School Choice A Factor In The Superintendent’s Race?

April 14, 2014 9:13 am

by Buzz Brockway · 20 comments

Wayne Washington has an article in this morning’s Atlanta paper about some of the money flowing into the campaign coffers of Alisha Morgan, a Democratic state Representative running for State School Superintendent. Morgan has long been an advocate for school choice which, as the article points out, has put her at odds with the leadership of her Party. She is receiving a decent amount of money from school choice advocates from around the country. Morgan’s major competition for the Democratic nomination comes from a former school board member who opposes charter schools and any other form of school choice. Thus school choice will be a major issue among Democrats. Many Republicans, it seems to me, are exclusively concerned with where their candidate stands on Common Core. I hope I’m wrong about that.

I’m concerned that if the GOP nominates a candidate who is lukewarm on school choice issues, or is like our current Superintendent who makes promises on school choice he has no intention of keeping, and the Democrats nominate Morgan our candidate could be in trouble. A coalition of school choice Democrats and Republicans could carry her to victory. I consider Alisha Morgan a friend. We don’t agree on many issues but we do on school choice so if she becomes our Superintendent I’ll gladly work with her to improve our state’s schools. But, no offense meant to Alisha, I’d rather work with a reform minded Republican.

Let’s do a quick, unscientific poll. How important are things like charter schools, student scholarship organizations, and opportunity scholarships to you? Will it impact your vote in either the GOP or Dem. primary? Vote in the poll and discuss all this in the comment section below.

ryanhawk April 14, 2014 at 10:44 am

“I’m concerned that if the GOP nominates a candidate who is lukewarm on school choice issues, or is like our current Superintendent who makes promises on school choice he has no intention of keeping, and the Democrats nominate Morgan, our candidate could be in trouble.”

I would be donating, volunteering and voting for Morgan in that case. I’m tempted to donate now to help her against Wilson. My nightmare scenario is a Valerie Wilson versus status quo Republican.

Jon Lester April 14, 2014 at 11:46 am

Looks like Georgia Libertarians haven’t come up with a candidate for this office; if they had one, there would be no question about school choice support.

jpm April 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm

The interesting thing about the current poll results is just where Peach Pundit readers place Common Core in the reader’s hierarchy of importance.

Charlie April 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm

I’ll be looking at both school choice and Common Core. I went with option 1 above but option 3 is also a true statement for me.

I’ll save my thoughts on Common Core and the mass of pandering GOP candidates (save 1) on the Common Core issue for another day, as Buzz has set this one up mostly as a discussion of School Choice in the Super’s race.

CRJ April 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Who says Valarie Wilson opposes charter schools?

Buzz Brockway April 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm

From the article “The campaign of Valarie Wilson, a former City Schools of Decatur board member and one of Morgan’s competitors for the Democratic nomination, said Wilson “stands for adequate funding for education and support for teachers, and against the privatization of the school system through vouchers and for-profit charter schools.”

Perhaps it’s not fair to say she opposes all charter schools. Can you tell us what kinds of charter schools she supports, if any?

CRJ April 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm

I haven’t met her and can’t speak for her positions. However, I hadn’t read that she was against charter schools in general–most Democrats aren’t–and I think it’s important to not state candidates’ positions erroneously.

ryanhawk April 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

She was one of the leading voices against the Charter School Amendment that passed recently. So in practical terms, she is for allowing local school boards to veto worthy charter applicants with no appeal. That’s close enough to being “against” charter schools for me. Regardless, I’m sure she will claim to be “for” charter schools, just like Bill de Blasio, John Barge, Jason Carter, etc….

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/education/2012-10-04/forum-speaker-urges-rejection-charter-school-amendment

John Konop April 14, 2014 at 6:33 pm

That charter bill lack some basic fiscal controls….

CRJ April 14, 2014 at 10:27 pm

It’s ridiculous to equate being against that amendment with being against charter schools. And why don’t you let her speak for herself instead of anticipating that her position must be, “just like Bill de Blasio…?”

Anyone But Chip April 15, 2014 at 9:01 am

Correct. Why do people just absolutely lose all common sense when it comes to this topic?

ryanhawk April 15, 2014 at 9:14 am

No one is stopping her from telling us how much she loves charters. I’d love to hear about all the charter schools she has supported, and what she would do about failed school systems that block even the most worthy charter applicants.

While I’m holding my breath waiting for that I’ve looked through her campaign disclosure and turns out it’s chock full of people who actually do oppose charters.

John Konop April 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Why do you avoid the lack of fiscal control issues in the charter bill?

ryanhawk April 15, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I’m not sure “avoid” is the correct word John. I’ve read what you have to say on that subject and I find it unpersuasive to say the least.

John Konop April 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Really? In all due respect, the problem is people want what they want…..which why we face the fiscal issues we do….I believe unless it passes the fiscal test we should not debate the politics…..unless we get to this point spending will never get under control….but hey, I am an old school fiscal conservative…

Anyone But Chip April 14, 2014 at 9:41 pm

I always find it interesting that because someone doesn’t support funneling taxpayer dollars to support someone’s business they are “against” the concept of charter schools. People went apoplectic when the government stepped in to prop up General Motors and decried the use of public money to fund someone’s business, but they don’t bat an eyelash when a company decides that they are going to make $500 per student per year to buy a yacht with the name “Fishin’ for Schools”.

If you actually paid any attention to the charter’s these schools are proposing they have absolutely no difference from the schools they are attempting to replace as a “choice”. They are so lopsided in the fact that they take all the benefits and leave all of the liability to the citizens of the community they fly in the face of fiscal conservatism. But oh yeah, they check a big box in the Republican Litmus Test so we need to chuck all logic and just nod our heads and say ‘choice’.

Wake up people. I’m a Republican and I’m a conservative but this is so transparently a ploy to suck money out of the system and you all or so happy to bend over backwards to give it to them in the name of upholding some party mandate. Choice is good and choice is proper, but choice that is accomplished by pulling public money into private enterprise is something we can do without…wherever it occurs.

Harry April 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm

You have a point. When gov’t gives money to anything there always should be stringent controls. In like manner the broadcast networks are getting frequency bandwidth for next to nothing from the taxpayers with rigged inside deals. Giving money or resources for anything needs to be in return for fair value and needs to be regulated to the hilt.

Ellynn April 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm

What I’m more worried over is the majority of canidates stating they would not ask for or take and federal funding. All of this sounds nice about not wanting the national governemnet to tell ‘us’ how to educate our children and what not. I heard one canidate state she would NEVER take federal funds.

Lets face reality here. Even if the Georgia school systems in mass never take a penny out of the Department of Ed’s budget and some how we can replace or rework those costs with Georgia based dollars, with the hat trick of not raising taxes to do so, you still of HHS funds, D of J funds, USDA funds, D of Int. funds, D of Energy funds, and my personal favorate Department of Defense funds. I know of at least 7 school system in this state that get more DOD funding then DOE grants. You cut ALL federal funding and say good bye to ROTC, half of the CTAE and STEM programs, half the internet connects in rural systems and a whole host of other stuff not included in our state level taxes. In some districts, the majority of teachers are paid not with Georgia funds, but from federal funds.

Those are the candidates that scare me.

John Konop April 14, 2014 at 6:40 pm

It is all politics….in reality common core does need a lot of work…..the other side will not stop taking the money if elected….In reality we need to work around the system via waivers not blow it up….the talking points rule over a rational solutions…..one side thinks it is federal conspiracy…..the other side needs to be more flexible……we need real adults in the room, less political spewing….

Mensa Dropout April 14, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Typo alert on number 3!!!
Typo alert!

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