Georgia voters soundly rejected a proposal to create their own version of Tennessee’s school-turnaround district this week. But the leader of Tennessee’s effort said Wednesday that the vote shouldn’t be the final word there on creating alternatives for failing public schools.
“While Georgia citizens voted not to implement the Opportunity School District, it is my hope that the voters, schools, and the legislature remain committed to great school options for all students,” said Malika Anderson, superintendent of Tennessee’s Achievement School District, or ASD.
The amendment, on Georgia’s ballot Tuesday, would have allowed the state to assume control of struggling local schools and the taxpayer money funding them. Backed by Gov. Nathan Deal, the Opportunity School District would have been partly modeled after the state-run ASD, launched in 2012 to intervene in Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools with the goal of quickly turning them around. The ASD relies mostly on charter-school operators for its work, and results so far have been mixed in Memphis and Nashville.
But the proposal in Georgia was defeated Tuesday by a 60-40 margin, after opponents raised more than $4 million for television ads telling voters that schools and funding should remain under local control.
Anderson participated in several forums leading up to Election Day to help Georgia voters understand the ASD’s role in Tennessee. She has called the district a “catalyst” for academic improvement in Tennessee.
“Just like in Tennessee, Georgia students deserve access to high-quality schools in every neighborhood,” she said.
Nevada, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are among other states that recently have created, or are considering creating, similar school turnaround districts.
Here is a sampling of Chalkbeat stories about the ASD in Tennessee:
- Report: Why the work is hard for Tennessee’s turnaround district and its charter schools
- Vanderbilt study: iZone more effective than ASD in turning around struggling schools thus far
- What’s the end game for Tennesee’s Achievement School District? That’s the question facing lawmakers.
- Memphis charter network Gestalt to pull out of two state-run schools
- More local charter operators sought by Tennessee’s Achievement School District
- Seven lessons Chris Barbic says he learned from trying to turn around Tennessee’s lowest-performing schools