May 2, 2015- Albany, GA from The Albany Herald- Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle was the speaker at Albany Technical College's Spring Commencement Thursday, but took a moment to talk about a couple of his favorite initiatives — charter schools and career academies — which he says will change the face of education in the state.

"In 2007 we began the journey with the GaCAN initiative by putting money in the budget for charter schools and career academies," Cagle said. "We now have 34 charter schools scattered across the state, and that has created momentum that has been noticed by industry and that is driving it more than anything."

Cagle added that a career academy is sorely needed in Dougherty County.

"I know you fell short of getting one in 2012," Cagle said. "But now the school board and community is strongly behind this initiative and I find it refreshing we finally have all the players at the table."

Cagle said the charter school system "affords a very unique transformation in public education" from the standardized model with mandates that, he said, were not yielding better outcomes.

"It takes the school system from the one size fits all," he said.

Saying that charter schools offer flexibility and innovation in the classroom, Cagle noted the College and Career Academy model, which combines the high school and technical college experience, will allow students to leave high school with a manufacturing certificate, college credits or even an associates degree.

"We are seeing graduation rates usually at 98 percent, and we are seeing job placement rates that are through the roof," he said. "Those two initiatives (charter schools and college and career academies) will transform public education."

Dougherty County School System Superintendent Butch Mosely believes the community will soon see a push for a career academy in the county.

"Our five-year strategic plan should be complete within the next two weeks, and a college and career academy is going to be right at the top of the plan," Mosley said. "We believe we have the support of the board and the community to make it happen this time."

Where a career academy would be located, however, could be an issue. Mosely said the most logical location would be at Southside Middle School, which adjoins the campus of Albany Tech. If that happened it could lead to the construction of a new, smaller middle school somewhere on the south side of town.

Mosely cautioned that possibility remains contingent on the school board approving a career academy.

For the past two years, Albany Tech President Anthony Parker has been pushing hard for a thus-far elusive career academy.

"In an economy like ours, we can talk about the disadvantages in Southwest Georgia, or we can do something about it," Parker recently told members of the Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission. "This need in our community is too strong to ignore. If you believe (a career academy) is a good idea, please support it. If you don't believe it's a good idea, talk with me and I'll try to convince you otherwise."

See original story @ THE ALBANY HERALD