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Community Schools

In early 2012, Georgia Community Foundation decided to promote the idea that, by providing parents with educational assistance as permitted by the Georgia Constitution, the state of Georgia could help families make informed decisions for the education of their children, thereby enhancing accountability and learning. In a groundbreaking article that the Atlanta Business Chronicle published on January 20, 2012, titled "Must Georgia Families Wander for Another 40 Years?" GCF President Jim Kelly explained why the state of Georgia should provide educational assistance grants to parents to use for the education of their children at qualified community schools.

After the publication of the article, on January 30, 2012, Jim and Ben Scafidi, Professor of Economics at Kennesaw State University, produced a concept paper titled "Educational Assistance and Independent Community Schools: Why Georgia is Uniquely Positioned to Realize the Vision of Civil Rights Leaders Who Sought Community Control over K-12 Education in America."

As the national leader of a new community school movement, GCF is reviving an idea the roots of which originate in America’s civil rights movement.

By 1970, civil rights leaders and social scientists had recognized that top-down, centralized, and bureaucratic public school systems in large cities across America were failing to adequately educate children, primarily minority children. As a solution to this educational deficiency, and to address the need for the delivery of education and other social services in a holistic manner in which parents and other members of a community could participate, concerned parties called for the public funding of independent community schools.

Although there was no long-term sustainable response to this call to action, shortly thereafter, the people of Georgia amended the Georgia Constitution to permit the state to award educational assistance grants to students and parents of students to use for educational purposes. GCF believes that the state of Georgia should exercise its constitutional authority to award educational assistance grants to parents to use for the education of their children at qualified community schools that operate in a manner that is more transparent, with greater public accountability, than is the case with traditional private schools.  

GCF is taking the lead in explaining to Georgia legislators and policy-makers why providing educational assistance to parents to attend community schools would promote informed decisions that enhance accountability and learning.