Georgia low-performing schools selected for ‘turnaround’

The first Georgia “turnaround” schools have been identified, and none are in metro Atlanta.

The 11 schools picked by the state's first Chief Turnaround Office, Eric Thomas, are mostly in south Georgia. All are south of Atlanta; they are in Bibb, Clay, Dooly, Dougherty and Randolph counties.

Thomas said all these districts agreed to be part of the program, which was established this year by The First Priority Act. The new state law came in reaction to voter rejection last year of a constitutional amendment that would have created a statewide "opportunity" school district with authority to seize "chronically failing" schools.

Thomas said he identified districts using a variety of "indicators," from health measures such as asthma rates to school measures such as student absenteeism. Also, all the schools were among the 104 that qualified due to their low scores on the state report card, the College and Career Ready Performance Index, which is largely based on student performance on standardized state tests. The participating districts can lose control of these schools if they do not improve.

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