by Candy Waylock / Appen Newspapers
May 13, 2009 Milton - State Rep. Jan Jones of Milton has been honored at the national level for her contributions to charter schools, joining U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson in being named a 2009 Champion for Charter Schools.The three, along with a mayor for Rhode Island, were recognized at a reception May 5 in Washington D.C. during National Charter Schools Week May 3 through 9.
Long known as an advocate for providing parents with choices in their children's education, Jones' work in Georgia has resonated beyond the state borders.
"Rep. Jones stands out as a leader committed to innovation in public education. She has helped lead the fight to expand the number of high-quality public charter schools," said Nelson Smith, president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Jones was first elected to the state legislature in 2003, working her way through the ranks in 2008 to become the Majority Whip of the House – an influential position outranked only by the Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House. From that platform, Jones has been instrumental in pushing through education reform legislation.Last year, Jones has helped establish the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, an independent, statewide, charter school authorizer.
This session she cosponsored and ensured the passage of legislation to give charter schools access to school district facilities without rental charges. That bill was signed into law May 5.
But her work is not limited to charter schools. Jones has also fought for more parental control and involvement in the public schools, supporting legislation several years ago that reformatted the Local School Advisory Councils (LSAC) to include a majority of parent members. This year she also helped pass legislation that provides an alternative route for high school students, allowing them to complete their requirements for a high school diploma while attending college or a technical school."I will continue to push for more public education choices for Georgia's families, including charter schools. One size does not fit all students," said Jones.
Jones' House District 46 covers northwest Fulton, including Milton, Mountain Park and portions of Roswell and Alpharetta. A native of Warner Robins, she has lived in Fulton County for more than 20 years. She and her husband, Kalin, have four children.