Georgia Department of Education
The Georgia Department of Education (DOE) oversees all aspects of public education in the state. Employing more than 380 people as of 2005, the department ensures that education-related laws are obeyed and that state and federal education funds are properly allocated. The department was created in 1870.
The state superintendent of schools heads the DOE and reports directly to the governor. The superintendent also serves as the chief executive officer for the state's Board of Education, which is composed of thirteen members, each representing one of Georgia's federal congressional districts. John Barge, the current superintendent, was elected in 2010. The Department of Education is divided into five offices: Curriculum and Instruction; Finance and Business Operations; Instructional Technology and Media; Policy and External Affairs; and Teacher and Student Support.
The Office of Curriculum and Instruction oversees some of the DOE's most publicly recognizable programs. In addition to helping in the development of kindergarten through secondary curriculum, it oversees the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program, the SAT and advanced placement programs, and the Migrant Education Program, a national program aimed at reducing the educational disruptions experienced by migratory children. The Office of Curriculum and Instruction also manages the state's educational testing services, including such mandatory tests as the Georgia Writing Assessments and the Georgia High School Graduation Tests.
The Office of Policy and External Affairs compiles annual reports, including those required under the No Child Left Behind Act. It also runs three state-operated schools for the blind and deaf: the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf in Clarkston, the Georgia School for the Deaf in Cave Spring, and the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon, which was established by the state legislature in 1852 and is the state's only residential school for the blind.
The Office of Instructional Technology acquired responsibility for one of the department's newest programs, the Georgia Virtual School. Created in May 2005, when Governor Sonny Perdue signed the Georgia Virtual School bill, the Virtual High School offers advanced-placement, college-preparatory, career and technical, and other courses to Georgia's high school students through the use of television and the Internet. The DOE also supervises students' nutrition through several programs administered by the Office of Finance and Business Operations.