Governor signs charter school enabling bill today and endorses November amendment.

From the governor’s office:

Gov. Nathan Deal today signed into law legislation that will provide additional educational opportunities for Georgia students through state charter schools. The bill, HB 797, was signed at Cherokee Charter Academy in Canton.

“By observing high-performing charter schools throughout Georgia, it’s clear these institutions promote competition, innovation and creativity while encouraging strong parental involvement,” said Deal. “We must empower citizens with public school options and true local flexibility if we want to improve student achievement.”

HB 797 creates a state level approval mechanism for charter schools when communities request them. Under current law, charter schools approved by the state are forced to operate on approximately half of the funds of other public schools.

HB 797 sets forth a new funding mechanism for these schools and establishes a State Charter Schools Commission to conduct the review process for charter school petitions and ensure that charter schools are consistent with state educational goals. Moreover, the bill spells out how HR 1162 would be implemented if Georgia voters approve the constitutional amendment in November, an amendment that has the governor’s full support.

“Georgia’s parents want more options, and it is my duty as governor to see that they have them. These schools help students trapped in underperforming schools and aid communities that want to invest in new and imaginative ways of learning for their children.

“Approving this amendment will restore the process for creating state-charted schools that existed before the state Supreme Court struck down the state’s system for granting charters. I am confident Georgia voters will take advantage of the opportunity this fall to support charter schools in our state.”

At the bill signing ceremony, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools presented Deal with the Champion for Charters Award for supporting high-quality public charter schools. Annually, the Champions for Charters awards recognize public officials for leading a major public charter issue or initiative, serving as a highly visible public charter school advocate, and consistently supporting charters as a high-quality public school choice option.

–From Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

81 comments Add your comment

Dred Scott

May 3rd, 2012
10:38 am

Good for Governor Deal. Even better for children, parents, teachers, and communities all across Georgia who desire options within public K-12 education.

NBCT

May 3rd, 2012
10:48 am

I agree, in this age of system level mass corruption and scandals a smaller, more manageable, model is needed.

concerned

May 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

Why can’t the concerned parents volunteer in their child’s school NOW! Why can’t the concerned parents join the PTA/PTO and make a difference in their child’s school NOW! Why must Georgia create “other” schools for children to learn? This is crazy. Why don’t parents step forward and reclaim their school, support their teachers, and help make their child’s school a better place NOW!

Former Teacher

May 3rd, 2012
10:55 am

The only people, besides unions and NEA, who are against this are administrators and ’support staff’ who will find their positions ‘obsolete’ at a charter school! Which is a GOOD thing!! It is those positions and their pointless bureaucratic procedures and policies that are dragging down education and making it harder for teachers to actually TEACH! GO CHARTER SCHOOLS!

Former Teacher

May 3rd, 2012
10:56 am

@concerned… what is wrong with options? Do you want only one brand of detergent, or soap, or cereal? Competition makes for better service!

Being Censored by @Maureen

May 3rd, 2012
11:01 am

Bravo! This is not the magic bullet for Georgia’s public education woes, but at least it starts to open up new, innovative approaches to public education.

And the way the bill is worded, it only becomes an issue if local schools deny or do not vote on a charter application.

@Former Teacher, well stated!

Tonya C.

May 3rd, 2012
11:03 am

concerned :

Because that type of change takes time to affect. And many students are being shorted NOW. I support charter schools, and now, even vouchers. There are segments of the population (that cross race and SES) that just don’t care about education or at least truly value it. That isn’t going to change anytime soon. The ones who do will take this opportunity to give their kids the education they deserve.

I don’t like it, but we got here because too many parents and communities have become apathetic and disengaged from raising children and supporting the schools.

Mary Elizabeth

May 3rd, 2012
11:33 am

Below I have posted a column of one of the “guest bloggers” (Tony Roberts, President of the Georgia Charter School Association) on the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ website. The NAPCS now has “presented Deal with the Champion for Charters Award for supporting high-quality public charter schools.”

What an obvious echo chamber of advocates for this state law, congratulating one another, on their achievement, through officially orchestrated protocol. Gov. Deal is Republican who represents Republican ideological interests. Do not forget that Republican state Sen. Chip Rogers, who supported this amendment to Georgia’s Constitution, is the Treasurer of ALEC. Do not forget that Republican Rep. Jan Jones, who sponsored this charter amendment bill had, also, sponsored a previous bill which would have curtailed teachers of Commission charter schools from joining the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia.

This law is so political that it is blatantly obvious. That, in itself, should make voters wary of what it is really about. Voters should ask themselves this question before casting a vote in November: “Do you want to dismantle traditional public education for corporate private-sector control of education in Georgia or not?” That is what is what voters should be asking themselves in November, because that is what is really at stake.
===========================================================

Posted as a “Guest Blogger,” February 9, 2012 on the NAPCS website by Tony Roberts, President of Georgia Charter Schools Association: (Notice “Comments” following column.)

“Defeat of Public Charter Schools Amendment in Georgia Legislature Leaves no Winners

The score yesterday was 110-62, but nobody won! No, not a ball game, but the single most important piece of legislation (HR1162) in Georgia to continue the growth of high quality charter schools here.

The measure would allow the voters of Georgia to decide about a Constitutional Amendment that would restore the ability of the State to authorize charter schools. This is in response to our Supreme Court that struck down our law that established an effective alternative authorizer—the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.

Now the readers of this blog do not need to be persuaded about the value of an alternative authorizer for charter schools. So, I am “preaching to the choir.” I am going to share some observations and rants about the “sinners” that are doing their darn best to stop this charter movement here–and in your state as well.

Big nuisance to me: hearing all the opposing legislators yesterday start their speeches with: “Now I support charter schools.” Charter grammar lesson number 1—this phrase will always be followed with the conjunction “but.”

We heard that over and over yesterday. One representative who used that line yesterday, then referred to every study ever known to mankind doubting the value of charter schools. He even referred to some studies that have never been done! Where is the logic in this? This rep “supports charter schools” even though he thinks they are the worst development in public education and certainly should be burned to the ground (good thing we don’t have facilities?). Suggested response to him and others like him: “Now I support you,” but “your voting record is atrocious, you have bad grammar, bad logic, are ignorant of our dire K-12 education problems, clueless what we really need, and that a five-year old could represent the children of your district better.”

Another big nuisance to those of us on the front lines: “friendly” fire. You know—getting shot in the back from those who should be with you—and that some legislators actually think do support children in schools.

It’s the worst opposition of all. Consider the Georgia PTA. I thought their mission was to facilitate greater communication between parents and teachers for the children’s sake. Are they no longer about chili suppers, school festival days, cookies for parties, and apples for teachers? When did they become one of the loudest voices AGAINST charter schools? Did they poll all parents and teachers to get this position? Are they now Professional Teachers Association?

Other “friendly” fire here has come from Georgia School Boards Association, Georgia Superintendents Association, and PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators).

Most gratifying has been the development of a broad-based and growing coalition to fight for the children. With eleven current members, we are pushing for the growth of quality charter schools. Check out http://www.brightergeorgia.org. We are expecting an opposition website http://www.wesupportcharterschools.but.

The good news is the game is not over; there has been a delay in the game. The issue will return to the House after 10-15 more representatives realize this issue is about children—not job security.

Posted by: Tony Roberts, President, Georgia Charter Schools Association at Thursday, 09 February, 2012 12:00 AM
————————————————————————————

Comments (3)

N/A (10 Feb 2012 09:11 AM)
What a great blog…Thanks Tony for your tireless efforts and for not only bein the President of GCSA but for also being our biggest cheerleader !!!
——————————————————————————-

N/A (10 Feb 2012 01:29 PM)
Tony,
As ususal, you have distorted the facts. Th PTA did not ever say that it was against charter schools. They explicitly stated that they were in favor of local representation for school expenditures. Why would ANYONE want to vote for an amendment that gives taxpayers no voice in how their taxdollars are spent. We expect to be informed to be informed on where the funding for state chartered schools will come from. You think that is an unreasonable request? Why don’t you just give me a blank check and I’ll tell how much and where I plan on spending it later. Enough smoke and mirrors.

——————————————————————————
N/A (13 Feb 2012 01:18 PM)

@ N/A (10 Feb 2012 01:29 PM) No the PTA never said it was against charter schools. But, on every piece of significant legislation in Georgia about charter schools, the PTA has either been silent or AGAINST. I am most upset about their stated position against HR1162 because this position did not come from their membership. Blank check? I don’t think state government has ever given a blank check to any organization–including traditional public schools. Tell me when parents and teachers of the PTA were asked if they support or oppose this amendment? And BTW, the legislation calls on the vote of ALL the people of Georgia to vote on this. Do you think this is NOT the most local of all control? – Tony”

Fred ™

May 3rd, 2012
11:38 am

Who pays for the “State” Charter schools?

HS Public Teacher

May 3rd, 2012
11:39 am

What a shock – republicans promoting charter schools. Yawn.

I love how he says, “By observing high-performing charter schools throughout Georgia, it’s…”! LOL! What about the low-performing charter schools?

I guess he does not realize that there are more public schools that are “high-performing” than there are charter schools?

I cannot wait for it to come out that these private companies pushing for charter schools in GA have donated tons of money to the republican party and the republican candidates!!!! But, then again, the Georgia voters never seem to care about facts.

FCS Teacher

May 3rd, 2012
11:40 am

@ Former Teacher.

Do you not see that charter schools have nothing to do with school choice, but instead are thinly veiled attempt to privatize education? Quit drinking their Kool Aid and see them for what they are.

Would you endorse privatized police departments or fire departments? Of course not. It doesn’t work.

Ron F.

May 3rd, 2012
11:52 am

It’s not the charter schools I oppose, it’s the unelected state commission that bothers me. This is an end run to return charter schools to state control and streamline funding them without local input. Considering their track record with funding the public schools, don’t get your hopes up. The plan is to eventually choke the public systems out of existence and have total state control of schools. This isn’t about local control or parent choice as much as it’s about political control of the money pot. If I truly felt Chip and Gov. Deal had altruistic motives, I’d be fine with it. And it’s folks in APS and Dekalb who will be the easiest to convince and use to get this through.

Time to Make it Official

May 3rd, 2012
11:57 am

Why not just go ahead and amend the State Constitution and do away with Public School altogether? That is where this is ultimately headed anyway. Just another step towards the Corporate takeover.

mountain man

May 3rd, 2012
12:07 pm

“Why don’t parents step forward and reclaim their school, support their teachers, and help make their child’s school a better place NOW!”

Because parents can’t make administrators remove the discipline problems from the classroom. Parents can’t keep them from mainstreaming SPED students into their child’s classroom, taking up teacher time. Parents can’t stop social promotion that puts children in the classroom that are years behind and requiring extra attention from the teacher.

mountain man

May 3rd, 2012
12:09 pm

There would be no demand for charter schools if the public chools addressed their (glaring) issues.

mountain man

May 3rd, 2012
12:11 pm

Public schools want the charter schools to take the students but leave all the tax money with them.

mountain man

May 3rd, 2012
12:12 pm

“Who pays for the “State” Charter schools?”

It should come from the same money that pays to educate students in public schools.

Tonya C.

May 3rd, 2012
12:16 pm

Ron F.

Funny enough, I get what you are saying. But the BOEs put themselves in this position. It’s not just APS and Dekalb; Gwinnett and Fulton are ripe as well. Gwinnett’s stranglehold on approving charters is well-known. So this could have been prevented if the BOEs had been more transparent in their reasons for denials and giving at least one or two a chance.

Just my POV.

d

May 3rd, 2012
12:19 pm

As I have stated before, I am a proud member of NEA/GAE/ODE. That is not, however, why I am concerned with this legislation. I am concerned with the fact that an unelected board will have the power to overrule my elected board of education. That takes the power away from me, the voter, to fire or retain my elected officials based upon their actions while in office.

I still have yet to hear from any member of the General Assembly or from the Governor why we don’t make all Georgia public schools charters – if charters are indeed the answer we are seeking, why continue to bind our traditional public schools to the regulations that don’t seem to be working?

I am also concerned with Governor Deal’s use of the word “competition.” If we take away the sole source of funding from one institution and give it to another that may have its own source of funding (charters or vouchers for private/parochial), and then expect our traditional schools to compete, that is like tying one hand behind my back and then getting in the ring with Evander Holyfield. How is that fair? I say if we are going to have competition, let each institution compete on merits, but don’t cut off the only way one can survive to give another a booster shot it probably doesn’t need.

“The provision of an adequate public education for the citizens shall be a primary obligation of the State of Georgia. Public education for the citizens prior to the college or postsecondary level shall be free and shall be provided for by taxation.” – Constitution of the State of Georgia, Article VIII, Section I

Mary Elizabeth

May 3rd, 2012
12:20 pm

@Fred ™, 11:38 am

“Who pays for the ‘State’ Charter schools?”
=================================================

Good question, Fred. You, the taxpayer, will be paying for these state charter schools, but you will have practically no direct voice in their authorization or assignment because the State Charter Commission, which is appointed not elected, will make those decisions.

Moreover, your tax dollars, that will go to support these state charter schools, may be used to pay private firms to “manage” these state charter schools, so public tax dollars will be used to reward private-sector business entrepreneurs, and children will be used for profit. That, of course, is a first avenue for vouchers being used to transfer public tax monies to support the private-sector profits of business entrepreneurs of private schools.

When this transition happens in Georgia, teachers will have less pay and benefits, such as not being able to be members of the TRS, which I have described in my initial post on this thread. That will directly effect the calilbre of teachers in state charter schools and that will effect the quality of education that the children in Georgia will receive – in the long run. Better to put resources in traditional public education that are not designed to make a profit for their owners. The “owners” of traditional public schools are the taxpayers, themselves.

Really?

May 3rd, 2012
12:26 pm

So Charter Schools is the answer? What will be the difference?

Reality Check

May 3rd, 2012
12:35 pm

The difference will be if they don’t live up to expectations then no one will send their child there. I do not understand how someone can be against charter schools. If the school does educate kids well it will go out of business because no one will attend. Some traditional public schools continue to provide a bad education every year and we keep making kids whose parents don’t have enough money to send to private school go there. The beauty of charter schools is that will never be the case. If a charter can’t educate kids we can shut it down!

HS Public Teacher

May 3rd, 2012
12:36 pm

@mountain man -

The so-called “demand” for charter schools primarily does not come from parents but rather from the private companies wanting to make a profit.

It is sad that you just don’t get it.

mountain man

May 3rd, 2012
12:44 pm

“The so-called “demand” for charter schools primarily does not come from parents but rather from the private companies wanting to make a profit.”

If there are no parents who are fed up with the public schools and want to send their children to charter schools, how can they make a profit? Do they get paid even if no child attends?

Tonya C.

May 3rd, 2012
12:49 pm

HS Public Teacher :

This upcoming ballot will be the true test of that statement. If people are overall happy with what they have, it will fail. If the real backers of the movement ARE parents, it will pass.

Ron F.

May 3rd, 2012
12:54 pm

Tonya- absolutely. The BOE’s have gone stark raving mad in the metro area. I think the combination of money, power, and low voter interest allowed them to become what they are, and I don’t blame parents for wanting something, anything else. I hate it that it’s come to this- and I only hope we can create some stability in a new design and avoid the cronyism that has ruined too many BOE’s.

Ron F.

May 3rd, 2012
12:57 pm

mountain man: I saw a chart the other day that estimated that 85% of parents making 75k+ a year used public schools. How much of that population do you think will go with charter schools? I honestly wonder if there will be a wholesale abandoning of the public schools beyond APS, Dekalb, and south Fulton. Maybe parts of Cobb and some in Gwinnett. Do you see economic level influencing choices?

Once Again

May 3rd, 2012
1:02 pm

Still government-run schooling. Failure dead ahead. Time to wake up to the failure and end this monopoly provision of services. The free market is the only solution to educational needs. Government cannot even successfully deliver the mail. Why do you continue to put your precious children in their clutches every day? Don’t they deserve better? Why aren’t you working for REAL change and an end to this system?

Disappointed

May 3rd, 2012
1:14 pm

You want to fix public schools? It starts in college with universities holding their education major candidates to a much higher standard. It starts with these same programs forming a type of educational “residency” where rookie teachers work with veteran teachers and education supporters for a few years before being fully integrated into their own classrooms. Make the degree to become a teacher a goal for our great young minds and not something to just settle on because they couldn’t think of anything else to do. Make people WANT to be teachers by bringing prestige to our education programs in our country’s universities and colleges. When we do that, we make real changes in our classrooms as well. Not through a charter school bill that likes to think of itself as a fix-all from our government talking heads.

Disappointed

May 3rd, 2012
1:26 pm

@Once Again… And how do you propose you try to educate everyone in our country? Or do we just let those who cannot afford the service rot further in poverty with no upward mobility? Do we just accept an increase in crime rates and using tax payer dollars to support overcrowded prisons? I’m a fan of the free market as anyone, but such a model would just further alienate those who desperately need the free access to education. Besides a free market requires the ability to generate a profit from goods or services the company provides. Not sure how you can guarantee a six sigma-type product when your product is ultimately human beings with free will who hopefully will contribute back to their communities, country and economy.

Mary Elizabeth

May 3rd, 2012
1:51 pm

Ron, 12:57

“I honestly wonder if there will be a wholesale abandoning of the public schools beyond APS, Dekalb, and south Fulton. Maybe parts of Cobb and some in Gwinnett. Do you see economic level influencing choices?”
=================================================

Ron, the abandoning of public schools for charter and private schools will likely be equivalent to the white flight that occurred in white neighborhoods in the 1980s. The high school that I worked in for the last half of my teaching career was primarily a white populated school in 1984 (my first year there, with about 15% black population). Slowly – at first – but then steadily each year thereafter, until the momentum for white flight became like a snowball going down a hill, more white people moved out of the school’s neighborhood, until by 1990 the school was 95% black.

Yes, the students who will go to charter schools will be those whose parents – of all racial and ethnic groups – who can afford transportation of their children to and from the charter school, as well as who can afford the extra expenses of attending a charter school, not anticipated. Once the population in traditional public schools begins to “break” by class and wealth demarcations (as did the proportion of whites to blacks in my former school) toward having majority lower-class status students in the traditional public schools, then even more students – of all races and ethinic groups who have the financial resources – will transfer to charter schools at an increasingly rapid rate, and Georgia will again be segregated – but this time by class status and wealth, if not by race.

Do you think that Georgia’s Republican leaders will care about whether this “charter flight” possibility might resegregate Georgia, this time by class and wealth? I hardly think so because, after all, Ronald Reagan, the revered leader of the Republican Party, kicked off his candidacy for President of the U.S. from Philadelphia, Mississippi, in a blatant attempt to woo those who saw people in terms of race and hierarchial status, instead of in terms of our common humanity, an egalitarian concept. Reagan said in his speech Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1980, “I believe in states’ rights.” That phrase was a code for supporting a segregated society – at that time and place, especially.

Societies – and schools – can be segregated in many ways, not simply by race, and that segregation creates a consciousness of division rather than of unity among all people.

From Wikipedia: “Philadelphia (Mississippi) in June 1964 was the site of the murders of activists James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian, Mississippi; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old Jewish anthropology student from New York; and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old Jewish CORE organizer and former social worker, also from New York. Their deaths symbolized the risks that activists took to secure the constitutional rights of African Americans, but many more blacks than whites had been killed in the struggle.”

Warrior Woman

May 3rd, 2012
2:04 pm

@concerned – How exactly do you think parents being shunted into photocopying and similar tasks as volunteers actually helps education?

While I am more than happy to support competent teachers, I would be failing as a parent if I supported teachers like the AP Econ teacher my children had last year, that called me during class to get an explanation of economic terms in the text? Or the English Lit teacher who asked students their opinions on political issues and then told the ones that disagreed with her, “You aren’t allowed to think that in my class” ~ why should I support her?

Shar

May 3rd, 2012
2:12 pm

@Ron F, Tonya C and d – amen.

Ron F.

May 3rd, 2012
2:33 pm

Mary Elizabeth: I’ve thought about that a lot, and I definitely see it as a segregating point along economic lines (which most believe are tied directly to behavior and social acceptability). In small towns like my own, the economic separation generally falls along racial lines, so it will look a lot like the 60’s unfortunately. I’m not ready yet to let the state be in control of that decision. It won’t take long for the petitions to start flying to Atlanta…faster than Delta does, I’m sure.

2nd grade teacher

May 3rd, 2012
2:41 pm

@ Warrior Woman- What would be acceptable tasks for you to do with children when you come to volunteer?

Sometimes copying and cutting things out are the most helpful because I am busy teaching… I am not saying I would ask a parent to do that for me everytime, but I do ask because that is what my class needs.

In many ways I agree with concerned. While there is nothing wrong with competition, why don’t parents get involved? As a teacher, I know it takes a village, but more often than not, the village isn’t there…

Warrior Woman

May 3rd, 2012
2:42 pm

@d – Having the money follow the student isn’t tying one hand behind the traditional public schools’ backs. And charter schools, which are public schools, don’t necessarily have any access to funding that traditional public schools don’t also have. Haven’t you noticed the growing trend of using PTAs and public school foundations to pay for things that aren’t in the budget? Tell me how that differs from outsdie funding available to charters?

Mary Elizabeth

May 3rd, 2012
2:44 pm

@ Ron F, 2:33, pm

Well said! :-)

d

May 3rd, 2012
2:59 pm

@Warrior – It’s nice if you have an active PTA – and if you do, I don’t typically see parents leaving for charters. In other words, parental involvement typically determines the effectiveness of a school. Charter schools can require it or send the children back (and then keep the money anyway). Private schools can require it or expel the child. I can’t require a parent to meet with me. There are no consequences if they don’t.

Having money follow the student does leave a problem (the proverbial hand behind my back). If one student leaves, that leaves 31 to divide the fixed expenses of electricity, my salary, transportation, etc. There is less money for each, so now what do we cut? Field trips? Paper? The technology upgrade? Here’s the problem – children aren’t leaving in droves. It’s the one or two leaving that forces all others to suffer. If they did leave in droves, we could close schools and save those costs. It’s not happening. There has to be a better way, and forcing a community to pay for a school it doesn’t want because an unelected board said it should is undemocratic. In the end, it forces me to “do more with less” and there is only so much more I can do at this point.

Warrior Woman

May 3rd, 2012
3:04 pm

@2nd grade teacher – I’m pretty sure my PhD in economics would be more valuable put to other uses. What would I consider acceptable? When I volunteer to support my child’s school, I expect it to be in a function that actually relates to education and is meaningful. As my kids have attended public and private schools, and I have volunteered in multiple school systems, I think I have a fairly broad perspective on this. At private schools that my children have attended, I was consistently offered the opportunity to teach or tutor in economics and mathematics; to serve as a reading coach; to assist with science fair/science olympiad; and similar tasks that directly impact learning, along with the obligatory chaperoning of field trips, field days, and the like.

I know of MANY public schools where photocopying and answering the phones are the only volunteer opportunities at any level from K-12, other than chaperoning the occasional field trip (at schools that still have them). This is not meaningful volunteer work. It does not directly support education. And I refuse to do it any longer. And as a sad side note, in some of the high schools where these limits on volunteer options were the norm, the meaningful activities were being handled by the athletic booster clubs. It was the coaches looking for tutors and academic help outside of what the school offered for their student athletes. That is how I first became involved with sports booster clubs, long before my children began playing sports.

As to why parents don’t get involved, I refer you to mountain man’s post, “Because parents can’t make administrators remove the discipline problems from the classroom. Parents can’t keep them from mainstreaming SPED students into their child’s classroom, taking up teacher time. Parents can’t stop social promotion that puts children in the classroom that are years behind and requiring extra attention from the teacher.” I will also add that the parents that are charter supporters are likely to be the parents that are involved, and so know just how bad the environment is in some traditional public schools. And because we know what’s happening in our children’s schools, we are demanding better.

3schoolkids

May 3rd, 2012
3:25 pm

Reading HB797 I keep seeing a blank with a dollar sign next to it in my mind. Why would any sane person vote to pass a bill that says something will be funded with state money but fails to say how much or where that money will come from? And that the oversight for that money will be in the hands of a committee of appointed people? How many of these legislators use PTA connections to get elected? Do they realize the same people that helped them get elected are now furious that after years of state “austerity” cuts, state money will be funneled to create an adjacent school system governed by appointees? I think they will be in for a surprise in November.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

May 3rd, 2012
3:57 pm

““By observing high-performing charter schools throughout Georgia, it’s clear these institutions promote competition, innovation and creativity while encouraging strong parental involvement,” said Deal. “We must empower citizens with public school options and true local flexibility if we want to improve student achievement.””

So why can’t we offer such things in traditional public schools? Why the clamor for scripted lessons, set standards, standardized testing, and six million miles of paperwork in traditional schools? Why are we cutting the arts in traditional public schools? Why aren’t teachers allowed to go “off script” in their classrooms? Why? Why? Why?

justjanny

May 3rd, 2012
4:03 pm

This, too, shall pass!

justjanny

May 3rd, 2012
4:05 pm

How many legislators attended charter schools? Did they not succeed in their public schools? There are as many bad charter schools as non-charter public schools.

Tonya C.

May 3rd, 2012
4:10 pm

The question, “why not make all schools charters ” is a fair one. I think that because of so many apathetic parents, because so many communities won’t voluntarily invest in their own schools, that the rules and requirements could not be placed on the masses without outcries and lawsuits on the state and national levels. Many people want the benefits without contributing with money OR sweat equity.

At least that’s what I’ve seen. Charters allow those who want the additional responsibility and rewards to have it without appearing to disenfranchise the others by leaving them without an option.

Schools or bureaucrats

May 3rd, 2012
4:48 pm

This is not about charter schools. The ballot language is deliberately misleading. GA has several excellent charter schools approved by local boards of education and accountable to these locally elected officials. GA also has a mechanism in place for appeal if the charter gets denied. This is about local control or state control, money for schools or money for bureaucrats, local accountability or no accountability. Who pays for these schools? You do with your tax dollars which currently go to local public schools. If this passes, tax dollars designated for the already underfunded public schools will be diverted to the new state-controlled charter schools. Taxation without representation and undercut public schools. Watch as big out of state money funds a multi-million campaign telling you to vote yes. Good move, GA. Let’s hope voters wake up and get smart.

No to union bo$$es

May 3rd, 2012
5:04 pm

Ricky Gervais spoofs teachers unions at Golden Globes… http://goo.gl/hfxkf

Waiting for Superman

May 3rd, 2012
5:12 pm

Those interested in something other than union-generated criticism of charter schools and choice … can read this from the Center for Education Reform, which is at the forefront of reform:

http://www.edreform.com/issues/choice-charter-schools/

Being Censored by @Maureen

May 3rd, 2012
5:22 pm

Fascinating to see all of the paranoia on this blog post. You fear change. I believe the right answer, which is the most difficult one to accept, is to blow up the “system” and rebuild it for a digitally connected world. Charter schools are not the panacea, but they offer some new options, and right now, Georgia needs options, because the public school performance is mortifying! Let charter schools have a chance. The real opportunity is to embrace digital learning, people!

another comment

May 3rd, 2012
5:24 pm

Warrior Woman, I agree with you. A good deal of these teachers are incompetant.

I grew up, up North in a top 10 performing state. We didn’t have all of these problems. We had small districts, one high school per district. A really large district was two high schools. They had volunteer School Boards who were elected. Their were no big contract to get your hands dirty with.

Teachers, Principals, the Board could not hide, they were in the community. People did not fraudulently sign up for free lunch, the lunch lady might be your next door neighbor or a member of your church. Everyone graduates, their are options besides college, like vo-tech.

Lisa

May 3rd, 2012
5:32 pm

The amendment is to let Deal’s appointees overrule the locals. THe Supremes said it was wrong but NO everyone wants to just give Deal and his henchmen all the power. How can an appointed commission overrule someone elected?????