Reaction to charter schools decision: State pledges flexibility but don’t schools really need money?

When the Supreme Court ruling was issued this morning striking down the state Charter Schools Commission in favor of local control in creation of charter schools, I sent out e-mails seeking reaction from key players. (Read about the decision here.)

Please note John Barge’s comment that he wants to offer flexibility to the schools decimated by the ruling. However,  these 16 commission-authorized schools are going to need money more than flexibility as they can no longer be given local monies through the state. I am not sure the state can afford to take over full funding of these schools so it seems clear that their futures are in doubt.

Here are some responses. I will add others throughout the day.

Monica Henson, executive director, Provost Academy Georgia, a commission charter school due to open this year: Everyone associated with Provost Academy is disappointed with the decision made by the Georgia Supreme Court – especially the nearly 900 students who have already begun the process to enroll in the school for the coming year. We are hopeful to have the opportunity to serve these students, and will continue our efforts to open Provost Academy this fall, until notified otherwise. The strong positive response we have seen among the growing number of Georgia parents and high school students makes it clear that they no longer want learning limited to traditional school buildings. Technology-based learning systems are not only changing the way students learn today, but are helping to improve our education system for the future. It is for this reason – to help students learn – that Provost Academy is committed to move forward with preparations for coming year, and firmly believes that steps will be taken to allow Georgia’s students to have a choice in the type of education they wish to pursue.

Georgia Families for Public Virtual Education President Renee Lord: “Early this morning in a 4-3 vote, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that state authorized charter schools are not special schools and the state does not have the authority to create them in the first place.  Georgia’s online public schools, like Georgia Cyber Academy and Georgia Connections Academy were not a part of this case.  Still, our team will examine to see if this judgment even applies to our online public charter schools and work closely with the Attorney General and our own counsel to ensure the education of our children is met to the highest standards. We believe all children in every corner of this state deserve the right to attend the school that best suits their needs.  As this process continues to move forward, everyone must keep in mind that these are our children’s futures at stake.

When school districts say it is about the kids, they really mean it is about money and control.  These school districts spent hundreds of thousands of tax dollars suing charter schools only after the state insisted that school funds follow the student from the public school they used to attend to the public school they are attending now. The districts were very happy to collect funds for students who never stepped foot inside their school.

The school districts would have been better off using that money trying to understand why students chose other public schools, and offering competitive programs and services that students and parents want and need.  The result is a loss for parent choice and innovation, and a win for education bureaucrats. Tens of thousands of charter school children may lose their schools — schools that help them succeed — because Georgia’s school districts care more about money than they do about boys and girls. We cannot and will not allow parent choice to be taken away from Georgia families.”

Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: “Today’s ruling was a direct blow to educational and economic opportunity for many Georgia students and families. It’s a disappointment that government budgets take precedence over academic excellence and making available the best education options for Georgia’s children. In just three years, the Georgia Charter Schools Commission succeeded in destroying the artificial geographic barriers to quality public education.

Whether it was young, predominantly minority girls crossing district lines to attend Ivy Preparatory Academy or rural students seeking high quality options through statewide virtual schools, thousands of families embraced the choice to better their education and their lives. “Georgia’s leaders now have an opportunity to rectify this wrong by amending the Constitution. In the meantime, we must extend a lifeline to those students who have seen their hopes and dreams – and perhaps a prosperous future – snatched away just 12 weeks before the start of a new school year.”

Georgia School Boards Association: “The Georgia School Boards Association is pleased with the Georgia Supreme Court’s strong endorsement today of the role of locally elected boards of education.  The Association and its members are committed to continuing to provide a strong and innovative system of public education for all of the state’s children.
In a decision that upholds the “fundamental principle of exclusive local control of general primary and secondary public education,” the Georgia Supreme Court held the Georgia Charter Schools Commission Act to be “clearly and palpably” in violation of the State Constitution.

In preserving the 134-year history of local control enshrined in the current and earlier Georgia Constitutions, the Court rejected the General Assembly’s attempt to expand its authority to create “special” state schools and to define “special” to mean whatever it wanted it to mean.

According to the Court, the special schools authority “cannot be interpreted either as a relinquishment of the historical exclusivity of control vested in local boards of education over general K-12 schools or as a carte blanche authorization for the General Assembly to create its own general K-12 schools so as to duplicate the efforts of or compete with locally controlled schools for the same pool of students educated with the same limited pool of tax funds.” GSBA, through its Delegate Assembly, has a long history of supporting charter schools approved by local boards of education.

“Charter schools, approved by local boards of education, that focus on increasing student achievement through unique programs can be a strong addition to the diverse educational opportunities offered by local school systems,” said GSBA President Dr. James Pope, who is also  a board member on the Carrollton City School Board.

Heather Robinson, principal, Georgia Connections Academy, a full-time virtual charter school  due to open this fall as a commission charter school: “The ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court concerning the constitutionality of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which authorized Georgia Connections Academy, was issued this morning. Unfortunately, the court ruled against the Commission. Connections Academy is presently reviewing the GA Supreme Court’s decision and working with the Georgia Charter Schools Commission on its impact and options for Georgia Connections Academy. We will continue to keep all of the families who have expressed interest or who have registered for the Georgia Connections Academy informed about the court ruling and what this means for their students. Charter schools like Georgia Connections Academy offer an innovative and meaningful educational choice for families across the state and we are very disappointed that the Supreme court overturned the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, which allowed the state to approve and fund charter schools, including the Georgia Connections Academy.”

J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent, Gwinnett County Public Schools: “We are pleased with the Court’s decision. While some tried to paint this lawsuit as an anti-charter school case, nothing could be further from the truth. At its heart, this was a constitutional question, one that has been answered once and for all. The Supreme Court has ruled correctly that the Commission does not have the constitutional authority to establish schools and direct local dollars to the operation of those Commission-approved schools. Again, the Gwinnett County Board of Education’s participation in this lawsuit was not a stand against the creation of charter schools, but rather against the establishment of a state commission that sought to usurp the jurisdiction and resources of a duly elected local board of education.”

Katherine Kelbaugh, principal of The Museum School of Avondale Estates, which is affected by the ruling: “Though we are disappointed by the court’s decision, we are working with the Georgia Charter Schools Association to ensure continued educational opportunities for our students. We will be meeting with the GCSA to examine the possibility of legislative remedies. In addition, we are pursuing opportunities for authorization from another source.

We will be working diligently to continue providing our students with an excellent public education. We will keep our families and community updated on our future course of action.”

Thomas Cox who represented the city of Atlanta in the case: “The Supreme Court has held that the General Assembly may not create its own charter schools to serve the general K-12 population, regardless of how they are funded.  The court thus did not even have to address the school districts’ arguments that the Charter Commission Act’s funding mechanism is unconstitutional because it uses locally levied taxes to fund these commission charter schools.

By upholding the principle that local public education in Georgia is to be under the management and control of local boards of education, the Court has put decisions regarding the creation of charter schools, and the expenditure of local tax funds, back in the hands of locally elected boards, and out of the hands of a group of political appointees who are not answerable to any voters.”

State School Superintendent John Barge: “With today’s Supreme Court ruling against the legality of the Charter Schools Commission, the state stands ready to help in whatever way necessary to ensure that the education of the students in these schools is not compromised. I will be working closely with the State Board of Education to see what flexibility can be offered for these schools.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

72 comments Add your comment

Michael Bova

May 16th, 2011
9:53 am

Hello Ms. Downey,
Would you please send me your email address? I would like to email you about an issue related which I think is unfairly affecting my daughter related the the HOPE GPA calculations and the impact dual enrollment has on it.
Thank you,
Michael Bova
pacersfans@bellsouth.net

another view

May 16th, 2011
10:49 am

I much appreciate and support parents’ wishes to see their children educated as best they can be. Taking my tax money that I pay to support my county’s schools, however, without my vote – i.e., my permission – is not how it should be done. Certainly Gwinnett County will not shirk its duty to educate the students who went to these now illegally funded schools. I hope and trust other districts will also continue to honor their responsibilities. Bravo to the Supreme Court. I await with great interest reading the arguments of the minority justices who supported stealing my taxes.

Write Your Board Members

May 16th, 2011
10:55 am

Legislative remedies will be slow in coming. There will be at least a year with no such remedies and the only remedy I actually see is a constitutional amendment. (Someone correct me if I am wrong.) That will take several years.

I wonder if the Avondale Museum School will consider changing their charter enough to try and get approval from DCSS. This probably means changing its attendance zone and its blanket waiver, but it also might get them access to the Forest Hills building.

a better view

May 16th, 2011
11:01 am

Imuch appreciate and support parents’ wishes to see their children educated as best they can be. Taking my tax money that I pay to support other parents’ children while my children do not get this support, however, without my vote – i.e., my permission – is not how it should be done. Unfortunatly many Georgia counties have shirked its duty to properly educate these students who went took a chance on these schools funded with their own tax dollars. I hope and trust these districts will also continue to honor their responsibilities. BooHoo to the Supreme Court. I await with great interest reading the arguments of the majority justices who supported stealing my taxes.

Dunwoody Mom

May 16th, 2011
11:05 am

My issue with this is that a school with 135 students, and which has so far received over $400,000 local dollars, to provide “opportunities” that many schools in DCSS do not have. That, in and of itself, is unfair.

Dunwoody Mom

May 16th, 2011
11:06 am

oops – wrong thread.

Clueless

May 16th, 2011
11:10 am

Amazed at the people who think that faceless bureaucrats in Atlanta, rather than locally elected board members, should control local tax dollars.

Friend of The Museum Schiil

May 16th, 2011
11:19 am

This is ridiculous. The state has created a small number of successful schools that provide opportunities many students wouldn’t get from the poorly performing local districts. In return, the districts provide a small amount of their funding (and gain a much needed reduction in attendance).

The local school boards can’t stand competition like this, and are ready to grab for every last dollar they can in the continuing fight to throw more money at bad schools. The charter schools work and actually educate their students, which is more than can be said for most of Dekalb County.

Derrick

May 16th, 2011
11:21 am

Clueless: Apt pseudonym. Bureaucrats actually do have faces, and those “locally elected board members” are in many cases doing a terrible job. The bureaucrats you speak of merely approve dollars going to schools in areas where your locally elected board members have failed. I’m amazed that people are so opposed to fixing such an obviously broken system.

D

May 16th, 2011
11:32 am

can someone please tell me what this means for Cherokee Charter Academy???

Friend of The Museum School

May 16th, 2011
11:33 am

Derrick — Agreed. I’m usually in support of the lower levels of government handling problems, but in this case the local districts are failing. Just look at how many stories we’ve had with local school officials indicted for fraud or accused of general incompetence. Are we really ready to abandon our successful schools simply for blind support of the failing status quo??

Maureen Downey

May 16th, 2011
11:39 am

@d, I think it means the academy has to go quickly to the CHerokee board and seek its approval. That is what most of these commission schools will have to do.
Let me say here that the Legislature was well aware that the law it passed to create the commission was going to be challenged, and that lawmakers bear some responsibility for ignoring lots of legal advice at the time that they were creating an unconstitutional law. They did so anyway, and they spent a lot of tax dollars defending it. (The state used some very good outside lawyers in this case.)
I am always surprised how many laws are passed without any concern for the legal costs that will arise from defending them. In this case, the Legislature had clear warning that this law was problematic and subject to challenge and likely defeat.
Maureen

Cere

May 16th, 2011
11:41 am

Dunwoody Mom – DCSS has approved charters (as well as “magnet” and other “specialty” schools) that spend just as much or more per student. These come to mind: Leadership Prep Academy (a DCSS approved charter housed in New Birth Church, run by Frankie Callaway, retired DCSS administrator). We have a copy of the contract showing the DCSS pays $10,000 a month to lease space in NB for this school. Also – Destiny Academy – a charter high school for “at-risk” students – housed in a former DCSS school, that somehow has come into the possession of New Birth. Not sure how much we pay for this school, but the last time I saw data on it, we were spending about $14,000 per student. Oh – and the principal of this one? Why – Frankie Callaway’s husband Clarence Callaway – also a DCSS retired administrator!

Nothing is fair in DeKalb, you see. However, they have no issue whining about people who try to escape the toxic, corrupt school system it has become and calling their desire to use their fair share toward a better education as “unfair”…. how ironic!

D

May 16th, 2011
11:50 am

Thanks Maureen. Looks like we’re in for a roller coaster ride here. We just had the lottery on Saturday and it makes me wonder why in the world they didn’t mention this at the presentation thtat this was a possibility. They made it sound like everything was a 100% go!

Maureen Downey

May 16th, 2011
11:51 am

@D, I am surprised they didn’t mention it to you on Saturday as the court announced Friday that the ruling was coming today. Any chance your school board will approve this school if it comes before it?
(Oddly, an hour after the court ruling was released this morning, I received a press release that another commission charter was holding information sessions next week. Not sure how these schools plan to proceed when the body that approved them was just deemed unconstitutional.)
Maureen

(If I were a parent at one of these schools, my first call today would be to the school to find out the plan of action and my second would be to my board of education rep asking that the school be approved as a local charter. I think parents are going to be critical in getting school board approval.)

cherokee parent

May 16th, 2011
11:55 am

I don’t see anyway Cherokee Charter can get the paperwork to the school board and get approval by August…And since they have been rejected before their is no real hope in approval now. Additionally I imagine the student lottery would have to occur again, hiring would be delayed, and supply ordering stopped etc…In other words I don’t see how they can get it done before the next school year begins…
So sounds like at least a year away…

Beth

May 16th, 2011
12:04 pm

I am disgusted by the lack of vision this state has for it’s educational system. The local districts are faltering on many fronts. the charter schools are a viable and proven alternative for those people who cannot exercise their option for private school because lack of funding. The local school boards to not want the competition from the charter schools, because it only shines a spotlight on the poorly run public schools in the district. Options in education work! As far as cherokee county is concerned, the board should look at why their area has the highest number of home-schooled children. From the parents I spoke too, it is because of the public schools. The cherokee county board said that their was no local interest in a charter school and denied their charter originally. Although 2600 applicants applied for 900 slots. Just short-sighted and backwards..

HS Public Teacher

May 16th, 2011
12:08 pm

@Beth – Don’t you understand? It is not ALL charter schools. It is only the charter schools approved by the State body.

If you want to improve your schools in Cherokee County, why not work with the local school board? I have yet to understand why concerned parents don’t try this and yet want to run all of the way up to the State level.

And remember, if the school board refuses to work with you, they are elected representatives and you can vote against them in the next election!

Velian Hill

May 16th, 2011
12:10 pm

Bravo to the Georgia Supreme Court! Shut down these Charter Schools and while we’re at it shut down private and home schools. Children need to go to their local school and these right-wing crazy parents need to stop their complaining. Georgia schools are doing a great job and Republicans need to fully fund education NOW!

catlady

May 16th, 2011
12:11 pm

Does this mean the RTTT money will have to be paid back, since Georgia no longer has that progressive charter system? I mean, the money was obtained through misrepresentation, right?

another view

May 16th, 2011
12:12 pm

@ “better view” – I ELECTED this school board. I DID NOT elect the state appointees stealing my local money. You dont like the local board, get your lazy a– excuse me, tail out of your chair and go vote and campaign.

Teacher, but NOT in Dekalb

May 16th, 2011
12:26 pm

Who set up this Board of Charter Schools and who gave them the, now to be found unconstitutional, right to over step the local Boards and grant charter status to schools?

Once again, I am reading that Dekalb did grant two charters that are being housed at New Birth. This stinks to high Heaven but then again, it is New Birth.

another view

May 16th, 2011
12:26 pm

Ah. Bravo, @HS Public Teacher. The original and primary purpose of the public education system is to facilitate the perpetuation of our democratic form of government through preparing our kids to participate responsibly in same. While we haven’t done that perfectly, the whole POINT of representative government is to have others represent us responsibly. We certainly have adequate demonstration that such doesn’t always work all that well for our schools (Clayton, APS, etc.), it beats the alternative of centralized nonrepresentative control.

At the same time, I must disagree with @ Velian Hill. We cannot and should not force others as long as they are not harming others. Fruitcakes have the right to be fruitcakes as long as they’re not shoving it down my throat. AND as long as I’m not paying for it.

LS

May 16th, 2011
12:35 pm

To those person who think our education system is so great, I invite you to take a look at a few links that show your perspectives are far from reality. GA is consistently ranked toward the bottom when compared to other states and nationally we continue to fall further behind our peers. Does that not worry anyone?

Regardless of ones view of Charter Schools, I am continually amazed that Educators continue to ignore the successes of many of these schools. Take a moment and just think why these successes are not eagerly adopted for the greater good.

Our taxes continue to rise to “support education” but yet we see no real advances. Then we hear in the local media about Adminstration officials makings salaries in the 300,000 range or higher.

US Education Ranking Compared To Other Countries
http://www.geographic.org/country_ranks/educational_score_performance_country_ranks_2009_oecd.html

http://askville.amazon.com/United-States-rank-education-industrialized-nations/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=21721726

GA Rankings:
http://www.gbpi.org/pubs/facts/20060715.pdf
Proficiency in 8th Grade Math (2003) 41
Proficiency in 8th Grade Reading (2003) 38
Public High School Graduation Rate (2002) 49

LS

May 16th, 2011
12:42 pm

Take a good long look at this link and digest what it means to the education our kids. It is not about what is best for the kids anymore, obviously…..
http://www.mlive.com/opinion/jackson/index.ssf/2011/05/editorial_why_teacher_tenure_i.html

Pluto

May 16th, 2011
12:53 pm

Let’s see everybody needs more money! The fed chair just started dipping into federal penions to pay for governmental operational costs but that’s ok because they can just print more money?!? There is no mo free govmint money folks; we have pissed away our money, our kids and generations from now kids money.

Ed

May 16th, 2011
12:57 pm

While I suspect the decision may be constitionally correct, I am disgusted by comments such as this:
If you want to improve your schools in Cherokee County, why not work with the local school board? I have yet to understand why concerned parents don’t try this and yet want to run all of the way up to the State level.

What on earth makes you think these parents have not tried to work with their local boards? Do you really think parents immediately jumped for the difficult and precarious option of the state charter system without a thought of trying to work within the system?

Posterchild

May 16th, 2011
1:12 pm

LS, I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I am not eligible for “tenure” as a teacher in Georgia. Anyone want to weigh in on that?

Ole Guy

May 16th, 2011
1:14 pm

Not to beat a dead horse into the ground, but if the teacher corps were to weild a unified voice (read UNION) within both local administrative domains AND the political animal house, perhaps these mindless decisions from above would abate.

As much as I respect the teacher corps, and that for which the profession stands, YOU DESERVE IT! Generations will fail en mass, the mid-to-late 21st Century will see a decline in every imaginable respect…and, in the end, YOUR careers will mean little, simply because YOU did not have the political spheroids to come out from hiding in your self-serving anonimity and DEMAND what’s right.

However…it’s never too late…any takers, or will you simply continue to huddle in mass fear of upsetting the apple cart?

JB

May 16th, 2011
1:14 pm

$ should follow the kids and parents should have school choice. Has anyone ever noticed who runs for these boards? Yes they are elected, but often run unopposed. Despite ethical and legal improprieties and a long list of failures, reps in Ga keep getting elected. Can you imagine the same model we have for education being used for the supermarket? You pay property taxes and you are assigned a grocery store. An elected board determines how the store will be stocked. You can only go to store for which you are districted. You may go to a much more expensive private supermarket of your choice, but you have to pay out the wazoo and will get no refund on the taxes you paid to shop at your districted market. Ridiculous!

www.honeyfern.org

May 16th, 2011
1:16 pm

Just read that this could affect online schools like GCA. It should be interesting to see what happens if GCA gets closed and 60,000 students flood the schools all over Georgia.

Just FYI, HoneyFern has 3 (possibly 4 – depends on the dynamic of the students, but never more than 8, total) openings for this fall, grades 6-12. Totally different experience than your regular school. http://www.honeyfern.org.

Dunwoody Mom

May 16th, 2011
1:25 pm

@JB – Title 1 Funding does not follow the student, so why should should any other funds “follow the student”?

Captain Obvious

May 16th, 2011
1:41 pm

Typical response of those who can’t compete. If I believe my school system is the best, I would have no concern about potential funds leaving my system because the interest in atlernate education systems would be non-existent. Instead of looking at every child as a walking dollar sign $$, ask yourself why the interest in charter schools is so overwhelming in this wonderful state ,which is always at the bottom of the national education ranking. I guess #48 is good enough for you. Oh yes, and how convenient for you take $400 million in Race To The Top education grants for innovative approaches to education before you show your true colors and vote against them. I think the federal gov’t would appreciate a return on their investment, but we all know this state is famous for saying they want to do away with BIG government unless it benefits their agenda. Finally, I think there needs to be a new venue for the 2011 National Charter School Conference this June. Why should they contribute the local and state funds when their entire existence is a joke in this state. SAD! SAD! SAD!

IMF2

May 16th, 2011
1:48 pm

Alvin Wilbanks is correct. Parents do have choice: home school or private school.

Long-time Cherokee County mom

May 16th, 2011
1:51 pm

@HS Public Teacher. And I am ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that King P will magnanimously approve a charter school for which he might have to give up control of and a few dollars for…hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

HS Public Teacher

May 16th, 2011
1:53 pm

@LS and Poster Child – One more time…..

GA teacher tenure for k-12 was made illegal by Roy Barnes in 2000. There is no teacher tenure in GA.

There is a law from 1974 that at least affords teachers with more than 3 years of experience to be given a valid reason for termination. However, all a teacher can do is request this from the school board.

I just don’t understand how this and teacher “unions” in Georgia can cause so much mis-information!

Thankful Educator

May 16th, 2011
1:54 pm

I’m glad that the Supreme Court finally made a decision and that they ruled against the charter commission. The reason some of these charter schools were not approved at the local level was because they did not provide a true public education. For instance, Ivy Prep, although well-meaning and innovative in creating an all-girls middle school, did not want to accept and accomodate ESOL or special needs students. If you pick and choose who attends a school, it is a private institution and should not receive public funding.

Dunwoody Mom

May 16th, 2011
1:59 pm

For instance, Ivy Prep, although well-meaning and innovative in creating an all-girls middle school, did not want to accept and accomodate ESOL or special needs students. If you pick and choose who attends a school, it is a private institution and should not receive public funding.

BINGO!!!!!!

Dunwoody Mom

May 16th, 2011
2:00 pm

@JB – However, if those children who receive Title 1 funds in elementary school, go to a middle school and high school that are not Title 1 schools – that money does not go with them.

JB

May 16th, 2011
2:00 pm

@Dunwoody Mom
Title 1 funding is targeted at schools with a large number of low-income students. That’s just what the program is supposed to do. We, the people, can determine how we want any given system to work. Just because one program works one way, doesn’t mean that all of them have to operate the same way. In addition, “we’ve always done it that way” is not a good reason to keep doing it.

Long-time Cherokee County mom

May 16th, 2011
2:01 pm

@HS Public Teacher: “If you want to improve your schools in Cherokee County, why not work with the local school board?” … and I am absolutely positive that King P. and his minions will magnanimously approve a charter school for which he would give up money and control. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah! Ever been to a school board meeting in which a contentious matter needed to be discussed??Just try! They won’t even put you on the agenda.

Mr. Riley

May 16th, 2011
2:02 pm

Why should the majority suffer so a few can excel….that’s the problem now…we keep crapping on public school systems and complaining about how bad they are but in turn don’t want to do anything to make them better or improve on what we have….then on the flip side, you have these charter schools supposedly giving a chance to “under priviledged” students to attain a bettter education who wouldn’t otherwise have a shot any other way….that is a load of crock….everyone knows those schools are highly selective when it comes to who they want and who they don’t want…..it doesn’t solve any problems for the simple fact that you are continuosly sucking dry the remainder of our public school systems and in turn leaving a an absurd gapping hole in terms of funding, good students, and willing teachers and administrators…..people won’t be satisfied until they’re having to pay for there kids to matriculate through all levels of education…

HS Public Teacher

May 16th, 2011
2:03 pm

@Long-time Cherokee County mom….

And, who VOTED for those minions? King P. has no authority to “place” his minions in those positions. It is the voters of Cherokee County that puts them there and keeps them there.

You and other concerned parents simply need to become active American citizens and participate in the election process. Or, maybe even you can run for office yourself.

New teacher

May 16th, 2011
2:04 pm

When will the misinformation end? Charters cannot “pick and choose” who attends the school. Whoever wants in, gets in. If there is larger numbers of applicants than spots available, then lotteries are held. Before we take this and say “Well, that’s is choosing. Not every gets in.”, there’s more to say.

Ask every charter operator and they will tell you that they want to take everyone. As with all things though, they are limited by money. Every kid that is picked from the lottery must be taken. They can’t reject someone based on special-needs or ESOL.

Posterchild

May 16th, 2011
2:07 pm

@HS Public Teacher, thanks. Like I said, I was pretty sure tenure had no bearing on me (starting in 2001), but for some reason (and I’m guessing it’s because of all the spouting off about unions and tenure in recent movies/news stories), people out there still like to throw it out as to why students can’t/won’t learn.

Dunwoody Mom

May 16th, 2011
2:09 pm

@New teacher….then tell me how Ivy Prep, in Gwinnett County, the county with the largest Hispanic population in the metro area, has exactly 13 ESOL students….Only 15 spec ed students as well…way out of range of a “normal” school.

HS Public Teacher

May 16th, 2011
2:10 pm

@New teacher – You seem to be a bit off-track. No one here is saying that charter schools are inherently “bad.” What is bad is that the State was usurping the authority of the local school board. In Georgia, that is illegal. In Georgia, only the local school board may allocate education funds.

If people want a charter school, then they simply can go through the local school board.

If people don’t like the school board, then they can simply vote for other representatives on that board.

Grizz

May 16th, 2011
2:15 pm

Not to worry, people. Never underestimate the ability of the legislature to continue screwing over public education.

Camille

May 16th, 2011
2:16 pm

Thankful Educator, there had to be some other “hidden” reason for Gwinnett not approving Ivy Prep because that could not be it. My youngest son attends New Life Academy, a K-6 charter school that was approved by Gwinnett, and they do not accommodate ESOL or special needs students. Hence, one of the reasons for creating the charter commission in the first place because there is no consistency (In addition to arbitrary reasons) in denying charter school applications

Pat

May 16th, 2011
2:22 pm

Velian Hill, do you seriously believe Georgia schools are doing a great job? You must’ve missed the fact that Georgia ranks 49th in the nation out of 50!