Guest Post: Where has exclusive local control by school systems gotten us thus far?

This post comes from State Rep. Rahn Mayo of district 91. Rep. Mayo is a supporter of the proposed charter amendment and a Democrat. Rahn give us his reasons for supporting the proposed amendment.

There is a common misconception that public charter schools can choose and accept only the students that they desire. The truth is that any parent who wishes to enroll their child in a charter school has that option, provided they live in the attendance zone or county in which the charter school is located. In many cases, charter schools, much like the most popular theme and magnet schools have waiting lists due to high demand for their outstanding academic results.

In my opinion, many who oppose to the charter amendment are not focused on what’s in the best interest of children, parents and taxpayers, but instead motivated by protecting the power and exclusive control currently held by local school boards and systems. Considering a history of underperformance, fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer resources, local systems have not proven to be deserving of exclusive control, free of state intervention when neccessary. In DeKalb County, a former superintendent and school system leadership are currently under indictment on charges of running a criminal enterprise. The DeKalb School Board is under review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for mismanaging the district and budget. Elsewhere in Georgia, Clayton County lost it’s accreditation in 2008 over alleged corruption among board members and mismanagement of that system, which put the academic well being of thousands of students at risk. SACS issued a scathing report in which it labeled the Clayton County School Board “dysfunctional” and “fatally flawed.”

Prior to 2011, under the leadership of Dr. Beverly Hall, the Atlanta Public School System enjoyed tremendous support by status quo leaders and polticians who defended the success and great improvements made by that superintendent. It was later discovered that APS leadership attempted to cover-up one of the biggest cheating scandals in United States history. The APS cheating scandal has been an embarrassment to the state and the consequences continue to hinder our progress in Georgia.

In Dougherty County, criminal charges were filed against a school board member who was removed from the board by the governor. Furthermore, the Dougherty County School System is not eligible to receive at least $10 million in federal funds because of concerns that the district has inflated the number of students who qualify for federal meal assistance. These are a few of the reasons why I believe it is a misguided notion to suggest that local school systems always know and do what’s best for our children.

With respect to the charter amendment, the belief that money to fund state authorized charter schools will be taken from local school systems is false. These schools will be paid for with state taxpayer money. HB 797, which created the law outlining the details of funding for state charter schools, explicitly states that no deduction shall be made to any state funding which a local school system is authorized to receive as a result of a student in that district enrolling in a state charter school. The Georgia Charter Commission appointees will be volunteers at no cost to taxpayers and accountable to the State School Board, which has the authority to to deny charters schools recommended by the Charter Commission.

While we debate the idea of whether or not the state should serve as a secondary authorizer of charter schools, it is my belief that most parents are more concerned with the quality, culture and academic performance of their child’s school, rather than which level of government creates the school. It is time for Georgia, which provides approximately 45% of funding for local public schools, to maintain a shared responsibility with local school systems in the creation of quality public school options. Georgia leaders can no longer afford to fiddle while Rome burns and we allow another generation of children to suffer and remain trapped in struggling schools.

In an effort to provide more quality public school options for parents, I am urging you to vote yes on November 6th to re-create the Georgia Charter Commission and give the state and local school systems the ability to authorize public charter schools.

146 comments

  1. dorian says:

    It’s odd, but the fact you guys are pushing this so hard makes me more skeptical of it than I was when this debate started.

    • Dave Bearse says:

      The ballot question: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?”

      The ballot question developed by amendment proponents has nothing to do with the core of the matter, charter school funding. It instead is focused on directly and falsely implying that the state cannot currently approve charter applications.

      That’s all anyone who’s not sure about how to voter needs to know to VOTE NO, because State goverment can’t be trusted.

        • ryanhawk says:

          Indeed. Dave is not technically lying but he is either extraordinarily naive or being intentionally misleading. The crux of the matter, and that part that Dave has not or doesn’t wish to address, is footnote 5 of the majority opinion where the Court clearly implies that a constitutional amendment is necessary for the state to continue approving charters in a manner that will pass muster with the Court. David Nahmias and Sam Olens have made this clear, as did Mike Bowers, if memory serves in his oral arguments. The amendment is necessary and it is exactly on point.

        • rrrrr says:

          Why do they have to approve charter schools to fund them? They just admitted they fund the schools with all the alleged criminal activity did they not?
          Do they currently select each new school that is to be constructed in the state?
          “Georgia, which provides approximately 45% of funding for local public schools”

      • SallyForth says:

        It’s the amending the State Constitution part of this that does not pass the smell test. We presently have two legal ways to approve charter schools, and there are already numerous such schools operating across Georgia. Existing bureaucracy is working, and there is no reason to create more bureaucracy to accomplish the same thing. That’s throwing away taxpayer money.

        The proposal is totally redundant. Leave our Constitution alone. Vote NO.

  2. wicker says:

    There definitely seems to be a divide between the old guard black leadership and younger black leaders representing more affluent and suburban blacks (as represented by Alisha Thomas Morgan, who co-authored this oped with Jan Jones! http://barrow.patch.com/articles/improving-education-is-truly-a-bi-partisan-issue-2c3a46db) and Rahn Mayo, on this charter school/school choice issue, with the old guard adhering to the liberal Democratic line and the younger leadership supporting this Republican measure. (Curiously, both Morgan and Mayo attended HBCUs, not exactly hotbeds of conservative indoctrination.)

    I recall a conversation that I had with a fellow – a member of the Mayo/Morgan generation – whose job was to recruit students for the engineering school for an HBCU. I asked him why he didn’t make recruiting Atlanta high school students for his engineering school a bigger priority, since this university is only a few hours from Atlanta. His response: as badly as he wanted to, he considered it not to be a wise use of his limited time and resources because the public schools in Atlanta were so bad.

    It looks like the old guard has lost a sizable section of younger affluent – and in some cases not so affluent! – black voters and leaders on the education issue. I wonder if there are other issues where the old guard is similarly vulnerable.

    • eliz says:

      Alisha Morgan and her husband have come to the realization, as have Jan Jones and Chip Rogers, that there is alot of money on the “privatization” of education side and not much on the “status quo” side. They are willing to be the mouthpiece for the BAEO, Walton FF, ALEC, AFP, AFC and more because it pays and it pays big. The only way Charter Schools USA will continue to invest and start charter schools that can be replicated in Georgia is if the state’s current authority is given life insurance via a change to the constitution that is immune to future litigation. They also are not willing to subject themselves to the hassle of a board by board application process. HB 797 gives them a direct line to the Charter Commission by declaring a state-wide attendance zone. They can completely by-pass a local board(s). Not so in Florida. Other states have waiting periods and restrictions for EMOS’ that want to purchase property and lease it back to themselves as Charter Schools USA does with Red Apple, their development arm. Florida does – there is NOTHING in HB 797 that gives CSA a moments pause. Jan Jones is playing catch-up and getting even. Debbie Dooley is absolutely right to be concerned about monitoring. There is nothing concrete in HB 797. Fulton Science Academy cost a small fortune for the FCBOE to bring into compliance and they still were not satisfied – refusing the 3 year offer. They never admitted to conflict of interest transactions which were OBVIOUS. They were also undeniably part of the Gulen network – never will admit to that either. Chip Rogers take on the findings? Has any of this been adjudicated in court? So we have to sue a charter school to get them to follow county and state policy according to Chip? The only people who will benefit from this amendment are lawyers, legislators and for-profit EMOs. Look out below folks – if this ridiculous amendment passes you won’t be able to hire enough people to watch the money.

      • ryanhawk says:

        I’ll just respond point by point:

        1. Regarding which side the money is on: Georgia’s 2013 budget includes 7.17 BILLION dollars for k-12 education and. 1/10th of 1 percent of that will be used to fund state charter schools. The other 99.999% will go to traditional public schools. Of the portion that goes to public schools, less than 65% will make it into the classroom while superintendents and educrats enjoy 6 figure salaries.

        2. HB797 requires applicants for local charters to seek approval at the local level: “The commission shall not act on a petition unless the local board of education in which the school is proposed to be located denies the petition.”

        3. Fulton Science Academy was among the best schools in the state and it is a pity that a local school board harassed them into becoming a private school thereby denying those who can not afford the tuition the opportunity to attend. I’ve linked to a report debunking the very biased “audit” in a comment further down this thread.

        4. The best research on charter schools shows that the people who benefit most from charters are at risk minority students stuck in failed schools. This research controls for every factor that would allow one to “spin” the data and demonstrates dramatic gains for these students.

        http://jaypgreene.com/2012/05/07/charter-benefits-are-proven-by-the-best-evidence/

  3. Technocrat says:

    What ever happened to parental responsibility and punishing parents for the failure of their offspring at least until emancipation….including baby daddies…………caponization.
    Get 2 D’s – BOTH parents get a day in the stocks.

    • wicker says:

      Choosing a better school for your children is part and parcel of parental responsibility. Parents have enough trouble making a living and disciplining their children. Adding to that the time-consuming and frustrating task of rehabilitating a local school (or school system) that is determined not to change makes the duty of being a responsible parent almost impossible, and it also adds a burden to responsible parenting to those in some areas (where there are failing schools) that doesn’t exist in others (where the schools are good). And that is presuming that most of the people in a particular school region or district want better schools or are engaged enough to care. If you are in an area where 80% of the parents either support social promotion, lousy discipline and using schools as an avenue to funnel social welfare and run jobs programs or simply don’t care, then the other 20% are just outnumbered, outgunned and out of luck. Personal responsibility is only a valid argument when you actually have control over the things that you are responsible for. Otherwise, it is a farce, and a hypocritical excuse for maintaining a status quo that is known to be harmful and unjust.

  4. Howard Roark says:

    This comes from the same people who brought us T-SPLOST! I vote no on almost all CA’s and will vote no on this amendment.

    • wicker says:

      Yes. Republicans. This came from the same Republicans who brought you T-SPLOST. Might I enquire of your party affiliation and general voting preferences?

      • rrrrr says:

        So it came from Republicans as that makes all the difference?

        So did this little paraphrased gem,
        “That ethics reform is the domain of democrats and FOOLS…”
        This simply goes to show they are indeed human and fallible after all.

        While it’s not as good as fear of concentrated troops on Guam may cause it tip and capsize, but hey it’s still “entertainment”.

  5. bgsmallz says:

    Great post, Mr. Mayo. I especially liked this point: “it is my belief that most parents are more concerned with the quality, culture and academic performance of their child’s school, rather than which level of government creates the school.”

    My only issue with voting ‘yes’ on the charter school amendment, which I have brought up before, is that it does not do enough. My concern is that we have a moment in which to really take strides to make some reforms…but instead, we are putting a band-aid on the problem and will not have the will to address it again if the charter school amendment passes.

    I’m a city of Brookhaven/DeKalb county resident but a product of the city of Decatur school system. I’m a firm believer that we need to remove the constitutional ban on the creation of independent school districts…there is no reason school districts should be monopolized at the county level.

    Obviously, there is some controversy with this…many will make it an issue of race. However, it is important to point out that Chamblee is a city that is majority-minority in its population make-up. Brookhaven is roughly 60% white…but has a large Hispanic/Latino population. When I was in school, the population of the city of Decatur under 18 was roughly 50/50 white and black.

    The key is the concept that you point out above…”most parents are more concerned with the quality, culture and academic performance of their child’s school, rather than which level of government creates the school.” Having seen meeting after meeting of the DeKalb BOE, I can firmly say that parents from all areas of the county have zero faith in their ability to affect the culture or the quality of their child’s school in the face of such a large and out of touch organization. I don’t think that would be the case if their local school board was truly local.

    • wicker says:

      Regarding school districts being monopolized at the county level, how is it that Atlanta and Fulton County get to run their own school systems … a city system and a county system? Do other places have that same option? (And what happens to that arrangement of Jan Jones and her merry band accomplish their goal of ultimately forcing Atlanta and Fulton County to consolidate into a single government)?

      • bgsmallz says:

        City school districts are classified as “independent” school districts. The state constitution was amended in 1945 to ban independent school districts…but did grandfather in the roughly 47 existing independent school districts that existed at the time (such as Marietta, Decatur, Atlanta, Gainesville, etc.).

      • Andre says:

        The short version of this long story, wicker, is that the 1983 Constitution of the State of Georgia grandfathered in existing “independent school systems” but also prohibited the establishment of new independent school systems [Article VIII, Section Five, paragraph 1, Constitution of the State of Georgia.

        In other words, independent school districts that existed when the 1983 Georgia Constitution was adopted, like Atlanta Public Schools and Marietta City Schools, continued to operate. But there can never be a school system in the new cities of Dunwoody or Sandy Springs other than the county school system.

        To your second question, regarding what would happen to Atlanta and Fulton County schools should the resurrection (God-willing) of Milton County occur, that same paragraph of the Georgia Constitution cited above permits the General Assembly to consolidate “two or more county school systems, independent school systems, portions thereof, or any combination thereof into a single county or area school system under the control and management of a county or area board of education under such terms and conditions as the General Assembly may prescribe; but no such consolidation shall become effective until approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon in each separate school system proposed to be consolidated.”

        If Atlanta and Fulton County government consolidated, it would be up to the state legislature to draw up a bill that would smoothly and successfully merge Atlanta and Fulton schools into the new Atlanta-Fulton consolidated government.

        I think the consolidation in Macon-Bibb County is a good model for this, but that’s another topic for another time.

        • Stefan says:

          This would be a good time to read the entire dissent of Justice Nahmias in Cox v. Gwinnett Cty. School Dist.

          I am excited to see the present calculation of what Milton owes Fulton for bailing it out and then investing in it. My previous calculation, based on statutory rates of return, was $17 Billion. I assume that would have to be paid back to Fulton if it were to re-emerge.

          • bgsmallz says:

            I assume that doesn’t include a line item deduction for carrying the rest of the county on its back for the past 40 years, does it?

            I’ll bite…I’d love to see your calculations. My guess is that its something akin to a landowner buying property, building coal mines, reaping a huge profit mining, and then going back to the original owner and asking for his purchase price plus statutory rates of return without regard to any of the coal you’ve taken or the damage left from your mining activities.

          • Andre says:

            This discussion here is quickly approaching a thread-jacking violation, and I hope Charlie’s replacement moderators will show a little leniency for the deviation onto the subject of resurrecting Milton County.

            In 1931, voters in what was then known as Milton County gave their consent to merge their county with Fulton County. The merger was completed 1 January 1932.

            Fast forward eighty years to present day, and you’ll find more than a few people who believe the merger of Fulton and Milton counties has outlived its purpose.

            Fulton County, by many accounts, is dysfunctional. And there are quite a few folks who wish to withdraw the consent given eighty years ago by the governed of the former Milton County. These people want to dissolve the merger.

            That is their right.

            The Declaration of Independence, which obviously pre-dates the creation of Milton County, reads, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

            Folks in north Fulton have tried for years to reform Fulton County’s dysfunctional government. Their efforts have been met with obstacle after obstacle. So north Fulton, the former Milton County, is at a breaking point (no pun intended).

            North Fulton is ready to withdraw its consent to be governed by Fulton County. North Fulton is ready to institute new Government (Milton County) laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

            Now, I’ve gone through all of that to get to this:

            Over the years, tax dollars generated in north Fulton have been used to build schools, roads, parks, libraries, etc., in north Fulton. Some of that money went to south Fulton too, for the same purpose.

            If we want to play the nickel and dime game, then maybe north Fulton should send south Fulton a demand letter asking for a return of the money raised in the north, but spent in the south.

            The way I figure, south Fulton owes north Fulton way more money than north Fulton owes south.

            Even before the great recession, south Fulton was running in the red to the tune of an estimated $10 million annually. The deficit in south Fulton was covered only by transfers from the old Special Services District Fund (Fund 300), which contained money paid by taxpayers from across Fulton County prior to the incorporation of Sandy Springs, Milton, Johns Creek and Chattahoochee Hills. Fund 300, for all intents and purposes, no longer exists. South Fulton, no longer being able to depend on Fund 300 to cover its $10 million deficits, is seeing tax increases.

            Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that every year for the past eighty years, $10 million of north Fulton’s money went to south Fulton. That comes to about $800,000,000. I’m not sure how much that would be when adjusted for inflation, but as I said, if we want to play that nickel and dime game, I’m willing to bet south Fulton owes about as much to north Fulton as north Fulton owes to south Fulton.

            So let’s shake hands and call it even.

      • Stefan says:

        I am in favor of a Charlotte/Mecklenburg type model, but Fulton doesn’t get us all the way there. ARC was supposed to do this, but without implementation of proposals, there it sits.

  6. Max Power says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, local control of schools is an accident of history and should be abandoned. Make every school in the state a charter school, 100% funded by the state on a per pupil basis and allow people to send their kids to any school in the state. That allows the advantages of competition without siphoning off public funds to private schools. Of course it will never happen as local school boards are ran like medieval fiefdoms.

    • John Konop says:

      Max,

      The biggest investment most people make in their life is their home. And many people buy homes in an area via the schools. So now, you want the state to be the decider on a local issue that affects quality of life issues on a local level. The track record of the state and federal government being involved into local school issues has been horrible ie No Child Left Behind, Math 123, killing vocational funding……

      • Max Power says:

        Schools are not a local issue school boards are a creature of state law. If you introduced a public market for schools and made them all charter a lot of the extreme variation in quality you see today would disappear as bad schools would die and be replaced by better ones.

      • wicker says:

        If the state were taking over the local school boards, you would have a point. But this is the state merely deciding to open and fun schools in local jurisdictions. If you don’t have a problem with the state doing the same for universities, junior colleges and vocational schools – which also affect local property values and economies – then there is no reason why the state should not do the same with K-12.

        And as I stated before, NCLB was an attempt to do away with social promotion and other failed education reforms that were enacted at the local level. Also, “new math” and ending vocational education were decisions made at the state and local level, not the federal level. And you would be curious to know that lots of charter schools are promoting a “back to basics” curriculum (called “fundamental charter schools”, which are very popular in Florida) and some charter schools are investing heavily in vocational education.

        Education is a real problem in Georgia, and the state is getting involved to help solve it in a way that A) has little negative effect on existing school board-run schools and B) involves parents, organizations, and yes the private sector. It isn’t perfect, but the perfect should not be the enemy of the good, especially when the status quo’s lack of perfection is never addressed.

        • debbie0040 says:

          The state is not taking over the current local school boards – they are creating an alternative state run school board structure funded by tax-payers.

          • No, charter schools, whether authorized by a local school board or a State commission, are run by a not for profit board or local people. That’s more local control than a 5 or 7 member school board overseeing a system of tens of hundreds of thousands of students.

            • debbie0040 says:

              But they can be managed by a for profit company or are you saying that is not true?. And the state charter school commission, state board of education have oversight. Or are you saying there is no oversight other than by the parents/board of the charter school?

              • bgsmallz says:

                @debbie

                This state has something called a ‘constitution’…it is the big document that ‘separates’ powers through different branches of the state government and, to a large extent, dictates the powers of any local (county, city, school board, etc.) government. Where the Constitution doesn’t do that…it typically gives the power to the state legislature to dictate those powers.

                So…when your original, asinine statement about a ‘state run school board’ gets thoroughly doused and you follow that up with red herrings about ‘state’ boogey men and code words to make people think ‘socialism’, you make your ignorance of the law pretty apparent.

                Please say something substantive about the actual operation of the law rather than just laying forth broad generalizations about state control and ‘big government’. Or don’t. I don’t really care. As a parent of young children watching my local school board drive the car into the ditch (and then setting the car on fire and trying to illegally collect insurance proceeds), you are probably the last person I’m going to listen to in order to make a rational and sound decision on what powers need to be granted to certain divisions of government because you’ve shown that you don’t care about any of that…you just want less government….or in this case, want to maintain the appearance of less government… no matter the generational costs.

                • John Konop says:

                  In Cherokee county we obviously have good schools. The schools board rejected the charter school because it did not offer any material extra options for education in Cherokee and also other concerns…..

                  The state overruled the local school district. We than had an election and the pro charter candidate lost for chair of the board seat by a lot, Janet Reed a school board member that rejected the charter school won.

                  As a said I get how charter schools are needed in some areas, and if they offer something extra. But if the local voters say no, and we have good schools, why should the state be able to force in a charter school? This makes no fiscal sense, especially when we have other places in the state that really need the help!

                  Cherokee SAT Scores Surpass State, Nation

                  …..The Cherokee County School District had the highest SAT district average in the state for the 2011-12 school year….

                  http://canton-ga.patch.com/articles/ccsd-s-sat-district-average-highest-in-georgia

                  • bgsmallz says:

                    Dave-

                    I think the better question is why wouldn’t the state be able to commission a charter school?

                    http://www.cherokee.k12.ga.us/Documents/LegislativeProgram.pdf

                    I think the issue is effectively juxtaposed by the CCBOE in this ‘legislative priorities’ pamphlet. The #1 issue is for the state to respect local control. the #2 issue is for the state to give them more money. Over the past 10 years, state funding has made up between 60% and 40% of the Cherokee County Schools budget.

                    You know what’s interesting? If this doesn’t pass, I wonder if the legislature could just change the formula to penalize local school boards for rejecting charter schools that have received the approval of the state by withholding tax revenues? It might be too ‘commerce clause’-esque for our current legislative body, but would it pass muster?

                    • bgsmallz says:

                      John-

                      The point is that the creation of school boards is a state function. The Cherokee county schools as they currently are wouldn’t exist without the 40% to 60% of the budget covered each year through state funding.

                      People begat State. State begat schools/school boards. The idea that the state should have to submit to the local school boards, which the state created, on the creation of special schools, which is granted to the state by the state constitution, is a bit far fetched to me. Regardless, the question you posed certainly isn’t rhetorical.

                    • bgsmallz says:

                      No it doesn’t…it actually reinforces it. You are now trying to argue in degrees which inherently proves the relevance of the point I was making.

                      So instead of saying ‘the state has no business in Cherokee’ you are saying ‘the state would have business in Cherokee, but for the fact that we are a ‘donor’ county’…or to put it another way…the state may have that power in that county, but not in ours.

                      Presumably, once I completely destroy the fabrication of your reasoning..i.e. that somehow Cherokee is a donor county receiving less from the state budget than it sends to the state budget…we can agree that the state does have a legitimate interest in the creation of special schools in your district and then we can just argue whether it is good for the kids or not.

                    • John Konop says:

                      bgsmallz,

                      I get it you are a liberal democrat! You think the State and or federal government should have more power and control than the local government. No wonder we disagree.

                    • bgsmallz says:

                      Hilarious.

                      I think we disagree because you are grasping to a reality that doesn’t exist. But I would LOVE to hear why you think after reading my posts that I am a liberal democrat. Enlighten me.

                    • griftdrift says:

                      So this really comes down to is does the apparent stewardship of Cherokee justify no state intervention or the dysfunction of Dekalb justify state intervention.

                      I’m going with Dekalb being worse than Cherokee being better. I’m probably voting Yes.

                    • bgsmallz says:

                      That’s not exactly the point I was making, but I’ll concede it’s probably valid.

                      I’m voting yes, too. While I really wish the legislature had gone farther by allowing municipalities to form their own school districts (and I still hope they attempt to do that…although in my mind I think it comes down to Milton Co….if Sandy Springs can have their own school district, one of the selling points of Milton Co. goes in the tank), I can’t bear the thought of the DeKalb BOE being the only arbitrator of charter schools in my county.

                    • John Konop says:

                      Grift,

                      Why not have a plan that takes both situation into consideration with proper protections for tax payers? If you have a district with at risk schools the state can step in and override the local community, combined with proper controls? Why do we have to hurt one community to help another?

                    • griftdrift says:

                      Because John, based on the Supreme Court ruling you can’t even get to that step.

                      Which brings me full circle to what we discussed before. If the thing passes, it will still be up to the legislature to create the thing ( or re-create it based on the original ). That is the time to hold them accountable for the actions they take. Because that’s the way politics work.

                      There will always be winners and losers, but I don’t see the sense in throwing out the baby with the bathwater because of one questionable decision in Cherokee County.

                    • John Konop says:

                      Grift,

                      It looks like they will not put in the controls needed. Why do you think this will not be like Florida with a default rate that doubled after they loosen the standard for charter schools? BTW the national default rate is 12%. Trust me I get your point about the bill, I just do not think the proper controls will be put in place.

                    • griftdrift says:

                      I have my doubts too. Which is why I am once again a fence sitter. But Buzz’s point that we have an actual record to review and it is mostly good is a strong one.

                • debbie0040 says:

                  There is a state Constitution that the Charter amendment would change if passed. You do realize that right? There was legislation passed I believe this past session that required the state to provide charter schools with twice as much money as they do public schools.

                  Read the article http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/11/georgia-charter-school-decision-could-set-national-precedent/

                  The Georgia Legislature is hotly debating a bill that would allow the state to cover the costs of charter schools even if local school boards reject them, setting up a case that could set national precedent on educational reform.

                  The legislation to amend the state constitution would allow the Peach State to create its own parallel K-12 system to local boards, drawing on the same limited pool of Georgia’s taxpayer funds — a decision that the Georgia Supreme Court said was illegal just one year ago.

              • Cities like Sandy Springs contract their core governmental functions to private companies and have saved the taxpayers money.

                Conservatives used to believe the private sector could do things better than the government. I suppose that’s not the case anymore or is government the only entity that can dispense education?

          • Howard Roark says:

            Are you for or against the Amendment 1 Debbie. I am for charter schools and school systems. I am against private companies managing schools. Some of these companies are computer based schools, with students sitting at a computer terminal getting an education.

            • wicker says:

              Those are GED academies for dropouts, kids who have been expelled/sent to alternative schools, juvenile delinquents, etc. Those CBT charter schools allow kids who almost certainly never would have finished high school to get the credentials that they need to enter the military, go to vocational school or gain entry level employment. This is the private sector stepping up to serve kids where the state – and their own families – have failed. How is that a bad thing?

              And the idea that private companies managing public schools is such a horror is hilarious considering some of the principals and school boards in this state … and not just in Clayton, Fulton, or DeKalb either.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      It’s much easier to change a local fiefdom than it is to change a state-wide fiefdom. You can take 25 people to your county Board of Education and the board members will listen. You can take 25 people to the state board of education and they’ll . . . . laugh.

      And if you say that your county B.O.E. will laugh (which is possible in the large counties), then that should tell you that it’s already too big, and less responsive to the will of the people. However, the solution is not to take that power and send it up to someone who is even bigger and even less responsive, but to divide that power further.

        • Rick Day says:

          oh now hush up with that talk. They are the party of small government. Small..local..and federal…but the STATE! OMG THE STATE!

          *runs screaming down the hall* The Staaaaaaaaaaaatteeeeeeeeeeeeee…….

          • seenbetrdayz says:

            Just so we’re clear, I’m not advocating for or against charter schools, simply because I’m not sure of the implications for whether the power will end up at the local or state level. Both sides seem to be advocating both outcomes at the same time, so it seems confusing to me.

            As someone with no kids of my own, this debate would be absolutely meaningless to me except for one small plea:

            Can we please stop throwing money at problems based on wild guesses as to what the solutions *might* be? Our government can sometimes look like a very costly laboratory full of crack-pot experiments, and when the expensive ideas fail, well, they just go get more money to buy more guesses.

            Speaking to no one in particular:

            I know, I know. People will argue that I should want other people’s kids to do well in school, but if you’re gonna tax non-parents to pay for this education system, please just make sure we’re getting our money’s worth and not just funding a black hole. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

    • Doug Deal says:

      Max, you have an interesting idea, and it would be something I would love to see a discussion about this. I have not considered it well enough to know how I think, but it is ideas like this that will improve our system, not throwing more money and mandates to the current system.

  7. John Konop says:

    Have you noticed it seems they always avoid the lack of controls in the bill in the way it is set up. We tax payers usually get burned when emotion over rules logic. Is it really asking too much to have proper controls in place?

    • I haven’t avoided it John and neither have the proponents of the amendment. I’ve responded to you on this issue plenty of times, pointing out there are plenty of controls in the bill and in current DoE rules and regulations.

      • John Konop says:

        Buzz,

        On numerous occasions on this your site I have asked people involved with Cherokee Charter even Lyn Carden, board chair of the Georgia Charter Educational Foundation, basic questions about the school, as you can see they avoid the below questions.

        1) Has any board member ever been consultants and or employee of Charter USA, who was rewarded close to million dollar a year contract.
        2) Do they have any rules in place that board members cannot have any financial conflicts ie landownership of school, services provided school…….
        3) Can we see the contract with Charter USA
        Does this bother you at all?

    • ryanhawk says:

      I do too Debbie, but it’s not an either/or proposition. Vote yes on this to create more choice, and then lets get to work on the next step. As much as I like ESAs/tax credits/vouchers we are probably a decade away from seeing that happen in Georgia. Our General Assembly has proven to be conservative in the sense that they adopt changes to the status quo very, very slowly. Many of the people who support charters and support this amendment do not yet support further reaching changes. After they see success in places like Indiana and Arizona that political calculus will change.

  8. debbie0040 says:

    Now we are hearing virtually the same reasoning that we heard with T-SPLOST about it not being perfect but we should vote for it anyway.

    Well, some of the very same T-SPLOST consultants were hired to advocate on behalf of Charter Schools.

    • Charlie says:

      Debbie, just please do us a favor and admit you’re against it. There would be much more intellectual honesty in that than continuing to fling every disjointed fact you can against this.

      I look forward to seeing the TEA Party’s “perfect” legislation on all matters that affect Georgia during the upcoming session, as you seem to be willing to be against anything that can’t be deemed perfect. Like it or not, that’s the rep you’re developing.

      As we’ve discussed before, you have the opportunity before you to be part of the solution with respect to what legislation moves forward. The way you are conducting yourself with this debate plays to every image your critics charge you with. You grasp at any straw to keep for being “for” something. There’s always something better that isn’t actually up for a vote.

      As you’ve stated many times, the TEA Party is split. That’s respectable. There’s also no reason to have to take a position given that this isn’t directly a tax issue. But if you’re taking one then take it. You’re trying to have it both ways, and it isn’t working.

      • debbie0040 says:

        I went back and checked the emails we sent out the past year. 5-1 we asked people to SUPPORT and advocate on behalf of legislation.

        Charlie, isn’t Peach Pundit supposed to be a neutral media site? PP is anything but neutral when it comes to the Charter School amendment .

        Rep. Brockway posts quite a bit of positive articles about the Charter School amendment. He even went so far as to post a story with a Drudge siren stating John Barge had a complaint against him because he used state resources (state employee) to help with position on Charter School Amendment. Gov. Deal uses state resources (state employee) advocating for its passage. Just check the news about the press conference yesterday and what his spokesperson said. Yes you can expect someone to file a complaint about that since the pro side is filing complaints.

        I emailed Rep. Brockway last week with John Barges reasoning behind why he opposes the amendment. Has it been posted and I missed it?

        The only reason I am presenting one side is because for the most part, PP is just presenting one side which is one that supports Charter School Amendment. Don’t take my word check out the front page postings yourself. I am sure John Konop would be happy to present articles for use on the front page if it is requested of him.

        I have not decided which way I am going to vote but it burns me up a site that is supposed to be neutral only posts one side. You want me to stop presenting one side, then maybe PP should present both sides equally. You and Buzz have a right to express your personal opinions but I thought PP was supposed to be neutral. As far as tea party activists, the majority (60%) strongly opposes the amendment .

        We are going to present the cold, hard facts in any email that Atlanta Tea Party sends out and we will present both sides.

      • Doug Deal says:

        I would add that just because something is supported by Governor Deal does not make it evil or even bad. I think a great deal of opposition comes from people who do not like folks driving it, rather than the merits.

    • I never said that at all. I said charter schools will not fix all problems with our educational system. If you’re looking for one thing that will fix everything you’ll be waiting a long time.

  9. Three Jack says:

    Guest poster – you cite corruption on the local level as a reason to suppport a new, un-elected bureaucracy with enormous power over millions of dollars. Are you implying the state commission will be less likely to be corrupt? That is a laugher!

    Also you wrote, “It is time for Georgia, which provides approximately 45% of funding for local public schools, to maintain a shared responsibility with local school systems in the creation of quality public school options.”

    Georgia has an elected school superintendent and appointed school board to hopefully oversee how the funding is spent. They would assume the ‘shared responsibility’ you mention.

  10. girl with a gun says:

    Gainesville city schools are a charter system. The only thing that has increased is the class size and taxes; the scores are down.

  11. debbie0040 says:

    What over sight is provided in the Charter School Amendment to stop practices like this? Who will audit Charter Schools if the amendment passes? The local school conducted the audit in this case. What agency will on a regular basis audit charter schools?. Can you point it out in the legislation? The amendment does not address this

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/us/audits-for-3-georgia-charter-schools-tied-to-gulen-movement.html?_r=0

    A group of three publicly financed charter schools in Georgia run by followers of Fethullah Gulen, a prominent Turkish imam, have come under scrutiny after they defaulted on bonds and an audit found that the schools improperly granted hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to businesses and groups, many of them with ties to the Gulen movement.

    The audit, released Tuesday by the Fulton County Schools near Atlanta, found the schools made purchases like T-shirts, teacher training and video production services from organizations with connections to school officials or Gulen followers. Those included more than $500,000 in contracts since January 2010 with the Grace Institute, a foundation whose board has included school leaders. In some cases the awards skirted bidding requirements, the audit said.

    • griftdrift says:

      Debbie. A Constitutional amendment grants the legislature power to create something. The legislature then creates that something and passes legislation governing how that something operates. You don’t put the specifics of that oversight in a Constitutional amendment.

      But when they get around to creating that oversight you do very much hold them accountable. You’ve shown your very good at this and that’s where your fight should be.

    • Charlie says:

      Debbie,

      Aside from the fact that you’re unwisely deciding to double down on the Sharia lunacy, you’re pasting the same comments across multiple threads. That’s spam, against our rules, and further duplicate comments will be deleted.

      • debbie0040 says:

        That post had nothing to do with Sharia law. If you point out another school that improperly spent hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-payer dollars , I will gladly point them out.

        What oversight is there in the enabling legislation? Who would audit charter schools? I am trying to find out the answer.

        “The audit, released Tuesday by the Fulton County Schools near Atlanta, found the schools made purchases like T-shirts, teacher training and video production services from organizations with connections to school officials or Gulen followers. Those included more than $500,000 in contracts since January 2010 with the Grace Institute, a foundation whose board has included school leaders. In some cases the awards skirted bidding requirements, the audit said.”

    • bgsmallz says:

      Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Et tu, Debbie?

      I tell you what…this sounds like fun. Let’s get into a pissing match over copying and pasting articles about corruption in our schools and ask the question ‘who do you trust?’

      I’ll go first…oops…I lose. I can’t find any school boards in Georgia that have succumb to corruption, nepotism, criminal activity, and/or cow-towing to voters for re-election. Obviously, they should be the sole decision maker in the creation of all schools.

      Derp.

    • I’ll point out the so-called Gullen school was approved not by the State of Georgia but by the Fulton County School Board. They initially gave them a 10 year charter, which is longer than what I understand is normally done. The school however, seemed to be effective for some time. Parents were happy and the school even won a Blue Ribbon from the US DoE. Why Fulton waited so long to perform an audit or provide oversight is a question to be asked FCPS.

      What FCPS did or didn’t do is not a reason to vote no on the charter amendment.

    • ryanhawk says:

      Debbie — The Fulton Science Academy (FSA) has responded to the hack job “audit” conducted by the Fulton BOE and the response is devastating. It’s amazing to me that you would use this as an argument against state charters since the FSA saga consists of a local school board harassing an outstanding school into converting to a private school. Just so everyone knows the quality of school we are talking about here and the problems with the so called audit, I’m going to the full response and extract a few quotes. And FWIW Debbie you still refuse to engage with me in a substantive way. It’s just hit and run and throw something else at the wall….

      http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=glassratner%20fulton%20science&source=web&cd=7&cad=rja&ved=0CFEQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fo1.aolcdn.com%2Fhss%2Fstorage%2Fpatch%2Fd135dda49de600cad0bb892e7500a04f&ei=2XhjUJTNF4r29gT5y4CYBg&usg=AFQjCNG6R2dHRwymC_7LnaEFy8CnnX-ELg

      Regarding the audit:

      Based on our examination of the available evidence and from our analyses and research
      conducted, we determined the following:
      1. Many of the alleged findings in the IAG Report are flawed, unsupported and inaccurate
      and the IAG Report failed to make factual findings based on actual data and evidence.
      The inaccuracies in the IAG Report result from a combination of:
      a. Inappropriate reliance on incomplete information;
      b. Failure to disclose relevant information about certain events and transactions that
      show the practices of FSAMS are consistent with FCS schools;
      c. An apparent fundamental lack of knowledge of the difference between Student
      Activity Funds vs. local/state tax dollars used for international field trips and the
      purchase of school uniforms; and
      d. The substitution of unsupported assumptions instead of factual evidence.
      2. The use of incomplete information and unsupported assumptions in the IAG Report
      raises a concern of competence and objectivity by the audit team members including
      members of the FCS Internal Audit Department.

      And about the school in question:

      1. The only middle school in the state of Georgia to be awarded the 2011 National Blue
      Ribbon Award by the United States Department of Education;
      2. The only middle school in Fulton County School System awarded the 2011 Governors’
      Platinum Award in the category of “Highest Performance”8;
      3. The only Fulton County Middle School recognized as one of the top 12 high achieving
      middle schools by Georgia Partnership for Educational Excellence in 20119;
      4. The highest ITBS10 test scores among all Fulton County School System middle schools
      four years in a row; and
      5. The highest average scores in both 2011 and 2012 spring CRCT11 test scores among all
      Fulton County School System middle schools.
      6. Numerous other academic competition awards including:
      a. Gold medal in the International Media Festival.
      b. 1st Place in the 2012 State Math League Competition both in 7th and 8th grades,
      as a team.
      c. 1st Place in the State of Georgia for the Model United Nations.
      d. 1st Place in the Regional Science Olympiad (8 consecutive years).
      e. 1st Place in the National Science Olympiad – “Compute this Event”.
      f. 1st Place in the State Tech Fair.
      g. 1st Place in the State Science Fair.
      h. 1st Place in the State Social Studies Fair.
      i. 1st Place in the War Eagle Math Competition.

  12. jeff says:

    “Considering a history of underperformance, fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer resources, local systems have not proven to be deserving of exclusive control, free of state intervention when neccessary.”

    Considering a history of underperformance, fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer resources, the STATE has not proven to be deserving of having the ability to create and fund charter schools using a politically appointed commission.

    • rrrrr says:

      +1000

      Considering the handling of our funds by the state government in recent years, are you sure you WISH to lead off with this in an attempt to persuade us?

      Focusing on the criminal actions is appropriate for certain, but since this amendment and its sister bill as it is written today will have NO impact on these issues, exactly how does the amendment help?

  13. benevolus says:

    I am likely to vote against, mainly because – if the problem is that the state BoE’s ability to do this has been made unconstitutional, we should just fix that and THEN talk about setting up a different system, plus, the PTA is against it. However, HB797 does say this;
    “The State Board of Education shall review and may overrule the approval or renewal of a state charter school by the commission within 60 days of such decision by the commission upon a majority vote of the members of the state board”.

    So, why aren’t we just re-authorizing the state BoE?
    If the BoE can overrule, what is the danger?

    • dorian says:

      I’m voting against it, because I don’t trust the legislature. They don’t deserve it. They haven’t earned it. Most everything they’ve done is to consolidate power in Atlanta and shift costs to the counties. It never ends. If the current system isn’t working, then maybe they should figure out a way to fix it instead of creating another new Atlanta bureaucracy. You don’t fix something that is broken by breaking in more, unless you’re in the Georgia legislature.

      I am married to a teacher. She doesn’t get to pick what she teaches. She doesn’t get to pick how long she spends on a particular subject. She gets to choose the words that come out of her mouth and that is about it. The standards come down from Atlanta. Other than hiring, firing, budgeting, and picking text books, local school boards don’t have that much power anyway. You’re just creating a new system that doesn’t have to follow the State mandated benchmarks and then touting about how much better they do.

      Many schools are a demilitarized zone, but according to the Fulton Daily report you’re paying Pew to research the self-esteem issues a child may face because he’s arrested in school. So, if a kid brings a gun to school, don’t arrest him, because it may negatively impact his self image. It’s a joke, and not a particularly funny one.

      If the current system is a mess, it rests squarely on the shoulders of the legislative and executive branches. You boys pass laws and stuff, right?

      You guys total incompetence to police yourself from ethical violations, to send fine money where it is supposed to go, to giving your buddies tax breaks (how many jobs did the Georgia Forrest Land Protection Act of 2008 create?), to fish ponds, horse parks, and this new million dollar well at Lake Lanier: all this is only equalled by our own incompetence for keeping on electing you to office. Whatever crucial government services you haven’t outsourced are probably under federal oversight: mental health, djj, foster kids, etc. Sadly, we have the government we deserve, because we keep electing you.

      • Charlie says:

        “If the current system is a mess, it rests squarely on the shoulders of the legislative and executive branches.”

        Really not trying to be snarky here. “trying”. Anyway, we don’t want to give the state control, because you don’t trust them. We instead must respect local control, which has resulted in the broken system you just described. Then, after declaring it broken, we take what is mostly local decisions and place it back on the shoulders of the state leaders.

        Am I following this logic right?

  14. rrrrr says:

    Basically the beef in dissent goes back to the 1800’s and forward as a time line, but changes to the constitution made in 1945, 1983 and 1993 are faulty? So those concerned over how we fix this going forward and don’t want it back in our collective faces in 2023 are misinformed?
    From the disent link provided above somewhere by another poster – if you read the 75 page monster, pack a snickers cause you’ll be a bit…
    (Fair warning – pack a rubber keyboard or mouse pad, you’ll snooze in parts too, sorry I’ve read more riveting tech manuals)

    “The funding mechanism for commission charter schools is set forth in (2008) OCGA § 20-2-2090; it is much less favorable for local school systems than the funding mechanism for the state charter schools created under the 1998 Act,

    *as the local systems receive reduced state and federal funding in proportion to the number of students residing in their districts that choose to attend commission charter schools.*

    Because the same “special school” arguments can be made, but have not been made, against the 1998 Act as against the 2008 Act, it is apparent that this funding difference is what motivated this lawsuit and the efforts of the local systems to have the Commission Charter Schools Act deemed unconstitutional. ( Iguess some 10 years of underfunding would grate on folks though, don’t you think?)

    *But as the trial court held and I fully agree, there is nothing unconstitutional about the funding scheme set up by the 2008 Act.*

    So the shoe drops, “The Federal “Race to the Top” Program and its FED funds.

    After an unsuccessful first application, Georgia’s second application for
    Race to the Top funds, submitted in June 2010, highlighted in bold print the enactment of the 2008 Charter Schools Commission Act, explaining that it was designed “to ensure that charter school applicants have an opportunity to apply to more than one authorizer.”

    “Race to the Top states should have multiple charter school authorizers,
    Georgia was ultimately selected to receive $400 million in Race to the Top funding.”

    Is the bottom line – we have to do this to keep the FED funds arollin in?

    • bgsmallz says:

      I’m not sure what dissent you actually read.

      The beef in the dissent is that the Constitution authorizes the state to create special schools in such areas as may require them and that the majority opinion basically made this provision of the state Constitution a ‘dead letter’ by completing ignoring basically all established precedent in Constitutional analysis in the state.

      The dissent isn’t persuasive in that it is couched in nuance and legalese…it basically bludgeons the majority for ignoring basic principals of Constitutional interpretation and, in the process, unilaterally re-writing the Constitution by eliminating the change made in 1983 allowing the state to create special schools without the consent of local school boards.

      Correcting the majority’s incredulous activism is almost enough for me to vote for it….the fact that I live in DeKalb puts me over the top.

  15. Rick Day says:

    Oh dear, everyone is losing sight if the real issue here.

    Educating young humans. Oh we have all read well the history of the ‘public’ education system and its design of churning out semi-literate cogs for the factories of the Industrial Revolution. Before then, most people learned in small groups, or studied alone. The ones who desired so, enrolled in universitites at any age they could qualify or afford.

    The answer is not more law. The answer is less law. Less regulation by boards, local and state. I can’t believe all you ‘conservative’ types advocate shifting the problem from a ‘local’ to a ‘state’ level because then it becomes a statewide problem!

    Buzz, et al: um, leadership; please to google this concept. Charter is passing the buck, literally. What is the smallest unit you can shrink an effective education program? Block education and internet based education comes to mind. We need to move away from ‘brick and mortar’ schools and empower parents to band together at the neighborhood/block levels: community food gardens, educational co-ops. Not micro-socialism *!horrors!*, micro-society.

    In effect, the de centalization of education. While all children benefit from snottin’ and sneezing and eating dirt, those in spread out rural areas can learn them three R’s on the internet, and have group activity groomed for the area, instead of cookie cutter field trips and playtime activites.

    This can be achieved through initially shifting funds from government sponsored schools, incentives and property tax breaks, as well as stipends for those who make up the backbone of the effort. These include retirees, singles, and single income homeowners. We also have a generation to catch up to a level where they can oversee the basic educational requirements for their offspring. Schools are no longer ‘baby sitters’, and parents are held accountable. Accountability is a buzz word often used in these parts.

    If anything let the State and the DOE *clutches pearls* work out the approved cirriculums (plural).

    Don’t like this? Come up with something better than the status quo. “Charter Schools” is the “Gay Marriage” of 2012. Pretty soon you guys are going to run out of ‘scare issues’ and actually be forced to FIX something, rather than kick the can.

    Leadership – providing solutions up until 1963

    • ryanhawk says:

      Rick, With all due respect charter schools do exactly what you suggest: “empower parents to band together at the neighborhood/block levels.” Unfortunately some local BOEs do not want parents to have the power to do this and routinely deny applications for quality schools that would add choice and quality. Ivy Prep is a great example of a charter that was denied by the local BOE, approved by the state, and doing great things for students.

      Rocketship Education, for example, sounds like something that you might like. If a group of local parents wanted to work with them to open a charter in Atlanta, and APS turned down their application despite a proven track record of success, don’t you think it would be nice to have some governing body they could appeal to?

      Rocketship: http://gettingsmart.com/blog/2012/07/an-inside-view-blended-integration-rocketship-education/

  16. benevolus says:

    Everyone knows that probably the main issue is parental involvement (the other big issue I think is how to attract qualified administrative personnel). It is one thing that these charter schools can do differently. They can actually mandate it. The charter can say that if the parents don’t attend so many hours (or whatever) I guess they throw the kids out of the school? (Or maybe they lose their charter? Same result though.) They can’t do that in a regular public school. Public schools take all kids and their parents, more than a few of whom consider school just day care.

    And parents apply to be in those schools, so they know that’s the deal and they want that. Now this is potentially good for the kids whose parents can do that, but what about the kids left behind? Are we not supposed to care about them? Is there a plan to do something differently there? I doubt politicians are going to start telling parents they better start getting more involved in their kids education (but that is what we need to be able to say). So where is the rest of the plan?

    • wicker says:

      I wish people would stop saying this. When school choice is not on the table, then the issue is more money. Lots and lots more money. Lots and lots more money with no controls or accountability. Lots and lots more money on things that have nothing to do with education because it is “investing in our children” and the socially just thing to do. Higher teacher salaries, smaller class sizes, more school healthcare professionals, more counselors, more social workers, more curriculum development specialists, more motivational life coach types, more busing programs, more diversity programs and other forms of indoctrination, etc. Oh, and none of this stuff increases student performance? Who cares. It’s for the kids! But the instant that school choice enters the picture, that is when everyone wants to stop talking social justice and start talking personal responsibility, both parents and students.

      What about the kids left behind? That is an excellent point. What do we do about kids left behind by the existing public school system? That issue is never raised … other than to ask for unlimited increases in funding with no guarantee/expectation of improved results in return. Only when school choice is on the table is when the kids left behind – by that I mean performing poorly academically, socially and discipline – is ever talked about. The fact is that the kids who get left behind are no worse off than they were before had charter schools never existed. The public education lobby (to make use of Sean Hannity-speak) wasn’t educating these kids before, but rather using their existence to justify asking for more and more money, in many cases to provide services to these kids precisely because they knew that they weren’t going to be educating them. It was unreal to hear some of those people talk … about how these kids should be given nutrition, health care, child care, etc. services at schools, be passed through the system (social promotion) so that when they “graduate” they could get jobs via jobs programs (including but not limited to those at public schools). So, in a school choice scenario, these kids still won’t be educated. The only difference is that if you can take some of them out of those schools and put them in a better situation, then hopefully there will be fewer kids that go uneducated than otherwise. And even if that doesn’t happen, then hey, at least we’re paying less money for the same lack of results. The public school lobby doesn’t even get the irony of their producing studies showing that charter schools don’t raise achievement. The issue is not the failure of charter schools to raise achievement to justify their existence, but the failure of public schools to raise achievement being the reason for the existence of charter schools in the first place! In other words: we don’t care if your child is illiterate and undisciplined so long as he is in our school while he is in that condition! If that isn’t what they are saying, then what are they saying? They have long since stopped claiming that they can actually deal with the illiteracy and discipline problems. Seriously, they have. Social promotion was an admission that they could no longer educate the kids, and the campaigns to severely restrict suspensions and expulsions was an admission that they could no longer discipline them.

      • Calypso says:

        “…smaller class sizes…Oh, and none of this stuff increases student performance…”

        It is apparent you are not a teacher in a public high school. I can’t let that line of BS go unchallenged. The difference a teacher can make on 25 kids in a classroom as opposed to 35 is great. I’ll give you the rest of the things in your rant, though.

        • John Konop says:

          Calypso,

          The key factor in success in a classroom is less on class size more on separating students by the correct aptitude from what I read. That is why the one size fit all approach has been such a failure.

          The right and the left have this issue all screwed up. The truth is we have increased the rate of kids prepared for college at an amazing rate over the last 30 years. The problem is in my opinion, is with kids we are pushing into a 4 year college who would be better served at a tech school. And the kids who are being pushed out because they are in a 4 year prep or out curriculum.

          I read an interting study in the last 20 years we have increased amount of kids taking the SAT by 60 percent. Btw that is when SAT scores started falling. A bell curve on aptitude tells at best we could prepare is about 30 percent for 4 year college from what I read.

          Irronically Jeb Bush runs around telling people how we are failing 66 percent of the kids. And if we just had charter schools,tutoring…..we could somehow change the bell curve. The bizarre part is we have close to 4 million vocational jobs for that 66 percent. The solution is simple, but both sides are looking in the wrong direction.

          I will give credit to John Barge and many in the legislator trying to deal with this via new bills. But it needs to be coordinated better in our schools via waiving 4 year prep requirement. And this should be the major focus…….

      • benevolus says:

        False choice.
        If public schools performance is the problem, charter schools is not automatically the answer.
        “Public school” is not inherently the problem (in my opinion). It is a cultural problem.

        There are good public schools in the USA, and even in Georgia. It can be done, it is done.

  17. dorian says:

    I have spent the last several nights in deep discussion with my good friend Glen Livet about these and other issues facing our state. He and I agree with John. Not every kid gets to be an astronaut when they grow up. It’s like trying to beat a square peg into a round hole. Only with people and not with blocks. You can’t beat square people into round holes.

  18. Three Jack says:

    It dawned on me over a long, very enjoyable beach weekend; if it is now desirable to have an un-elected commission be resonsible for oversight of local school boards, then why not just give all school related authority to the very highest level of government, the federal DOE?

    The title of this thread, ‘Where has exclusive local control by school systems gotten us thus far?’ implies that local school control has failed so let’s give the state more power. If that is true, then the state which has failed students for years should theoretically be subject to an unelected commission on the fed level beyond the unelected DOE secretary and his vast bureaucracy. If centralized authority is now a conservative principle which is what will happen if this amendment passes, then let’s just pass the buck all the way up the line to DC.

    • Doug Deal says:

      Your problem is that you see only the effect on government and not the actual citizens. The actual control is the school’s board composed of individuals in the community, instead of a governmental body. The only role for the government to play under this plan is oversight and adding the state level merely creates a check and balance to limit the power of a hostile board just as a friendly local BOE can approve charters without regard to a hostile state commission. It is true local control and limits govermental power.

      • Three Jack says:

        Doug,

        You can try to rationalize all you want, but attempting to convince me that a new, un-elected commission with members appointed by politicians will not be another level of bureaucracy. And it will effect ‘actual citizens’ just like every other bureaucracy.

        So again I ask, if local elected boards need state ‘oversight’, then why not just cede all education authority to the highest government power, the fed? Not exactly cutting the size and scope of government along with its inherent influence/power over ‘actual citizens’.

  19. debbie0040 says:

    Would all of you pro charter amendment supporters still support the amendment if the Democrats were in charge of state government and had the authority to appoint the charter school board and state school board? You guys are assuming the Republicans will remain in control permamently in Georgia.

    • I don’t speak for all charter amendment supporters but I would still support this amendment if Roy Barnes had been elected two years ago and not Nathan Deal.

      It’s about good ideas, not politics.

    • Harry says:

      The position of Georgia of being close to the bottom in terms of educational outcomes in a nation that is close to the bottom of developed countries in terms of educational outcomes, means that we have to try some new approaches – even if they are not guaranteed to succeed and even if not always ideologically pure.

      • bowersville says:

        How bright coming from someone always cussing the teacher’s union in GA that don’t exist.

          • bowersville says:

            Are those a labor union that can go out on strike? In Georgia? Georgia is a right to work state. Public Unions are illegal in GA. You folks at Charter would do better not make this a war against public education. There are Georgians in good public schools with good educators without a need for a local charter. I’m one of those PTA grand dads that attends as many events at my grand children’s schools as possible.

            With that being said there are those of us being caught up in this competition for funds for private/public venture Charters and Public Education. And I know competition for funds will be fierce and if Public School funds dwindle my property taxes are going up. And who has the well heeled paid lobbyists?

            • mpierce says:

              No, they can’t strike. But they are unions.

              “Georgia is a right to work state.”

              That does not outlaw unions. It means employees cannot be forced to join a union.

              Public Unions are illegal in GA.

              False.

              There are Georgians in good public schools with good educators without a need for a local charter.

              And there are Georgians in failing schools with bad educators who need other choices to be made available.

              I’m one of those PTA grand dads that attends as many events at my grand children’s schools as possible.

              Good for you. Does joining the PTA allow a parent to choose which school is best for his/her child? NO!

              You folks at Charter would do better not make this a war against public education

              1) I’m not affiliated with any charter organization.
              2) Charter schools ARE public education.
              3) I’m a father looking for alternatives for my daughter who will be entering Kindergarten next year.

              • bowersville says:

                You showed up on the board for one issue. Charter Schools.

                You want choice, we agree. We disagree on the method and details.

                Keep up the good work slamming all public schools and if you want to believe teacher’s unions exist in GA I can’t help you with that. Public Unions with collective bargaining powers are illegal in GA. There’s a difference in private unions and public unions.

                • mpierce says:

                  You showed up on the board for one issue. Charter Schools.

                  I believe I showed up on the boards against TSPLOST. I then commented on primary elections. Those have both past and now I’m commenting on charter schools.

                  Keep up the good work slamming all public schools

                  Where have I slammed all public schools?

                  if you want to believe teacher’s unions exist in GA I can’t help you with that.

                  My mother was a teacher in Georgia public schools. If you want to close your eyes to the existence of unions go ahead.

                  There’s a difference in private unions and public unions.

                  As there should be.

                  • bowersville says:

                    Simple solution for you: We have a ballot box: vote yes.

                    Good bye. I didn’t seek you out, you came looking for me.

                    • mpierce says:

                      vote yes.

                      I plan to.

                      I didn’t seek you out, you came looking for me.

                      Yes, I starting commenting on PP to specifically draw you into a conversation. I did that so I could cleverly coax you into making false statements. While I met that goal, apparently I was not successful in hiding my agenda. How is it you came to discover my evil plot?

          • benevolus says:

            Regardless of the semantics, there is no collective bargaining for teachers in Georgia, and I think that is the point.
            Each teacher signs an individual contract. There is no union negotiating for/with them.

            • mpierce says:

              I never said they had collective bargaining. However, they are politically active and heavily involved in lobbying.

            • mpierce says:

              From GAE website:
              “GAE’s legal services department has certainly won our share of victories—on behalf of our members. So far, we’ve dealt with unfair dismissal, non-renewal and termination, contract disputes, civil rights, and constitutional claims—to name a few.”
              “Our track record speaks for itself. For more than 125 years, the Georgia Association of Educators has been the only organization for educators in Georgia that actively pushes for—and protects public educators—against education legislation.

              It’s the job of GAE’s Government Relations team to fight laws and policies that affect the education profession, teaching standards, classrooms, even buses and cafeterias. GAE’s Government Relations team is there.

              In fact, GAE has had more legislative victories than any other organization in Georgia.”

              “GAE deploys a team of lobbyists who work before, during, and after the annual 40-day legislative session to provide information and guidance to legislators and politicians about GAE’s legislative priorities.”

              • benevolus says:

                I think GAE is more like a professional organization, like ASHRAE, or The Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen.

                • mpierce says:

                  I don’t think ASHRAE or The Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen intervene on behalf of employees in contract disputes with their employers.

                  The GAE does. Again from above: “So far, we’ve dealt with unfair dismissal, non-renewal and termination, contract disputes, civil rights, and constitutional claims—to name a few.”

                  • John Konop says:

                    …. The GAE does. Again from above: “So far, we’ve dealt with unfair dismissal, non-renewal and termination, contract disputes, civil rights, and constitutional claims—to name a few……

                    So does pre-paid legal! Should teachers been banned from buying pre-paid legal? You can get this for as low as $19.95. You are way off……………

                    http://prepaidlegalservices.net/

                    LOL…………

                    • mpierce says:

                      “Should teachers been banned from buying pre-paid legal?”

                      No. Nor do I have a problem with teachers joining a union.

                      GAE site: “Did you know that the Georgia Association of Educators is the only organization in Georgia that automatically gives you free legal representation? We’re also the only organization for educators in Georgia that will automatically fund your legal defense.”

                      Please show what legal services are included for that $19.95. I doubt that includes contract dispute representation. The site says “free and discounted”

                      “You are way off……

                      Are you going to deny that the GAE is a union?

                    • Lea Thrace says:

                      I belong to the premier professional organization in my industry and they also offer legal services as part of their membership (among a host of other services). They are NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, a union.

  20. bowersville says:

    Debbie let’s look at Roy Barne’s the Governor and the northern arc for a moment.

    You had the usual NIMBYs resisting but what else was exposed? After extensive legal research it was discovered, to my understanding, that well below the level of Governor there were those inside certain levels of insider politics that stood to profit. Disagree with his politics, but Roy Barnes the man was no crook.

    I am not one of those that believe our elected representatives and senators are a bunch of crooks and I believe as a body they are well intentioned. There is no doubt to me that charter schools are a good idea. But the devil is in the details. A better question to me, “Is the process transparent enough for continual public scrutiny?”

  21. debbie0040 says:

    I agree with your last paragraph, Bowersville.

    Watch WSBTV at 6 tonight. Atlanta Tea Party’s Julianne Thompson did an interview with Lori Geary on Charter Schools..

    • bowersville says:

      I’ll be watching. Again I am not opposed to Charter Schools. Those complaints by people like Doug Deal are real too. My complaints are along Konop’s lines with “the one size fits all” public educational policy. Jan Jones has expressed her concern’s over “one size fits all” too. Hopefully the State Department of Education will work with her on that as many of our children/grand children will still be in public school. The administrative cost’s associated with that program have to be high. The class room teachers have valid complaints as well as do parents on their children being shorted days of learning in the school year.

      I wish we all, on both sides of Amendment 1 weren’t drawn into a battle against each other. Improvement of Education, Public and Charter should be our goal.

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