20 Schools (17 brick and mortar; 3 virtual) Average State Charter Funding for 17 Brick & Mortar StateChartered Schools = $7,945 • Total Funds ($77.9 million)/ Total FTE (9,810) Average State Charter Funding for 3 Virtual State-Chartered Schools = $5,355 • Total Funds ($104.2 million)/ Total FTE (19,459) The amounts listed above reflect a 2 percent SCSC withholding. Federal funding is not reflected in these per FTE averages. Source: scsc.georgia.gov/state-charterfunding

October/November 2016


Charter Schools in Georgia:

How They Measure Up By Meg Thornton, PAGE Associate Editor

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ake no mistake, judging by college readiness and graduation rates, Georgia has many excellent charter schools. However, the highest-performing charter schools are locally approved or within charter districts — not the state-chartered schools authorized by the State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC). Georgia’s top-ranked charter schools place high overall among public schools in the state, according to U.S. News & World Report: •  Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, a locally approved charter school in Gwinnett County, is Georgia’s top-ranked public school overall, with a graduation rate of 99 percent and a college readiness rate of 96.5 percent. •  Walton High School, a locally approved charter school in Cobb County, ranks 10th overall in the state. Graduation rate: 100 percent; college readiness: 63 percent. •  Chamblee Charter High School, a locally approved charter school in DeKalb County, is ranked 21st overall. Graduation rate: 84 percent; college readiness: 50 percent. •  Fulton Science Academy High School in Fulton County, a charter district, ranks 27th overall. Graduation rate: 96 percent; college readiness: 45 percent. •  Elite Scholars Academy School, a locally approved charter school in Clayton County, ranks 28th overall. Graduation rate: 100 percent; college readiness: 45 percent.

Traditional Schools Outperform State Charters

Overall, all charter schools in Georgia — combining locally approved, state approved and charter systems — achieved an average October/November 2016

College and Career Reader Performance Index (CCRPI) score of 75.8 percent in 2013-14. Non-charter schools had an average score of 73.8 percent, according to the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). Among the charter types, system charter schools faired the best at 76.7. Conversion charter schools averaged 74.9 percent, while start-up charter schools came in at 72.6 percent on average. However, a 2016 Georgia State University report on the performance of Georgia’s state-chartered schools — those authorized by the SCSC rather than locally approved — finds that those schools do not, on the whole, outperform traditional public schools. Key findings about the academic performance of state charter schools during 2014-15 are as follows: •  In regard to the academic performance of elementary school students, five of the nine state-chartered schools were on par with state averages for traditional public schools. The other four schools performed significantly below average. In math, six of the nine were significantly below the average, whereas in English/ language arts, only two of the nine were below average. In comparison with their district(s), six of eight schools were on par; two were below average. •  In regard to the academic performance of middle school students, seven of the 13 statechartered schools were on par with Georgia’s traditional public schools. Two exceeded the state average and four fell below. In language arts, six of the 13 schools exceeded the state average, whereas in science, none of the 13 schools exceeded the state aver-

age; seven were on par and six were below average. Performance in math and social studies was quite mixed. In comparison with their district(s), five of the 11 brickand-mortar state charter schools serving middle grades performed better, one performed worse and five were on par. •  In regard to the academic performance of high school students: (a)  In ninth-grade literature, five of nine state charters performed above the state average; the other four were on par with the state average. (b)  For the five schools with test scores in American literature, three were on par with the state average while two exceeded it. (c)  In analytic geometry, four of six schools were on par and two were below the state average. (d)  In coordinate algebra, two of nine state charter schools exceeded the state average, six were on par and one fell below average.

A 2016 Georgia State University report on the performance of Georgia’s state-chartered schools — those authorized by the SCSC rather than locally approved — finds that those schools do not, on the whole, outperform traditional public schools.

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(e)  In biology, two of nine schools performed above the state average, four were on par and three were significantly below average. (f)  In physical science, four of seven were below the state average; the other three were on par. (g)  In economics, three of four schools performed significantly below the state average; one school was above average. (h)  In U.S. history, four of six schools performed below state average and two were on par. In 2015, the SCSC reported that 62 percent of the charter schools it authorized did no better than comparison school districts on the state’s report card, the CCRPI. Georgia Milestones Assessment results released in late 2015 showed that, of

state charter schools serving elementary or middle grades, only three — Coweta Charter (Coweta County), Pataula Charter (Calhoun County) and Utopian Academy (Clayton County) — outperformed their comparison district in most or all subjects. However, of the schools serving high school grades, seven schools — Cherokee Charter (Cherokee County), Fulton Leadership (Fulton County), Georgia Connections (Gwinnett County), Ivy Prep at Gwinnett (Gwinnett County), Ivy Prep at Kirkwood (Fulton County), Ivy Prep Young Men’s (Fulton County), Mountain Education (White County) and Pataula — outperformed their comparison districts in most or all subjects. Because charter schools are often accused of siphoning off better-performing students from traditional schools,

the commission also measured performance using a value-added method that adjusted for student characteristics so that schools can be equitably compared. Under that measure, no state charters outperformed their comparison districts in relevant grade levels. Only 8 percent performed at the same level as their districts, the report stated. And according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, at least 18 state and local charter schools, more than one in six in Georgia, received a failing score on the 2014 CCRPI. That’s about the same as the failure rate for all public schools. Failure means a score of less than 60 on the 100-point measure, according to the proposal to allow the state to take over low-performing schools. n

State-Authorized Charter Schools Grade Cluster

EM E H EM EMH EM E EMH MH EMH EMH EMH H EM EMH M EMH EM H EM E EMH E MH M

School

Atlanta Heights Charter School Brookhaven Innovation Academy Byron Peach Charter High School Cherokee Charter Academy Cirrus Academy Charter School Coweta Charter Academy DuBois Integrity Academy Foothills Education Charter High School Fulton Leadership Academy Georgia Connections Academy Georgia Cyber Academy Georgia School for Innovation and the Classics Graduation Achievement Charter HS (was Provost Academy Georgia) International Charter School of Atlanta Ivy Prep Academy at Kirkwood for Girls School Ivy Preparatory Academy School at Gwinnett Ivy Preparatory Young Men’s Leadership Academy (closed in 2016) Liberty Tech Charter School Mountain Education Charter High School Odyssey Charter School Scintilla Charter Academy Pataula Charter Academy Southwest Georgia STEM Charter Statesboro STEAM Academy (was CCAT School) Utopian Academy for the Arts Charter School

2014 CCRPI Single Score

2015 CCRPI Single Score

2014 Enrollment

2014 Staff Churn Rate

EMO/CMO Affiliation

Year Opened

National Heritage Academies 2010 2016 2017* Charter Schools USA 2011 2016 Charter Schools USA 2010 DuBois Integrity Academy 2015 2015 2010 Connections Academy LLC. 2011 K12 Inc. 2004 2015

Service Area

58

59

707

15%

Atlanta City Statewide Peach Co. Cherokee Co. Statewide Coweta Co. Clayton Co. Statewide Fulton Co. Statewide (Virtual) Statewide (Virtual) Statewide

72

75

917

11%

73

76

770

12%

66 62 61

71 63 62

294 3,859 13,659

10% 60% 43%

40

40

1,894

182%

2012

Statewide (Virtual) Statewide DeKalb Co., Atlanta City Gwinnett, Fulton, DeKalb Co.

45 71

48 73

384 306

13% 14%

2015 2011 2008

55

55

359

17%

2011

DeKalb Co.

2016 2007 2004 2015 2010 2016 2002 2014

Statewide Statewide Coweta Co. Lowndes Co., Valdosta City Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Early, Randolph Statewide Bulloch Co. Clayton Co.

64 64

67 65

1,505 382

150% 12%

71

77

473

11%

69 64

69 64

147 179

9% 21%

K12 Inc. Ed Innovations

In 2014, the average CCRPI score for Georgia schools was 72. In 2015, the average CCRPI score for Georgia schools was 76. Because of changes to the way CCRPI is calculated – including but not limited to a new assessment system, changes in weights, and recalculated performance targets – a direct comparison between 2014 and 2015 CCRPI scores is not possible. * School is scheduled to open in fall 2017. 12  PAGE ONE

October/November 2016


The Business of Charter Schooling:

A Look at Policies That Charter Operators Use for Financial Benefit This article summarizes a December 2015 National Education Policy Center (NEPC) report. It pinpoints key ways in which organizations benefit financially by controlling charter schools. Charter schools, as a whole, do not outperform traditional public schools, according to in-depth scholarly research. However, charter schools are proliferating even as mounting reports document questionable financial practices and use of public money. At the heart of the charter concept lies a bargain. Charter schools will receive more autonomy over instruction and operations than other public schools. In exchange, they agree to be held more accountable for results. If a charter school does not meet its stated goals, its sponsor can revoke its charter. Whatever the original purpose, charter school policy has proven to be a primary mechanism for privatizing public schools. Within a decade of the first charter school legislation being passed, for-profit education management organizations (EMO) became the largest players in the charter school sector. (The term EMO denotes forprofit charter school operators; the term charter management organization, or CMO, denotes nonprofit EMOs.) Although CMOs tend to provide schools with more resources, many act and have management agreements similar to for-profit operators. (The authors based this conclusion on a review of more than 80 contracts between school boards and private education management organizations.) In lieu of appointing school leaders directly, the governing boards of some charter schools contract with private management companies (nonprofit or for-profit) to handle day-to-day operations and engage in all subsidiary contracts. In this arrangement, the EMO or CMO is the employer, not the school governing board. Any addi14  PAGE ONE

tional contracts, such as with food service providers or busing companies, are between the private management company and these subcontractors. In such cases, only the single lump sum payment to the management company may be subject to public scrutiny, since all other contractual agreements are between private entities. As private organizations, EMOs and CMOs are not subject to open records laws in most states. Further, agreements to abide by school discipline policies may be established between the private management company and parents, avoiding any role for public officials and government institutions and limiting students’/parents’ potential legal recourse.

Financial Disclosure

There are vast differences regarding financial disclosure requirements for traditional vs. charter schools or entities involved in managing/governing them. Data on public districts can be extracted from the following reports: • Annual budgets of revenues and expenditures for the coming year • Audited annual financial reports, including revenues and expenditures; assets and liabilities; public employee staffing reports; and census fiscal data In contrast, there are fewer and less detailed sources of information on nonprofit governed charter schools and charter management organizations: • IRS form 990 • Audited annual financial reports (in some states and under select authorizers), including revenues and expenditures and assets and liabilities For publicly traded for-profit charter management companies, only one source is available: • Securities and Exchange Commission filings For privately owned for-profit charter

management companies, there may be no publicly available detailed financial reports. Types of financial documents vary widely so comparisons are hard to make. And because many charter schools include layers of nonprofits with resources flowing between them, it can be hard to get a handle on all resources associated with any given school. In contrast, local public school districts in most states, including Georgia, are required to post proposed and adopted budgets of anticipated revenues and planned expenditures for the coming fiscal year. Local boards of elected officials, in public hearings, then approve the budgets. In most states, local school districts and governments are also required to publish annual financial reports, with external audits sometimes required annually or biennially. In many states, the public can access line-by-line expenditure data for all local public school districts. Some states include charter school data, but expenses are not disaggregated when charter schools are managed by private companies. Where state laws, such as in Georgia, require charter school local governing boards to be private nonprofit entities, the nonprofit tax returns they file (IRS form 990) include far fewer details on expenditures. For example, they may list only major grantees to which lump sums are disbursed. They do include data on the highest paid employees, but not on all employees. Thus, these reports are of little value in understanding where exactly money goes. SEC filings on publicly traded for-profit management companies provide even sketchier information. While it is possible to obtain salary information for top officials at nonprofits, most for-profit EMOs are privately held and it is not possible to obtain similar salary information. K12 October/November 2016


Inc. is a publicly traded for-profit company that operates large virtual charter schools, including the Georgia Cyber Academy. The former CEO of K12 Inc., Ron Packard, made more than $19 million in compensation between 2009 and 2013 when only 24 percent of its virtual schools had acceptable state performance ratings, and the company posted a four-year graduation rate that was half the national average. (Source: The Center for Media and Democracy.)

Lower Teacher Salaries Help Fund Charter Operators

There are two basic models of charter school public financing: 1. The direct state financing of fiscally independent charter schools; and 2. The pass-through model for fiscally dependent charter schools, which involves local public school districts passing along a per-pupil subsidy to charter schools. In this case, it is not uncommon for the local public school district to retain certain financial responsibilities, such as transportation services or costs associated with special education. Districts may also be required to provide curricular materials, enrollment management or even access to facilities. Whether a charter school needs money to make lease payments or to pay management fees, money has to come from somewhere. So if one wants to profit on providing schooling, or if one wants to divert significant resources to management organizations, real estate dealings or other business ventures, then one has to tap available resources. Most commonly, classroom expenses are tapped. Teachers’ salaries and benefits comprise the largest portion of school expenditures, and charter schools recover considerable resources by having markedly lower average salaries and benefits. Charter schools generally have teachers concentrated on the lowest end of the scale due to limited experience and lower levels of education. Notably, most charter schools themselves are less than 10 years old, so even staff members there from the beginning could be relatively inexperienced when compared with the broader teacher workforce. Coupled with high rates of teacher turnover, this leads to relatively young teaching staffs. Early studies of charter schools in Pennsylvania found charter October/November 2016

It is becoming increasingly clear that low-cost labor, in the form of young, short-term teachers, is a feature and not a bug of the business model of many charter school EMOs. Staff turnover — reduced longevity — also serves to reduce longterm health care costs and retirement benefits costs.

teacher annual salaries to be on average $18,000 lower than teacher salaries in district schools. Charter school teacher salaries were also $11,300 lower than district teachers with similar experience and credentials. It is becoming increasingly clear that low-cost labor, in the form of young, short-term teachers, is a feature and not a bug of the business model of many charter school EMOs. Staff turnover — reduced longevity — also serves to reduce long-term health care costs and retirement benefits costs. Granted, some public districts contract with private management firms to operate some or all of its schools, but in doing so, districts have maintained collective bargaining agreements for those teachers and other employees in schools operated by private contractors.

Real Estate Dealings Muddy the Water

The financial workings of EMOs become much more complex when one delves into the acquisition of capital assets or the buying, selling and leasing of land and buildings. Buying and selling land and constructing and renovating large capital assets inserts new public policy structures. These include debt financing mechanisms used to encourage urban redevelopment and public policy tools such as incentives and grants used to reduce the cost of debt. These complexities, and the difficulties in untangling them for public consumption, can encourage unethical, self-enriching activity among various parties. Even in the best cases, policies designed to enable the acquisition and transfer of major capital assets result in the loss of resources that might otherwise be spent in classrooms. In worse cases, they result in substantial losses and diversion of resources. Perhaps the height of absurdity is the case where a school district facing declining enrollment decides to convert one of its buildings to cash by selling it to an affiliate of a charter operator. In this case, even when parties involved act logically and

ethically, public taxpayer dollars are used to buy the same asset twice, and at the end of that second transaction, the public no longer owns the asset.

Loans to Acquire Capital Assets Skirt Public Approval

Charter schools typically lack the legal authority to guarantee payment of long-term debt. Nor can they typically obligate future operating revenue toward debt payment for acquiring capital assets, especially over periods as long as 20 years — well beyond their authorization period. One solution has been for charter school operators to establish separate nonprofit entities to carry the debt burden. A nonprofit entity is established, with its own board of directors, to work with a financial institution to gain access to revenue bonds, which may include economic development bonds targeted for urban renewal projects. The entity takes on the bond debt/obligation to repay investors both principal and interest, and guarantees those bond payments with revenue generated by lease payments from the charter operator. That is, the lease payment is converted into a loan payment toward capital asset acquisition through the third party. This lease payment, as an operating expense, doesn’t need to be approved by local taxpayers. It need only be approved either by the charter school board of directors, or, if embedded in lump sum payment to a management organization, by the private manager. That is, a twiceshielded private manager (a private manager hired by a board of private citizens) can choose to obligate current and future charter school operating expenses PAGE ONE  15


(derived from public tax dollars, perhaps supplemented with private contributions) to acquire major capital assets. The cost of borrowing for public school districts tends to be low because the districts commonly achieve AA ratings and favorable bond interest rates. Charter schools, however, are saddled with lower bond ratings and higher interest rates. That’s because charter revenue bonds are guaranteed by lease payments from operating revenue, so some of the charter’s operating revenue is being dispersed as interest payments to bond investors. This diverts funds that might be more productively spent elsewhere.

Charter Schools and Real Estate Investment Trusts

An alternative pathway used by many charter schools for access to facilities involves a third-party owner and a leasing agent — a real estate investment trust (REIT). This for-profit entity uses shareholder investments to purchase properties for lease. Shareholders invest on the promise of substantial, predictable returns, including dividends. Promises of returns are based on the assurance that tenants will pay a full lease rate at full cost of occupancy — and then some. Further, the tenant (the charter school) is locked into a long-term agreement with scaled up lease payments over time. That is, these properties have value to investors because they have, in theory, relatively low-risk revenue streams with predictable growth. Triple Net Leases through REITs can be particularly costly to schools leasing properties: Lease costs that increase over time can put increased

pressure on annual operating expenses. Under either arrangement — lease/acquisition of property through a third-party bond arrangement or lease/ acquisition through a REIT — the acquired property is often originally a traditional public school facility no longer in use. Such facilities start off being owned by the public and paid for with public tax dollars, first through debt financing for land acquisition and construction, and later through ongoing maintenance. The original debt financing of the facility was most likely approved by local taxpayers. In contrast, the sale of the facility to a third party for lease to a charter operator was likely not approved by taxpayers. Nor did voters approve the charter school operator’s use of taxpayer funds for purchasing the facility for the third party. In short, what is happening is that taxpayer funds are being used, without voter approval, to purchase a property from the taxpayers themselves, for someone else. Taxpayers are buying the facility a second time, albeit from themselves, but the result is that these taxpayers will no longer own it. Worse, in the process of transferring the property, taxpayer dollars have subsidized substantial fees and interest to various parties. The icing on the cake is that the federal government has spent federal taxpayer dollars to stimulate these transactions (see LISC, 2014, p. 3-4).

Taxpayer funds are being used, without voter approval, to purchase a property from the taxpayers themselves, for someone else. Taxpayers are buying the facility a second time, albeit from themselves, but the result is that these taxpayers will no longer own it. Worse, in the process of transferring the property, taxpayer dollars have subsidized substantial fees and interest to various parties.

Four Major Public Policy Concerns

Four major public policy concerns emerge from the discussion above: 1. A lot of public money intended for educational services to children is being extracted inadvertently or intentionally for personal or business financial gain, creating substantial inefficiencies; 2. Public assets are being unnecessarily transferred to private hands, at public expense, risking the future provision of “public” education; 3. Charter school operators are growing highly endogenous, self-serving private entities built on funds derived from lucrative management fees and rent extraction; and

Georgia Makes Recent Strides to Enhance Charter School Fiscal Transparency and Training By Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE Director of Legislative Services

T

hree bills passed by the 2016 Georgia General Assembly made significant strides toward increasing charter school fiscal transparency and leadership training. The following legislation has already become law: •  House Bill 65 by Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) requires local school dis16  PAGE ONE

tricts and charter schools to hold two open meetings regarding their proposed budgets and to post their budgets electronically. •  HB 100 by Rep. Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta) requires local districts that operate virtual charter schools serving students from outside the district to use at least 90 percent of the state funds earned

for those students on the virtual charter instruction program. •  HB 895 by Rep. Rahn Mayo (D-Decatur) requires charter governing boards to undergo yearly training on sound fiscal management. Training covers: — Balancing budgets, spending permissions, deficit spending restrictions, special October/November 2016


4. Current disclosure requirements make it unlikely that related legal violations, ethical concerns or merely bad policies and practices are not realized until investigative reporting, whistleblowers or litigation brings them to light. In short, there has been a significant transfer of public assets to private hands at public expense. There is no conceivable public policy justification for using taxpayer subsidies to buy a facility for the second time, resulting in that facility being transferred to a private entity. Beyond the obvious fiscal absurdity, there also exists the danger that this practice will lead many urban education systems to a point of no return. If at some point policymakers decide that “chartering” has simply become too ineffective or inefficient a method for delivering education, options for reversing course may not be possible if urban districts no longer own the necessary land and facilities, with additional expenses required for furniture, equipment, and learning materials. Finally, current public disclosure requirements seem insufficient for keeping the public informed — until it’s too late. In a number of cases, even charter school governing boards’ access to information from their own EMOs has been denied.

It seems clear that the financial incentives embedded in state laws, combined with the need for most of the companies to make a profit, have led schools run by EMOs to operate in ways that are often at odds with the goals of charter school reforms and, ultimately, the public interest. In response to these concerns, the National Education

Policy Center makes the following eight recommendations: Recommendation 1: States should include in their charter statutes a broad declaration that charter schools are “public” and that all remaining provisions should be read to ensure that charter school students, parents and taxpayers waive no rights in their choice to attend a charter school or as a citizen whose tax dollars are allocated to a charter school. Recommendation 2: Districts or other local public and government authorities should maintain control over public lands and facilities and should serve as centralized managers and stewards of facilities space to be used by both district and charter schools. Recommendation 3: Authorizers should be required to review any large contracts between charter school boards and EMOs or outside firms. Most importantly, the authorizer needs to scrutinize and approve lease agreements and management agreements between charter school boards and private EMOs. Recommendation 4: Financial reporting requirements must be expanded and elaborated to obligate the same degree of precision in revenue and expense reporting for charter schools as for government entities, and to obligate the reporting of EMO revenues and expenses, assets and liabilities. Recommendation 5: State charter school laws should be revised to ensure that any and all meetings among officials of the school or its authorizing entity must follow public records and meetings laws. Further, all contracts between governing boards and management companies, and between management companies and service providers should be publicly available. This includes posting of all employee or bargain-

ing unit (if any) contracts, including any “taxes” imposed on employee wages. Recommendation 6: States should tighten regulations to ensure appropriate degrees of independence among interested parties. All relationships, be they between (i) school administrator and board members or key contractors such as EMOs; (ii) authorizers and school governing boards; (iii) governing boards and management companies; or (iv) management companies and contractors, must pass basic arm’s-length tests. Sound ideas regarding contracts with EMOs are found in a recently proposed bill in Connecticut. Recommendation 7: States should more closely link public subsidy rates to relevant costs and needs and use fine-grained reporting of those needs and costs. Recommendation 8: When contracting with EMOs, charter school boards should engage in “smart buying,” and authorizers should provide guidance and oversight to ensure that major contracts are in the interests of the public charter school. Good EMO contracts include the following types of provisions: •  At least two competing bids from EMOs; •  Length of contract no more than the length of the charter, and preferably less; •  Contingency plans so that the option of firing the EMO remains viable and realistic; •  Full disclosure of financial information and test scores to citizens, authorizers and state officials; •  Budgeting for internal and external evaluations of school and EMO performance; and •  Ensuring that the contracted EMO has no personal or professional connections with charter school board members. n

funds and reserve maintenance requirements; — Establishing budgets in line with the school’s strategic plan and establishing which expenditures (beyond the budget) require approval of the school leader; and — Monitoring school audits and monthly financial reports to prevent conflicts of interest and unfair financial advantage to governance board members and associates. HB 895 also calls for a state charter schools financial management certification

program for those responsible for a school’s budget, accounting, payroll processing and purchasing. The bill also prohibits the principal or equivalent from simultaneously serving as the school’s chief financial officer. The General Assembly also passed HB 659 by Rep. Dave Belton (R-Buckhead), but Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the legislation, so the bill did not become law. Deal approved of the reporting mandates requiring charter schools (and other schools) to make budgets publicly avail-

able, including staff salaries and benefits and the cost of non-staff support, materials, equipment, professional development, as well as facility maintenance and construction/renovation costs. However, Deal objected to establishing a pilot program for Title I expenditures. In his veto message, Deal promised to “include the fiscal transparency measures of House Bill 659 in my 2017 legislative agenda, in addition to the recommendations from the Education Reform Commission.” n

NEPC Issues Eight Recommendations

October/November 2016

PAGE ONE  17


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Charter Management Companies Profit From School Property and Facilities This article is summarized from a 2016 report from The Center for Popular Democracy.

approved Ivy Prep’s bond at the recommendation of the State Charter Schools Commission.

n a February 2016 report, “Whose Opportunity? Profiting Off of School Turnaround and Takeover in Atlanta,” the Center for Popular Democracy reported that, in regard to charter schools, “land and facilities are where private interests often make the most money, either through purchasing publicly held real estate, getting publicly subsidized real estate financing or getting public money for rent.” One reason that a takeover district increases the likelihood of real estate profits is because school closings would create surplus properties for sale. Private charter school operators also benefit from tax-exempt bond financing. Because of low credit ratings, they tend to pay higher rates for loans, so a significant amount of school funding goes to servicing debt, issued by for-profit bond holders, rather than to student instruction. In October 2015, the Ivy Prep Academy charter network announced the closing of three high schools, citing a lack of space and funding. A year before, Ivy Prep had purchased a strip mall (where its Kirkwood campus was housed) in DeKalb County for $14 million, funded by public, tax-exempt bonds. Thus Ivy Prep became a commercial landlord, as the rent from the other mall tenants was expected to pay off the debt. 1 The $14 million bond is held by Hamlin Capital Management, 2 which reports a minimum 6 3 percent rate of return on charter 4 school bonds of this kind. Many 5 people questioned the viability of 6 Ivy Prep’s financial arrangement, as well as its ability to serve as both 7 a landlord and an educator. 8 All three Ivy Prep schools were operating at a deficit as of August 2015, and despite Ivy Prep’s troubled financial history, in 2014, the DeKalb County Board of Directors

Education Management Organizations

I

October/November 2016

Charter school management is increasingly outsourced to private national organizations. These entities can either be for-profit, or education management organizations (EMO) — like National Heritage Academies — or nonprofit, in which case they are charter management organizations (CMO). Even in the nonprofit CMO category, many private individuals are profiting. In 2014, Eva Moscowitz, head of the nonprofit Success Academy franchise, earned $485,000. The same year KIPP’s CEO Richard Barth made $375,000 in total compensation. In early 2016, 16 percent of all charter schools in Georgia were managed by an EMO or CMO. Publicly traded K12 Inc., which operates Georgia Cyber Academy and nine other Georgia schools, is the world’s largest virtual charter school company. In 2014, it had $115 million in profits and nearly $920 million in revenue, 90 percent from taxpayer-funded public schools. While Georgia Cyber Academy enrollment has swelled due to extensive marketing, student turnover is high and graduation rates are

low. The company states in its 2014 report on academic performance that “in most states, test scores at K12 schools are generally below state proficiency percentages.” A 2015 study from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes found that online charter school students have such poor performance in reading and math compared to their counterparts that, as the project’s director put it, “it is literally as if the kid did not go to school for an entire year.” The for-profit Charter Schools USA, which controls 77 schools in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and North Carolina, nets about $300 million in annual revenue. It’s sister company, Red Apple Development, acquires land, develops school facilities and then leases these facilities back exclusively to Charter School USA schools. The charter school company uses taxpayer funding to make rent payments to Red Apple, while saddling the school with Red Apple’s debt from the facility purchase. A third related company vends education-oriented electronic equipment. n Read the full report at https:// populardemocracy.org/sites/default/files/ Georgia-Schools-Report_WEB.pdf

EMO/CMO in Georgia Charter Schools, 2015-16 EMO/CMO

Charter Schools or Programs

Connections Academy LLC.

1

Georgia Connections Academy

DuBois Consortium of Charter Schools

1

DuBois Integrity Academy

Ed Innovations

1

Scintilla Charter Academy

K12 Inc.

1

Georgia Cyber Academy

National Heritage Academies

1

Atlanta Heights Charter School

Charter Schools USA

2

Cherokee Charter Academy, Coweta Charter Academy

EdisonLearning

2

Charles R. Drew Charter School, Main Street Academy of Excellence

Prestige Charter School Solutions LLC

2

Academy for Classical Education, Macon Charter Academy

Total Charter Schools or Programs with an EMO or CMO

11

Total number of charter schools

115

Percentage of total with EMO/CMO

10% PAGE ONE  19


Editorial

With Amendment 1, the State Is Saying ‘Step Aside Taxpayers. We Know Best.’

By David Reynolds, PAGE

A

wolf in sheep’s clothing … bait and switch … lipstick on a pig. A rose by any other name is still a rose — and a state takeover of a local school is still a forcible takeover, no matter how it’s described. When you vote Nov. 8, you’ll see deliberately misleading wording regarding Amendment 1, which asks Georgians to amend the state constitution to create an Opportunity School District. Here is the preamble and the question you will see on the ballot: Amendment 1 provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement. Shall the constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance? Who could oppose such a noble goal? Any rational citizen, it turns out. Let’s conduct a “vocabularistic” dissection of the wording — yes, I made up vocabularistic. If the state can employ messaging acrobatics to convince the masses that something quite bad is allegedly good, then I’m entitled to create one word. ‘Provides Greater Flexibility’ The preamble entices readers with the words “provides greater flexibility.” 20  PAGE ONE

Really? Where is the flexibility for your community’s school when the state says, “Step aside parent, taxpayer, educator and student: The cavalry has arrived and we’re taking over. We know best.” The state can then proceed to make all decisions about testing, textbooks, technology and teachers. What the state really means is: “Flexibility, n., the ability of the state to flex its muscle.” Citizens have long communicated directly with their locally elected school superintendent. Fast-forward to a day when your superintendent is appointed by the governor. How can interactions with citizens be meaningful when the superintendent is in charge of up to 100 schools throughout Georgia? He or she is not likely to even live or work near your child’s school and won’t have deep insight into your community’s strengths, needs and culture. Teachers and principals can be fired and hired, all by a superintendent who reports only to the governor. Furthermore, schools within the Opportunity School District can be closed or shifted to the State Charter Schools Commission, which can then outsource the management of the schools to private companies. Your tax dollars will pay for this state-level school district, and your local funds will con-

tinue to cover the costs of any extensive repairs to school buildings and grounds. The same government officials who tout smaller government, parent voice, local control and flexibility out of one side of their mouths, now speak with a forked tongue and simultaneously support the creation of a new tier of state bureaucracy with no established sunset date. ‘State Accountability to Fix Failing Schools’ The term “fix failing schools” suggests that educators are to blame for entire populations of struggling students, the majority of whom are impoverished. It also blames educators instead of legislators for public education’s fiscal problems. Keep in mind that even if all austerity cuts were to be eliminated in the 2017-18 school year, Georgia would, at last, be funding schools at the level deemed necessary by the state in 2003. That’s right, 2003. And $100 in 2003 would only buy $76.46 worth of goods today, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, the same government that has consistently failed to honor its promise to support schools in the most fundamental way now claims to have the answers to fix public education in Georgia. Another problem is the measure of October/November 2016


failure. Georgia measures performance using the College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), which depends largely on standardized test scores. The use of test scores isn’t altogether bad; the scores are just wrongly weighted and prioritized. Even if you think that standardized test scores accurately measure student learning, there are methods in place to raise those scores. The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) promotes several practices to help boost a school’s score. “Points” can rightfully be added to a school’s CCRPI score for pursuing programs proven to work, and schools already have the flexibility to design their own improvement paths. Consider one more piece of the CCRPI puzzle. Since you have chosen to read this far, you may be enticed to peruse the curriculum section of the GaDOE website. Scroll through — no pattern, no agenda. Just pause at random pages. I challenge you to spend two days of your life trying to absorb, digest and regurgitate our state’s school success assessment tool. After this enthralling exercise, see if you are able, with a straight face, to say, “Now I know what is important in schools. Now I know why the state needs to take over some schools. Now I see what utter failures some of our schools are. Now I know why students need rescuing.” Furthermore, the GaDOE website does not capture the substance of a powerful teaching and learning exchange. I have taught hundreds of students and served as a school administrator, and I have interviewed scores of students, parents and educators. I can tell you that not once were standardized test scores cited as a meaningful part of anyone’s school experience or as a valuable springboard for real work. ‘Through Increasing Community Involvement’ How does the state taking control of a local school equate to “increasing community involvement?” How does a far-away school superintendent increase community involvement? The community no longer has authority, but it is now supposedly more involved. What?

October/November 2016

T

hat takes care of the preamble. What about the amendment itself? Let’s move through this segment more quickly. ‘To Allow the State to Intervene’ That phrase actually means: “to give the state the power to close, reorganize, restructure or otherwise take total operational and instructional decision-making control.” Why not say so? Because stating the intent would reveal the power grab. The true definition of “intervene” is to involve oneself in a situation so that you influence the outcome. “Intervene” is to “takeover” as “feeling poorly” is to “pneumonia.” This is a government overreach, pure and simple. ‘In Chronically Failing’ As argued earlier, a school’s CCRPI score cannot adequately measure success or failure. The score cannot capture evidence of acquired teamwork skills, successful student interviews with visiting business leaders or the ability to apply new knowledge in unexpected situations. Standardized rat-

ing mechanisms can’t capture incremental growth in a child’s confidence to speak before a group or his or her ability to provide editing feedback for a classmate. ‘Public Schools’ The Amendment 1 proposal uses the term “public schools,” but it is starting to mean “government schools.” Some might assume that public schools and government schools are synonymous — not in my view. Taking action for the people is not the same as usurping control from the people. The proponents of the Opportunity School District might say that, by virtue of this proposed constitutional amendment being placed on the ballot, this endeavor is being undertaken by the people. That would be true if the amendment language were honest. It is not. A call to action: On Nov. 8, be sure to send a clear message that we trust competent and caring educators — not politicians — to teach Georgia’s children. Vote ‘No’ on Amendment 1. n

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PAGE ONE  21


Professional Learning

New Principal and Teacher Leadership Cohort Gets Underway By Lynn Varner, PAGE Professional Learning

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he 2016 school year has brought a new group of 26 schools together to participate in the PAGE Principal and Teacher Leadership Network (PTLN). Each school sends a team of one principal and three teachers. The two-year initiative is composed of four two-day sessions (Sundays and Mondays) held during each school year. Judy Love, senior associate of the Schlechty Center and a presenter during this session, says a key goal is for the group to gain a deep understanding of student engagement. She also hopes they will become a true network. “We want them to reach out to each other in the sessions and even inbetween sessions to discuss concepts and results they’re getting, and share successful ideas that can perhaps be duplicated at another school,” she adds. Peter Coombe, principal of Calhoun Middle/High School of Calhoun City Schools, brought four educators from both his middle and high school to participate in this new cohort. He wants to look at engaging students in a new way. “We hope to leave [PTLN] with a menu of ideas and strategies that we can use to engage our students in ways that we might not have thought of,” he says. Lauren Stephenson, an educator at Dawson County Schools’ Riverview Elementary School, says she was selected by her principal along with several other educators to participant in the leadership cohort. The relatively new school is founded on strong core values, but educa-

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tors have been busy with accreditation so now they are hoping to get back to those core values and important conversations on how to engage students. “Personally, I’m hoping to learn how to engage my students who have learning disabilities and various emotional and behavior disorders — how to engage them, how to involve them in their own learning and help them set goals for their own future and be their own advocates,” says Stephenson. n

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October/November 2016


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1. (l-r) Laura Stephenson, Denise Hunt, Tasha Hamil and Julia Mashburn from Riverview ES (Dawson).

6. (l-r) Todd Giannamore, Mary Ann Bruce, Kim Erwin and Greg Linderman from Ringgold ES (Catoosa).

2. (l-r) Schlechty Center Senior Associate Dr. Judy Love and Ashley Kelsey from South Central MS (Bartow).

7. (l-r) Dr. Tracy Medlock, Dr. Lenora Nyeste and Dr. Teresa Ferguson from Pine Log ES (Bartow).

3. (l-r) Angela Rembert, Phillip Sykes, Lorraine Johnson and Laura Farmer from Madras MS (Coweta).

8. Peter Coombe; principal of Calhoun MS/HS (Calhoun City Schools), with Chris Lusk from Heritage MS (Catoosa).

4. PAGE Executive Director Dr. Allene Magill welcomes PTLN participants.

9. Kim Hill from Hart County MS.

5. Engaged participants.

10. (l-r) Allison Gilbert and Dr. Tracy Medlock from Pine Log ES (Bartow).

Photos by Lynn Varner 10

October/November 2016

PAGE ONE  23


Legal

The Absent Educator:

Rules Regarding Sick Leave By Matthew Pence, PAGE Staff Attorney

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lmost daily, PAGE in-house attorneys answer questions regarding leave. The inquiries range from simple questions, such as calling in sick for one day or taking a personal day, to complex questions, such as utilizing long-term medical leave. Educators need to be aware of leave laws and rules, as utilizing leave is a combination of state and federal laws, local policies and procedures, and, in some circumstances, contract. STATE SICK LEAVE

The Georgia statue governing school system personnel sick leave (O.C.G.A. § 20-2-850) requires that educators receive 1.25 working days of sick leave for each completed contract month. Thus, most school system employees receive 12 sick leave days per year. To utilize a sick day, the absence must be due to either personal illness, illness in the immediate family or for a death in the immediate family. The statute does not define immediate family, so check your local policy. Otherwise, it is safe for educators to assume that “immediate family” encompasses, at least, a spouse, child, parent and/or sibling. State law is silent on the procedures for using sick days, so local school systems address these issues. Educators often ask

whether they must have a sick note for being out for one day. Without the school system requiring a doctor’s note (either through policy, contract or an administrator’s directive), the answer is most often “no.” While a note is usually only required if an educator is out for several consecutive days or if the educator has excessive absences, check local policies and procedures. Because school systems always reserve the right to ask for a doctor’s note, it remains best practice to assume that one will be required for any sick day. Unused sick leave accumulates from year to year. If an educator leaves a school system to take a job in another district, then no more than 45 days of his/her accumulated sick leave will transfer. At retirement, if an educator has at least 60 accumulated sick days, he/ she may receive service credit with the Teachers Retirement System for those days. This includes any sick days “left behind” when transferring from one district to another. LEAVE FOR THE ASSAULTED EDUCATOR

State law specifically exempts docking sick leave or pay from an educator who must utilize leave because he/she has been physically assaulted in the course of his or her duties. This exemption only applies

Educators often ask if they need a sick note for missing a day of work. Without the school system requiring a doctor’s note (either through policy, contract or an administrator’s directive), the answer is most often ‘no.’ But because school systems reserve the right to ask for a doctor’s note, it is best practice to assume that one will be required for any sick day. 24  PAGE ONE

to the first seven days that the educator is absent due to the physical assault. As these attacks are injuries during the course of employment, an educator who has been physically assaulted in the course of his or her duties should follow the workers’ compensation protocol in terms of notifying the district and pursuing treatment under the district’s workers’ compensation insurance. Protecting accumulated leave under this law does not require the educator to pursue criminal charges against the assailant. WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

When an employee suffers an on-the-job injury, he or she must utilize the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. For the first seven days following the on-the-job injury, an employer may dock sick leave from the employee’s accumulated leave. After that, the employee qualifies for workers’ compensation income benefits. PERSONAL LEAVE

Each school year, educators may use up to three sick days as personal days. The use of personal leave is dictated by local policy. Generally, these policies mandate that personal leave cannot be used on a “critical day” (pre-planning, post-planning, a day before or after a holiday or during testing) and that authorization is required in advance. Whereas unused sick leave days accumulate, personal days do not. In short, an educator who uses no personal leave days during one school year will not be allowed to use more than three in the following school year or years. FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks of leave in one year for an illness or the illness of an immediate family member. For purposes of the FMLA, “illness” means October/November 2016


a serious health condition or the birth or adoption of a child. “Immediate family member” is specifically defined as a spouse, child or parent. It is imperative that educators remember that FMLA is unpaid leave, but an educator may use his or her accumulated sick leave as FMLA in order to continue to receive a salary. School systems are allowed to determine when the year will begin for purposes of FMLA. Some districts in Georgia set this date as Jan. 1, while others set it as July 1. Another option is the rolling calendar at the first day of designated FMLA leave. Unlike use of state sick leave, FMLA has a very important threshold that must be satisfied before an employee may exercise rights: The employee must have been in a full-time position for one calendar year. This is defined by the FMLA as one who worked at least 1,250 hours for the employer in the past 12 months. An educator wishing to utilize individual rights under FMLA must first get an FMLA packet from the board office. Generally, these packets require medical documentation and/or opinions from the educator’s doctor. Many districts require that the doctor specifically recommend that medical leave is the appropriate course of conduct. The educator should have this paperwork completed as soon as possible. It should then be submitted to the board office where a determination of approval will be made. Educators must also become familiar with intermittent FMLA. Under this options, an employee utilizes FMLA, but only on sporadic dates. In short, instead of using the 12 allotted weeks in one specific time period, the educator uses allowed leave in intermittent dates. An educator wishing to utilize intermittent FMLA would still be required to submit paperwork to the employing district to request leave.

The most common ethical issue concerning use of leave is submitting falsified documents for sick leave or the Family and Medical Leave Act. The Professional Standards Commission will usually issue sanctions ranging from a reprimand to a 90-day suspension of the educator’s teaching certificate.

LEAVE FOR THE EDUCATOR IN COURT

There are three common scenarios where an educator is expected to appear in court: to provide testimony related to his or her duties as an educator; to provide testimony for a matter not related to his or her duties as an educator; or to October/November 2016

serve on a jury. An educator who must be absent to provide testimony related to his or her duties as an educator or to serve as a juror will not be deducted leave or pay (per O.C.G.A. § 20-2-870). For all other matters, such as providing testimony for a matter not related to his or her duties as an educator, a district may deduct days from accumulated leave. LEAVE AND THE PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS COMMISSION

The most common ethical issue concerning use of leave is submitting

falsified documents for sick leave or FMLA. The Professional Standards Commission holds that this is unethical conduct under Standard 4 (Honesty) of the Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators. Depending on the facts and circumstances, the commission will usually issue sanctions ranging from a reprimand to a 90-day suspension of the educator’s teaching certificate. For questions regarding leave issues, please call the PAGE Legal Department at 800-334-68612 to speak to an inhouse attorney. n

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Master of Education in Secondary Education (online) Master of Education in Programs in Educational Technology Instructional Technology (online) Master of Education Programs in Library Media (online) Specialist of Education with emphasis in: Early Childhood Education* Middle Grades Education* Secondary Education (online) Specialist of Education in Special Education*

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PAGE ONE  25


PAGE Foundation

Record-Breaking Attendance at ‘A PAGE Turning Event’

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ore than 620 guests honored CEO and Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks and his colleagues at Gwinnett County Public Schools at the PAGE Foundation’s 12th annual “A PAGE Turning Event” in September. The event recognizes business, philanthropy, government and education leaders for their support of public education. It is the first time in the event’s history that an educator has been honored. In Wilbanks’ 50-plus years as an educator, three Georgia governors and two U.S. secretaries of education have called upon him to help craft significant education legislation. In 2005, he was Georgia’s Superintendent of the Year. With about 23,000 employees serving 178,000 students, Gwinnett County Public Schools is Georgia’s largest school system. It is widely recognized as one of America’s top urban school districts, twice winning the distinctive Broad Prize for Urban Education. Wilbanks and the Gwinnett County Public Schools faculty and staff are lauded for their commitment to students. Academic gains have been realized despite rapid growth, a huge student population and the challenges and opportunities that come with diversity. John Yates, who was Wilbanks’ 11thgrade mathematics teacher at Commerce High School, attended the event and was recognized from the podium as Wilbanks’ favorite teacher. Dr. William E. Russell, CEO of Russell Landscape Companies, and Allen Thomas, southeast region vice president for VALIC, co-chaired the host committee for this year’s event held at the Infinite Energy Forum in Duluth. n

(l-r) Host Committee Co-chair Dr. William E. Russell, CEO of Russell Landscape Companies; PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Howard J. Morrison, Jr., co-founder of Verdant Kitchen; PTE Honoree J. Alvin Wilbanks; PAGE Executive Director Allene Magill; and Host Committee Co-chair Allen Thomas, regional vice president, southeast region of VALIC.

J. Alvin Wilbanks (right) and his favorite teacher, John Yates, who taught Wilbanks at Commerce High School.

26  PAGE ONE

October/November 2016


Syndicated columnist Dick Yarbrough served as master of ceremonies.

From Gwinnett County Public Schools (l-r) Dr. Monica Batiste, director of elementary staffing; Dr. Linda Anderson, executive director of elementary schools; Dr. Gwen Tatum, assistant superintendent of middle schools; Dr. Leslie Lewis, director of middle school staffing; and Dr. Sid Camp, executive director of human resources staffing. (l-r) Oglethorpe Power Director of Community & External Relations Diane McClearen; Walton EMC Commercial & Industrial Account Executive Scott Walker; Georgia Transmission Director of Human Resources Angie Farsee and Oglethorpe Power Community Relations Coordinator Mary Long.

The PAGE Foundation Gratefully Acknowledges Our Sponsors Valedictorian Delta Air Lines Georgia-Pacific Georgia Power VALIC Salutatorian Adams, Hemingway & Wilson, LLP

October/November 2016

Board of Regents, University System of Georgia Emtec GE Howard and Mary Morrison Honors 12Stone Church Atlantic Capital

BrandBank Georgia EMC, Oglethorpe Power, Georgia Transmission Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Gwinnett Medical Center Gwinnett Technical College JA of Georgia

Prior, Daniel & Wilshire, LLC Russell Landscape Companies Stephens Industries L.P. Thompson, Sweeny, Kinsinger & Pereira P.C. Wells Fargo

PAGE ONE  27


PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees Annual Meeting

PAGE Foundation to Focus on Fundraising

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he mission of the PAGE Foundation has changed to focus exclusively on fundraising, outgoing PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Howard J. Morrison Jr. of Savannah announced at the foundation’s annual meeting in September. The change moves the foundation into a more traditional role and allows it to support PAGE’s core business of professional learning, as well as academic programs such as PAGE STAR, PAGE Georgia Academic Bowl for Middle Grades, PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon and PAGE Foundation schol-

In-the-Know Leaders Offer Insight into 2017 General Assembly The PAGE Foundation Board of Trustees received insight into education matters likely to come before the 2017 Georgia General Assembly. A panel of experts, including Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth), syndicated columnist and Education Reform Commission member Dick Yarbrough and The Telegraph Editorial Page Editor Charles E. Richardson shared their expectations under the leadership of PAGE Director of Legislative Affairs Margaret Ciccarelli.

arships. Academic programs formerly trustees to seek out opportunities to administered under the auspices of engage with local educators. He relayed, the foundation are now part of PAGE for example, that he learned a great deal Professional Learning. when he attended a recent meeting of During the meeting, trustees learned the PAGE School Districts Networks in first-hand about professional learning Quitman. n initiatives they will be raising money to Foundation Elects Board Members support. Educators from Early and Burke Allen Thomas, southeast region vice county schools shared present for VALIC, was elected to serve how they are transas chair of the PAGE Foundation Board forming education in of Trustees for the next two years. A their schools in collongtime trustee who lives in Atlanta, laboration with PAGE’s Thomas previously served as foundation Professional Learning chair. Outgoing Chair Howard J. Morrison Department. Educators Jr. will remain a member of the executive thanked PAGE for committee as the immediate past chair. partnering in their Re-elected to serve another one-year term school-improvement as foundation secretary and treasurer, respecprocess and told trusttively, are Charles E. Richardson of Macon and ees how excited their Scott Williams of Calhoun. Joining the board as colleagues were to trustees for their first terms are Georgia Power learn that PAGE had Community Development Manager Johnna made a five-year comRobinson of Atlanta and PAGE Secretary and mitment to the collabHouston County High School Spanish teacher orative effort. Megan King. Returning to the foundation board Chairman Morrison, who is deeply involved after a one-year sabbatical required by founin community develdation bylaws is Dr. Martha Venn, deputy vice opment efforts in chancellor for academic affairs for the University Savannah and Atlanta, System of Georgia. encouraged fellow

(l-r) Early County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bronwyn Ragan-Martin discusses her district team’s efforts to impact student engagement. (Bottom photo) PAGE Director of Legislative Affairs Margaret Ciccarelli; syndicated columnist and Education Reform Commission member Dick Yarbrough; State Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth); State Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-Cobb County); The Telegraph Editorial Page Editor Charles E. Richardson.

28  PAGE ONE

October/November 2016


Tax Deductions and PAGE Support Donations to the PAGE Foundation as 2016 comes to a close offer PAGE members and others a chance to reduce taxes and provide meaningful support for Georgia educators and students. The deadline for making charitable gifts for the 2016 tax year is December 31. Contributions to the PAGE Foundation support transformative PAGE professional learning initiatives and life-changing academic programs such as PAGE STAR (Student Teacher Achievement Recognition), the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades, the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon and PAGE Foundation scholarships. To make a tax-deductible donation to the PAGE Foundation, please go to: www.pagefoundation.org/donate, or mail your contributions to PAGE Foundation, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141-2270, and ATTN: Development Director.

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PAGE ONE  29


Districts and Prep Programs Collaborate to Get New Teachers Up to Speed By Gant,Tompkins Georgia Professional Commission ByAngie Dr. Paige and AngieStandards Gant, Georgia Professional Standards Commission

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eacher preparation programs traditionally prepare future teachers, while districts induct new teachers into the profession and provide professional learning. Whereas preparing and inducting have been largely separate functions, the benefits of integrating these functions are being realized. Georgia’s post-secondary Angie Gant, PSC director of program approval, addressed teachers at Augusta University’s Mentor Academy. schools of education and school districts both face pressures of increased has also moved from counting professional accountability. Educator preparation prolearning units (seat time) to examining viders (EPP) are dealing with enhanced the impact of job-embedded professional certification requirements, accreditation learning on student performance. overhauls and more pressure to recruit To help EPPs and school districts coland retain qualified teacher candidates. lectively manage these challenges and maxiDistricts are dealing with changes to evalu- mize their effectiveness, three state agencies ations, testing and curriculums. Georgia — the Georgia Department of Education,

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30  PAGE ONE

Fran Sunderland left, director of data analysis & educator certification, and Alexandra Knable, a preservice math and science middle school teacher, register teachers for Mentor Academy.

the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) and the University System of Georgia — have developed nine regional networks composed of EPPs, school districts and Regional Education Service Agencies. The initiative is called the Georgia P-20 Regional Collaboratives (P-20 refers to preschool through 12th-grade educators, and 13-20 refers to post-secondary education preparation providers). Here’s an example of how a regional collaboration between a college of education and a school can help get new teachers up to speed: When an educator is hired by a school district, his or her training can be customized based on strengths and weaknesses evidenced while the new hire was in the teacher prep program. These partnerships also provide a rich opportunity for educators to engage with EPP researchers who specialize in measuring student learning. In addition, the collaborations can assist with the PSC’s new Preparation Program Effectiveness Measure (PPEM) that rates educator preparation providers. Because PPEM is partly measured on evidence demonstrated during the preparation program and partly derived from on-the-job effectiveness, EPP personnel and school districts can work together to improve outcomes. The nine Georgia P-20 Regional Collaboratives each convene twice a year and are open to all educators. The silo-free gatherings encourage open dialogue among a variety of education stakeholders. For information about your regional collaborative, visit gapsc.com/P20.aspx. n

October/November 2016


2016 PAGE Foundation Scholarship Recipients

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he PAGE Foundation recently awarded $17,000 in scholarships to professional, support personnel and teacher candidate PAGE members. Recipients competed through an application process, and a panel of judges determined winners.

“Nurturing new and experienced educators so that Georgia students benefit from their enhanced learning is a primary focus of PAGE,” says Dr. Allene Magill, executive director of PAGE. “It’s an honor that the PAGE Foundation is able to provide scholarships for these

PAGE Jack Christmas Graduate Scholarship Heather Nicole Bagley • Elementary School Teacher, Myers Elementary School, Hall County Schools • Attending Valdosta State University • Pursuing M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education

Kim Mills • Elementary School Teacher, South Salem Elementary School, Newton County Schools • Attending Walden University • Pursuing M.Ed. in Special Education

PAGE Charles “Coach” Cooper Scholarship Monica Landra Elrod • Middle School Teacher, North Whitfield Middle School, Whitfield County Schools • Attending University of North Georgia • Pursuing M.Ed. in Middle Grades Math and Science

Hannah Oldham • High School Teacher, Sprayberry High School, Cobb County School District • Attending Georgia State University • Pursuing Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction: Focus in Mathematics

PAGE H.M. & Norma Fulbright Scholarship Charles Matthew Kempton • Middle School Teacher, Lakeside Middle School, Columbia County School System • Attending Augusta University • Pursuing M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction PAGE Professional Scholarships Leigha Young Burnham • High School Teacher, Gordon Central High School, Gordon County School District • Attending University of West Georgia • Pursuing Ed.S. in Instructional Technology Benjamin Jonas Hanes •  High School Teacher, Mill Creek High School, Gwinnett County Public Schools •  Attending University of Georgia (Gwinnett) •  Pursuing Ed.S. in Learning, Design and Technology

October/November 2016

Christopher Walley • Elementary School Teacher, Midway Elementary School, Pierce County Schools • Attending Georgia Southern University • Pursuing M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction PAGE DeKalb Scholarship Meaghan E. Curry • Music Teacher, Henderson Mill Elementary School, DeKalb County Schools • Attending University of St. Thomas • Pursuing M.A. in Music Education, Kodaly Concentration PAGE Support Personnel Scholarship Kyndra Tamiyah Young • Paraprofessional, Scott Elementary School, Thomasville City Schools • Attending Albany State University • Pursuing Initial Certification in Early Childhood Education

deserving teachers to continue their education.” The scholarships are one-time awards of $1,000 each. The application process begins soon. Eligibility requirements and application information will be available at pagefoundation.org/scholarships. n PAGE S. Marvin Griffin Scholarships Kaitlin Elizabeth Buffington • Attending University of North Georgia • Early Childhood and Special Education Major Laura Bailey Wheeler • Attending Shorter University • Middle Grades Mathematics & English/ Language Arts Education Major PAGE John Robert & Barbara Moore Lindsey Scholarship Kayleigh Dianne Hunter • Attending Georgia Southern University • Early Childhood Education Major PAGE Undergraduate Scholarships Charis Taylor Andrews • Attending Georgia College & State University • Early Childhood Education Major Carley Aurelia Flores • Attending University of North Georgia • Early Childhood and Special Education Major Callie Ivey Reynolds • Attending Georgia College & State University • Middle Grades Mathematics and English/ Language Arts Education Major PAGE Graduate Scholarship Brianna Marie Carlan • Attending Valdosta State University • Early Childhood Education Major

PAGE ONE  31


PAGE STAR Region Winner Honored

2016 Kell High School graduate Karen Wu was honored by the PAGE STAR program as a Region Winner for PAGE STAR Region 3. She named her 11th-grade AP Environmental Science teacher Ann Nemeck as her STAR Teacher. Wu and Nemeck received cash awards and hand-blown glass stars. Wu will attend Princeton University this fall. Shown here at the awards presentation are: (front row, l-r) Ann Nemeck and Karen Wu; and (back row, l-r) Professional School Counselor Valerie Bullock, Cobb County School District Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, Kell High School Principal Dr. Andy Bristow and Wu’s parent, Meng Gu.

OFFICERS President Amy Denty President-Elect Kelli De Guire Treasurer Lamar Scott Past-President Stephanie Davis Howard Secretary Megan King DIRECTORS District 1 District 8 Oatanisha Dawson Lindsey Martin District 2 District 9 Brecca Pope Miranda Willingham District 3 District 10 Jamilya Mayo Shannon Hammond District 4 District 11 Rochelle Lofstrand Dr. Sandra Owens District 5 District 12 Nick Zomer Donna Graham District 6 District 13 Dr. Susan Mullins Dr. Hayward Cordy District 7 Lance James Ex-Officio Vickie Hammond

32  PAGE ONE

PAGE ONE Magazine Professional Association of Georgia Educators Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation Title of Publication: PAGE ONE Magazine: Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Publication Number: 1523-6188. Date of filing: September 15, 2016. Frequency of issue: Five times yearly. Number of issues published annually: Five. Location of known office of publication: New South Publishing, Inc., 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA 30350. Owner: Professional Association of Georgia Educators, 2971 Flowers Road South, Suite 151, Atlanta, GA 30341. Extent and Nature of Circulation: Circulation of single issue published nearest to filing date: Total copies printed, 77,560. Sales through vendors, dealers, carriers and over the counter: 0. Mail subscriptions, 76,145. Total paid circulation, 76,145. Free distribution (by mail carrier or other means, including samples) 1,350. Total distribution, 77,495. Copies not distributed (office use, unaccounted for) 65. Average circulation for each issue in preceding 12 months. Total copies printed, 79,119. Sales through vendors, dealers, carriers and over the counter, 0. Mail subscriptions, 76,894. Total paid circulation, 76,894. Free distribution (by mail, carrier or other means, including samples) 2,160. Total distribution, 79,054. Copies not distributed (office use, unaccounted for) 65. Percent paid and/or requested circulation: 97.3%.

The articles published in PAGE One represent the views of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, except where clearly stated. Contact the editor: Craig Harper, charper@pageinc.org; PAGE One, PAGE, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141-2270; 770-216-8555 or 800-334-6861. Contributions/gifts to the PAGE Foundation are deductible as charitable contributions by federal law. Costs for PAGE lobbying on behalf of members are not deductible. PAGE estimates that 7 percent of the nondeductible portion of your 2015-16 dues is allocated to lobbying. PAGE One (ISSN 1523-6188) is mailed to all PAGE members, selected higher education units and other school-related professionals. An annual subscription is included in PAGE membership dues. A subscription for others is $10 annually. Periodicals class nonprofit postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. (USPS 017-347) Postmaster: Send address changes to PAGE One, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141–2270. PAGE One is published five times a year (January, March, May, August and October) by New South Publishing Inc., 9040 Roswell Road, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA 30350; 770-650-1102. Copyright ©2016.

October/November 2016


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PAGE One Magazine Oct. Nov. 2016  

PAGE One magazine, Georgia’s premier journal for educators, highlights the innovative work of quality educators across Georgia and covers si...

PAGE One Magazine Oct. Nov. 2016  

PAGE One magazine, Georgia’s premier journal for educators, highlights the innovative work of quality educators across Georgia and covers si...

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