According to this week's Dunwoody Crier, State Sen. Dan Weber (R-Dunwoody) is pushing for the charter school charter school cluster concept for DeKalb county schools.
Weber pointed to a chart showing that the total education expenditures per pupil has doubled over the last 20 years, but achievement scores have remained flat.
“We’ve been researching for 20 years but haven’t found the magic bullet,” Weber told a meeting last week of the Ashford Alliance Community Association. The answer, said the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, is returning to a system where local schools rather than the superintendent and the central office make the decisions that affect the learning in their schools.
The model, called The High School Charter Cluster, includes the local high school as well as the middle school and all the elementary school that feed into it. Weber envisions that each cluster would have a council that serves as its governing body made up of administrators and parents and probably the local school board representatives.
Federal and state mandates would still have to be followed, and the local board of education would still be responsible for things like transportation and food service. In exchange for having local control of the charter cluster, the cluster council would be accountable for achieving results. Weber is hopeful that school board members, who have to approve such a move, will be open to these changes that are gaining support among parents and schools.
Weber, who authored Georgia’s charter school act, said charter schools can be hampered by decisions still being overridden by the central office.
“Neighbors should have more control of neighborhood schools,” argued Weber, which is why the state law he authored requires that to become a charter cluster, 60 percent of current parents and administrators within the charter cluster must approve the change.
Weber thinks the charter cluster provides the model to implement “what we’ve already learned. We know that increased discipline, longer school days, and teacher accountability already work.”
To read the article in the Crier online, click here.