Economy threatens school choice

A lot of the news about school budget cuts in Atlanta have focused on the layoffs, program eliminations and other slashes done by school districts, like DeKalb and Fayette counties.
But these aren’t the only Georgia programs hurting.
Choice programs – such as charter schools and special education vouchers – are struggling during the recession.
Charters have laid off employees, slashed budgets and put off purchasing new materials and training for teachers. Some organizers postponed opening new charter schools because of the economy.
Parents who receive special education vouchers are getting less because of state cuts in the amount of funding for each public school student. Parents and public school providers say parents are having trouble paying tuition.
Charters and vouchers give parents a choice outside traditional school systems. If these programs are hurting, where can parents and students turn?

7 comments Add your comment


March 17th, 2009
10:21 am

Parents and students can turn to themselves. Students get out of education what they put in. Often, parents want their children to go to the “good” schools. What they don’t realize is that it isn’t the money being spent or the neighborhood the school is located in, it is the time and effort parents put in. This includes PTA, room parents (moms and dads), parents that actually come to the various events and meetings held at the school. If it was just about money, the City of Atlanta, which has some of the highest per pupil spending in the metro area would be running circles around Fayette and Gwinnett, which have some of the lowest per pupil spending in the area. Parents make good schools happen, not the teachers and definitely not the administrators. Why have children if you expect other people to raise them? Insurance for old age? Hate to break it to you, if that is the case, expect to spend your golden years in the old folks home.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Evans

March 17th, 2009
12:54 pm

Parents and other stakeholders can turn to their own INvolvement in the public schools serving our respective families and neighborhoods. And what do I mean by INvolvement: I mean regular, extended visits to our schools’ classrooms and other areas during the instructional day- not just during afterschool PTA meetings and art shows. The big question is: Do we really care enough about having quality public schooling for our kids to make our schools better v. just talking about our schools’ problems?


March 17th, 2009
5:00 pm

Should the school choice options of which you speak be insulated from the economic impacts? No one else is. The two posts so far indicate something important for all of us during these troubled times. It is difficult for all of us during this recessions, but I suggest that each person can make a difference in his/her own circumstances. Do something for yourself, don’t wait for the government to “bail you out.”


March 17th, 2009
5:37 pm

Every pot on its own bottom.


March 17th, 2009
5:48 pm

Here is a funny thing I have noticed. Other teachers, tell me if you have, too. I will be out in public and hear a person ranting about the “sorry schools” and “sorry teacher”. Curious, I will ask the school. The parent can tell that. Then, I will ask which teacher they’ve had such a bad experience with. Usually, silence. Then “ah, um…” Probably 70% of them CANNOT NAME THEIR CHILD’S TEACHER. Uncomfortable silence. Then, I ask, “Have you gone in to talk to her (him)?” Almost without exception, the answer is NO.

It kills me when a parent shows up to pick up their child and does not even know what grade the kid is in.

I am really tired of this kind of nonsense.

jim d

March 17th, 2009
6:07 pm

Certainly a problem with parents. some of those parents actually teach in the schools and really frown upon parental involvement.

Not all–but absolutely some teachers make it quite clear they only want to see parents on parents night, and some would prefer not even then.

Let me ask a few of you. If some teachers make it apparent they do not value parental involvement–how long do you believe a parent would continue to press?


March 17th, 2009
7:51 pm

Well Cat, speaking as a parent who talked to teachers, talked to principals, talked to central office flunkies, talked to the superintendent, talked to board members, and finally pulled my daughter out of the cesspool and placed her in private school, let me say that I, too, am tired of the nonsense.