Gwinnett County Public Schools just outside Atlanta is the first district in Georgia to take advantage of a new state law granting districts increased flexibility in exchange for increased accountability. The waiver essentially works as a five-year contract with the state, exempting districts from meeting a number of provisions of the state, including class size, certification, and salary schedule requirements.
This sort of swap of flexibility for accountability is certainly a growing trend in education reform, but it's not without its critics. The plan faced hostility from parents, the local teachers' association and the NAACP, all concerned that the waivers were simply a way for the district to save money. Columnist Maureen Downy at the Atlanta Journal Constitution suggests otherwise. "If there are strait-jackets on Georgia schools...why don't legislators loosen the binds for all of them."