Our solutions are drawn from the best research – both original and other trusted sources.
The purpose of research is to invoke action. High-quality research leads to new ideas, revisions, and improvements. Unfortunately, many times good ideas simply are not enough. It takes work to ensure that great ideas shape the world around us. At GCO, we are committed to not only discovering and promoting great ideas, but also to putting those ideas into action.
Download our 2018 Policy Handbook: Public Policies for a Thriving Georgia. Contents include statistics and policy solutions addressing:
Civil Asset Forfeiture
REPORT: FORTIFYING PATHWAYS
Published in December 2014, this report serves as an overview of the themes and key issues covered by GCO’s College and Career Pathways working group. It discusses the importance for Georgia to move away from big policy as a means of education reform, empower schools to take the reins of innovation and reform, and help students develop healthy habits through strong relational ties in order to see improved student achievement and preparedness.
2019 GEORGIA SCHOOL CHOICE HANDBOOK
Georgia Center for Opportunity’s School Choice Handbook serves as a reference for anyone seeking school choice options for the following:
- Public Charter Schools
- Special Needs Scholarships
- Tax Credit Scholarships
- Public School Transfers
In this handbook you will find helpful information on how to apply for the above options and where to find additional resources online.
GEORGIA PARENTS ALLIANCE
The Georgia Parents Alliance (GPA) is a growing group of engaged parents who support school choice and reform. The GPA strives to expand opportunities to every family and empower parents to make the best education choices for their child.
LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD ON EDUCATION REFORM VOTES
Does your State Senator and Representative support giving your family more educational options? See if they make the grade in our 2017 Legislator Report Card.
YOUTH APPRENTICESHIP IN GEORGIA: EXPERIENCES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Dr. Lerman’s most recent report, focuses on Georgia’s Youth Apprenticeship program, created in the mid 1990s with fewer than 400 student participants. Today, the program has grown to more than 3,000 students in nearly 350 schools across the state. State funding of the program is relatively modest at $3 million annually and mostly funds program coordinators who oversee student participation and work to attract businesses to offer apprenticeship opportunities.
According to the report, demand for apprenticeships of this kind is high in Georgia. Dr. Lerman has estimated elsewhere that Georgia needs nearly 100,000 apprenticeships in order to meet that demand.
Q&AS ON HIRING EX-OFFENDERS
Have you considered hiring an ex-offender in Georgia? For businesses who have not yet offered second chance employment, there are often many questions surrounding the benefits and potential risks. This Q&A document, prepared by attorney Dion Kohler, seeks to provide a guide to some of the top questions asked by many employers.
SYSTEMIC WELFARE IN GEORGIA: PART 1 THE CASE FOR REFORM
In the first paper of our three-part series presenting a vision for systemic welfare reform in Georgia, we explore the need for a welfare system that starts with the assumption that natural support systems, including individual work and a reliance on family and community assistance, should be the primary sources of help when individuals face financial need. This report demonstrates how the current system does not meet these assumptions and points to the need for reform.
SYSTEMIC WELFARE IN GEORGIA: PART 2 PRINCIPLES AND FRAMEWORK FOR REFORM
In the second paper of our three-part series presenting a vision for systemic welfare reform in Georgia, we explore the new system as we imagine it could be, give guiding principles, provide a general framework for how the reformed system can function, and establish preliminary steps needed to implement the vision.
SYSTEMIC WELFARE IN GEORGIA: PART 3 HOW THE NEW SYSTEM WILL WORK
In the third and final paper of our three-part series presenting a vision for systemic welfare reform in Georgia, we propose the creation of new, consolidated program modules (including their structure, design, and expected outcomes) to replace current, disjointed programs. We go on to present a structure Georgia’s governor and executive agencies could adopt to effectively and in relatively short order implement a reformed system.
A REAL SOLUTION FOR HEALTH INSURANCE AND MEDICAL ASSISTANCE REFORM
Medical assistance programs have long needed reforms to address high prices and lack of access. Despite the fact that federal policy tends to dominate medical assistance programs, states do have some flexibility to enact reforms. This study explores how states – and particularly Georgia – have flexibility and can experiment with Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to improve access, lower costs, and streamline the system to better serve those in need of assistance.
HIRING WELL, DOING GOOD IN GEORGIA
Georgia has suffered from higher unemployment rates and lower high school graduation rates than the national average for many years. This report takes a look at the trends driving those problems and the potential solutions, including apprenticeships, that could lead to greater economic mobility for young adults.
DISINCENTIVES FOR WORK AND MARRIAGE IN GEORGIA’S WELFARE SYSTEM
Based on the most recent 2015 data, this report provides an in-depth look at the welfare cliffs across the state of Georgia. A computer model was created to demonstrate how welfare programs, alone or in combination with other programs, create multiple welfare cliffs for recipients that punish work. In addition to covering a dozen programs – more than any previous model – the tool used to produce the following report allows users to see how the welfare cliff affects individuals and families with very specific characteristics, including the age and sex of the parent, number of children, age of children, income, and other variables. Welfare reform conversations often lack a complete understanding of just how means-tested programs actually inflict harm on some of the neediest within our state’s communities.
GEORGIA’S WELFARE SYSTEM REFERENCE GUIDE
The means-tested welfare system is massive and complex. To reform it so that it doesn’t continue to discourage work and family formation (as chronicled in our earlier reports in this series), we have to understand how it works. This reference guide provides the reader with a succinct description of each of the major welfare programs, including their history and purpose, along with suggesting avenues for reform.
WHITE PAPER: AN ALTERNATIVE TO INCARCERATION – PARENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY COURTS IN GEORGIA
Published in July 2015, this white paper highlights the success that Parental Accountability Courts (PACs) have had in helping chronic non-payers of child support overcome barriers to employment and pay child support regularly, and argues for their expansion in light of the numerous benefits they bring. Already, these courts have saved Georgia counties millions of dollars in reduced costs of incarceration.
REPORT: A HIGH PRICE TO PAY
Published in December 2014 and revised in May 2015, this report provides solutions that aim to minimize the role debt has in driving recidivism rates. People often leave prison owing tens of thousands of dollars in debt, creating serious obstacles to a successful reentry. The state should take this into consideration and establish realistic payment plans and incentives to encourage returning citizens to pay current obligations and repay debts according to their ability.
REPORT: INCREASING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR EX-OFFENDERS
Published in December 2013, this report focuses on ways to improve workforce reentry for ex-offenders in Georgia. GCO offers six recommendations for Georgia to consider implementing and is a product of GCO’s Prisoner Reentry Working Group that is developing solutions for curbing recidivism and improving offenders’ transition back into their community.
FACT SHEET: PRISONER REENTRY – THE STATE OF CORRECTIONS
This fact sheet provides a snapshot of the issue of mass incarceration and recidivism in the United States and Georgia. It outlines the scope of the issue, provides demographics, displays recidivism trends, and details the cost it is having on society.
ISSUE IN BRIEF: PRISONER REENTRY
Published in July 2013, this report summarizes the current gaps identified within Georgia’s reentry system based upon the available evidence, including official state reports, site visits to prisons and reentry service providers, and over four dozen expert interviews. In spite of these gaps, the report also highlights emerging solutions that Georgia is implementing to reduce offender recidivism across the state, including:
- Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
- Specialized Courts
- Risk and Needs Assessments
INTERGENERATIONAL POVERTY PROJECT
Research shows that poverty is often passed down through generations, and current methods of attacking poverty by working with adults is not effective. GCO and other organizations are exploring ways to break the cycle of poverty through detailed evidence and child-centric strategic planning.
DEEP RED VALLEYS
It’s widely known that the welfare system discourages work but did you know it also discourages couples from forming families? In our new report, we demonstrate just how prevalent and severe the penalties can be.
REPORT: INCREASING ACCESS TO QUALITY HEALTHCARE FOR LOW-INCOME UNINSURED GEORGIANS
Almost one out of every five Georgians lacks health insurance, the sixth highest percentage in the country. Without insurance, many individuals are unable to access affordable healthcare, leading to many negative health and financial outcomes. When uninsured individuals do access care and are unable to pay for it, much of the cost is covered by the government and those with individual insurance through provider cost shifting. Thus, Georgia’s high rate of uninsurance is costly to both the uninsured and wider society.