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(The Center Square) – More Georgia high school students graduated from charter schools than the state average, data from the Georgia Department of Education shows.

The 2021 graduation rate for Georgia’s charter schools was 89.1%, which was more than five percentage points higher than the state’s graduation rate of 83.7%. The rate was even higher for brick-and-mortar public charter schools at 92.5%, or almost nine percentage points higher than the state's graduation rate.

“We commend these public charter high schools for helping students cross the finish line and successfully preparing them for college and future career opportunities,” said Tony Roberts, president and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association.

Charter schools are independent public schools that are not obligated to follow the direction of school districts or model of traditional public schools. Charter school critics said they redirect funding from traditional schools to schools with less accountability. A September poll conducted on behalf of the Georgia Charter Schools Association, however, showed 56% of registered voters in Georgia favored increasing the number of public charter schools in Georgia.

Officials said many of the state’s public charter high schools also surpassed graduation rates in their local districts or attendance zones.

“Public charter schools offer personalized attention, are often small in size and have the ability to accommodate different learning styles," Roberts said. "These rigorous and high-quality public schools work hard to keep students engaged and ensure they receive their high school diplomas."

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This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.

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