Our PolitiFact Georgia team looks at John Barge and charters: Not much of a flip.

AJC PolitiFact Georgia was asked to examine whether state school chief John Barge flipped-flopped on charter schools with his stunning announcement last week that he did not back the charter school amendment on the November ballot.

Some of his critics have been sending links to a speech that candidate John Barge gave to a conservative group as proof of his flip-flop, but I have to go on record about that 2010 video clip: Barge said nothing different in front of Tea Party supporters in the burbs than he did in front of intown parents at a campaign debate at Inman Middle School that I covered for the AJC.

In fact,  a liberal-leaning policy analyst was sitting two rows in front of me, and he was shaking his head in dismay at almost all of Barge’s responses. Barge seems to be an elected official who does not tailor his message to the crowd. He has consistently decried too much state-level bureaucracy and wasteful spending, so it is not surprising that he would oppose the creation and funding of a new Atlanta-based commission to approve charters.

Here is an excerpt of the AJC PolitiFact Georgia story. Please read the full piece if you are interested in this topic:

Many charter school supporters, including the governor, felt they were double-crossed last week when Georgia School Superintendent John Barge announced his opposition to a constitutional amendment aimed at creating more charter schools. The amendment would reinstate the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, a body that can approve charter schools that local boards reject. The state Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional.

“[T]his is a flip-flop for the record books,” said Bert Brantley, who was the communications director when Sonny Perdue was governor and is working with charter school supporters for the referendum. Barge’s spokesman said he has not switched his position at all.  “It was the same then as it is now,” Matt Cardoza said.

Barge’s opponents say proof of his flip-flop lies in his answers to a 2010 campaign questionnaire by the Georgia Charter Schools Association, an advocacy group. It asked whether Barge agreed with the statement “I support House Bill 881.” His answer: “Strongly agree.”

But this doesn’t prove Barge flip-flopped, Cardoza said.  The 130-word lead-up to the question asked for the candidate’s stance on funding for commission-approved charter schools, not the bill as a whole. It explained that under HB 881, if a student attends this kind of charter school, the per-pupil amount of local tax revenue that would have gone to the district for his or her education goes to the charter school instead.

Barge’s response to a separate question showed he had reservations about the commission.

It asked whether Barge supported “non-district authorizers,” or entities such as the commission that have the power to approve and monitor charters without local school board interference.

Barge’s answer: “Agree.” But he found it “greatly disappointing that we need another administrative body to do something that the local, and ultimately, the state board of education should be able to do.”

Barge’s response gave the clear impression that he supported the commission’s creation, although he held reservations about the extra level of bureaucracy it created.

“While the opponents of his position want you to focus on the HB 881 question, it’s hard to not see how he clearly felt based on his answer to the more important question regarding having a third authorizer to do what the local boards and state board can already do,” Cardoza said.

Barge’s announcement Tuesday restated this concern. He said the commission “unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education.”

Another point in Barge’s favor is that he filled out the questionnaire in 2010. It’s poor proof that he changed his stance on an issue that didn’t exist until 2011.  We found no evidence that before Tuesday’s announcement Barge had taken a public stance for reinstating the commission.

In fact, he gave the impression he’d avoid taking one. Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Jim Galloway described Barge’s position in a July 25 story:

“Asked whether he would campaign for the charter school question, state School Superintendent John Barge expressed a fondness for charter schools in an email, but added this: ‘We will, of course, respect the will of the citizens of Georgia regarding how charter schools are authorized.’”

If Barge’s opinion changed on anything, it’s over whether to campaign on the issue, not the amendment itself.

Barge broke ranks with other charter school supporters when he decided to oppose the amendment, but he did not quite flip-flop.

From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

149 comments Add your comment

pleasebeserious

August 21st, 2012
9:22 am

When will the state of Georgia realize that the public school system here is a failure. Parents want options.

td

August 21st, 2012
9:26 am

Representative Lindsey,

Since you are a “frequent reader” of this blog, are you now going to make a public apology to a fellow Republican for calling him a liar publicly when it is obvious now you did not know what you were talking about?

I am willing to bet that you do not have the guts to admit you were wrong and to apologize. I am also willing to bet that you will not even come on this blog today to acknowledge this story.

LoganvilleGuy

August 21st, 2012
9:28 am

@pleasebeserious:

You do have options. It is called private schools.

I would rather see an end to “school taxes” rather than lose total control of my tax money because I don’t have a kid in a charter school.

At least with an elected board, I retain control of my money even if I don’t have a child that uses it.

Dr. Monica Henson

August 21st, 2012
9:31 am

Dr. Barge cannot be re-elected without the support of the GSSA and PAGE. Plain and simple. He is a pragmatic elected official.

td

August 21st, 2012
9:35 am

Dr. Monica Henson

August 21st, 2012
9:31 am

Is it not true that these two organizations supported Jim Martin two years ago?

pleasebeserious

August 21st, 2012
9:35 am

@LoganvilleGuy,

My children do attend a pricey private school in Cobb County. Just wishing I had other options without moving to another state.

dc

August 21st, 2012
9:38 am

so Maureen….given your explanation above, I’m thinking almost any change to a position can be explained away by saying “well I didn’t agree with that one provision”. It seems pretty weak to me. The guys “strongly support” response seems pretty clear. And if he wanted to “explain” what that meant (i.e. I don’t support state chartering of schools), he had the oppty then.

Maureen Downey

August 21st, 2012
9:42 am

@dc, To me, the issue here is charter school amendment, which is very different than charter schools, most of which will continue to be approved and funded at the local level anyway.
I don’t think there is a Barge record to reverse on the amendment, which is what he came out against next week.

Chuntter

August 21st, 2012
9:44 am

Those who would continue to block education reform and deny choices to parents are grasping at straws here.

The amendment will pass in November. A half century of steady declining test scores and/or education standards have finally focused parents’ attention on the need for real change. The millions that teachers’ unions will pour into trying to defeat this—and reform measures in dozens of other states—will empty union coffers before it turns back the tide of parental resolve.

Maureen Downey

August 21st, 2012
9:45 am

@Dr. Henson, But he didn’t have their strong support in the last election and was elected. I am not sure that history bears out your belief that the incumbent needs PAGE and GSSA. Incumbents almost always get re-elected in Georgia. Barring arrest and disgrace or seismic shift, it is hard to unseat an incumbent in Georgia in a state race.
Maureen

Holly Jones

August 21st, 2012
9:46 am

And once again- Barge is not against CHOICE. He is opposed to this amendment. Not the same thing, no matter how Deal, Lindsey, et al want to spin it. No matter what happens in November, charter schools can and will be approved by their local boards (yes, Virginia, there really are locally approved charters) as well as by the State BOE if denied at the local level. This is about who has the ultimate say in the spending of local tax dollars. Can you more easily contact and get a response from your local BOE member- whom you elect- or an appointed member of a state level commission who owes you nothing? THAT’S the issue.

td

August 21st, 2012
9:55 am

Chuntter

August 21st, 2012
9:44 am

“Those who would continue to block education reform and deny choices to parents are grasping at straws here.”

What education reform are you talking about? We currently have the ability to grant Charter schools and no matter if this amendment passes or fails in November there will still be the ability to reform Charter schools. The difference is we now have locally elected politicians we can hold accountable for their decisions if the amendment passes then the voter will no longer have that option.

DeKalb Teacher

August 21st, 2012
10:06 am

@TD
In many counties there is a tyranny of the majority. Many communities are being held hostage because they are in the minority in their county. The elected official for that minority is powerless. For example, South DeKalb holds North DeKalb hostage.

The state is trying to pry those schools out from the tyranny and hand it back to the local community.

Aquagirl

August 21st, 2012
10:08 am

My children do attend a pricey private school in Cobb County. Just wishing I had other options without moving to another state.

What options do you lack? Are you not happy with your kid’s current school?

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
10:13 am

@ Maureen – Please, if you can, explain to me his responses on the REST of the survey he published from the state charter association.

He strongly supported 881, which CREATED the independent charter Commission. Are you saying that he did NOT think it was “extra bureaucracy then” but does now? How is that not flip flopping? Charters are trying to create the same Commission (with a different funding mechanism).

In supporting 881, he also supported an actual DEDUCTION from districts. The economy was bad then as well (and he spoke to all sorts of ways he would address it in his campaign, including decreasing the size of the DOE…) He is now arguing (although totally inaccurately) against districts losing funds because of the Commission. How can he support district losing funds 2 years ago and claim he isn’t flip flopping?

Tell me again how he is being consistent?

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
10:13 am

@ td – Do you mean Joe Martin?

Ann

August 21st, 2012
10:23 am

Thank you for keeping us all abreast of the facts, Maureen! Opinions and interpretations will always follow a public figure, but I admire Dr. Barge for obviously taking a politically dangerous position.

Concerned Citizen

August 21st, 2012
10:25 am

Wealthy parents want options, but their abundant resources already have enabled those options. It’s so Republican to take money from public schools and hand it over to the wealthy. It’s also unconscionable.

td

August 21st, 2012
10:25 am

DeKalb Teacher

August 21st, 2012
10:06 am

@TD
In many counties there is a tyranny of the majority. Many communities are being held hostage because they are in the minority in their county. The elected official for that minority is powerless. For example, South DeKalb holds North DeKalb hostage.

And if the North Dekalb community puts out a great Charter idea then even if the local School board rejected it then the SBOE (run by Republicans appointed by Deal) would overrule them and establish the Charter. How is this Amendment going to improve this process?

Hillbilly D

August 21st, 2012
10:27 am

If a local community wants a charter school or schools, there is a way for them to do that now. No need to get the state involved, that I can see.

td

August 21st, 2012
10:29 am

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
10:13 am

I just figured it out. You are either Jan Jones or a better choice is Erin Hames (sp). Did you really think Dr. Barge was going to keep you as Chief of Staff?

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

August 21st, 2012
10:38 am

“A wise man changes his mind. But a damn fool never does.”

Maureen Downey

August 21st, 2012
10:49 am

@To all, The Rome News-Tribune came out in full support of Barge in this editorial:
http://www.romenews-tribune.com/view/full_story/19850547/article-EDITORIAL–John-Barge-is-a-hero?instance=news_page_secondary_story

STATE VOTERS are being asked on Nov. 6 to make one of the most vomit-inducing choices of their lives … and we don’t mean the presidential contest. The proposed constitutional amendment to give the state power to create charter schools anywhere it wishes, using tax money that it once gave to support your children and grandchildren in local public schools, is one of the most nightmarish proposals ever floated.

Frankly, this newspaper having been a supporter of the really, truly charter-school concept long, long before it was distorted into a mindless political weapon of deception, hasn’t even known where to begin in warning readers about it. This Trojan horse is, pure and simple, designed to destroy — not improve — local-level public education.

Early polls show most voters, being far too easily and routinely deceived, might actual favor what little the ballot will say on the matter — apparently many believe “charter” to be shorthand for “freedom of choice” instead of, as in this instance, meaning the freedom to spend your tax money to pay for somebody else’s choices. And, defeating this would not stop local creation of charter schools (there are already about 100 in the state). However, approving it would allow charter schools the local community has said it does not desire to be rammed down its throat.

THIS NEWSPAPER continues to support true charters that are paid for and governed and directed and supervised and supported by the local voters and their elected officials. Also it especially supports magnet schools, which are far more needed and focused and could be created by the charter method — in fact, that’s what the highly respected county “career academy” actually is. Not only that but the entire Floyd County system — every single school — is already officially designated as of charter status in the sense that teachers, parents and community members have a hands-on role in direction and decision making. That’s the way to go, not having the state’s politicians, with their appointed cronies, telling hometown citizens/parents what their schools should be like, teach and who would be allowed to attend.

Thus, it is with appreciation for true guts that all should applaud the position taken by John Barge, the state school superintendent who resides in Floyd County and has worked for both the local and Bartow County systems. In open defiance of his own Republican Party, that seems to prize blind obedience above intelligence, he came out against this amendment — and swinging.

This is no small example of political bravery. This amendment was floated by GOP Gov. Nathan Deal (after the Georgia Supreme Court had struck down as unconstitutional an earlier attempt by the state to take over local public education). That all GOP members of the local delegation actually voted for this atrocity would be reason enough to vote them out of office — except nobody is running against them. Citizens beware: You get what you allow to happen.

BARGE, WHO should get a “profile in courage” award, did not hold his fire, saying:

“I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education and the state Board of Education. This constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter-school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases). …

“Until all of our public-school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia’s local school districts — much less an additional $430 million in state funds, which is what it would cost to add seven new state charter schools per year over the next five years.”

The danger in this being on the ballot is that it doesn’t at all look like what the public would get. What appears on the surface is like asking voters “Do you think children should be able to read and write?”

It doesn’t explain that such charters could set their own admission requirements, which some fear would mean denying entry to the poor, minorities and special-needs children who some, sadly, believe “drag down” the opportunities offered their own little geniuses.

IT DOES NOT reveal that the legislature has already set it up for any such state-blessed charters to receive more than twice as much in taxes as “ordinary” children in local public schools get from the state … and takes those extra sums away from them. By the way, parents who already ante up tuition to send their children to this community’s several excellent private schools have particularly good reason to be infuriated.

Not only that but that could just be the start of the money diversion as, in HB 797, there is this interesting clause:

“Actively seek, with the assistance of the department, supplemental revenue from federal grant funds, institutional grant funds, and philanthropic organizations. The commission may receive and expend gifts, grants, and donations of any kind from any public or private entity to carry out the purposes of this article.” (The italics are ours.)

Also, among the many booby traps in plain sight on something few voters will ever read (the actual legislation) it says the state can define attendance zones — including of up to “statewide” size.

The state already has such as the School for the Deaf in Cave Spring. Perhaps that envisions special boarding schools for future violin virtuosos or Nobel Prize winners — with the taxpayers anteing up for room and board, probably in Atlanta, as well as education. Frankly, such intense specialized schools are better created locally (and would be far more likely if the Rome/Floyd systems consolidated) as children with individual special talents are more common than rare when properly nurtured.

OR, THIS could allow a “statewide” boarding school, say at Sea Island, with admission requirements limited to the children of legislators and Georgia government employees making more than $100,000.
This thing is ugly, ugly, ugly and downright un-American. Barge is a hero for standing up against it and every voter in this state, including supporters of what charter schools are really supposed to be, should join him in not only voting “No!” on this come Nov. 6 but in crushing it so viciously that nothing of like evil would dare be attempted ever again.

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
11:02 am

@ Maureen –

I’d also like to ask that you actually VERIFY his data. That means….not just ASK the DOE if it’s right, but actually check it and ensure it is comprehensive and that there is more than 1 variable considered. That means to do a same:same comparison with districts as well on the same things the charters were evaluated on for “quality”.

For example, if he is going to hammer the few charters in the state that use for-profit management companies, then please ask him to speak to the almost 30 districts I found using a single for-profit vendor (I could find the others if needed…), including Bartow County and his native Cobb County spending hundreds and thousands, and sometimes MILLIONS.

Please ask him to compare the AYP rates in districts that actually have charters rather than just a statewide average. And ask him to put up a comparison of grades and subjects on CRCT and EOCT like districts are assessed.

Ask him to fairly compare districts’ governance by considering the number of districts with SACS violations. How many have come up to the State Board recently for a hearing? How many do not demonstrate transparency in governance following basic Open Meetings. Do you know how many districts don’t bother to post board meetings or agendas on their websites? A lot.

Charters are always, always hammered, which is fine. But what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

td

August 21st, 2012
11:02 am

Maureen Downey

August 21st, 2012
10:49 am

If I am not mistaken, this is a pretty conservative paper?

Chuntter

August 21st, 2012
11:06 am

… But John Barge won’t get your vote in the next election if he has a credible Democrat opponent—will he, Maureen?

The faux Republicans who ran for school board positions in that party’s primary can likewise kiss their local teacher union support goodbye.

And @Dr Henson, you seen unaware that—unlike GAE—PAGE doesn’t endorse political candidates or fund their campaigns. It’s a prime reason why PAGE has twice the membership of GAE and continues to grow at their expense.

Solutions

August 21st, 2012
11:10 am

My advice, for what it is worth, to parents is to use the public schools for what they are worth, but supplement liberally with tutors, on line learning especially in math, statistics, and physics, and provide reading material for your child on any subject that interests them, no questions asked. Limit tv, video game, and internet time, use them as a reward for doing the online math. Buy piano or violin or guitar lessons to teach music, and encourage team sports regardless of the level, recreational or select. Too bad some of the charter money cannot be used to purchase music or language lessons.

teacher&mom

August 21st, 2012
11:12 am

@Dr. Henson:
PAGE does not endorse candidates.

Prof

August 21st, 2012
11:28 am

@ td, August 21st, 10:29 am: “CharterStarter, Too….I just figured it out. You are either Jan Jones or a better choice is Erin Hames (sp). ”

I figured out yesterday that CS2 must be Rep. Jan Jones who sponsored the charter school amendment in the House, on the “War of Words” blog on Aug. 20, 11:39 am and 2:30 pm. Another poster, sneak peek in education, had noted that CS2 had claimed to work in a small business earlier and then to be a “public school educator,” and was suspicious of the discrepancy. I checked Rep. Jan Jones’s website, and found that she has been a small business owner, and sponsored at least 3 prior legislative bills relating to public education. Since “educator” can mean “a specialist in the theory and practice of education” as well as “teacher” (American Heritage Dictionary), both claims would accurately describe Rep. Jan Jones.

And in all of the many recent blog-threads about this amendment on “Get Schooled” and also Kyle Wingfield’s blog, CS2 is right there with very long posts to answer each and every objection to the amendment…rather like a robo-call.

Dr. John Trotter

August 21st, 2012
11:45 am

I think that it’s all a bunch of hooey. I think that the man did what he thought was right. I agree with him. I think, under the dire circumstances, Dr. Barge is doing a fine job. I voted for him. MACE also does not endorse, even when its own members or associates run for elections. I personally, however, directly helped two “MACE folks” this summer and both won 56 to 44, one getting re-elected for the seventh term to the State House and continuing to be a fierce advocate for public education and public school teachers, Darryl Jordan, and one, Anderson (Andy) Ramay, beating the Chairman of the school board in Jeff Davis County. Ramay is “Of Counsel” for MACE and has defended many teachers in hearings. Both of his parents are public school teachers.

I think that John Barge just needs to continue to do what he feels is right for public education in Georgia. I think that he did this when he apparently changed his mind on the proposed charter school commission amendment. I am going to vote against this amendment too.

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
12:17 pm

@ Chuntter – LOL. I’m willing to bet membership choice has more to do with the price for dues (GAE= 278 vs. PAGE @ 175) than their legislative priorities.

I will say that despite PAGE’s hurry up “open letter” regarding their support of charter schools (because of course, they don’t want to lose member dues…), our charter teachers care about not only cost, but they pay attention to legislative positions, too. They are jumping ship FAST from membership with PAGE and GAE. They want a membership organization that has the integrity to stay neutral on matters that impact various portions of their PAYING membership.

@ Prof – You can’t possibly think I’d let Mary Elizabeth be more verbose than me? Goodness, no!

Dr. Monica Henson

August 21st, 2012
12:19 pm

Thanks, Maureen, for the historical information on the incumbents in the school superintendent race. Whether PAGE endorses candidates officially or not, they, like GAE and GSSA, surely communicate to their membership. I am of the opinion that the hysteria being cooked up over the constitutional amendment issue will bring out more voters than usual, and if the education establishment (GSBA, GSSA, et al) behaves in this state like they do in other states where I’ve lived & voted, there’ll be plenty of “public information” disseminated.

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
12:27 pm

@ Dr. Trotter. The thing is…he said he DIDN’T change his position. So did he, or didn’t he?

mountain man

August 21st, 2012
12:33 pm

I will vote FOR the amendment in November. If I have the option, I will vote AGAINST John Barge in the Republican primary. And if our local BOE votes against a reasonable charter school, I will vote against every one that voted against it. That is my choice. We will see who wins in November.

Maureen Downey

August 21st, 2012
12:45 pm

@Dr. Henson, Historically, voters approve amendments. They are typically written by the sponsors in such a genial way that nobody would vote “no.”
I think the charter school amendment will pass, largely because of that pattern.
Maureen

Prof

August 21st, 2012
1:07 pm

@ CharterStarter, Too, August 21st, 12:17 pm: “@ Prof – You can’t possibly think I’d let Mary Elizabeth be more verbose than me? Goodness, no!”

Curious the way you keep attacking Mary Elizabeth (you called her “Ms. Southern Belle” on an earlier blog-thread) when there are plenty of others also questioning you. Is it because her points are most telling?

“Verbose” means “using or containing an excessive number of words” (American Heritage Dictionary). Mary Elizabeth seems to me to be “testifying” eloquently about the value of and need for a solid public education of all citizens, not just those who are privileged. You, however………..

John Konop

August 21st, 2012
1:32 pm

I have heard this complaint about the Solyndra deal ie bypassing of “ key taxpayer protections in a rush to approve the funds”, from many republicans about the Obama administration. For those of you supporting Charter schools without proper controls in place what is the difference? As you know I have been very consistent about wanting proper controls in all deals that put tax payers at risk. I am in further shock, how this is not a cornerstone issue for the Tea Party. If you support the current charter bill, than why would you ever complain about deals like Solyndra ?

…….In 2009, the Obama administration fast-tracked Solyndra’s loan application, later awarding it $535 million in guarantees from the stimulus funds.

The deal later came under scrutiny from independent government watch dogs and members of Congress, which said the administration had bypassed key taxpayer protections in a rush to approve the funds….

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/08/solar-energy-company-touted-by-obama-goes-bankrupt/

Mary Elizabeth

August 21st, 2012
1:42 pm

The below is part of my response to Charter Starter, Too’s (Jan Jones’s?) remarks to me in the thread “War of Words. . .”) now in the August archives, concerning Georgia’s Constitutional Amendment:
——————————————————

From Jefferson’s words on public education in his “Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIV”:

“Another object of the revisal is to diffuse knowledge more generally through the mass of the people. This bill proposes to lay off every county into small districts of five or six miles square, called hundreds, and in each of them to establish a school for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic.”
————————————————————

Notice the words “mass of the people” and “every county into small districts”. . . “to establish a school” to teach ALL of the children in his day. Sounds remarkably like public education by school districts, does it not?
————————————————————-

Public education can and will improve. There have been huge societal changes within the past 50 years and these changes in society (for the better overall) have, nevertheless, effected public education. Public charter schools can help to the end of improving public education, but they must work in harmony with traditional public schools and be guided by local Boards of Education. This state does not need another level of special charter schools – as proposed in HR 1162 which is now Georgia’s Constitutional Amendment. This amendment will hinder traditional public education overall, not help it

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
1:43 pm

@ Prof – Yes, I….provide FACTS and links to public sources rather than eloquence. I’m ok with that.

I was teasing Mary Elizabeth, Prof. She has gotten very flustered with my push back and it was a bit out of character from her usual charm in her sharp tone this morning. I don’t mean any harm. She is not all wrong in what she says. I do think she relies a bit too much on Mr. Jefferson, and I do think she is rather paranoid about for-profit take over (and still hasn’t answered my question about districts using for profit management companies…) For all that, she clearly values education, and I respect her passion.

I just want accurate and comprehensive data presented. Not one person (including ME) on the opposing side has responded to my very pointed questions posed (based on irrefutable data). The voters should have the information to fairly evaluate and vote. Why are the answers to these questions avoided? I have answered the questions posed of me and supported my answers.

td

August 21st, 2012
1:53 pm

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
1:43 pm

What proof? I debated you on Kyle’s blog for almost an entire day and you still could not “prove” why this amendment was even necessary when the commission would do the same thing that the local BOE and state BOE currently does under current law. You keep coming back to some argument that if this amendment is not passed then all charters will be thrown out. Bogus argument with no proof whatsoever.

Mary Elizabeth

August 21st, 2012
1:57 pm

@Prof, 1:07 pm

Thank you for your comments, Prof.

I have found that when a person attempts to trivialize another it is usually because that person feels threatened by the one he/she is disparaging.

I believe that my strong commitment to public education, especially to traditional, not-for-profit public education, threatens those who want to undermine traditional public education. Readers should question why anyone would want to do undermine our traditional public education, instead of working with its leaders and teachers to improve it. Could personal gain be a factor? One has to question. Traditional public education serves the common good – it is inclusive to all.

Ron F.

August 21st, 2012
1:57 pm

“Thanks, Maureen, for the historical information on the incumbents in the school superintendent race. Whether PAGE endorses candidates officially or not, they, like GAE and GSSA, surely communicate to their membership.”

They never tell you how to vote, or “urge” you in any way. They report on the legislation, their positions, and tell you to decide. I’ve voted both with them and against them and never felt pressured either way.

Ron F.

August 21st, 2012
2:03 pm

CS2: Any organization representing educators will, at some point, have to take a position for or against legislation. There’s no shame in doing so, and I would be unlikely to join one that pretends to be neutral. I like PAGE for the fact that their position and their lobbying are clear, their positions carefully articulated, and their members informed of this. There’s no national organization to whom they must be beholden. I’m fine with disagreeing with them, and sometimes I do. My vote is MY vote, not theirs, and they don’t tell us how to vote.

Ron F.

August 21st, 2012
2:08 pm

As to the topic of this thread, the man changed his mind. So……what difference does that make? He doesn’t support the amendment. That doesn’t mean the world will end or that charter schools will suddenly be run out of town. What it means is that the man knows, as should we all, that the state doesn’t have the money for this right now, regardless of how “needed” it might be. And when they start trying to find the funds, they’ll pretend not to cut education funding, now at about 38% and then find some way to do it. What else can they do, close Sonny’s fish farm or whatever that thing is? Right now, the charter schools we have are over 80% locally approved. That’s not bad, and doesn’t seem to portend gloom and doom for them getting approved.

Mary Elizabeth

August 21st, 2012
2:15 pm

Charter Starter, Too, 1:43 pm

Just because you state something as truth does not make it true. You state that Mary Elizabeth has gotten “flustered” with your “push back”. You say that Mary Elizabeth has gotten “paranoid” over “for-profit take over.”

Wrong on all counts. But, you continue to spin, because that is how you operate in what you do – spinning truth.

I have given plenty of facts to justify that there is a profit motivation in this nation for dismantling traditional public schools and so have many others. Trying to trivialize that fact will not change the tact that that is true. “You cannot fool all of the people, all of the time.”

bootney farnsworth

August 21st, 2012
3:33 pm

what I can’t understand is the alleged outrage by so many posters.

the man supports the concept of charter schools, but not the idea of additional funding for them at the lowest functional and economic point in Georgia educational history.

I thought the red meat crowd was all about reducing excess spending.

CharterStarter, Too

August 21st, 2012
4:21 pm

@ td – I never said all the charters would be closed. Please reread what I wrote. What I SAID us that some members of the Supreme Court AND the Attorney General said there is a gray area that can only be fixed by a Constitutional Amendment.

@ ME – Now YOU protesteth too much.

Ron F.

August 21st, 2012
4:47 pm

“I thought the red meat crowd was all about reducing excess spending.”

Pick a side, and it’s all about reducing spending on the other. It doesn’t take a calculator and a math degree to figure out, as Jethro would say, “naught minus naught equals naught.” While this is too oft framed as an ideological debate, for many like me who try to at least examine both sides, it’s all about the money. And from where I’m looking, it’s like saying you’re going to build a new house when the bank’s about ready to foreclose on the one you’re in now.

dc

August 21st, 2012
5:06 pm

@Maureen, you make be right, and I may be wrong. Personally I think that the incentive of local school systems is to view charters as competition for “their” money. So having the ability for some other group to ensure that local parents and kids have options is part an parcel of supporting charter schools (whose entire purpose is to provide an alternative to existing failing schools). Just my opinion, and you may well be right that he never intended to support a state level of control.

catlady

August 21st, 2012
5:23 pm

So it really wasn’t a flip. Just a slight hop. Hope he gets the apologies he deserves.