Sen Millar and Rep Kaiser Talk HOPE, Education Funding, Charter Schools

Some good comments from Representative Margaret Kaiser and Senator Fran Millar. Millar was named Chairman of the Senate Education Committee last week. The entire article is worth a read but here is a sample for you.

“I am more and more convinced that the money has to follow the child wherever he goes to get educated. The bigger debate is how do we get the funding. When all is said and done, policy is driven by funding,” said Millar.

Millar said he is a big believer in charter schools, saying the schools make parents really be parents.

Kaiser supports more charter schools. She said she was scrubbing toilets and painting in the charter school that she began in her area when her Atlanta tax bill arrived. It had jumped 118 percent, yet there was not a strong school in her neighborhood for her kids to attend.

“I think our children should have choice, choice, choice. If a school is unacceptable in the community where they are living by zip code and they want to open a charter school, they should be able to do it,” she said.

16 comments

  1. KD_fiscal conservative says:

    Charter school’s are a good idea, another great alternative is to open more solid magnet schools. Anytime you don’t mix kids who have no desire to be in school and kids who go to school by choice(or by parents choice), you are going to have a better “learning environment” and thus, a more successful school.

    What is often ignored, and is “politically incorrect” to even mention, is that often times, failing schools are filled with kids that have no motivation to study/do school work (are lazy), and the parent is not involved in the child’s education; and thus are “clogging up” the school system.

    This may or may not be a good idea, but how do y’all feel about removing compulsory education till age 16? It would definitely improve the budget situation, but the state may be burdened with a very uneducated workforce in the near future.

    • Lady Thinker says:

      Even kids who refuse to participate in their education and whose parents refuse to support teachers, seem to pass on to the next grade under the No Child Left Behind. Instead of getting a regular high school diploma, they can get a different type. I am not familiar with all the ins and outs but students can be evaluated and placed on a different high school graduation path than the students who take the regular road to graduation.

      • John Konop says:

        I agree LT. And Fran Miller is all over solving this problem with giving the students and opportunity for skills ( voc/tech) not a GED or nothing at all.

        …students can be evaluated and placed on a different high school graduation path than the students who take the regular road to graduation…..

    • TheEiger says:

      @KD_fiscal conservative, “It would definitely improve the budget situation, but the state may be burdened with a very uneducated workforce in the near future.”

      It is to our advantage for the state to help educate a child and give them a reason to stay out of jail. Right now the state of Georgia is spending roughly $10,000 a year per student. It cost roughly $40,000 a year to keep someone in jail in Georgia. To me this is a no brainer.

  2. LU LaFayette says:

    KD:
    The ones who wouldn’t go are the ones already the “uneducated” workforce, and the ones who did go wouldn’t be held down by the lowest-common-denominator aspect of teaching their former classmates.

    But the state and districts would never accept this, because they get more money for every student enrolled. The more they have in class the more money comes in to the district, so letting the ones who didn’t want to be there stay home would cut the amount of funding available for teacher pay and pension funds.

    — The LaFayette Underground

  3. LU LaFayette says:

    KD:
    The ones who wouldn’t go are the ones already the “uneducated” workforce, and the ones who did go wouldn’t be held down by the lowest-common-denominator aspect of teaching their former classmates.

    But the state and districts would never accept this, because they get more money for every student enrolled. The more they have in class the more money comes in to the district, so letting the ones who didn’t want to be there stay home would cut the amount of funding available for teacher pay and pension funds.

    — The LaFayette Underground

  4. TheEiger says:

    One question I have for Senator Millar and others who support the “allow money to follow the student to their choice of school” idea. If we give a student say in South Cobb a check and tell them to go to what ever school they want. Where would they go? Well, I would try to get my child in to a nice private school like Lovett or Westminster. Anyone want to guess what it costs to go there a year? I think it is almost $20,000 a year at Lovett. The states little $3,000 check doesn’t even make a dent.

    The next option would be some of the better public schools in North Cobb. Lassister, Sprayberry, North Cobb and Walton are all great, but they have problems of their own. Do you think that their ability to give high quality education to their student would be helped by allowing an influx of students from other parts of the county and state to come there. This would lead to larger class sizes and less focus on each individual student’s needs. What happens with this solution is we hurt the well performing schools without helping a single student.

    Another question that has yet to be answered. Even if I could get my child into a better public school across town, how am I to get them there everyday. The school bus system will not be able to take individual students across town. The only students that get a better education are the students with parents and jobs that can get them across town everyday.

    The only people that get better in this scenario are the wealthy. The less fortunate are sentenced to send their children to horrible schools where they will get a crappy education and one day very soon become a burden to the state and us all as tax payers.

    What we should be doing is replicating what is working so well at the public schools that are performing well in under performing schools. We also need to hold teachers, principals and boards of education accountable. Publish teacher evaluations where parents can see who is teaching their children. Have a bonus pay system in place that rewards teachers that push their students to want to achieve better.

    All I am hearing about education is the same stale ideas that haven’t worked for the past thirty years. The current system is an embarrassment and puts and economic damper on what Georgia could be achieving. We need to not only invest money, but new innovative ideas such as public-private partnerships into the education debate.

    • John Konop says:

      That is why promoting cross utilization of 4 year colleges, trade schools…… via joint enrollment. And if we let the above schools set the requirements for graduation rather than state you would see a work ready workforce and fewer dropouts. This would increase tax revenues via work ready workforce and save money via cross utilization and decrease of drop-outs (social cost ie welfare, jails….)

    • rebelyelp says:

      @Eiger As you note above, we spend about 10k per student on average. IF the money truly follows the student, then 10k in funding would follow the student. You will find private schools that charge less than 10k already open for business all over this state. You would also find many entrepreneurs willing to open new schools and accept 10k as payment in full. In either event, 10k would make a big “dent” in tuition at every school, public or private, in the state. If this concerns you, please contact your Senator and Rep and ask them to make sure that every dime follows the student rather than 30%.

      • TheEiger says:

        10k a year is what the state, local and federal governments spend together per child. The state can only give a voucher for their share of the cost which is roughly 3k. So my argument still stands. The state portion of education dollars in the form of a voucher is worthless.

        • rebelyelp says:

          This is true. So your task is to ask your representatives at every level of government to work together to solve the problem.

          I would also add, that if you think the voucher is “worthless” then no one would accept it and the voucher program would die for lack of demand. You have nothing to fear in that case, so why not prove your point by approving the “worthless” voucher.

          • TheEiger says:

            Do you think it is possible to get a local government to give up their share of property taxes in their county and send them to another county so some can take their child to another school system? If you think about the reality of what you are saying you will know it won’t work. We should try to replicate what is working in these well performing schools at other school systems. That would be much easier than trying to get local, state and federal politicians to area on anything. I like this discussion. This is what needs to be happening at the state legislature though.

            • rebelyelp says:

              @Eiger We’ve been trying it your way for about 50 years. Not sure why you think “replicating” what’s working in “good” public schools is a new idea. This is where it’s got us: http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/01/17/raze-education-ghetto-in-south-dekalb/

              Meanwhile we’re 25th in math on international measures and falling further and faster.

              Every thing you profess to fear in a system of choice is an actual reality in our current system: Segregation, poor students forced to attend horrible schools with no way to get to the good schools, inadequate funding for students in rural areas with low tax base, etc….

    • rebelyelp says:

      @Eiger Regarding well performing school systems experiencing growth due to students freedom to move, this is a benefit and not a problem. Class size would NOT grow, but rather new classrooms would be added and new schools built as money flows into quality schools and quality school systems that have a proven track record of educational excellence. As it is today, the current system ensures that poorly performing schools never go away and high performing schools can’t replicate.

  5. Libertarian Chick says:

    @ T he Eiger. School choice and vouchers are two very different things. School choice is public; vouchers are allocating funds to students to attend private school.

    • TheEiger says:

      Some elected officials are currently making the two the same by saying that the voucher could be used to offset the costs of children going to other public schools. Not just private schools. So the two have become lumped into the same discussion.

Comments are closed.