The End of Public Schools in GA?

Up to five school systems can convert to charter status under legislation signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue Tuesday. Perdue called Senate Bill 39, the Charter Systems Act, "a better way to make sure our children are ready to compete in a worldwide economy in the 21st Century."

The bill was signed at a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda. Thirty-nine children from four charter schools were among those in attendance. The new law provides $5 million in seed money for the applicants. A charter advisory committee will make recommendations to the state Board of Education on what applications to fund.

The charter systems will operate under a contract with the state. In exchange for meeting performance goals, the school systems can ignore many state and federal rules. With that freedom, they're expected to take innovative approaches that improve education.