By Anthony Potts
Student explores charter school impact for Vinson Fellows project
I am an Athens native—my parents both graduated from the University of Georgia, I was born here, and I have lived my entire life in and around the Classic City. I am currently a first-year student with intended majors in economics and philosophy. Following graduation, I hope to attend law school to specialize in civil and human rights, litigating for the indigent and underrepresented. I am drawn towards socioeconomic barriers that affect the underclass and disadvantaged, so the advancement of our public education system, as an avenue for reducing social inequity, is very important to me.
As a Vinson Fellow, I’m investigating the 25-year existence of Georgia charter schools under the mentorship of my faculty mentor, Dr. Russ Cook. Charter schools add decision-making flexibility to encourage innovation as well as foster a more intimate connection with the community to improve student achievement and excitement about learning. The unique freedom afforded charter schools requires more regimented standards to ensure schools stay on the right track since outcomes are less predictable, and the unique system justifiably creates important questions for policy makers to answer.
Most state-sponsored charters are less than a decade old, so they are just beginning to display results that demonstrate the system’s effectiveness. My research project gives me an opportunity to explore the development of charter schools across Georgia, the effect of a charter on specific school performance measures, and the complex process of policy development and its application into society.
I am looking forward to continuing my work this semester at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government as a Vinson Fellow!
Anthony is an Honors freshman from Oconee County with a dual major in economics and philosophy. He is a UGA CURO honors scholar and member of the UGA Roosevelt Institute. As a community leader, he assisted in the coordination of Rolling Ridge Running Club for at-risk youth, instituted a summer math club that tutors and mentors local children and became the youngest columnist for The Enterprise newspaper in Oconee County. Anthony is also conducting research on S&P/Fortune 500 company growth.