State board charter committee: No fireworks but a few sparks today

I am on deadline for a Sunday piece but dashed downtown to the state Department of Education this morning for the State Board Charter Committee meeting after being told to expect “fireworks” over John Barge’s surprising public statement last week in opposition to the November charter school amendment. The committee is a subcommittee of the state Board of Education.

It wasn’t quite fireworks, but there were a few sparks  The sparsely attended meeting had representatives from two charter schools, Heritage Prep Academy and Ivy Prep, who spoke in favor of their schools.

The charter school reps were there because of Barge’s statement last week: “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 annual average of the Charter Commission that would be revived if the amendment passes).”

While waiting for the 10 a.m. meeting to start, I talked to Nina Gilbert, Ivy Prep founder, about her concerns over Barge’s position. The state is Ivy Prep’s authorizer, Gilbert noted, so it is important that Barge be a strong supporter of the charter school movement and concept.

The meeting began 40 minutes late with an announcement from the chair that the committee would speak to the Barge statement even though it was not on the agenda. Chair Brian Burdette also said that the public could speak for two minutes on the issue, too.

Committee members Daniel Israel and Grant Lewis spoke first. Committee member Kenneth Mason had jury duty. They split on the issue:

Israel: I was disappointed with the decision that Barge took. I want to see the amendment pass… for everyone to line up behind it for a couple of reasons. We need to offer alternatives  for children in Georgia. I think that a lot of support and good will has been generated behind this initiative and this might poison the well a little bit. I am hoping we can come together and advocate and see this pass in November.

Lewis: I think we have already have an option for charter schools. The state school board can approve them and I think the terrible economics come to play a great deal in our state. We can save some money by not having a commission that duplicates services. I am very much behind charter schools. In the future, as we have more money available, we can revisit it. At present time, I am not going to support it.

Then, the chair spoke:

Burdette: I disagree with Superintendent Barge’s comment vigorously and I was very surprised and shocked to hear it. But I am going to reserve my comments to this afternoon in the committee of the whole. I wanted the charter committee to understand and know where I stand — I stand in full support.

In the brief public portion, four employees of charter schools spoke in favor of their schools. A parent spoke, although it was unclear that he understood the intent of the amendment as he told us afterward that he was not sure of the particulars but wanted more money to come to his school. (The amendment will not redirect more money to existing charter schools.)

The former executive director of the state Charter Schools Commission spoke about his personal frustrations with Barge’s position. I was surprised by Mark Peevy’s criticisms as Peevy would have to work with DOE again if the amendment passes and the commission is revived under his leadership. (I told him that afterward, and Peevy said he felt he had to be candid. I told him that journalists appreciate candor, but I still wondered about his job prospects.)

Peevy said the school chief’s comments disparaged the work of his commission, as well as the supervisory role of the state board in sanctioning the schools endorsed by the commission. Peevy said he was offended by a DOE-produced fact sheet on charter schools in which Barge noted that only one of the schools approved by the commission was high quality in 2011, based on performance scores.

The fact sheet stated:

Charter schools in Georgia do not consistently outperform traditional public schools. In 2010-11, Georgia’s traditional public schools outperformed its charter schools, with 73% making AYP compare to 70% of charter schools.

Only one of the 13 schools serving former Commission school students meets the definition of a high-quality charter school – and that school is now a locally-approved charter school (The Museum School of Avondale Estates).

“To come back now and say those schools were not high quality puts the work of this committee and the board as a whole in a disturbing light,” said Peevy.

For clarity: State board of ed members are appointed and reflect the political leanings of the governor who put them in the seats. Last year, Gov. Nathan Deal purged the state board, replacing longtime members with his own appointees, most of whom support charter schools. So, it should be no surprise that board members disagree with Barge on the amendment question.

Barge, however, was elected statewide without much help from the GOP establishment. The Republican leadership ignored his campaign because of his opposition to Race to the Top, a personal project of then Gov. Perdue. As a result, Barge took office with fewer political IOUs, which is why he has more freedom to take stands that depart from the GOP script in the state.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

132 comments Add your comment

Ron F.

August 22nd, 2012
1:42 pm

“The state is Ivy Prep’s authorizer, Gilbert noted, so it is important that Barge be a strong supporter of the charter school movement and concept.”

Barge has openly stated, repeatedly, that he supports charter schools. He opposes the amendment to create a state commission to approve them. It is, in point of fact, possible to support the type of school without supporting the expense created by the amendment.

Just A Teacher

August 22nd, 2012
1:51 pm

It is frustrating (but not surprising) that there were representatives from charter schools at the meeting but no representatives from the local school boards which would be affected by the proposed amendment. Taxation without representation, anyone?

Inquiring Mind

August 22nd, 2012
1:58 pm

Where, on any website, can I locate the salaries of staff at Charter Schools? I can’t find this info on Ga Audits.

Pride and Joy

August 22nd, 2012
2:04 pm

How to lie with statistics:

“Charter schools in Georgia do not consistently outperform traditional public schools. In 2010-11, Georgia’s traditional public schools outperformed its charter schools, with 73% making AYP compare to 70% of charter schools.”

Charter schools are most often a response to a failing, traditional public school. The success of a charter scool should be measured against the success of the traditional public school it was meant to address. So for example, compare Drew Charter school to Toomer Elementary and Coan Middle School.

Also remember that academic success is a key component for measureing success but not the only important metric. Parents often pull their children out of traditional public schools because of bullying and teenage pregnancy. Compare those numbers between the traditional public schools and the charter schools in the same immediate area of from the area in which the children.

I would be silly to expect the children from Drew Charter, who are poor and black and come from one-parent homes, to perform as well as their rich, affluent white peers in East Cobb. Compare Drew Peterson charter school to the performance of Toomer and Coan.

Also include parent approval as a measure of success and the amount of money the school spends as a measure of success.

One can easily manipulate the news with statistics. One has to understand how the statistics were gathered and what they really measure. People want to present statistics in a way to accomplish their own agendas and on this blog, bashing charter schools has been raised to an Olympic-level pastime.

Maureen Downey

August 22nd, 2012
2:12 pm

@Pride and Good Mother, I have to respond to your comment that “One can easily manipulate the news with statistics. One has to understand how the statistics were gathered and what they really measure. People want to present statistics in a way to accomplish their own agendas and on this blog, bashing charter schools has been raised to an Olympic-level pastime.”
In your various incarnations on this blog, you have cited the failure rates of APS and DeKalb schools again and again. (I have no idea if you have children or if they go to schools in either system, but those are the two systems that you have mentioned.)
You declare schools in those systems failures by virtue of the scores that you now say are being manipulated and presented in ways “to accomplish their own agendas.”
Make up your mind. These charter schools are being judged by the same state test scores that you cite repeatedly as proof that APS and DeKalb are failures.
If you are now suggesting that these scores cannot be trusted to assess charter schools, then why do you use them to judge APS and DeKalb?
Speaking of an agenda.


August 22nd, 2012
2:16 pm

Maureen, you ignored Pride’s point. The DOE info compares charter schools to the entire state, which is not a fair comparison. Why not compare the charters to the schools in their districts and see what we come up with.

bootney farnsworth

August 22nd, 2012
2:21 pm

I’m still waiting to hear where the money is gonna come from.

Anon for this 1

August 22nd, 2012
2:28 pm

Some questions about Drew, since the charter issue is here again. The Drew supporters made a good argument that the local poor children aren’t being excluded. One thing didn’t get mentioned that maybe a Drew supporter can answer. They say siblings get a priority, but is it also true that children in the day care program also get a spot reserved once they are of age to enter Drew? If this is true, what are the fees for the day care? Do they have a sliding scale for poor parents? If they don’t have a sliding scale, does that mean that well off parents have an advantage that poor parents don’t in that they can buy their way in by paying for their child to be in day care? The supporters did a pretty good job explaining everything else, so maybe they can say if this is true or not.

Just A Teacher

August 22nd, 2012
2:31 pm

“Peevy said he was offended by a DOE-produced fact sheet on charter schools”

I suppose facts can be offensive if they don’t support your position. LOL

Maureen Downey

August 22nd, 2012
2:32 pm

@Mitch, I have looked at the scores of charters schools across comparable demographics. There is not a big difference as the national research bears out. But, in their defense, the Georgia charter commission schools being talked about today are new. They contend that their scores will improve over time and that they ought be judged after they have these kids for a time.
And as Mark Peevy told me after the meeting today, the 2012 scores are better for several of the the schools.
It is also not the case that all the state-approved charter schools have larger numbers of poor kids.
The highest performing charter cited by Barge, the Museum School of Avondale in DeKalb County, has only 15 percent of its students on free and reduced lunch, according to the state Report card. But, as a system, DeKalb County has 70 percent of its students on free and reduced lunch.

Ron F.

August 22nd, 2012
2:35 pm

Mitch: what difference does it make? If the public school averages 50%,the charter 55% and the state average is 65%, I’m not sure I’m seeing the point in comparing it to the local school. If public schools are measured as compared to state % or even national %, why shouldn’t charters? They serve the same kids and are supposed to be able to do it better.


August 22nd, 2012
2:36 pm

So charters are a tool used primarily to help kids from severely under performing schools have a viable option to better themselves…and when these students (who are clearly behind, given their prior schooling) don’t outperform the rest of the state, suddenly it’s not a good use of funds….Seriously?

Would be even more interesting to see the stats on how many of the children who left “regular public schools” ended up graduating, going to college, going jail, not dropping out due to unwanted pregnancy, or the like, compared to the stats from the local public school from which they came.

In the end, the #1 driver should be to help those kids who actually want to learn and succeed in life, do exactly that.

DeKalb Teacher

August 22nd, 2012
2:39 pm

Lies, Damn Lies and statistics.
It’s important to note the difference between “conversion” charters and “startup” charters. To Pride and Joy’s point, if a school is really bad the district may decide to convert it into a charter. That school isn’t going to go from bottom of the barrel to shooting star over night. A conversion charter school’s scores might significantly increase while still being lower than the average public school. Conflating conversion and startup charters is a disservice to both.

Maureen Downey

August 22nd, 2012
2:42 pm

@dc, Part of the problem is the early rhetoric of the charter school movement and the terms of the first wave of charter contracts, which, in fact, required that the students outperform their peers in public schools. It was part of the selling point of charter schools.
There is a push in some quarters to stop judging charter schools by test scores alone and weigh parental satisfaction, safety, and soft skills. But, of course, every school would want that broader criteria applied to them.
So, not sure where that effort will go or where it should go.

Pride and Joy

August 22nd, 2012
3:00 pm

Maureen, just as Mitch said, you are missing the point. There is a HUGE difference between Coan Middle School and Toomer Elementary School and the average traditional public school in Georgia.

Take Drew Charter’s academic scores and compare them to the academic scores of Toomer and Coan, the two schools that Drew Peterson Charter was created to avoid.

Coan and Toomer are horrendous failures. Their cheating test results are enormous, their academic scores are rock bottom and their discipline problems are astronomically bad.

Compare Drew to Toomer and Coan. THAT’S AN ACCURATE COMPARISON.

Mary Elizabeth

August 22nd, 2012
3:01 pm

“Last year, Gov. Nathan Deal purged the state board, replacing longtime members with his own appointees, most of whom support charter schools. So, it should be no surprise that board members disagree with Barge on the amendment question.

Barge, however, was elected statewide without much help from the GOP establishment.”

I have believed, and I continue to believe, that the amendment to Georgia’s Constitution has more political ramifications than educational ones. Superintendent Barge stated last week that he could not support support “the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy …(which) unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education.”

Furthermore, there already exists, by law, a means of appeal for parents who are not satisfied with a local Board of Education’s decision regarding a specific charter school – and that is through appeal to Georgia’s Superintendent of Schools.

Please read the following link – that will elaborate upon political ramifications – which is a page from the thread on this blog entitled, “Our PolitiFact Georgia team looks at John Barge and charters: Not much of a flip”:

Dr. Monica Henson

August 22nd, 2012
3:02 pm

I thought that was you sitting in the back. :)

Maureen Downey

August 22nd, 2012
3:03 pm

@Ron, Good point. If we started judging school systems on performance of specific demographics, the discussion about which systems are succeeding could change a great deal.
For instance, Atlanta Public Schools would be ranked among the top two in the state for white students, based on their performance on national tests, such as the SAT, with Decatur being the other top system.

Maureen Downey

August 22nd, 2012
3:04 pm

@Dr. Henson, How come you didn’t speak? I think they needed your clarity.

Pride and Joy

August 22nd, 2012
3:04 pm

Ron, you ask what difference does it make? Please allow me to explain. It makes ALL the difference.

The parents of children in Drew Charter do not have the option to put their children in any traditional public school. THey have an option to send their child to Drew Charter or to Coan Middle School.

Drew is a startling, smashing success compared to Coan Middle School. A good parent will choose the best optoin they have. Please keep in mind, a private school is not an optoin for these parents, not by any stretch of the imagination, neither is moving to a better school district. The choice is Drew Charter or Coan. That’s it. And it makes ALL the difference in their world.

Pride and Joy

August 22nd, 2012
3:15 pm

Maureen, you still don’t get it. I don’t know what tangent you’ve gone off of but please try to read it carefully so you understand….

Here’s my point:
It is fair and right to compare a charter school to the traditional public school it was meant to address.
It is unfair and not right to compaire a charter school to all GA traditional public schools.

Let me explain.
Parents do not have the option of enrolling their child in ANY traditional public school in GA.
They have the option to enroll their child in the traditional public school for which they are zoned and the option to enroll in the charter school for which they qualifty.
That’s it.
People who choose charters are not an affluent crowd who can afford private school.
The choice is — the local traditional public school or the charter school.
Compare those two schools — which is better?
The better one is a success. That most often means the charter school.
AGAIN, hear me clearly — compare DREW charter school and COAN Middle School. By any measurement: academic scores, parental approval, childrens’ happiness and amount of money spent, Drew is a phenomenal success.

THAT’s WHAT MATTERS to a parent. As parents we need VIABLE options. Drew is viable. It workds. It succeeds. ….and it does it with no more money and heck of a lot less drama that the local traditional public school …and if you don’t publish this blog entry, you’re just being petty.

Mikey D.

August 22nd, 2012
3:19 pm

@Pride and Joy
I’m not understanding the point you’re trying to make… No one has said that Drew, or any other charters for that matter, shouldn’t exist. Quite the opposite. What was said (quite accurately) is that the state does not have millions of extra dollars lying around to fund a commission whose duties would be redundant to those of the state DOE.


August 22nd, 2012
3:22 pm

@Maureen, I think that both are valid (better performance, and the fact that that doesn’t translate into better “statewide” performance. If compared to the schools from which the students came, I suspect you’ll see marked improvement in scores. The rest is incredibly important as well (the “life success” triggers), but I would think the scores would show improvement as well.

John Konop

August 22nd, 2012
3:23 pm

In fairness most of the statistics cited from both sides of this debate would fail a basic research methods class. The education community constantly compares numbers without taking into consideration the difference of students they are studying.

A few basic tips the education establishment should know:

1) Comparing mean numbers that are within 5% of each other is not relevant for ranking. It could be used for acceptable or unacceptable depending on how the sub sets are being compared ie high achieving vs. high achieving, special needs vs special needs depending on the diagnosis….
2) A true study of charter schools would be to track the achievement of the students who left public school vs. what they did in charter school the next year. Comparing charter numbers to high school numbers without that is basically speculative at best
3) Drop-out rates should be based on kids entering school by 9th grade and exiting school with a degree. If the number of kids on a macro drop from the 9th grade to 12th grade and our population is growing and or stagnate that is a good sign we are not counting kids

I could go on and on, but I do agree both sides spend more time spinning numbers than dealing in reality.


August 22nd, 2012
3:23 pm

@Pride and Joy – I think there is a glaring issue in your statement:
“A good parent will choose the best optoin [sic] they have.” I agree. However, what happens to the student if a parent does not keep his or her end of the bargain and volunteer at their local charter school? I have said it over and over and over until I have turned blue – the community and the parents make the school. A school is not a failure because of the students or the faculty there. If a school has strong community support, they will be a success because 1) the students will see there is a value to what they are doing in the school; 2) the faculty will work to remove the ineffective teachers because the community will demand it; and 3) the community has that vested interest in seeing the school succeed.

Pride and Joy

August 22nd, 2012
3:39 pm

d — here is where we disagree.
Parents and community affect a school but they do not have a monopoly on the outcomes.
I can send my child rested and fed to school but once they’re in that school, it is all up to the teachers and administrators.
I couldn’t teach the class if I’d wanted to because they won’t allow it and I am certain I could do a much better job. If you think a typs such as “optoin” is offfensive, you ought to read and hear the garbage that comes out of my childs’ teachers’ mouth. You would have to have (sic) programmed as a key on your keyboard.
You cannot put all the responsiblity for education on parents and the community. If you could, you should give back your teacher’s salary. That’s what parents and the community pay YOU TEACHERS to do.
If you aren’t doing your job — to teach — don’t cash your paycheck.

Just A Teacher

August 22nd, 2012
3:41 pm

I know some of my postings have been snide, but I agree very strongly with Superintendent Barge on this issue. The state has been cutting funding to public schools for a decade and now, in the midst of the great recession, they somehow have enough money to fabricate an entirely new administrative beauracracy. It seems absurd to take much needed funding from traditional public schools in order to do so. Bring teacher salaries up to an acceptable level, eliminate furlough days, fully fund traditional public schools and THEN start spending whatever money is left in the DOE coffers.


August 22nd, 2012
3:46 pm

Pride and Joy’s comparison of Drew Charter to Coan middle is not valid. During APS’s recent redistricting process, the data showed that only 54% of the middle school aged students who lived in the Coan middle zone actually attended Coan — and many/most of those who didn’t go to Coan went to Drew. The 54% left behind at Coan are largely the lower 50% of the students in the area. If you start a charter school, and then populate it with the better students from the traditional local public school, leaving the bottom half behind at the public school, then its no wonder which school will have higher test scores.

Dr. Monica Henson

August 22nd, 2012
3:57 pm

Maureen, I didn’t expect for them to open the floor, and I hadn’t prepared any remarks. I’ve posted my thoughts here on the blog :)

I tend to get a little folksy in my discussion of the politics…

Pride and Joy

August 22nd, 2012
4:08 pm

To Anon for this 1 — I don’t know the answer to your question but it’s a fair one. One other thing to consider — Pre-K is free as well.
Also, Drew has a priority of getting low income students from the poorest area that school serves.
If you ever saw the studetns at Drew I think you’d undersatnd better. They are all poor and black. Drewis aobut 99 percent black and 100 percent poor and lower middle class, yet their success compared to the local schools is astronomical.
Drew also spends less money educating these kids than the local traditional public schools.
For anyone to try to make any argument for closing Drew and forcing those kids into the cess pool thta is COAN is not to be counted among the humane.

Pride and Joy

August 22nd, 2012
4:10 pm

Ray, you’re making my point for me.
COAN is a horrendous failure. That’s why COAN was nearly closed. The school was so bad hardly anyone wanted to attend it.
That’s why Drew Charter opened — as a response to the horrible middle school known as Coan.
My point is valid and accurate.
Don’t know why you can’t see that.

Mountain Man

August 22nd, 2012
4:25 pm

Barge is against the Amendment because he says $430 million will be taken away from public schools and given to charter schools. If you go research the amendment, it does not say anything about $430 million. In fact, it specifically says that money that local public schools are entitled to CANNOT be cut. So why is Barge against something that will give parents options, take some students out of public schools (without taking their local funding), and paying for them with other state funds?


August 22nd, 2012
4:39 pm

Thank you again Superintendent Barge for clearly pointing out the “the Emperor has no clothes”. Unfortunately for you and Georgia, Deal is a vindictive son of a gun and I am not sure you will ever teach in Georgia again, much less be elected to public office.

Ron F.

August 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Pride: I don’t doubt the improvement over the “competition”, but at some point we’re going to have to look at where they rank the same way we do traditional public schools. After all, that data is always used as part of the push to establish a charter. As I noted earlier, if the charter is ten or twenty points higher than its local competitors, that proves they’re doing something good, no doubt. But if they are still below state or national averages that are also used to judge the traditional public school, then we’re not getting the whole picture. I don’t doubt the efficacy of charters, especially in places like APS and Dekalb where there are obviously lots of issues. I just think if we’re going to continue to cast aspersions, we need to hold all schools to the same standards. I know it takes time for any change to reach its potential, but after five years, I’d expect to be exceeding not only the local competitors but the state averages as well.

Another Math Teacher

August 22nd, 2012
4:44 pm

Good Mother, after all of your previous trolling, how do you expect anyone to take anything you say seriously? Even if you make a point, you’re about as believable as the boy who cried wolf.

Ron F.

August 22nd, 2012
4:46 pm

Mountain Man: this is the state legislature we’re talking about, so I don’t hold much regard for them right now. What happens when they discover, as we already know, that there isn’t enough money to get the charters going they want to fund? I can’t think of where they’ll get it, and I’d expect to see some legislation flying around to “adjust” funding formulas for existing schools. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit.


August 22nd, 2012
4:49 pm

I feel I ought to give back by my GPAN “power to the parent” award. I feel very powerless these days and have no energy for this fight.

Huge cuts to the magnet program my kids are now in, and huge drop in $$ to the start-up charter they used to be in. Both worthy, trying to be different, and make a difference. It seems like the opposite sides of the same shrinking coin.

I remember in the olden days that the slogan of GCSA was: “A public school of your own”… Who in their right mind would want one these days?

Maureen Downey

August 22nd, 2012
4:57 pm

@yuze, I have no doubt that John Barge will win a second term, if he wants one. This entire debate on charter schools is being done at the administrative level for the most part and among the small fraction of parents in charter schools. Most Georgians have no dog in this fight. I meet people every day without school-age children who have no idea what a charter school is. Nor do they really care. And that is not a criticism; they have other things on their minds.
From the Census: Of 3.5 million households in Georgia, 1.13 million have children under the age of 18.


August 22nd, 2012
4:58 pm

I agree that you are not necessarily getting “Pride’s” point: the valid comparison for charter schools is vs. what the students would have done in their “home” schools. As John Konop stated eloquently: “A true study of charter schools would be to track the achievement of the students who left public school vs. what they did in charter school the next year. Comparing charter numbers to high school numbers without that is basically speculative at best.” and 73% vs. 70% is very likely not statistically significant anyway.

And please people–not all charter schools are the same. There are conversions, start-ups, county-funded (at less per student than county schools), state funded/chartered, the perversion of the charter ideal know as “for-profit charters” , charter systems such as Decatur. . . Please don’t paint all these schools with one “charter” brush

Mikey D.

August 22nd, 2012
5:00 pm

@Mountain Man
Georgia law also SPECIFICALLY says that the legislature must fund the QBE formula, but they haven’t done it yet ever since the QBE law was passed 25 years ago. Not once.
I’m glad you have faith in our friends under the gold dome, but they’ve given most of us no reason whatsoever to trust that they would ever do what they say (even when it’s legally required!)


August 22nd, 2012
5:04 pm

Witnessing the blood crusade against parental choice waged daily in this blog—by the moderator and various incarnations (her words) of a small coterie of teachers’ union bloggers—I wonder why so very much angst is generated over fellow citizens passionate about giving charter schools the chance to provide their kids a better chance in life.

Do we not all agree that failure is the legacy of too many of Atlanta’s inner city schools?

Is the primary issue here the pay and benefits of teachers and the revenues of teachers’ union bosses? Can’t teaching innovations be allowed to prove or disprove their own worth? Will experimentation likely present results worse than those we’ve come to expect from traditional public schools in the inner city?

Freedom to choose. Shouldn’t that be every parent’s right?

Pride and Joy

August 22nd, 2012
5:05 pm

Ron, you wrote “But if they are still below state or national averages that are also used to judge the traditional public school, then we’re not getting the whole picture.”

I respectfully disagree with that statement.
Traditional public schools in GA are rated by their test scores. Did the students score an acceptable level on the CRCT? If they did, the school maintains its funding and is allowed to exist. We don’t rank traditional public schools in GA and close the bottom percentage as your statement indicates.

So the same measurement should apply to charter schools. Are they making the scores needed to pass the CRCT or equivalent? Or are they making a marked improvement over the local traditional public school it was meant to address? If the answer is yes, then fund the charter at the expense of the traditional public school in the area.
I mean just that. Take money away from the failing traditional public school and give it to the charter school. If that means the traditional public school has to lay off teachers and close schools, good riddance.
We cannot afford to continue to give money to failing traditional public schools.
I think in your gut, Ron, you know that’s true.
Why would we keep any government institution open that didn’t succeed? especially when we had another, more viable optoin that isn’t more expensive?
If the DMV couldn’t process driver’s licenses accurately in an acceptable amount of time and we had a charter DMV that could process the driver’s licenses more accurate and in less time and with the same amount of money you wouldn’t argue against a charter DMV.
Opponents of charter schools have two hidden agendas — protecting their jobs and protecting their power.
Everything else is just a smoke screen.

Mikey D.

August 22nd, 2012
5:10 pm

@Chunter, aka Jane W., aka Google NEA…

How ironic that you accuse others of being various incarnations. That’s a pretty good one.

Also, “blood crusade”? Your rhetoric is over the top, as usual. But at least your good for a laugh every now and then.

Mikey D.

August 22nd, 2012
5:11 pm



August 22nd, 2012
5:30 pm

A couple of the anti-charter arguments, as I understand them:
–take money away from the larger school system
–create elitist systems/schools of ’select’ kids–by which is implied (by some), create white islands in the midst of minority majority areas
Could not these complaints apply to the City Schools of Decatur , a charter system attended by kids who would otherwise be in DeKalb schools with their relatively wealthy parents contributing property taxes for DCSS, Maureen?


August 22nd, 2012
5:32 pm

@Mikey D:

How ironic that you accuse others of being various incarnations. That’s a pretty good one. But at least you’re good for a laugh every now and then.

And yes, as you suggest, readers should Google “NEA” and “donations” and later go here to see who’s paying for much of the opposition to charter schools.

5:30 pm

August 22nd, 2012
5:42 pm

@Pride and Joy:

You’re perhaps already aware that contrary opinions are not welcomed by Maureen and her teacher union comrades. That’s why your comments are being “delayed” or blocked entirely.

Ron F.

August 22nd, 2012
5:56 pm

“So the same measurement should apply to charter schools. Are they making the scores needed to pass the CRCT or equivalent? Or are they making a marked improvement over the local traditional public school it was meant to address?”

Not quite, Pride. Pass/fail on CRCT, yes. Judge both by the same metric. But, tthe charters don’t deserve an “or” in that judgment. If they’re showing improvement that continues up, then the argument will be moot in a few years anyway. But if they aren’t making progress, then something isn’t working, and they don’t deserve the money just because they’re a few points ahead of the “competition”. There are too many factors that can’t ever make that fair. Look, I think failing schools, whether traditional public or charter, should have their adminstrations cleared out if they don’t make the grade within a five year span. Look at the turnaround at Smokey Rd. MS in Coweta. I haven’t read about a lot of faculty replacements, although I’m sure there were some. Whatever the type of school your child is in, it should be expected to perform. I don’t see how we’re going to get anywhere by pitting the two types of schools against each other. One of my concerns in this debate is that while many say “we want to succeed so you can learn from us”, what I’m reading here and elsewhere is that they want to close one system down in favor of the other. And that’s not going to solve all the problems; it will just transfer them to the charter system. I do agree with you that an underperforming school should be either restaffed or closed, whether public or charter. But I think it’s fair to use the same metric to measure them.

Ron F.

August 22nd, 2012
6:00 pm

“We cannot afford to continue to give money to failing traditional public schools.”

And they’re not all failing. And not all charters are succeeding either. Ending the public school system isn’t the answer, nor is converting everything to charter schools. We have to find the means going forward to learn to work together where we can, and that’s possible if the leadership of a district will encourage it. We need to gut the administrative level of many school districts. But there are those, like mine, that run on a very small county administration and are doing quite well.

Maureen Downey

August 22nd, 2012
6:05 pm

@5:30, You must be new here. Pride and Joy is our most prolific commenter and he/she only has contrary opinions. And if you think his/her comments don’t get published, I suggest you do a count. I just did. More than 300 under the current moniker and more than 1,000 under the prior screen name. (There were other screen names, but I just searched the last two.)
There is a simple explanation to comments that I put in moderation: Too many complaints of personal attacks, of off-topic comments or repetitive postings. There is also automatic moderation — when the program itself puts posters in moderation, typically due to length or too many links or a suspicious link. And some of you end up in spam, which I used to check. However, as the blog has grown in readership, so has the spam for Viagra and computers and cheap handbags. There can be 120 pieces of spam in a few hours times in the filter. Can’t go through them any longer to try and find the handful of bona fide comments that may end up there for unclear reasons.