2/27: Debating charter school amendment

Moderated by Maureen Downey

Folks who assume education news is dull haven’t been following the lively debate in the General Assembly over the charter school amendment, the subject of a guest column today.  (You may comment on his essay below.)

Nor have they been paying attention to the passionate discussion sparked by last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to consider again whether race should be a factor in college admissions, which I tackle. To comment on this essay, visit my Get Schooled blog at this link.

2 comments Add your comment

jayb

February 28th, 2012
4:56 am

Charter Schools and T-SPLOST are of the same vein. Our elected leaders have abdicated their responsibility under the guise of “give ‘em what they asked for”. Rather than legislate the use of collected tax monies, they would rather give the money back to a few special interests. Then they will no longer be to blame for the education and transportation failures.

Mary Elizabeth

February 27th, 2012
12:04 pm

The charter school movement cannot be considered, with truth, in isolation from other “school choice” options as touted by many Republican legislators, who have already proclaimed a “school choice” week during Georgia’s current legislative session. Those other choices include private schools through vouchers using public funds, home schooling, online courses through technology, as well as creating an amendment to Georgia’s Constitution to allow for the creation of additional charter schools authorized by a state Commission which is removed from local, elected school board jurisdiction.

Clearly, the intent is to dismantle traditional public education, and that intent is also a national Republican ideological one. Only last week, Rick Santorum was declaring that neither the federal government nor the state government should have a place in the education of the nation’s young. Dismantling traditional public schools would certainly “starve the beast” of government even more than has presently been accomplished, and doing so would certainly pave the way for private education, in which corporations would have another avenue for increasing their profit margins.

I find it quite ironic that now that Georgia’s DOE has the ability to send academic data to every public school teacher in Georgia and that that data can follow students as they transfer from one public school to another, and that public school teachers are now being trained in how to use this data to individualize for instruction, that many of Georgia’s legislators are attempting to dismantle traditional public schools by depleting the funding to traditional public schools for more funding to these other school choices. This sophisticated data base may not be readily available to these other school choice options – in the detail needed, nor with the continuity of transfer accessibility provided by traditional public schools – to improve the quality of education, not only for individual students in Georgia, but for Georgia’s educational quality and ranking, as a whole.

We must work to improve, and not to dismantle, traditional public education, and we must fund it. I am certain that, if we do, Thomas Jefferson would be pleased. Many of Georgia’s current Republican leaders are serving the self-interests of those outside of Georgia, in my opinion.