The Hunger Games for Georgia schools: Less money, more mandates and micromanagement from Legislature

Pelham City school chief Jim Arnold is one of my favorite guest posters because he doesn’t pull any punches. If you haven’t read his stuff before, I think you will enjoy his essay on this year’s damage tally to education from the Georgia Legislature.

This is a long piece, so I am pulling out the key passage here for those of you with only seconds to spare: I think this paragraph by Dr. Arnold says it all:

It’s becoming harder and harder for educators – especially teachers – to provide damage control from what amounts to friendly fire, and I believe that is part and parcel of what these initiatives are all about. Sooner or later, even legislators must see it’s not about race, it’s about poverty; it’s not about a test score, it’s about student achievement; it’s not about a standardized curriculum, it’s about good teaching; it’s not about the business model, it’s about personalization; it’s not about competition, it’s about cooperation. Until that time, we will continue to get the kind of Legislature we pay for.

For those of you with a little more time, here is the entire piece: (And if you have even more time today, come back at 11 a.m. for my live video chat with the AJC reporters on the testing series.)

By Jim Arnold

The 2012 edition of the Georgia Legislative session is nearly over. This year’s assembly coughed up some real victories for the anti-teacher, anti-public education crowd under the guise of school choice and privatization.

“Austerity cuts,” one of the terms coined by former Gov. Perdue in 2003, continue to place growing burdens on an already encumbered local tax base, and the magic silver bullet of state sponsored charter schools, coated with wild promises of “whatever it takes for us to buy your vote” will go to the polls in November. Individually, these bills might seem innocuous enough. Collectively, they amount to a continuation of the legislative version of “The Hunger Games” for public schools.

Let’s take SB 34 – the infamous “Rachel Sackett” act that allows students that attend charter schools freedom to participate in public school extracurricular activities.

This piece of legislative micro-management tells students that it’s OK to make a choice as long as there are no consequences for that choice. The implication, however, is that while public school teachers are not really good enough academically for charter students the extra-curricular ones that sponsor athletic teams, clubs, band, FFA, chess teams and other after school activities are.

I see two distinct issues inherent in that view; teachers sponsoring those activities will not respond positively to being forced to include students that do not attend their school, sit in their classes or support their fellow students and will simply choose not to sponsor those activities, and, if charter students are allowed to participate they will “shop” their skills and abilities the moment they don’t get a starting position, first chair, pass the tryout or get enough playing time.

Remember that most teachers sponsor activities with little or no compensation, and there are very few clubs that offer teachers any compensation at all. Even the supplements paid to most coaches generally work out to somewhere under minimum wage when you count the number of hours they spend. There is no requirement anywhere that says they have to sponsor or coach in addition to teaching. They have a choice – make it too difficult for them and they will simply choose to go home after a day of classes with 30+ students and forgo the “opportunity” to coach or sponsor extra-curricular offerings. Perhaps it’s too much to ask that charter students participate in those activities sponsored by the schools they choose to attend?

SB 289 wants all high school students to take at least one online course before graduation. Quite simply, this is another unfunded mandate whose purpose, in spite of the rhetoric from its sponsor and supporters, is to require additional expenditures from public schools already stretched financially by austerity cuts, furlough days, increased class sizes, increased health care costs and the refusal of the Legislature to fund more than 80 percent of what their own laws require. Isn’t it strange how some legislative operatives seem to see the Georgia Constitution as a suggestion rather than law?

HR 1162 will now be voted on by the people of the state of Georgia in November. I admit to being a little more than suspicious as to why this bill’s sponsors and supporters seem to think voters will trust the legislature to manage what is, in effect, a “separate but equal” school system.

If their intent, as they say, is NOT to take money from local systems to support this questionable initiative, why is it so hard for them to put that intent in written form? Their version seems based on the old “you can trust me, I’m from the government” argument. That doesn’t say much for their opinion of the electorate. I think we would all do well to remember Pete Townshend’s advice – “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

There are other examples that have been examined ad nauseum – the chronicles of the importance of ALEC in supporting educational initiatives that each contributes in some small way to the continuation of under-funding and ultimately destroying public education with it’s “death by a thousand paper cuts” philosophy, the characterization of public education as a “miserable failure” by using SAT scores in an inappropriate manner to rank systems and schools. (Read the caveat below from the College Board).

A Word About Comparing States and Schools:  The SAT is a strong indicator of trends in the college-bound population, but it should never be used alone for such comparisons because demographics and other nonschool factors can have a strong effect on scores.

It’s becoming harder and harder for educators – especially teachers – to provide damage control from what amounts to friendly fire, and I believe that is part and parcel of what these initiatives are all about. Sooner or later even legislators must see it’s not about race, it’s about poverty; it’s not about a test score, it’s about student achievement; it’s not about a standardized curriculum, it’s about good teaching; it’s not about the business model, it’s about personalization; it’s not about competition, it’s about cooperation. Until that time, we will continue to get the kind of Legislature we pay for.

Politicians have never let the truth stand in the way of getting what they want. The Legislature’s insistence on accountability for everyone except themselves has become a yearly theme and achieved national notice. Before next year’s legislative version of “The Hunger Games” for public education begins, perhaps a modest proposal is in order.

I doubt doctors, pilots, police officers or lawyers would recognize the professional credentials of the majority of legislators in any attempts to micro-manage their profession to the extent that has occurred with public schools and educators. I’m also willing to bet that our local Baptist church would not welcome the vote of Methodists when determining changes in doctrine or the selection of their new pastor.

Perhaps a legislative initiative requiring family members working in or attending public schools should be a requirement for Georgia legislators introducing or voting on any legislation that affects public education. Recusal of legislators without any investment beyond the hopes of them or their friends making money on privatization may ultimately benefit every one of the 93 percent of Georgia’s children that attend public schools – my grandchildren included.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

76 comments Add your comment


March 27th, 2012
5:35 am

While there might not be a requirement that teachers sponsor after school clubs or coach sports, believe me, they get “told” that they are going to. This is under the “other duties and responsibilities” part of the contract, which basically says you will do anything that your administrator tells you to. If you refuse, you are either shipped off to another school, or suddenly become an “ineffective” teacher and they try to give you the boot.


March 27th, 2012
5:39 am

If schools had any common sense, it would not take years to get rid of a teacher who is horrible and we would not force kids to come. With all of the budget cuts, why do we spend so many thousands on both workers and students who don’t care? I know this is not the majority, but I also know is exists.

To Jim Arnold

March 27th, 2012
5:50 am

It is readily apparent that you have a real hatred for charter schools and you want them to fail. All the assumptions that you make about teachers not providing instruction for charter school students who attend traditional public school activities is really pitiful. Good teachers will teach all students regardless of what school they attend. Good teachers will care for children regardless of where they are. Actually, I think you are actually hoping and encouraging teachers to treat charter school children badly. You should be ashamed, Jim Arnold. Your “piece” is a little public temper tantrum designed to get the bullies on your side.
Charter schools are simply a reaction to failing public schools. Here in Atlanta Public Schools we have entire systems dedicated to cheating, lying and failure. There are some good, qualily individuals with honesty and integrity everywhere, even in APS but as a whole, the system needs a huge change.
If you want to fight charter public schools, do it appropriately, in the legislature and in your picket signs and in your petitions — but to encourage and encite teachers to treat charter school children badly — is unthinkable, horrible and monstrous. YOU Jim Arnold need to get out of the education system. You are far too jaded and burned out to think clearly.
Good Mother

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

March 27th, 2012
5:54 am

Providing first-class educational opportunities for GA kids in taxpayer-financed schools is not about rhetoric. It’s about widespread, concerted, determined, evidence-based citizen action.

Peter Smagorinsky

March 27th, 2012
6:07 am

Thanks to Dr. Arnold for staying true to his principles, and for standing up for kids and teachers when so few administrators seem willing to do so.


March 27th, 2012
6:25 am

I’ve been wondering how the new tax plan (that the Ga Chamber of Commerce is so proud of) would affect education. The info the CoC and my state senator have sent outline lots of tax cuts, but no increases that I can see – I thought state government needed more money, not less?


March 27th, 2012
6:52 am

Well said, Superintendent Arnold! Unfortunately it is the “same old song”–Georgia voters WILL get fooled again, and vote for any fool with an R beside (mostly his) name.

A reader

March 27th, 2012
6:57 am

In my opinion, charter school should fund their own extracurricular activities. They get the same dollar amount per student as standard public schools, so why should the burden be on standard public schools? When a student or parent chooses a charter school the choose everything that school as to offer and everything it is lacking as well.

Mary Elizabeth

March 27th, 2012
7:00 am

“I doubt doctors, pilots, police officers or lawyers would recognize the professional credentials of the majority of legislators in any attempts to micro-manage their profession to the extent that has occurred with public schools and educators.”


State legislators – across our nation – are attempting to “micro-manage public schools and educators” because this effort is simply the latest focus in the “starving the beast” of government agenda by Rightwing ideologues, who are very well-organized and coordinated throughout our nation. They are intent on dismantling public schools. Their first area within this focus has been a systematic disparaging of public schools so that the general public would believe that public schools are part of what is wrong with America. Secondly, they have tried to win the public to their innocuous sounding but transformative “school choice’ mantra, which will effect privatization of public schools.

Much more is at stake in America than the sustaining of public schools. Our very democratic Republic – as designed by our Founding Fathers and as sustained by Abraham Lincoln’s commitment – is at stake. And these Rightwing, corporate ideologues know very well what they are about, and what have been about for almost 40 years – when ALEC was first organized by them.

I thank God for Paul Krugman’s voice in exposing the purpose of ALEC. I surely wish the AJC would become as passionate about exposing the machinations of ALEC as it has been about cheating in schools. Of course, ALEC is more political and, thereby, more precarious for the AJC to tackle, I would imagine.

Nevertheless, we are in danger of losing our democracy to these Rightwing corporate ideologues and their self-serving interests, if the 4th Estate does not reach deep into its conscience and expose what is going on. The press MUST keep our beloved democratic Republic alive not only for present day Americans but to demonstrate to posterity that it is possible for self-government to sustain itself, throughout the ages.

ALEC is more treacherous to the public sector of our nation – that lone element in our Republic that is not in bed with corporate money and power – than even the well-formed, and courageous Jim Arnold seems to indicate. In my immediately following post, I will post Paul Krugman’s editorial of 3/25/12 in which Krugman describes, in full, what ALEC is about. Do not be mislead by its title. It is about much more than Florida’s gun laws. Please read it.

Mary Elizabeth

March 27th, 2012
7:02 am

“Lobbyists, Guns and Money”
by Paul Krugman, NY Times, 3/25/12

Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

What is ALEC? Despite claims that it’s nonpartisan, it’s very much a movement-conservative organization, funded by the usual suspects: the Kochs, Exxon Mobil, and so on. Unlike other such groups, however, it doesn’t just influence laws, it literally writes them, supplying fully drafted bills to state legislators. In Virginia, for example, more than 50 ALEC-written bills have been introduced, many almost word for word. And these bills often become law.

Many ALEC-drafted bills pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy. ALEC seems, however, to have a special interest in privatization — that is, on turning the provision of public services, from schools to prisons, over to for-profit corporations. And some of the most prominent beneficiaries of privatization, such as the online education company K12 Inc. and the prison operator Corrections Corporation of America, are, not surprisingly, very much involved with the organization.

What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.

And in case you were wondering, no, the kind of privatization ALEC promotes isn’t in the public interest; instead of success stories, what we’re getting is a series of scandals. Private charter schools, for example, appear to deliver a lot of profits but little in the way of educational achievement.

But where does the encouragement of vigilante (in)justice fit into this picture? In part it’s the same old story — the long-standing exploitation of public fears, especially those associated with racial tension, to promote a pro-corporate, pro-wealthy agenda. It’s neither an accident nor a surprise that the National Rifle Association and ALEC have been close allies all along.

And ALEC, even more than other movement-conservative organizations, is clearly playing a long game. Its legislative templates aren’t just about generating immediate benefits to the organization’s corporate sponsors; they’re about creating a political climate that will favor even more corporation-friendly legislation in the future.

Did I mention that ALEC has played a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote?

Yet that’s not all; you have to think about the interests of the penal-industrial complex — prison operators, bail-bond companies and more. (The American Bail Coalition has publicly described ALEC as its “life preserver.”) This complex has a financial stake in anything that sends more people into the courts and the prisons, whether it’s exaggerated fear of racial minorities or Arizona’s draconian immigration law, a law that followed an ALEC template almost verbatim.

Think about that: we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.

Now, ALEC isn’t single-handedly responsible for the corporatization of our political life; its influence is as much a symptom as a cause. But shining a light on ALEC and its supporters — a roster that includes many companies, from AT&T and Coca-Cola to UPS, that have so far managed to avoid being publicly associated with the hard-right agenda — is one good way to highlight what’s going on. And that kind of knowledge is what we need to start taking our country back.”


They don't care

March 27th, 2012
8:05 am

When the people who create the laws have no stake in the system, they don’t really care what happens.


March 27th, 2012
8:06 am

” each contributes in some small way to the continuation of under-funding and ultimately destroying public education with it’s “death by a thousand paper cuts” philosophy, ”

And every single paper cut is acutely felt by the students and teachers. Every. Single. One.

Joe Frank

March 27th, 2012
8:07 am

I agree with Dr. Arnold! The people who complain about their local school systems being under par, re-elect the SAME people to the school board. The people who complain about the legislature, re-elect the same person from their district. The people who complain about gridlock in Washington, re-elect the same people to congress. President…. get the picture?


March 27th, 2012
8:11 am

Funny, GM, I didn’t come away with the impression that Mr. Arnold is anti-charter at all. I think he was pointing out a logical inconsistency.


March 27th, 2012
8:24 am

Until politicians recognize where the “REAL” responsibility for education should be placed things are not going to change. Politicians must hold parents and student accountable but refuse to do so because it could cost them a vote. Everything is blamed on the teacher when parents only care about the grade. They could care less if the child has the knowledge as long as they “pass”. Instruction has been dumbed down in order to teach test.

Teachers can only do so much. Politicians make a stand, hold the parent responsible and stop worrying about being re-elected. If you have a part in turning education around I guarantee you will be considered a hero.

Negatory to the Lowest Common Denominator

March 27th, 2012
8:58 am

Money alone does not buy a quality education, all that is really needed is a good book, pen and paper, all else is but a distraction. All this technology is actually weakening the basic education children get in school. Calculators have destroyed the ability of students to do simple math in their heads, computers have destroyed the ability to use the card catalog to do library research, even the encyclopedias are disappearing from the book shelves. Yet the dollars thrown at education grow each and every year, not just in K-12, but college too, with student loan debt exceeding ONE TRILLION DOLLARS now. We need to go back to basics, reading, writing and arithmetic and save a few tax dollars. Here is an example: I was in a fast food place, paying for an order when I added an item. The clerk did not know how to add the price of the item to the existing total, simple addition. I did it for her in my head, and she said “You must be a genius!” Simple addition, and the high school graduates of today cannot perform that basic operation.


March 27th, 2012
8:59 am


March 27th, 2012
9:07 am

Check the dollar figures before you start blaming our elected officals.

You will learn Georgia is third in the nation on the amount of money we spend on each child but in the bottom ten percent of those dropping out or not graduating from college.

If this don’t tell you the problems are in the schools than you have a problem.

Tell the Truth

March 27th, 2012
9:20 am

Maureen, you praise the comments of Mr Arnold as if he is an expert at analyzing the actions of the legislature regarding K-12 education. It really hurts the credibility of th AJC as Arnold’s comments are little more than the whinings of a school system superintendent. Why not check his facts before printing them with your recommendation that everybody read it. For instance, he writes “If their intent, as they say, is NOT to take money from local systems to support this questionable initiative, why is it so hard for them to put that intent in written form? Their version seems based on the old “you can trust me, I’m from the government” argument. That doesn’t say much for their opinion of the electorate. I think we would all do well to remember Pete Townshend’s advice – “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Mr Arnold has obviously not read HR 1162 (or the numerous articles in the AJC) that has very specific language that puts in written form what Arnold says they do not do.

So much for the AJC’s new balanced reporting and views! We readers expect accuracy at a minimum. Or, is that why you allow guest writers to propagate such blatantly inaccurate information? It fulfills your purpose of bashing our legislature without you being challenged for the untruths. I challenge your journalistic integrity for publishing statements that you know are untrue–even if they did not come from your pen.

Tell the Truth

March 27th, 2012
9:24 am

@teacher&mom. Unlike you, our legislators do not read blogs and take those comments as unquestionable facts,,


March 27th, 2012
9:29 am

@Negatory …post @8:58, you are so right ….It boggles the mind that a simple math problem can’t be solved in your head or by using pen and paper. I read an article a couple of years ago that they were making incoming freshman carry a mulitiplication table in their bookbag. If they can’t multiply without the help of a chart, maybe they shouldn’t be in highschool. When it comes to education there’re just to many cooks in the kitchen and the end result is a complete failure.


March 27th, 2012
9:39 am

I doubt doctors, pilots, police officers or lawyers would recognize the professional credentials of the majority of legislators in any attempts to micro-manage their profession to the extent that has occurred with public schools and educators

OB/GYN’s get that level of micro-managing in every Republican legislature in the land.


March 27th, 2012
9:41 am

Maureen, you praise the comments of Mr Arnold as if he is an expert at analyzing the actions of the legislature regarding K-12 education

No, Maureen is praising him for being an expert at analyzing the effect of the legislature’s actions regarding K-12 education… you know, being someone in a position to know how these bills will affect his school system.

C Jae of EAV

March 27th, 2012
9:56 am

SB 34 somewhat contridicts the fundemental arguments put forth by most charter school proponents. IMHO, it’s bad policy and should not have been introduced. I believe that its more than a fair exchange to expect that charter schools find a way to put forth extra-curricular activites through coorporative partnerships within the communities they serve or simply suffer without them. Without this bill, charter schools have thus-far found a way provide extra-cirricular activities to the students they serve. This says to me that by and large its not needed.

SB 289 offers nothing of value to improve the quality of the academic experience for high school students in GA. I’m purplexed as to its introduction and can only assume that this is a favor being tossed to a corporate donor that stands to reap economic reward from suppling IT services to local districts to fulfill this requirement.

The fate of HR 1162 is in the hands of the voters as I believe it should be. I still firmly believe there should be state-wide public debates engaged to sufficiently inform the voting public as to the pros & cons relative to what the bill has proposed.

The statement “…it’s not about competition, it’s about cooperation” is the observation that stands out the most for me from this writer. Inherint to the comment is an expectation that there will be give and take btwn the traditional model of public edu goverance & public edu reformist (led principally by charter proponants). Until the adversarial element is removed from the sphere of discussion, I will not advance much beyond where we are now.


March 27th, 2012
10:00 am

@Tell the Truth: No, I do not take the comments as unquestionable facts. However, I firmly believe an intelligent person will spend some time reading through the links to draw their own conclusions. Did you bother to do that or did you skim the article and quickly draw your own conclusion based on preconceived notions?

Is this GM charter movement true? I don’t know. However, I am reading more and more about this movement and the lack of transparency. The lack of transparency concerns me.

Do I think the legislators read blogs? Absolutely! In fact, I have spoken with four legislators who read this blog on a daily basis.

You do bring up a good point. Where does our legislators get their information? Any guesses?


March 27th, 2012
10:01 am

@bug: Any chance you can provide a few links to support your statement?

Colonel Jack

March 27th, 2012
10:12 am

@ Tell the Truth: You said: “Mr Arnold has obviously not read HR 1162 (or the numerous articles in the AJC) that has very specific language that puts in written form what Arnold says they do not do.” I’m sure you realize that the General Assembly already does things that the law says they do not do … for instance, they fund education at only 80% of what Georgia law says they must. If they can ignore the Constitution of the State of Georgia, they can ignore anything else that they want to, and they can do whatever they want to.

At least, they can until they are held accountable by we the people — you know, the ones that employed them in the first place.


March 27th, 2012
10:16 am

@Tell the Truth, I don’t believe that a blog is a news report; it is more of an editorial, and editorials aren’t always balanced.

Mr. Arnold has written another excellent piece. Thanks for sharing it with us, Maureen.

what's best for kids???

March 27th, 2012
10:36 am

I find it ironic that charter schools can go to traditional schools for extra-curriculars when the traditional schools have a hard enough time finding sponsors for clubs.


March 27th, 2012
10:40 am

Enter your comments here

old Coach

March 27th, 2012
10:47 am

Many, if not all coaches, insist that their athletes maintain good behavior in school, complete their work and keep their grades up. All of these noble goals will be destroyed if students are allowed to participate in high school teams which they do not attend.

don’t do it. The community teams are just fine.


March 27th, 2012
10:51 am

We had a couple of home school kids try to “join” my daughter’s high school soccer team. I’ll just say that while they were let on the team, it was a really negative experience for them socially, as there was a lot of resentment from the actual high school players. The home schooled girls didn’t even finish the season, and the parents of one of them was nothing but a pain in the butt the entire time they were there – she had very condescending and domineering attitude.

Any charter or home school parent that thinks it’s a good idea to subject your child to this kind of rejection needs to think twice. Your kid might be allowed on the team, particularly if law requires it, but he or she is unlikely to be supported by the genuine members of the team and their parents who have been supporting the school system for years. Also, all things being equal, do you really, really think a coach is going to play a charter or home school kid as much as an equally talented kid who is part of the school community? No law can govern that part of the equation.

I have no problem if someone home schools or chooses the charter route. However, if you make that bed (and it’s a fine bed to make), then you need to sleep in it. If a parent sends their kid to a private school, they don’t come knocking on the public school door when they want a favor… they utilize the resources of the school they have chosen. The situation should be the same for charters and home schools. If you want a soccer team, form one. Perhaps home schoolers could combine forces with charters and create their own leagues. Also, there are always club options.

what's best for kids???

March 27th, 2012
10:53 am

+10 for Byte Me.

William Casey

March 27th, 2012
11:08 am

@GOOD MOTHER: I don’t believe that Dr. Arnold wants to destroy Charter Schools. I KNOW that I don’t. He wants the public to get “real.” Why is it that regular public school teachers are forced to do “extracurriculars” and Charter teachers are not? I taught good classes but theycould have been better had all the time spent on extracurriculars had put into my classroom. Teacher time is NOT an inexhaustable resource!!!

East Cobb Parent

March 27th, 2012
11:16 am

@flipper if the home schooled students were not treated in the same way as the other players then that is simply poor sportsmanship. Many elite soccer players play club soccer (even at the high school level). These teams are comprised of athletes from many schools. It is my understanding they are a team, thus everyone should be respectful of each other. Otherwise the team loses and never develops into what it could be. If those players could include two from outside the school what will they do in college – not play sports. Also, SB34 only addresses charter school students – it does not mention home schooled students.
@old coach what a bunch of hogwash. I see star athletes that should not be allowed to play if behavior in school was truly considered. There are a set of rules for the stars and then a set for everyone else.

For what it is worth, what happened to looking at what is best for the child? All I’ve read is whining (regardless of your stance) on the money. Charters want more and Public doesn’t want to give up any regardless of the number of children.
I also feel that many are no better than Chicken Little screaming the sky is falling. How many parents would be able to get their children from the charter school to the public school in time for the extras? Last time I checked most clubs and sports meet directly after school.

HS Public Teacher

March 27th, 2012
11:35 am

He makes a very good and important point towards the end of this blog….

No other profession in Georgia is muddled with by the legislatures as much as education. Why do we stand for it? And, by we, I mean the general public!

These republican politicans are not educators/teachers. Their experience is – at most – as a student in K-12. Why do they feel the experts in the profession?

Just askin’.


March 27th, 2012
11:37 am

East Cobb Parent: Probably the school system would be required to run buses, and the practice would start later to accomodate these children.

Let’s face it, folks, this change would be followed next year by allowing home schooled kids and then the next year by allowing private schooled kids. That’s how it goes with the Georgia legislature, as they have done in other cases (look at the sped vouchers, for example)

Hey, let’s say my child is in a charter school and I want my kid on the Buford Lady Wolves basketball team. Shouldn’t I be allowed to–after all the schools are getting my tax money and not having to provide the instruction part. I am saving them money! What a good deal for them!

C Jae of EAV

March 27th, 2012
12:07 pm

@William Casey – Its my experience that charter school teachers quite often do “extracurricular” assignments to the extent the institution they are offered. In many cases charter’s are unable to offer them without the continued support of the faculty. ANY teacher can be compelled to perform “extra” functions outside of their core responsibilities based on the structure of their contract if not the threat of non-renewal for appearing an uncorporative teammate (I’ve seen both tatics used to compell participation even in some charter institutions)

No matter the style of institution, I agree that teachers ARE NOT inexhaustable resources!!! I think its important that extracurricular activites are engaged in partnership with augmented resources from 3rd party entities across the community spectrum. With the increasing demands placed on teacher’s core professional functions this will become more and more important a distinction to make.

East Cobb Parent

March 27th, 2012
12:10 pm


I did read SB34 and it doesn’t mention having to provide transportation and it only allows those that fall into the attendance zones. Of course I have no idea what the ulterior motives are behind this. In this economy I cannot see adding services such as additional bussing. I fully believe if we think ‘best interest of the child’ this is not a bad thing. A child with a particular learning style may be better served by a particular charter school. Or perhaps the child is undergoing chemo and the GA Cyber Academy is a better fit for this year. By participating in an after school program, such as KidChess at the neighborhood school, the child and parent continues to be part of the community and contribute to the community. I realize at the ES level this is simple – the extras are usually brought in by the foundation and the parents are charged a fee which the school recoups 10%. You aren’t asking public school teachers to do anything extra. I realize when you hit middle school and high school things change.
@catlady, theoretically what is in the best interest of the child, no ties to the community school? While I realize your last paragraph was not in earnest there are many tax payers that feel that way, I’m not saying they are the majority. As I understand it Charters receive limited funding therefore the funding argument doesn’t really hold, you pay taxes and part of those taxes supports the Charter school. For the record, most home school parents that I know, do not wish to be involved with public schools other than athletics and then most would prefer their children to compete against, not be on, the public school team. And that would be a GHSE issue.
@HS Public Teacher – too many central office staffers have long forgotten anything they knew about teaching and make decisions in a vacuum. They have much more direct impact on education then our politicians of either party. I would like to point out that Alisha Morgan – democrat – has long supported and advocated for charter schools. Personally, I feel it is time to stop this party line business and find ways to improve public education. I have five years grade difference between my children. The education my older child received is very different from that of the younger child in the same school. Much more focus on feelings than math facts, grammar, sentence structure etc.


March 27th, 2012
12:24 pm

@East Cobb parent.. if they play in college, they will play with fellow college students. The college or university will not be required to take players from the local community college. If some kid from the community college or some kid who is not even in college but wants to play for UGA gets on their team… how does that work with the other players who are invested in UGA? I would imagine that such a “walk-in” would get similar treatment to a high school “walk-in.”

As for club soccer, of course it includes kids from many schools. My kids have all played club sports and have terrific friendships with kids from other schools. They do not resent the other kids b/c it is expected that there will be a mixed group. The expectation is not the same for a school team. So…. if you want your kid to play a sport, club teams are the place for him or her.. not school teams.

Poor sportsmanship, maybe .. .maybe not. I think it could be argued that enrolling your kid in a charter but then wanting the greener grass of a mainstream school for extracurriculars and hoisting your kid on the mainstream school by force of law is poor sportsmanship. How about teaching your kid that there are choices in life, and you need to sleep in the bed you make.

Any law can be enacted to force a school to take whatever kids the state wants them to take. However, no law can require the existing team players who have played together for years to welcome them with open arms. Parents may not like the reality, but I believe that if SB 34 is passed, it will be a hollow “victory” because in reality kids “walking on” to high school teams and clubs will not going to be taken well by the kids and most likely by the teachers.

What are you going to do, sue the school system b/c the kids are not nice enough to your kid?… because your kid doesn’t get as much play time as you’d like? How do you prove that case? How do you enforce a judgment? Sue the parents? The coach? How does all this drama affect your kid in the end?

Isn’t it easier to just get the clubs/teams that you desire started in your own charter school… or join a club team?


March 27th, 2012
12:27 pm

Jim is an idiot. Go to the website for PHS and he proudly boasts about how well his school is doing in terms of improved SAT scores, new IPads for students, new baseball fields, etc. Does he truly believe that all of this was paid for by only the “tax base” that is found in his home town dump of Pelham???

He sounds nothing more than a bitter democratic lemming who is still chaffed that his man, whether it be Barnes or Jim Martin, was soundly defeated by the electorate of Georgia.


March 27th, 2012
12:35 pm

Please remind us again how “great” the education system in Georgia was when the liberals where in charge for 130+ years???

Even their “hero” Zell Miller will have nothing to do with the democrats these days. Same old retread type of opinion piece that bascially can be summed up as follows:

(1) I’m an educator, therefore I am a democrat & this opinion/thread will bash all those republicans currently in office. We want our man back – Barnes even though he turned on us.
(2) I’m an educator, therefore I demand that we have a union here in Georgia.
(3) I’m an educator, therefore it is expected that I complain about how difficult that my chosen profession is.


March 27th, 2012
12:53 pm

MiltonMan, you don’t expect the “educator-posters” on this blog to have actual positive comments, do you? Sadly, many of them (most?) seem to excel at throwing stones, especially at anything republican.

Perhaps a commentary on their lack of discretion, seeing as these republicans are the folks who pretty much control the purse strings these days (thank goodness….otherwise we’d see even more “public schools are vastly underfunded” BS). If I were a politician, and read any of these blogs, I’d double up my efforts to break the public school monopoly.

After all, from phone companies to car companies and beyond, monopolies ALWAYS end up producing awful products at ridiculously inflated prices.

East Cobb Parent

March 27th, 2012
1:03 pm

@flipper, you are correct that colleges would not have players that attend different schools, however, my point was simply the mix is not your neighborhood or from your feeder schools yet the players are expected to be a team and be respectful of each other and their coaches. Perhaps I should have explained that. As for your comments regarding walk-ons for college sports, I know quite a few and all have said they were treated with respect from West Point to UF to everything in between.
Ultimately coaches want to win. If SB34 allows a star quarterback to play then they will take him and let him play. Not sure what part of GA you reside, but in Cobb we don’t have organized school sports until high school. While there are some feeder programs, kids’ parents can select which one regardless of school attendance. I know parents that select the feeder that is the easiest on the carpool. Other than GA Cyber Academy, I’m not sure of a charter high school so that part of the discussion may not be necessary. As I stated earlier, the ES programs are run by outside companies so I don’t understand anyone having an issue there.


March 27th, 2012
1:04 pm

Oh yes after a little further digging (comparable to “old fashion” journalists), I was able to understand the bitterness in ole’ Jimmies tone:

Pelham High School (PHS) – almost $10k spent per student; one of the highest levels in the state for, at best, a sub-par school.

PHS = total of less than 400 kids in all of high school. We have twice that many freshman at schools here that are much, much better than PHS

PHS = total number of Zell Miller scholarships granted??? Information cannot be found but if you listen to the loony state democrats that complain that all the scholarships are granted to the “evil rich kids” in metro Atlanta

Not a peep from Jimmie ‘ole boy about the proposal to modify the Equalization Act in Georgia so that his crappy school district receives even more money from the well-to-do districts???


March 27th, 2012
1:41 pm

Another point that Jim fails to mention:

Baconton Charter School right down the road from his most beloved PHS is rated as a vastly superior school than PHS.

A little envious are we “Dr.” Arnold???


March 27th, 2012
1:41 pm

Wow, Milton Man, and you call teachers whiners. Do you have any solutions, or do you just come down from your estate to dump on the poor white kids? It takes no intellectual ability to insult people. It does take some to come up with some solutions to the problems facing education in this state.

But, go ahead and insult me. I’ve been called worse by seven year olds.


March 27th, 2012
1:57 pm

irish – by me pointing out the facts, you easily become offended???

If you are indeed associated with education, I can understand why our education system is bascially in the toilet.


March 27th, 2012
2:00 pm

…and irish, are you still chaffed that I called out your education comrade who gave his best college try in trying to convince us that an engineering degree was as easy to obtain as an education degree????


March 27th, 2012
2:02 pm

Voters on the left don’t want solutions to problems they want someone to take care of their child so they don’t have to: 24/7 from the cradle to the grave. Breakfast, lunch & sometimes after school food is provided. Where is the responsibility of the one that brought this child in to the world? Next I guess they will want to leave the kid over night.