The Thomaston-Upson County Chamber of Commerce voted last night to oppose the charter school amendment on the November 6th ballot. They also voted to distribute a “fact sheet” that once again makes the claim that the State of Georgia can already approve charter schools and hear appeals from charter schools rejected by local Boards of Education.
Opponents of the proposed amendment who push this theory want to have their cake and eat it too. They won won their lawsuit and HB881 was declared unconstitutional. Now they want to claim the State all along could do what they fought tooth and nail against for two years.
The Thomaston-Upson County Chamber goes one step further declaring:
This amendment to the GA Constitution, if approved, will create a third authorizer, a politically-appointed State Charter School Commission not accountable to taxpayers or voters.
Of course the State BoE they tell us can already approve charter schools and overrule local school boards is also a politically appointed body. They seem to have no problem with that appointed board overruling a local school board.
Let’s assume opponents are correct and the State BoE can create charter schools and overturn decisions of local boards of education. Why are they fighting so hard to stop a third authorizer? Many States already have multiple charter school authorizers. Some States have dozens of authorizers. Last time I checked, having alternate authorizers for charter schools hasn’t shaken one of the pillars of American greatness.
This is an attempt by opponents to muddy the waters and trick you into believing something that isn’t true. As I posted on September 18th,
In declaring HB881 unconstitutional, Chief Justice Hunstein said:
“Authority is granted to county and area boards of education to establish and maintain public schools within their limits.” Art. VIII, Sec. V, Par. I of the 1983 Georgia Constitution. This language continues the line of constitutional authority, unbroken since it was originally memorialized in the 1877 Constitution of Georgia, granting local boards of education the exclusive right to establish and maintain, i.e., the exclusive control over, general K-12 public education.
However, if the State previously had the authority to approve charter schools the ruling makes it clear they don’t anymore. What the State Board of Education is doing today, giving commission charter schools funding, will most certainly generate a lawsuit should the proposed amendment fail this November. The BoE, as I understand it, is declaring those schools “special schools” which the State does have the authority to approve. However based on the language in Gwinnett v Cox, the Court will most likely rule against the BoE and cut off funding for those schools. In Gwinnett v Cox the School Boards argued that “special schools” only referred to schools for the blind etc… not schools geared toward the general student population.
Once again, all this talk is meant to distract us from the real issue here which is student achievement. This isn’t about money, or power, or anything else. It’s about doing all we can as a State to give parents more control over their children’s education and improving student acheivement. By all means, get the facts about this amendment and I believe when you do you’ll vote yes.
Other posts on the proposed charter amendment:
Today’s Charter Amendment Opponent Misinformation: “Vote No To State Controlled Schools”
Today’s Charter Amendment Opponent Misinformation: No, We’re Not Using Taxpayer Funds To Oppose The Amendment, Why Would You Think That?
Today’s Charter Amendment Opponent Misinformation: The State Can Already Create New Charter Schools So Vote No!
Taxpayers Not Left Holding The Bag When Charter Schools Close
Gwinnett Chamber Moves To Neutral, PTA Revises Position In Charter Debate
As The School Year Begins A Lesson Is Needed On The Difference Between An Apple And An Orange
More On The Flawed Logic Of Banning State Charter Schools