Is it tougher to open a charter school in a high achieving district?

In a 4-3 vote Friday met with a standing ovation, the Cherokee school board rejected Cherokee Charter Academy, one of eight new charters statewide whose futures were thrown into limbo by the state Supreme Court decision on May 16.

Like most of the other charter schools scheduled to open and the eight already in operation, Cherokee Charter turned to its local school board for approval, which was the best lifeline since it assured the best funding. But many things were at work against the fledgling school, one being the short time frame for local approval due to the late ruling by the Supreme Court.

By issuing its decision in mid May after hearing the case in October, the high court left a window of only a few weeks for schools approved by the now illegal state commission to find legitimacy through local boards of education. I think that the schools already in operation had a slight edge over schools like Cherokee Academy, which had not yet opened and had no record on which to stand.

What is interesting to note in both Cherokee and Coweta — which also rejected one of the 16 commission charters Friday and one that is actually in operation -- is that these are communities with high achieving schools, creating tensions between the charter parents who want a different setting for their kids and the parents who are satisfied with their existing public school choices and see the charter schools as a financial drain on already strained resources.

In Cherokee, each group of parents showed up in their colors — red for charter school supports and black for opponents.

Most of the charter school students stranded by the Supreme Court decision — two-thirds of them — would have attended virtual charter schools, which are among the fastest-growing in the nation. Down the line, I have to spend time looking at the research on the efficacy of virtual education. From what I have seen so far, the efficacy falls into that standard big pot in education called “mixed results.” But online charter schools are growing everywhere, and it will be interesting to see how well they fare.)

According to the story:

The idea of a charter school in Cherokee County was met with over 2,600 applications and a groundswell of support from parents concerned about slipping test scores at their neighborhood schools. The overwhelming interest grew the charter school’s rosters from over 700 students to 995. The school, which was set to open in August, could never win board approval, however. It was rejected  in 2009 and 2010 because of concerns about its finances, governance and budget.

Parents were disappointed by the third rejection, but refuse to give up. “We will continue to fight,” said Ted Handey, who has a fifth grader accepted at Cherokee Charter Academy. Organizers say they will appeal to the state Board of Education for approval as a state special charter school. That vote will be held Tuesday.

School board members said the charter school wasn’t right for the district and the price was too high with 995 students. To raise $3.4 million for a school of 500 — the board’s counter proposal — Cherokee school superintendent Frank Petruzielo said the board would have to consider either laying off 55 teachers, increasing furlough days, eliminating step raises, hiking taxes or siphoning reserves. If the charter was allowed to continue with 995 students, it would be a $6.8 million impact; or $40 million over five years.

“We are not talking about small change,” Petruzielo said.

Board members Mike Chapman, Janet Read, Robert Wofford and Rick  Steiner voted against  the charter petition. Board members Michael Geist, Kim Cochran and Rob Usher voted in favor.

“What I hate the most about this situation is that we should not be pitting one against the other,” said school board member Chapman before the vote. He also told those who wanted more choices to consider relocating. “If you feel like the Cherokee County school system isn’t meeting your needs you have the option to move.”

School officials also said the charter school’s application had continued deficiencies and question whether the charter school was giving too much control to its partner, Charter Schools USA, a for-profit education management firm. Some also wondered whether enough students had the opportunity to apply.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

72 comments Add your comment


June 27th, 2011
6:24 am

It has more to do with who is in control of the funds than whether the district is high performing or not. Parents want and need choice in their child’s education. The movie “Waiting for Superman” has opened some parents eyes to seeking other options for their children. I truly believe the of rejections of charter applications are going to cause these parents to seek other options such as homeschooling, private school and or the online education. It appears to be a movement for “change” in the education system and some folks resist change.

Dunwoody Mom

June 27th, 2011
6:32 am

It has more to do with who is in control of the funds than whether the district is high performing or not

You are okay with “for-profit” companies in charge of education?


June 27th, 2011
6:40 am

Honey, I know we can barely afford to put food on the table and pay the power bill, but I want a new Lexus.

Sorry. Not going to happen.

And that is the reality. Charter schools are viewed as a luxury that most school districts cannot afford in the current state of the economy.


June 27th, 2011
6:48 am

Competition is the only hope for saving public education.


June 27th, 2011
7:02 am

I doubt many of these applications will be approved as a lot of the local boards have just finished closing schools within their respective districts because of budget concerns. What reason would they have to continue funding what they consider “rogue” schools outside of their authority?

If these parents are serious they need to homeschool or send their child to a private school because these local boards aren’t going to tolerate them(charter schools) anymore. They can rally all they want down at the capital but the politicians are going to defer to the local boards and the teachers union since the legal avenues have been slammed close.

Write Your Board Members

June 27th, 2011
7:25 am


I think you are wrong. I believe that many of our politicians will be pushing for a legal solution that allows the state to bypass local systems. I am not saying it can be done, just saying they haven’t given up yet.

Early in the charter movement, a group of parents wanted to open a charter school in Princeton NJ which was a high performing school district. They suceeded but it was very divisive. Many years ago, a group of parents from the Lakeside High School are in DeKalb wanted to open a middle school. The public school supporting parents in that community weren’t to receptive. The idea never got very far.

Joe Frank

June 27th, 2011
7:25 am

The media seems ti ignore the fact all systems must choose between becoming a charter system itself, an IE2 system, or maintain the staus quo. MANY systems are choosing the charter route giving them more autonomy and local control. The system will work if given a chance. No way tax dollars should be used to fund ANY private business.

Real Athens

June 27th, 2011
7:29 am

One of the biggest lies perpetrated by Conservatives in this State (thanks Neil Boortz) is that their is a “teacher’s union. “… A labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labor contracts (collective bargaining) with employers. This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies. The agreements negotiated by the union leaders are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers.”

In Georgia teachers have no collective bargaining agreement — the absolute mantel piece of organized labor — hence, no union. Teachers are no different than churches or any other group who forms a “voting bloc”.


June 27th, 2011
7:29 am

Charters only need to exist where public schools fail. Who would sign up for the hassle and the risk if the public school were working?

Charters are not the reason for the problems of the public schools; they are the result.


June 27th, 2011
7:43 am

It is a shame all the hypocrisy our loser government preaches, if a bank has more than 38% of the business in a state it has to divest its assents to fewer than 38%, or face going to jail. But if our government school, which is virtually 100% monopoly, has any competition they use the power of the federal government to shut it down. Competition is mandated by law except if you are a government entity.

June 27th, 2011
7:47 am

I really don’t understand the issue with charter schools. I have been trying to figure out why they are such a burr for some people. If (and I realize this is a big “if”) they do what they say they are going to do, why are people so against them? I am honestly curious.


June 27th, 2011
7:49 am

This is in response to the question if you are OK with “for-profit” companies in charge of education. Who cares who is in charge when the choice is yours to stop going and return to the public schools. The “for-profit” companies will have to uphold integrity and honesty to keep the registration up.


June 27th, 2011
7:52 am

And in response to Charter Schools being a luxury, we’re talking about the future of America, the next generation, our children, education…not a car! I think it’s worth it to put our dollars towards this luxury, don’t you?

Real Athens

June 27th, 2011
7:53 am

Sorry for the typos. It was early.


And their reason stated as “School officials also said the charter school’s application had continued deficiencies and question whether the charter school was giving too much control to its partner, Charter Schools USA, a for-profit education management firm. Some also wondered whether enough students had the opportunity to apply.”

Karl Marx

June 27th, 2011
7:59 am

School board member Mike Chapman said “If you feel like the Cherokee County school system isn’t meeting your needs you have the option to move.” Hey Bozo why don’t YOU move. After the next election you will not have a job anyway. You and about 3 others.


June 27th, 2011
8:02 am

Last comment…Ben, maybe there are some districts closing schools but in this district we are opening schools!!! So why not open a school like a charter? You are punishing parents who in other circumstances would send their kids to private or homeschool if they could; so in other words, a charter is another option to a private school or homeschool but funded by the state for a limited enrollment and it won’t be “tolerated”? I haven’t heard a good reason why as of yet.


June 27th, 2011
8:11 am

Let’s just keep in mind that GCPS had denied Ivy Prep 2 -3X, and was prepared to deny 2 more petitions this past month. Not one GCPS board member has ever even visited the school that sits in their backyard, and I would attest that many board members have never even read the petition.

Had the nation not been watching – there never, ever would have been an approval of a petition with the current charter. This is a high performing single gender charter school with close to 600 girls, 90% + students of color, and over 50% poverty. One would think the district would be honored be able to offer such a high performing and innovative school to parents.

Charter evaluations need to be focused on innovation, community commitment, financial sustainability, and work that will “add” to the district, not subtract from it. The district should be looking for ways to leverage resources and provide some economies of scale that make sense and can support the path for a fledgling spark.

The problem with all of this is – most districts bloated with egos agree that there are many ways to the same path – as long as it is their way and you stay within your immediate zip code. And that my friend is called – social control. Nothing more, nothing less.

Teaching is worse in FL

June 27th, 2011
8:16 am

Divide and conquer…’s working. It’ll be easier to dismantle public education if we are at each other’s throats. Just demonstrate the extreme sides, and things will fall apart.

Charter schools go against the idea of FAPE (free and appropriate public education) if they try to exist in a high performing district. The burden of proof is on the charter school that is trying to open. Unless there is a definite, proven, demonstrated NEED, it is just what LEE (6:40) said-a luxury.

Notre Dame Grad

June 27th, 2011
8:25 am

While there are those who want to claim the online charters as a “mixed bag of results” I go with the results of my kids who are in the Georgia Cyber Academy. My kids found a much more challenging and encouraging learning environment for the last 3 years. Their grasp of advanced subjects is far beyond what it ever was in DeKalb county schools (mainly because they are actually taught subjects that are at and above their grade levels) not to mention that their CRCT scores well exceed the average scores of public school children. Their reading, math, science and social studies levels are so much above public schools it’s flabbergasting that we ever considered putting them back in public schools (my 4th grader understands Shakespeare, good luck on that in a 4th grade class in public school).

The fight against charters is a losing one. There may be some local victories for now, but in the end, Charters will be here to stay. My wife and I have had the public school experience of the 21st century and have come to the conclusion that this does not prepare our children for the competitive nature of a global economy. We are quite fortunate that we have a choice to do what is best for them. Taking that choice away will not solve the problem local school districts are trying to solve. If the schools were better, and you only need to compare the GA schools to the national average (where they rank near the bottom of almost every survey) you wouldn’t need a charter solution. Unfortunately, it is what it is and in today’s environment, you can’t wait for local school boards to do the right thing at the expense of your child’s future.


June 27th, 2011
8:25 am

But how does that “high performing district” add up against other nation’s? AND other states in the US? Why punish those who want better for their kids? You’re talking about a state (GA) who is already tailing behind other US states who in turn is tailing behind other nations. The NEED exists in every school district in the United States!


June 27th, 2011
8:29 am


June 27th, 2011
7:29 am

Well stated!


June 27th, 2011
8:35 am

It is said that the true vision of a champion is what happens when no one is looking.

While legislators squabble over a constitutional amendment and the press is covering it, what will the districts that approved one year petitions be doing ? …..Taking a year to do what…build a case of charter school deficiencies, or in good faith support and enhance and learn from their work ?

Don’t anyone take your eye off the ball for the two-three locally approved charters that occurred because of the results of the Georgia Supreme Court. The proof of district stewardship, for these already high performing public schools will be visible in June 2012.

Karl Marx

June 27th, 2011
9:01 am

What is this “high achieving district” BS? I have to laugh when someone in this state brags about high achievement schools in a state that is consistently ranked last in the nation. So, what is this, the best of the worst? Give me a break.


June 27th, 2011
9:06 am

@DunwoodyMom…just because government schools have no stated objective of gaining a profit does not mean they are not up to no good. Thats just the problem. I hope you have lived long enough to realize you get what you pay for. Just as you probably purchased property in the Dunwoody area to be around a homogenous group and take advantage of the schools. If you rent…that will take on another post related to differences in who fits the bill.

I made a choice to pay 13k per year for my 5yr old… and Gwinnett Co. still takes 3k in property taxes. I chose to get more for my investment. The government school wants you child to have to same knowledge base as your neighbor and every other child in the school. That is why they test standards. Its a good thing you reinforce learning at home and provide outside of school cultural and learning activities for your child.


June 27th, 2011
9:08 am

@Dunwoody Mom…if I am unpleased with the services for my money…I will take my investment else. Government schools do not provide that choice, you will have to likely move. Might be best we purchase those homes on wheels they used to make called Mobile Homes. HA!!!!

Teacher Reader

June 27th, 2011
9:29 am

@ Notre Dame Grad I agree. The GA Cyber Academy is way above anything DeKalb offers. The students in GCA receive the top notch education that every child in GA deserves.

Not sure why so many are opposed to for-profits running charter schools. Every book company, program that is purchased for education, computers, etc, the food service, are all earning profits. As a former teacher and parent of a toddler, politics is what is wrong with our education system. Those running many of our public schools have little teaching experience. Many running our public schools see our public schools as a job program and then think about educating our children. What do members of school boards really know about educating our children? Time and time again, in DCSS things boil down to race. What is sad is that the blacks running the system are giving the shaft to the the blacks, Latinos, and whites in our poorest performing schools. Those in charge, including school board members are quick to cry racism, but fail to look at themselves as the biggest problem hurting children.

Schools don’t want to give up the money to charter schools. They are afraid of competition. Competition might mean that another school with similar demographics could out perform their schools and make them look bad. Having worked in and with Charter schools across the country. Yes there are some that are not out performing public schools, but many of them are and our children deserve to get out of systems that are not focused on learning and/or are not meeting their their needs.


June 27th, 2011
9:42 am

wow – if you don’t like it move? WOW. That’s like: let them eat cake.
Not everyone can move bozo.

I just don’t get it. The public schools teach one way. If parents would like a different kind of school – then they MUST send their kids to private school? How about having different kinds of schools like there are different kinds of kids? How about teaching to the child rather than a take it or leave it attitude? These school boards are ONLY looking at the money that they get to control, and nothing else.

@Dunwoody mom: um, – how is that ‘public school that is supposedly not operating for profit’ working for you? for society?

Jerry Eads

June 27th, 2011
10:25 am

Remember Janis’ old song “Oh Lord, won’t you give me a Mairsaydees Benz” – - -

By the way, “Waiting for Superman” was just like the reports from so called “think tanks” – as Jerry Bracey once wrote, “Today, alas, there are many ’studies’ out there that qualify only as pseudoresearch, articles” [and in this case a film] “designed to provide something of a scholarly facade for an ideological message.” “Superman” has been quite thoroughly documented to be, quite simply, an abject lie, misquoting and taking out of context the statements of most of those in the film. Because it fed the false beliefs of the naive and gullible, it further conned a rather large number of people.

Maureen, you ask a scholarly question that might deserve a scholarly answer, but I’m not aware of any research addressing whether there’s a relationship between the socio-economic makeup of a district and its board’s propensity to approve charter schools. Likely it’s FAR more complicated than that, having to do with the competence of the board and its confidence in the schools. It likely has even more to do, as pointed out above, with the very, very limited resources available these days. If I were trying to maintain the quality usually associated with schools benefiting from a relatively strong tax base, the last thing I’d be interested in would be taking money away from my already good schools for somebody’s private enterprise.

The way the system works: If you don’t like the way your public schools are working, work to change them. Join the PTA. Run for the board. Vote for someone else to be on the board. YOU elect the board. If you don’t like it, get in there and help change the board. If you want something else, precisely correct, @atlmom: enroll your children in a private school. You are more than welcome to try to do what you can with YOUR tax money. NOT mine.


June 27th, 2011
10:48 am

@Jerry Eads – We also elect the legislators who right the charter laws. Why is there only one way to change the public schools?

Teacher Reader

June 27th, 2011
10:50 am

@ Jerry Eads

The system isn’t working. The PTA has nothing to do with the way that schools are run, the low expectations for students, the administrators with bought degrees and little teaching experience, and the school boards who are more concerned about saving the highly paid jobs of friends and family members over educating the children in the county.

What I have seen from Charter Schools the likes of KIPP (in several cities), Amistad Academy (run by Achievement First in CT), Propel (in and around Pittsburgh, PA), and a few in New Orleans (as all schools in the city are charters since Katrina) is that what goes on in the walls of those schools are truly in the best interest of the children. These schools focus on meeting student needs and work to get them back to grade level and take them even further. Those that are able to attend these schools are so much better off than those attending the public schools in these areas. These charter schools demand more from the students and families and deliver on providing their children a quality education.

The Georgia Virtual Academy run by K-12 is another example of a charter school that offers top notch curriculum, high expectations, and focuses on the student. The curriculum that I have seen in GVA is hands and toes above that offered in DCSS and most public schools that I have worked in.

As a tax payer, I choose not to send my child to a public school, because I realize that they do not want to change. As a teacher, I spoke up when expectations were lowered for children and was labeled a trouble maker.

Until the public realizes that our public schools are the public schools that you and I went to, they have become employment agencies first and foremost with little to no focus on educating our children. Look at the scandals in Atlanta with Dr. Hall and the CRCT scores. Look at the dysfunctional school board in DCSS. Look at the questionable land deals in Gwinnett. There are problems in most public schools.

It bothers me more that I am paying federal and local taxes for school systems that are failing our children and that I can’t send my child to a public school because of the poor quality. I am tired of paying high taxes for a product that I wouldn’t buy on my own and can’t use.

The future of America lies with educating our children. Our children are not being educated and therefore lack the knowledge and ability to think for themselves. Look at the drop out rates. Many of these kids can’t read. It’s cheaper to educate our children properly now, than to pay for incarceration, welfare, and other entitlements later on.

I suggest that you and others who are not for charters, go and visit a few. I believe that you will be surprised.

Real Athens

June 27th, 2011
10:51 am

School boards are elected. If you don’t like the board, or its members, you have a built in “revolution” every few years.

I love the reference to “government schools”: a dead giveaway to where your information is derived. shameful that the source is nearly always, incomplete, biased and profit motivated — as opposed to factual.

Teacher Reader: Thanks for addressing the 800 lbs. gorilla in the room. However, your lack of self-awareness does little to beguile the real foundations of your opinion.

“Time and time again, in DCSS things boil down to race. What is sad is that the blacks running the system are giving the shaft to the the blacks, Latinos, and whites in our poorest performing schools. … Those in charge, including school board members are quick to cry racism.”

Be like Jerry. You don’t like your public schools — change them with involvement. Empower yourself. That’s the American way.


June 27th, 2011
11:08 am

The original intent for Charter schools was to provide an alternative school for students in high poverty urban districts where the public schools were failing.

Cherokee County has one of the highest ratings (well above the National avererage) in the state. It is not necessary to have a Charter school that will not provide anything different/more (actually less-according to the final staff analysis report) than the already exsisting public schools.

I think some parents saw the “Waiting for Superman” movie and jumped on a band wagon.

Some of the parents that were at (and spoke) at the Board meeting are parents who don’t like to follow rules and are upset with having to adhere to them. Can’t Charter schools “kick you out” for any reason? These parents (and their children) probably wouldn’t have lasted long at a Charter school anyway.


June 27th, 2011
11:24 am

@Teacher Reader
10:50 a.m.

Spot On!!


June 27th, 2011
11:44 am

@JAT- the only problem about charter schools is that schools will be forced to bend rules, and lower current standards to maintain an enrollement figure that generates a profit. If there are many charters competing for students, and some with a waiting list, how will the state deal with situations like that? These schools will close and the students will be back in their originally zoned schools, or, taken across town to another charter school. I have heard terrible things about some of these charter schools which seek to pacify parents and placate children for the sake of enrollment numbers and at the expense of ANY educational standard.


June 27th, 2011
11:46 am

Despite individual success stories, the overall test results from charter schools are no better than traditional public schools’ averages. This is the strongest argument against charter schools. Although they do provide a choice for parents, that choice is not statistically better than the ones they already have, when measured with the traditional yardstick of educational success. The argument needs to shift to the other benefits that charters can provide.

Opening another building, especially in districts which are facing budget shortfalls in excess of $10million annually, is not responsible. The overhead needed to operate existing facilities does not decrease in proportion to the percent of students who would leave, and take their FTE money with them, when a charter is opened. I work at one of the largest public charter schools in the state. In the five years it has been open, it has been the single most expensive building in the district in terms of operating expense. The truth is, they are expensive. Skeptics are justified in asking for evidence that these expenditures are worthwhile.

Look at the graduation rates of traditionally under-served students from existing charters. Look at dropout rates. Look at incidents of discipline. These are all areas where the school where I work excels.

Really amazed

June 27th, 2011
11:50 am

I was for the Charter School. Not for my children to attend, they attend private already. I felt that every parent deserved a choice for their child. I have been tracking this for over 3 year now. I didn’t fell that the Cherokee Charter Academy would have provided anything different than local public other than Spanish and uniforms. They still had to use GA curr. and adhere to the basic CRCT. This is why I decided to keep my children in private. My children will not be taught to such a low standard. I did however feel that if parents felt this would be a better choice, then so be it. Let there be choice. I wished too that the Charter would have been able to prove and show a different way of teaching. This is the problem with having to utilized public funds. I personally think they should open up as a private school and charge the amount of funds they would have received via district. I believe this was going to be around $6,000 this would still be a bargain for a private school. They would be able to run it the way they wanted without ga doe, basic ga curr and not having to teach to a crct. I am sure the numbers would drop however it would still provide some choice. The cyber academy is another option. Bottom line is that the county is very affraid of this Charter School succeeding. If it does, they will have many more children going and not attending public traditional school. I do believe that by 2020 students will be educated a totally different way. No one will be walking through a brick and mortar building anymore. Just watch and see.


June 27th, 2011
11:52 am

@JerryEad and @Real Athens…I can understand your concern for where your tax dollars are being spent. However, you have to admit that we as a society need to introduce/suggest/change the way our public school system is today. We are way behind the rest of the world in education. PTA, school boards, etc has been the culture for decades and has gotten us no where. So where then do you suggest we make the change? Why not listen to the people who have children in the public school system and care about the future of their children? I’m not sure if you have children in the system, but I’m guessing you pay for your children to go to private school if you have children at all…some of us cannot afford that especially in Atlanta where tuition far exceeds the budget of middle class society in an economy where gas prices went from the lowest to now the highest, prices for groceries increased, unemployment is among the highest, hiring freezes put in place, foreclosures amongst the highest in the country and raises not be given. These are your neighbors and the society your children are going to be part of when they graduate from the private school you were able to pay for. Taxes are in place to better the world around us, and that includes the children next door whether they be black, white, hispanic, latino, rich, poor, etc. This should be a team effort (Team USA Education)…what’s been in place for decades now is not executing in the world today. Graduates from private schools in USA are not, at least from what I have seen, leading this nation in innovation. Competition in this nation to push those children around us to be the best they can be and exercise their brainpower for the good of this country sounds like a great idea to me. And what better way to do it than to introduce other means of education systems since the traditional one is not performing to the best of our ability.

Teacher Reader

June 27th, 2011
11:56 am

@ Real Athens Unless you have worked in DCSS you will not understand the politics. As a white teacher in the county for three years, I fought for the black children that I taught to have the quality of education that I would want for my own children. The black leaders (the majority of those in administration are black) have lowered the standards so much. These leaders also have little time in the classroom and care more about making jobs for adults than educating the children.

This is an email from a black board member:

Mr. African-American Voter ~

Shame on you for declaring “we’ve lost another great candidate because none of you want to clean house”. How dare you to describe a candidate for Superintendent great whose record show the accrediting agency graded his last 3 years as academically unacceptable. In addition, he received a no confidence vote by his Board, and they refused to change it. I hasten to tell you that we don’t need to clean house because our System is not toxic. Clearly, your understanding and expectation of excellence, success and high accomplishment are vastly different from mine. In fact, you sound like the Negro of old who did not earn respect for being independent thinking, manly, courageous or assertive, but rather for being accommodating – for fulfilling the stereotype of what was expected of him.

I definitely cannot tell you how to vote, but it saddens me that you do not share my sense of a pursuit of excellence and high accomplishment
rather than, mediocrity as the standard in this selection process.

Gene Walker

The emails that I received from our black administrators were poorly written and often did not use correct grammar.

Changing our public school system is easier said than done. Until our public schools have real competition, they have little reason to change. It’s become extremely difficult to get a child the support that they need. It’s easier to push a child along.

Ed Advocate

June 27th, 2011
11:56 am

Remember, the goal is not charters schools, but GOOD charter schools. If you truly support the charter school movement, then you should have serious concerns about this charter school.

The proposed school’s management company, Charter Schools USA, has a mixed record at best, particularly with low-income students. Its first effort in Georgia, Coweta Academy, attracted substantially fewer low-income students (10%) than the district at large (40%) yet its results in Year 1 were were worse than the district as a whole. Why should the district hand over authority to a group with such a questionable record ? Give the group a few years to prove itself in Coweta and then it can reapply to Cherokee. Or, perhaps another group with a more convincing record will apply.

The enthusiasm for a charter school in Cherokee is fantastic. And competition is important. But the District has an obligation to approve schools that are likely to succeed. This candidate has not yet established this likelihood, and Cherokee should hold out for a better competitor.

[...] Is it tougher to open a charter school in a high achieving district?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)In a 4-3 vote Friday met with a standing ovation, the Cherokee school board rejected Cherokee Charter Academy, one of eight new charters statewide whose futures were thrown into limbo by the state Supreme Court decision on May 16. …Coweta BoE denies Senoia charter school applicationThe Citizen.comNew legislation to affect charter schoolsMount Airy NewsGa. board committee approves applications of charter schools affected by court …The RepublicMyFox Atlantaall 29 news articles » [...]


June 27th, 2011
12:05 pm

2600 applications is a huge threat to the establishment.


June 27th, 2011
12:34 pm

As a parent of two (soon to be three) school-age children in Cherokee County, I would challenge your assessment of the district as being high achieving. I see a district where “it’s good enough”, “money” issues, and hurt feelings are holding back the best and the brightest students to achieve their true potential. Review the portfolio for where most of these kids are applying for college, the portfolio for where they are accepted, and where they are matriculating and then decide if it is “high-achieving.”

What's best for kids?

June 27th, 2011
12:54 pm

Here’s the question, though:

Have schools gone down since “A Nation at Risk”, or are we just more cognizant of the situation? We have been at a 50-60% dropout since compulsory schooling began.

What we have done is changed the teaching methods, dummied down the curriculum, and made excuses as to why kids can’t learn (white man’s guilt) and failed the children who want to be there and who want to learn.

As to whit man’s guilt, I am so tired of administrators saying that we have to change the expectations for minority and low SES students. That, gentle readers, IS racist. The administrators and the other people in the public school setting are saying that we teachers must adjust the curriculum so that our lower SES can move on. I have a hard time with that. All students can learn; now, are we going to ensure that they do by expecting them to behave and exhibit self-discipline? That would go a long way in ensuring quality education.


June 27th, 2011
1:07 pm

@What’s best for kids? I totally agree, why focus on those things? Focus on innovation and think outside the box to bring the percentage up. It’s like girls going through puberty earlier and earlier, is that really the case or are we just more cognizant of the situation? Because everyone I speak to that are much older went through puberty between 9-12 as well. I think that is probably the case with almost everything you can analyze. A better approach would be to think outside the box and be creative.


June 27th, 2011
1:25 pm


“You are okay with “for-profit” companies in charge of education?”

The tone would imply that the poster IS

Education in the real sense of the word has nothing to do with it!!!!


June 27th, 2011
1:31 pm


“have lowered the standards so much.”

Please elaborate ….do give an example

Get a grip

June 27th, 2011
2:13 pm

I have 3 children and they all attend public school. I too, listen to Neal Boortz but he explains his own show as entertainment and I digest the information as such.

However, I realize children must make their own decisions. They must make a decision about the direction of their own lives no matter how much “we’ve” (the parents) paid for their education. I don’t mean let them do what they want but hey, are parents going to live forever…start there.

My kids are “persuaded” into having a working plan. They are responsible for what they get out of their schooling. I let them know that I do not feed adults. My obligation ends at 18 and anything after that is a gift.

For a lot of you, 18 is coming sooner than you realize. Start teaching your children that no matter where they are that they must rise above adversity. Now, that is harsh but guess what…all job situations are not ideal (even if you own the company). They must learn to survive among the wolves and if any of you live in the real world, you have met some wolves.

In addition, don’t forget to read to your kids (even if they are teenagers), sit down to watch some documentaries with them, laugh with them, watch the news with them, and go on day trips with them. Nothing can replace your input as an active and involved parent.

Finally, I think private schools where created for the very reason of providing a choice where parents have more of a say and now citizens want another choice. O-K…

Really Amazed

June 27th, 2011
2:58 pm

I too think it is funny how Cherokee County considers it self as high achieving!!!!!!!!!! It is amazing what people think of as high achieving. When you are receiving 10 extra pts for showing up for exams and you are given 2,3,4 times again/over to re-take test and crct cuts scores are lowered year after year to meet AYP. WOW!!!! Yes, truly high achieving. Keep drinking the kool-aid!!!!! I do have to agree with @gern!


June 27th, 2011
3:10 pm

McDonalds should not be allowed to decide whether or not Burger King will operate. We need a separate authorizer. Boards of Ed have too much power (which is our own fault). The state constitution and charter school law both need to be amended.

Really Amazed

June 27th, 2011
3:11 pm

As long as little Susie/Johnny is making all A’s and meeting or exceeding crct. They must be high achievers. SURE!!! The question is in what???? Basic standards, very low basic standards at that! How many times did Susie/Johnny get to re-take test? How many times did mommy and daddy complain if they weren’t making the A’s? Teachers and admin are given in more and more to grade inflation than ever! It’s not about what grade your child is making, it’s what they LEARNED. Too many parents are more concerned about the grade than what their child is learning nowadays. I blame that on the lovely HOPE scholarship. This has become the main problem in this state. The child in GA public schools aren’t being taught how to learn. They are being taught how to pass a crct test. No true critical thinking skills. Wait until college! If your child has been taught how to take good note and think for themselves forget it! You can’t go backwards.