“Systems, I am convinced, are not afraid of accountability,” he said. How much control the local boards exercise depends on how much responsibility for doing their jobs they’re willing to take. If they fail, they risk losing authority over nonperforming schools. My preference, but not a part of the commission’s expected recommendations, would be that parents be given the full state funding share to buy the services their children need from any competent and willing provider of education services.
Alford’s panel is also attempting to determine precisely how much a quality education should cost and what portion should be borne by locals and by the state. Now it’s about 55-45, state-local.
The public education and funding model does need to change. As Alford noted, the current system was designed for a homogenous world that no longer exists. Georgia has 180 school systems and three times that many critical problems with them. The solution is statewide standards and local control, with accountability and consequences, even down to the individual school level.