Choice advocate: Money won’t fix Georgia schools. An end to government interference and control will.

Money won't fix schools. Freedom from government control will, says a Georgia attorney and choice advcate.

Money won't fix schools. Freedom from government control will, says a Georgia attorney and choice advcate.

Atlanta attorney and school choice activist Glenn Delk says the solution to Georgia’s education problems is not more money.

Instead,  Delk writes:

Georgians are once again being inundated with calls from members of the government education blob, school board members, superintendents, teachers’ unions, etc. to demand that Gov. Nathan Deal, state senators and representatives eliminate the so-called “austerity cuts” and spend more money on our k-12 system.

On this blog, former Atlanta School Board member and unsuccessful candidate for state school superintendent Joe Martin, wrote, “The state is systematically starving our schools – and jeopardizing our future – under the pretense that it doesn’t have the needed funds, while the wave of tax exemptions and cuts never ceases.”

I wonder if Mr. Martin would admit that our public schools are not on a starvation diet, if he knew Georgians are actually spending a million dollars to graduate one student from high school ready to handle college-level work. Rather than “starving” k-12 education, Georgians have continued to pour ever-increasing amounts of their hard-earned money into the current system, while failing to demand quality results for the billions they’ve spent.

Student enrollment in Georgia increased 16 percent from 2000-2009, while per-pupil funding, excluding facilities, increased nearly 50 percent, to $9,649 in 2009. Unfortunately, the traditional k-12 system of public education, which the Georgia Supreme Court recently held was a monopoly, has failed to deliver solid academic achievement in exchange for our tax dollars. According to both the College Board and the ACT, barely 20 percent of Georgia’s high school graduates are college-ready in the four major academic subjects; only 5 percent of black graduates are college-ready.

However, a 2010 report by a Chicago-based think tank, the Heartland Institute, concludes that Georgia’s taxpayers spend $220,000 to pay for the k-12 education of every high school graduate. In other words, to turn out one white high school graduate ready to attend UGA or Georgia Tech without needing remedial education and compete with the rest of the world for jobs, Georgians spend $1 million per student; and $4 million for one qualified black high school graduate.

Given the reality of the 21st century worldwide competition for jobs, as well as the current fiscal reality in the U.S., Georgia cannot afford the current system, both for costs and quality reasons, much less increase spending as Mr. Martin advocates. Stanley Litow, president of the IBM Foundation, in a recent AJC guest editorial, said, in referring to our current public education system, “Business as usual not an option.”

He’s exactly right,  given a January survey by the Harvard Business School of its alumni who believe that the United States faces “a deepening competitiveness problem caused by structural changes,” with the poor quality of our k-12 education system one of America’s major weaknesses.

Finally, Jim Clifton, chairman of the polling firm, Gallup, in his recent book, “The Coming Jobs War,” spelled out why neither Georgia nor the United States can afford to accept Mr. Martin’s advice to continue spending more money on the current governmental monopoly and accept inferior results.

As Mr. Clifton puts it:

“The primary will of the world is no longer about peace or freedom or even democracy; it is not about having a family, and it is neither about God nor about owning a home or land. The will of the world is first and foremost to have a good job. Everything else comes after that . The coming world war is an all-out global war for good jobs . This is America’s war for everything .”

If Mr. Litow, Harvard alumni and Mr. Clifton are right, we cannot win this all-out world war for jobs without major structural changes to our current system of public education in Georgia. The current factory model of one-size-fits all must be replaced by new schools for Georgia, managed or run by traditional school districts, charter management organizations, private schools and charities free of the current regulatory structure.

Instead of appropriating more funds for the current system, Gov. Deal and the Legislature should make it clear that Georgia intends to win the worldwide war for jobs by dramatically improving the quality of our graduates. To do so, they must pass a very short, simple bill, which:

–Lets traditional school districts choose to compete with private and charter schools on a level playing field by removing all regulations on schools operating under this new system, except those imposed on private schools.

–Simplifies funding for these new schools, making funding transparent by placing a simple per-pupil allocation of $9500 per student, on the students’ back, which follows them to any school they choose, regardless of zip code or who’s operating it.

–Eliminates the concept of failing schools and the state’s attempt to fix them

–Instead judges these new schools on only 3 metrics – what percent of 9th graders graduate, how many graduates are college-ready, and how many either graduate from college within six years, or are employed. If the schools fail to deliver on these simple, concrete metrics, parents will leave and the schools will be forced to change or shut down due to lack of customers

To win the coming all-out world war for jobs, Georgia must quit doing business as usual, must quit throwing more money at a dysfunctional, ineffective government monopoly, and allow parents, school leaders and teachers to compete with the world on a level playing field. Our school leaders, teachers and students can compete with the best in the world if we simply recognize governmental monopolies don’t work, whether for airlines, healthcare, computers or education. Our political leaders need to acknowledge they don’t know how to run schools and free our teachers, school leaders and parents to choose.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

102 comments Add your comment

Sam

January 24th, 2012
11:49 am

We have spent a couple of decades with more government help, more government money and more government rules. We have greatly, and for the first time in our history, federalized the education of children with more money and more involvement from Washington. the school districts spending the most money often perform the worst. How has that worked?

It’s time we let parents make these choices and stop pumping good money after bad and let parents makes more choices about their children.

Fericita

January 24th, 2012
11:57 am

Wow, I’d be curious to see the specifics on the price differentials on educating white and black students. What went into those computations?

I am highly suspicious of people who think school choice will solve everything. Kids in poverty won’t suddenly be more school-ready if we have more charters, and special ed kids will still exist. Successful charter schools (which are not the majority of charters) kick out students not up to snuff. Our challenge in education is figuring out how to educate those students.

There is some waste in education, but it’s hard to read this and know that in my husband’s classroom, he literally can’t fit any more desks to accommdate the no-class-size-limit huge class he has, and that his pay has been frozen and he’s been furloughed. If there’s waste, the average teacher isn’t enjoying it.

Sick of this subject

January 24th, 2012
12:04 pm

On January 13th’s post, “Coming out in the classroom”, I commented:
“If activist liberals continue to go down this road and make parents and students of all religious faiths feel offended by teaching that the tenets of their faith are wrong and intolerant, the religous faithful will abandon the public schools and home school or create church schools. You may at first think, “Good riddance!”, but you need to think again. It very likely will destroy the public school ideal; that we can commonly teach our multiculural society reading, writing, mathematics and about our democratic Constitution,without teaching the controversial religious ideas that can be discussed at home or church. The fewer children who attend public school, the less willing citizens are to contribute tax money and they will lose public support. Actually, this is already happening. The curriculum of a public school should be limited to commonly agreed upon objectives that help us see what we have in common and remains respectful of the diversity of religious opinion in our society.”
How does this apply here? The people with money are abandoning the public schools for a variety of reasons; “politically correct” indoctrination, inclusion classes that allow disruptive students to disrupt the learning of the willing students, NCLB, which aims instruction at the lowest performing students and tends to ignore the more able students, and the flight of good teachers because of lack of public and administrative support. When their kids and grandkids go to private or religious schools, taxpayers lose interest in their local public schools.

Rockerbabe

January 24th, 2012
12:10 pm

I wonder, will this apply to special needs students also? They usually have smaller classes and their teachers have to be specially trained? So, will the private schools have to take these students?

If a student is a discipline problem, will the private schools have to take and keep that student, or will the private school get to keep the money after they ship the kid back to public school?

And just how will the “quality” of the education received in these private schools be assessed? Will they have to take the same tests or are we going to take a wait and see attitude? What books will they be using? What about sports, especially for girls? Will the schools be “outfitted” with the latest computers, software programs, equipment and qualified teachers? Or is this just a ploy to undermine the salaries of the teachers? What about the parent’s involvement?

There’s a lot more to all of this than the two gentlemen think. I wouldn’t start school-jumping just yet.

Rockerbabe

January 24th, 2012
12:15 pm

Second thought. Why won’t money “fix” the schools? Money seems to “fix” everything else.
-More money for bankers and financiers, even as they run our economy into the ditch.
-More money for the military and their hardware needs, seems to “fix” what ails them.
-More money for the top 1-2% of wage earners; tax breaks that the rest of us do not get. That is suppose to “fix” the economy, but never does, despite what the GOP spouts off.
-More money for roads and more roads . . . that always “fixes” something, even if it isn’t the road.

But then again, as I look at my comments, I see a pattern. Money always seems to “fix” the problems that the men have. Their salaries, their toys, their investments, etc. When it comes to things the women want, like a good education for the kids, a decent salary that goes with a hard-earned college education and decent healthcare, money just doesn’t seem to “fix” those problems. I wonder why?

williebkind

January 24th, 2012
12:23 pm

Make schools voluntary!

MannyT

January 24th, 2012
12:29 pm

Maureen, what is the name of that 2010 Heartland Institute study? I’m not clear how the costs move from 220k to 1mil/4mil for qualified students. Just curious as there are usually more people qualified to attend a college than admitted. Admissions decisions are about multiple factors as well as readiness. Even an open university may limit enrollment when they run out of space.

On school choice,
How often does someone voluntarily give up power? The layers of educational bureaucracy are not jumping from control to pure choice. The closest you might get is choice within an existing school district. That allows the adults to maintain most of their power.

Old Physics Teacher

January 24th, 2012
12:38 pm

Mark Twain’s comments about lies and statistics are appropriate here. Since Mr. Delk is a lawyer, he is obviously a great proponent of the idea that if he can’t convince us with facts, he’ll buffalo us with … with … the … elimination of a bull. All Mr. Delk did was state his conclusion and make up what “information” he needed to back it up. Same old; same old. Not even worth the recycled electrons Maureen used

AHE

January 24th, 2012
12:46 pm

The problem isn’t money. We’re spending money by the truckload. The problem is rotten schools, out of control lawyers (meaning no discipline) and yes, bad teachers. The City of Atlanta spends almost as much money per child on “education” as the annual tuition for the private Walker School in Marietta. Anybody here think the taxpayers are getting their money’s worth there?

So long as the educrats’ mantra is “More money, less accountability, tenure forever,” they’re going to be treated as what they are: leeches, doing more harm than good.

Hillbilly D

January 24th, 2012
12:55 pm

It’s always amazed me how “think-tanks” keep operating. They don’t produce anything, so they basically con people into giving them money (that goes for both left and right). Good work if you can get it, I guess.

Beverly Fraud

January 24th, 2012
12:58 pm

Delk is right. Money hasn’t fixed it. I’m sure Delk is MORE than aware of the amount of money spent trying to cover up THE largest cheating scandal in United States educational history.

The amount of money spent appeasing SACS which only got involved AFTER on of Beverly Hall’s chief enables was removed from the board chairmanship.

Not to mention DeKalb’s troubles, Clayton’s troubles, and all the allegations coming from Barge’s neck of the woods.

Of course the LACK of money coming these days isn’t fixing anything either.

Maybe choice won’t work any better, but at least you have CHOICE, with choice.

Maureen Downey

January 24th, 2012
1:19 pm

@Manny, I sent your question to Glenn Delk:
His response:

http://www.heartland.org/policy-documents/no-129-state-school-report-card
if it costs $220,000 for one high school graduate, and only 20% are college
ready in all four subjects, to get the cost of graduating one student
college ready in all four subjects, divide $220,000 by 20%. for blacks,
divide by 5%

posterchild

January 24th, 2012
1:22 pm

ZOMG WE DON’T HAVE TEACHER UNIONS HERE!!!!

Rockerbabe

January 24th, 2012
1:25 pm

AHS: and just how do you “know” that the Walker School is any better than the average public school in the metro area? Do they take any test documenting their “advanced” student prep? How do any of us “know” that the kids are learning what is being taught” Are their teachers any better than the average teacher? Or are you just assuming that because it is a private school, it has to be better?

Double Zero Eight

January 24th, 2012
1:26 pm

Some things never change. We will be having
similar conversations regarding this same basic
topic ten years from now.

Peachy

January 24th, 2012
1:34 pm

People, people….There are just some kids, and their parents, who do not and will not ever value an education. They are perfectly happy sitting on the couch, drinking sodas and eating candy bars. The get free rent, food stamps, free cell phones, tax refunds on money not received from a job they don’t have. The parents set a miserable example, the kids don’t know any better and until they are removed from that environment, they will never improve nor want to improve.

Good Mom

January 24th, 2012
1:39 pm

I appreciate some of Delk’s comments that there is waste in the public school system and we need to change that but a couple of his statments are problematic. Let’s look at this one:

“–Instead judges these new schools on only 3 metrics – what percent of 9th graders graduate, how many graduates are college-ready, and how many either graduate from college within six years, or are employed.”

Delk advocates that we wait until kids are the in the ninth grade before we judge whether a school or a system is performing well. That is much, much, muuuuuuch too late for the student. The key to successfully intervening in a life is intervening early and not wait until high school.

Here’s another problematic one: “–Eliminates the concept of failing schools and the state’s attempt to fix them”

Why would we eliminate the concept of teh failing school? As consumers we shop for the best buy for our money. We need to look at the product to determine if it is good enough to buy it. We parents do it all the time. We first look for the very best public schools and then buy the best home we can afford in order to go to that school. If we don’t have a measurement, how will we have enough information to make a choice?

I like the idea of the money following on the child’s back wherever the child goes.

I believe in healthy competition, meaning, I think charter schools and private schools provide necessary options where public schools are failing. They remind the public schools that they cannot be a monopoly and when public schools know tht students can leave and take their money with them — they are more likely to work harder to ensure they’re meeting the children’s needs.

Delk makes some good points but I wouldn’t buy into his plan. It just has too many big flaws.

Dr NO / Mr Sunshine

January 24th, 2012
1:44 pm

I agree with 008. It doesnt matter. Those who want to succeed will find a way. Those who dont want to succed will find a way.

Best of luck to all of them.

Old timer

January 24th, 2012
1:48 pm

There are several private schools in the metro area that take special needs….and I have seen test results that they do better jobs. Most private schools I am familiar with….test students and list college choices for graduates. Rockerbabe…I have seen the Walker Schools tests scores, graduation rates,scholarship info……all part of public records….it is impressive. Having taught in public schools I am deeply concerned about the continuation of said schools. Some do a great job, but many do not. Parents ought to have a right to take their share of the money and educate their children.

Regulation Good Mom

January 24th, 2012
1:49 pm

Delks comment is a thinly-veiled way to say that we should not have government regulating schools. He says “Our political leaders need to acknowledge they don’t know how to run schools and free our teachers, school leaders and parents to choose.”

Schools need the government regulations. We need good regulations. Without regulations, look what happened to Wall Street, the biggest financial disaster in America since the 30s and that depression was also caused by a lack of regulations.

Without regulations we would have children working in pencil factories 12 hours a day six days a week. Regulations provided what many of us consider non-negotiables today such as child labor and safety laws. In china, where there are much fewer regulations, little five year olds are in “schools” where they make fireworks all day. We don’t have that now because we require all children, and rightly so, to go to school and we provide a means to get them there. I agree with that.

Education made us a strong nation. We were “born” from educated and learned individuals, not a bunch of crazy, undereducated war-mongering dictators. Education for all citizens is the only means for maintaining a democracy.

Hillbilly D

January 24th, 2012
1:51 pm

Some things never change. We will be having similar conversations regarding this same basic
topic ten years from now.

And most likely twenty and thirty years from now. It’s the same argument which has been going on since I was a kid, or longer, and that’s been a long time ago.

To Fericita Good Mom

January 24th, 2012
1:55 pm

“There is some waste in education, but it’s hard to read this and know that in my husband’s classroom, he literally can’t fit any more desks to accommdate the no-class-size-limit huge class he has, and that his pay has been frozen and he’s been furloughed. If there’s waste, the average teacher isn’t enjoying it.”

Very well said. The waste is not at the student and teacher level. The waste is at the top. We need complete transparency at the top. I advocate that the whole school board and administration gets out of their offices and instead works at whatever school is being closed. They can move their offices there to save on the rent and they will be much closer where we can keep an eye on them. Later, if we need that school property again, we can kick out the bureaucrats and send them to the next school they plan to close.

My kid is in an overcrowded classroom, a slap-dash, beat up, unsafe trailer. It breaks my heart.

GM

seriously

January 24th, 2012
1:56 pm

how can someone even address all the money that is “thrown” at schools without a concerted effort to recognize how much funding NCLB has demanded/required, especially with regard to special education? I’m not erasing my chalkboard (yes, I sitll have one in my classroom) with dollar bills. Check into that, Mr.Delk, and then we can have a discussion about funding and money.

To Oldtimer from Good Mom

January 24th, 2012
1:58 pm

“Parents ought to have a right to take their share of the money and educate their children.”

Exactly. Spend the tax dollars where they want to put them in school. That is healthy competition.

Very well said.

To Peachy from Good Mom

January 24th, 2012
2:02 pm

“….the kids don’t know any better and until they are removed from that environment, they will never improve nor want to improve.”

Yes, they need to experience a different environment and taking them to a public school provides that environment. They see how other people live because they are exposed to it in a school setting.

Children are not destined to grow up exactly like their parents, even when the parents are scum bags. I’m living proof. There are so many other stories out there of children who overcame their upbringing. We can’t give in to the easy way and just give up hope. All children, all human beings, are worth the effort.

Frankie

January 24th, 2012
2:09 pm

You all act as if Private Schools are 1000times better than public schools…if that were so, why is it that the private schools have not expanded to take on more high performance students.
If there is waste in public schools and there is then why KEEP VOTING for SPLOST money only to complain that it dd not go towhere it was supposed to or the boards overspent….

Patrick Crabtree

January 24th, 2012
2:10 pm

Tell the Buckhead parents ‘money doesn’t make a difference.”

posterchild

January 24th, 2012
2:19 pm

Frankie, they don’t expand because they don’t have to. Money talks. If private schools don’t have a large enough endowment to offer financial aid to “high performance students” who can’t afford to attend, those students most likely don’t attend.

TAC

January 24th, 2012
2:21 pm

Maybe instead of always focusing on “We need more money”, schools need to be focusing on “what” is being taught and “how” it is being taught. My 10 year old neighbor came over because she needed help with homework. She had to complete a worksheet with questions about the Great Depression. I was shocked to see that each question had the PAGE NUMBER listed to where the answer could be found in her social studies book. Huh??? Sediously, if this is “how” children are being taught, it’s no wonder they are failing…..and no amount of money is going to change that!

Shouldn’t the students be responsible for READING thier textbooks and for finding the answers to homework questions. They shouldn’t be told where to look for the answers. That doesn’t improve reading skills or knowledge retention. That doesn’t teach them to be responsible and to be independent. They are missing out on the greater learning experience because they are not encouraged to figure it out for themselves. So until we get back to teaching students how to be self sufficient and more responsible, throwing more money into education won’t solve the problem.

posterchild

January 24th, 2012
2:22 pm

Regulation makes several good points.

yes i am worried

January 24th, 2012
2:30 pm

Mr. Delk,

I spent last week touring private schools for children with special needs. Their tuition STARTS at 20,000 a year and many are higher than that. Even with tuition at that level, these schools rely on donations and annual campaigns to fill the gap. How do you address this? No traditional private school will educate these students and certainly not at 9500 dollars a year.

Our public school system is not spending 9500 dollars a year on my child. They are spending 20,000 on one and less on others.

How does your plan address this?

Frankie

January 24th, 2012
2:31 pm

So what taxes are yu talking abuot taking to the school of your choice, ad valorem, state taxes, property taxes…
let’s see two cars =$500 ad valorem; state taxes = $1500 – $2000; property taxes = $3000….
I think I have enough for maybe two months of private school….
Trust me I understand, but don’t you think that as the economy get worse the private schools will raise their tuition, llok at the colleges. they cannot even justify why theri tuition has gone up when they have in some cases a waiting list of students and they are willing to take out a loan to get into school.
Do I need to now take out a loan for private school or just fix the problem right in front of me…

yuzeyurbrane

January 24th, 2012
2:35 pm

Delk is a long time advocate for vouchers and private schools. This means simply that he is not opposed to tax money being spent on education but that he simply wants as much as he can get diverted into the hands of wealthy private individuals, like himself, and private schools with a mere shell of public education left for the great unwashed. He is a smart lawyer and knows his statistics are contrived and misleading. Most annoying is the patronizing attitude reflected in the article which assumes most of us are too dumb to see through his distortions.

another comment

January 24th, 2012
2:37 pm

I will take the $9,500 per child and put my girls back in Catholic School. It will make it affordable. It is night and day with the discipline. Plus my kids don’t have science teachers who don’t believe in Evolution at Catholic School.

I know of several people who pay $16,000 to $25,000 per year to have their Special needs children at St. Francis, Sophia Academey, Howard School, Schenek School, The Speech School etc. The feel that their child would have never gotten the services in public school. This includes kids with Autism and a rash of other severe issues.

Even in the Catholic School my oldest one graduated 8th grade from more than 1/2 the class had ADD or ADHD. It is just that they had parents who had them properly medicated so they could learn and function in school without distruption. The diognoses weren’t for an SSI check for Mama to blow.

Lynn43

January 24th, 2012
2:49 pm

People who want to cast a negative opinion on public schools always bring up Atlanta, Clayton, and Dekalb. They are only 3 of the 180 school systems in Georgia. Many more systems are producing great results than those that are not. Why not give some positive opinions of public schools and talk about what a great job they are doing? Do not base your opinion of public schools on what is happening in a few.

Evidently, Mr. Delk doesn’t know anything about school finance, public schools, or the mission of public schools. Everyone isn’t going to college. If we produce a plumber, electrician, mechanic, or beautician, we are helping society just as much as if we produce an accountant or lawyer. Since Mr. Delk only put a value on college students, evidently he doesn’t value these other professions. Let’s see how much he values a plumber when he has a broken water pipe or an electrician when he has a “blown circuit”.

Hillbilly D

January 24th, 2012
2:55 pm

Since Mr. Delk only put a value on college students, evidently he doesn’t value these other professions.

That in a nutshell is a large part of the problem, in my opinion. They try to force all students into a “one size fits all” track to college. That’s fine for those for whom that is a good route but what about the others. Are we to write them off before they ever turn 18?

old timer

January 24th, 2012
2:57 pm

When public schools have “choice” regarding the admission of students into their programs and are not mandated to accept EVERY child, even those that don’t want an education, maybe we will have a level playing field to compete with private schools.

Ron F.

January 24th, 2012
3:03 pm

here’s an idea- let’s close the public schools and make them all charter schools, private schools, etc. I’m sure a slew of highly qualified, dedicated teachers will line up at the doors to teach in these bastions of unfettered learning not held back by gluttonous government spending and beauracracy! Sound good? Here’s the catch- the kids haven’t changed, nor have their needs and abilities. And the money we save on schools will have to be spent on prisons to hold the exponentially growing population they’ll have once there’s no school for those who can’t afford to pay. Wait, this sounds like Medieval Europe doesn’t it?

Yes there are problems with public schools, but there always have been. Private schools and charter schools aren’t all perfect either.
They get to be selective about their students so they set themselves up to succeed. They suffer from poor leadership and governance at times, and will do unbelievable things to get a prosperous donor. It’s not a perfect system either. There’s also less accountability for teachers there- I have two godsons in private schools who have had horrible teachers and the parents can’t get rid of them unless the school agrees.

BTW: We have no teacher unions in Georgia!!! We have professional organizations that can lobby on our behalf, but let’s face it even that didn’t help much during the budget slashing in recent years. They cannot threaten or call for a strike, and have NO negotiating power in our contracts, pay, etc. If Delk is so smart, he should know that.

old timer too

January 24th, 2012
3:03 pm

@ old timer…sorry for the duplicated name, not trying to take your moniker!

AHE

January 24th, 2012
3:05 pm

@Rockerbabe Actually, I just picked Walker at random, but since you asked, last year:

“The Walker School… does not report its average scores, reporting instead scores by the middle 50 percent of their averages. It reported that 98 percent of its test takers scored between a 1630-1970 in 2011, slightly down from the 99 percent of scores that reported a 1670-1970 in 2010.”

From: http://www.mdjonline.com/view/full_story/15541614/article-Private-schools-top-national-SAT-score–local-public-schools?instance=home_news_bullets

According to the same article, every Walker student takes the SAT (and ACT).

The highest average SAT for any school in ACS: 1482 at Grady High School. Most others are in the 1100-1200 range (http://georgiataxcreditscholarship.org/georgia-sat-scores/georgia-2010-sat-scores.html).

Still glad you asked?

Atlanta Mom

January 24th, 2012
3:11 pm

Mr. Delk lives in Buckhead. This is his ploy to fund private schools with public money. Same old, same old.
But he did do some mighty fine gymnastics to come up with his $1 million and $5 million figures.

Atlanta Mom

January 24th, 2012
3:13 pm

AHE,
So how many of those kids at the Walker School qualify for free and reduced lunch?
That’s what the SAT measures you know, income.

AHE

January 24th, 2012
3:22 pm

Better question is, how many teachers at Walker were at the tops of their classes coming out of high school or college? Public schools are little more than employment programs for the slugs who don’t have the brains to major in anything more difficult than Education. When you’ve got a lot of dumb teachers on one end, it’s no surprise to get a lot of ignorant students on the other.

Beverly Fraud

January 24th, 2012
3:39 pm

“People who want to cast a negative opinion on public schools always bring up Atlanta, Clayton, and Dekalb. They are only 3 of the 180 school systems in Georgia. Many more systems are producing great results than those that are not. Why not give some positive opinions of public schools and talk about what a great job they are doing?”

You mean like Dougherty? (sp?) Or Fulton which just shut down an award winning charter school, and has SUCH well behaved students at schools like Westlake?

RBN

January 24th, 2012
3:56 pm

Here is an idea: why don’t we look at systems around the world that are actually working? Finland, Canada, and South Korea are three worth looking at more closely. In all three, teaching is the key. Teachers are highly educated, well trained, respected, compensated above average, and held to high standards. Would anyone, anyone at all be able to say that is even remotely true in Georgia? Next, the cultures share a deep committment to education. Sadly, our culture has a deeper committment to new stadium for the Falcons or the latest Kardashian rumor than education. Finally, students are held to high standards which are judged beyond standardized tests designed for the lowest level of politically acceptable failure rates. Until, we are willing to undergo a societal shift, little will change. Certainly in Georgia with our dismal current leadership the outlook is not bright.

APS westside parent

January 24th, 2012
3:59 pm

Glenn Delk represents charter schools. If you read any of his position papers, he really wants vouchers. He hates APS. He distorts the truth about APS. I’ll stop there.

verdi73

January 24th, 2012
4:00 pm

If we have plenty of money then why have I been furloughed 10 days this year, 8 days last year, and 6 days the year before that? Why do I have to beg for copy paper, markers, pencils, staples, tape? According to the way the bookkeeper acts, these are like gold being sold on the black market. Why does the internet and phones at my school go down anytime it rains? Why does the roof leak when it rains? Why do the students and I sweat in the classroom because they keep the air on at 80, by the way, can’t open the windows because that is a safety hazard. Why are we now freezing because we have no heat? If there is waste, it isn’t in the classroom, because we have to beg and plead for every little thing. Then I come on here and see all the negativity ALL the time, and how everything is painted with a broad brush. I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!!!! I and many other teachers put blood, sweat, and tears into our jobs everyday for our students because we care and we care A LOT. I believe I am done reading this blog, I am about to be done with this state. I think I will find me another job, because I can do what I teach, and I do it very well and can make a lot more money than hanging around here being browbeaten to death all the time. Doing it for the kids is about not enough anymore. Thank you and have a nice day.

Hillbilly D

January 24th, 2012
4:02 pm

Sadly, our culture has a deeper committment to new stadium for the Falcons

Given what I’ve read in various AJC blogs about that, the average rank and file person is opposed to public money being spent on Arthur a new stadium. Arthur does, however, have friends in high places, who know which side their bread is buttered on. I’m guessing Arthur will eventually get what he wants, and the people be damned.

C Jae of EAV

January 24th, 2012
4:08 pm

Once again another fine blog for substantive dialogue. My apologizes in advance for the length but so much to respond to this just the first in my series:

Fericita @01/24 11:57 am – It’s high time we deal with concrete fact in evidence. Public charter schools are no more pre-disposed to rid themselves of underperforming students than traditional public schools are. In fact I would argue you that many public charters for varying reasons tend to hold on to that under achieving (i.e. Not up to snuff in your vernacular) student. After all the metric dance of FTE head count (justifying funding) & standardized test scores (justifying existence) is the same for ALL public institutions.
Rockerbabe @01/24 12:10 pm – I would venture to say private institutions will continue to shy away from special education (ie. Special needs) students in large part. I don’t see laws compelling them to take on the challenge on the horizon therefore, I see the responsibility continuing to rest on the plate of public institutions.
As per Mr. Delk’s proposal the per pupil allocation would follow the student so private institutions could only benefit from the funding infusion to the extend the student remains at the institution. This would be an improvement over the current model wherein if you opt out of the traditional public model you’re in large part on you on as a parent and the district still artificially holds on to funding from tax receipts regardless to the matriculation of the student.
As for all the questions you ask in assessment of private schools, I think they are legit questions but again I don’t see any public policy changes on the horizon that seek to compel such institutions to provide answers.
MannyT @ 01/24 2:29 pm – Conceptually the idea of providing for greater choice within existing traditional public school districts as already fallen flat on its face!! The legislature passed a law to provide for that two years ago, which was ever so cleverly side-stepped by every major public school district within the Atlanta metro area. As told to me by one legislator, the crafting of such laws are purposely vague where they could stand to be more prescriptive to appease local district lobbyist and grease the rails for passage.

Atlanta Mom

January 24th, 2012
4:12 pm

@APS westside parent
Sort of makes you wonder why the furious five used him as their attorney, doesn’t it?