Charter schools amendment: It is “T-SPLOST of education.”

The print AJC ran a pro/con today on the charter schools amendment. The pro was the essay I posted last week by Virginia Galloway. Here is the con by local businessman Sean Murphy. (Later today, I will post a piece by two Georgia legislators in support of the amendment, Jan Jones and Alisha Thomas Morgan.)

By Sean Murphy:

I am a successful metro Atlanta business entrepreneur. My political preferences are irrelevant because Amendment 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot is opposed by people in all parties.

As a businessman and a parent, I oppose Amendment 1 – the school issue – because despite what the charter school association and the “families” for schools tell you, the reality is that Amendment 1 is about trust and truth.

The ballot question should ask whether you want your local school board, for whom you can vote, to make decisions about your schools; or do you want a small group of appointed people accountable to no one to make those decisions? There is not one thing in the enabling legislation that requires parental involvement so there is nothing local about it, particularly when you see all the out of state corporations paying to persuade you to vote yes.

Folks, this is not about charter schools. It is not about choice. We already have both. This is about truth and trust.

There’s a lot of misinformation – and misunderstanding – about this Nov. 6 ballot amendment, the T-SPLOST of Education.

Georgia has more than 200 charter schools. More are in the pipeline. Like all schools, some are good, some need improvement.

According to the Georgia Department of Education’s Charter Schools Annual Report, charter school students do not exceed other public school children’s performance. Said their report: “Over the past five years, the overall performance of charter schools compared to traditional public schools has been mixed but both groups have traditionally demonstrated the same general performance trends.”

If the amendment isn’t about charter schools, what then are the issues?

Accountability, your tax dollars, and expansion of state government. Trust and truth.

•Accountability: Rather than local school boards’ accountability to the voter, a state appointed group of seven people will be empowered to create a separate system of schools. Although they will use your tax dollars for funding, they are not elected; if you don’t like what they do, you can’t vote them out. Unchecked power will be in the hands of this small, politically appointed group that will decide how and where schools operate.

•Your tax dollars: Taxpayer dollars – yours – allocated to public schools will be siphoned off to pay for these “new schools” and the for-profit companies that manage them. In other states – look no farther than Florida for evidence – corporate profits are the overriding goal of the charter school movement, not education.

Some charter operators in Florida have been indicted. Others pay no property taxes. But rest assured, they contribute heavily to state legislators’ campaigns. None of us can afford a dual school system answering to no one. Even state school Superintendent Dr. John Barge said we can’t afford it and that charter schools are being approved routinely by both local school boards and state board of education.

•Expansion of state government: We recently voted for or against a penny sales tax to fund transportation. In many regions, it failed. The main reason given? Distrust of government. If you distrust government to build or improve roads, do you want to expand its power with unchecked authority over schools?

The ballot question has been written blandly to mask the true intent and the true beneficiaries. It reads: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?

Sounds logical, but unless we vote “no,” here’s the reality check: Budget cuts to our schools, larger classes, shortened school years, teacher furloughs and layoffs.

In most Georgia counties, schools are our largest employer. This is a serious economic impact in our communities.

Know the facts before you vote:

•This is not about charter schools or choice. It is about who chooses and who approves applications.

•Parents already have choices – magnet, public, private, home and charter schools.

Is the amendment even needed? As the old adage goes, follow the money.

Those who favor expanded state government, lack of accountability and a separate, unequal, dual school system are spending millions for your “yes” vote. They call themselves Families for Better Schools or Parents for School Choice. Don’t be deceived. Several out-of-state political action committees are behind this. Visit to understand the real “families” and the real issues.

Truth and trust. Get the facts before you vote on Nov. 6.

–From Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

102 comments Add your comment

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

October 1st, 2012
10:33 am

I would argue that there is in fact no choice in Georgia given the tremendous power SACS has to determine what goes on in education. They dictate policy and practices to elected school board officials. What guides their accreditation standards that I have copies of appears to be gutting academics and pursuing a rather nebulous political theory called the “democratic purpose of schools.”

Maureen-I have asked this question several times at education breakfasts and lunches and just general meetings. I am being told that the nature of the Charter Approval process by the state will make these charters independent of SACS authority. Can you please verify that for the record?

DeKalb Dad

October 1st, 2012
10:34 am

” There is not one thing in the enabling legislation that requires parental involvement”: False. Every child attending a state commission charter school must choose to enroll their child. This “requires parental involvement” unlike traditional public schools which only require submission to commands of educrats.


October 1st, 2012
10:37 am

The arrogance of you anti-charter ppl is amazing. You’ve failed in every sense of the word as it pertains for public education yet you look down your noses at anyone who who has a different plan to move us forward. It genuinely inst about education with you, it’s about money, power and politics. You’re not going to intimidate me or my family with your name calling, race baiting tactics to keep your power. YOU ARE RUINING the next generation and you will not win.

Maureen Downey

October 1st, 2012
10:44 am

@Attentive, My understanding is that state approved charters will not be under SACS, unless they voluntarily choose to put themselves there.


October 1st, 2012
10:46 am

If this is about “trust and truth” from our politicians, then I am definitely voting NO.


October 1st, 2012
10:48 am

Hooray for Sean Murphy,
He and School Superintendent John Barge have got it right. Galloway implies that Charter Schools only come from this State Commission but that just ain’t so. Local school boards can and do approve charter schools (over 200 of them) after a LOCAL board review. The state commission is just an effort by the sour grapes folks to refuse acceptance of the local board decision. If you believe in limited government and local control (ie. true conservative principles) you will vote against this ammendment. Galloway’s pleadings that it ain’t so is like the old time snake oil salesmen who tried to sell you a potion that could cure everything. If you don’t like the local school board’s decision, work in your local community to change it or elect other leadership. A new state commision WILL increase state bureaucracy, destroy local control of government and steal money from our children. It WILL NOT improve education! It is certainly true that our public schools need fixing, but the charter school amendment will just make it worse. And, sadly, will enrich the for profit snake oil salesmen who prey on desparate parents who just want a quick fix for their children’s education.

DeKalb Dad

October 1st, 2012
11:01 am

“According to the Georgia Department of Education’s Charter Schools Annual Report, charter school students do not exceed other public school children’s performance. Said their report: ‘Over the past five years, the overall performance of charter schools compared to traditional public schools has been mixed but both groups have traditionally demonstrated the same general performance trends.’”

Oh, you mean the Ga DOE run by John Barge, the champion of incompetent school boards across the state, put out these statistics. First, a better comparison would be State Commission charter schools versus the districts those charter schools serve.

Second, even that comparison is inadequate because it disfavors schools like Ivey Prep Kirkwood with an attendance zone of the entire county but drawing from schools that fail to meet AYP. The best comparison would be the schools that students are actually zoned for versus the State Commission schools actually attended. Of course this comparison is done by individual parents who send their children to State Commission charter schools. Even State Commission schools with substandard performance deserve to be compared on the same basis that parents deciding to enroll their students make. Of course its easier to compare all charters, including the majority of those approved by local BOE’s, to all traditional public schools, including those in affluent communities, because that result supports Barge and his masters’ ends.

Why have you not written about the difference in statistics? Is it just easier to republish the anti-charter propaganda without any critical commentary or do you feel that it might undermine the ostensible rationale for your opposition to the amendment?


October 1st, 2012
11:05 am

“My understanding is that state approved charters will not be under SACS”

Interesting. If the charter schools don’t need to bow down to SACS, then why do the regular public schools? In my opinion, SACS is one of the biggest problematic forces in public education. They pretty much keep local school boards from truly representing their constituents.


October 1st, 2012
11:05 am

I will vote NO on this amendment. I do not want my tax money spent in schools that have no oversight other than a bunch of politcial appointees, answerable to no one but their state government buddies. In response to HJ, there are already acceptable alternatives if you don’t like your local public school. There is also a process in place to go to the state Board of Education if the local school boad does not approve a charter school and the LOCAL parents still want a charter school. Just because others do not agree with you does not make us arrogant nor ignorant. You should vote the way your conscience tells you to vote. Others should do the same without name calling.


October 1st, 2012
11:06 am

The blond haired version is this, they want to take state funding away from public schools to fund STATE CHARTER schools. Parents are confused because they see funding for charter schools and think my childs local charter school will get more funding and this is not the case. This amendement is for STATE CHARTER schools and not LOCAL CHARTER schools. They want to privitize these SC schools


October 1st, 2012
11:06 am

@Dekalb Dad: pay attention to Murphy’s comments about your tax dollars. This charter school movement is not a panacea for education, it is about millions of taxpayer dollars being siphoned into private corporations. These private charter operators just want to get into your pocketbook, they don’t care about your children. It’s the “Dr. Porter’s Amazing Antiseptic Healing Oil” for education. “Guaranteed to solve all your education problems and provide your child with the best possible education”. Our public education system is broken. The charter school ammendment won’t fix it. Passing the ammendment will make it worse.

Maureen Downey

October 1st, 2012
11:07 am

@DeKalb Dad, With respect to Kyle, I have to note that many traditional public schools in Georgia would fare much better if they, too, were compared to only certain schools. There are many other schools in Georgia besides the state charter commission schools that would fare better if comparison foundations changed or became more nuanced.

For example, if you pull out the performance of white students on standardized testing, including the SAT, guess what happens? Atlanta Public Schools emerge among the very top in the state.

In Georgia, we judge all the schools — standard public and charter — by the same measures. This notion that we ought to create more selective comparisons is fine, but let’s do it for all schools.

In the meantime, the state has historically applied a wide brush to how it rates every school in the state. You can create narrower categories in which some charters will fare better, but so will many other schools.

Jerry Eads

October 1st, 2012
11:10 am

SMALL representative government is generally a good thing. Small NONrepresentative government is a different matter. I will be forever mystified – other than understanding the truism “follow the money” – how elected representatives supposedly supportive of representative government would be so fanatical about gaining centralized and quite nonrepresentative control over ANY public entity. (How about charter police?) Are these people interested in OUR kids or are they simply setting the stage for the privileged few? Will P.T. Barnum be proven correct again?


October 1st, 2012
11:10 am

Once again, just let the dollars follow the kid; trust parents to do the right thing.

Imagine how bleeped college education would be in this country if, in order to attend a state college, students had to attend their closest state college.

Oops, that would mean VOUCHERS! God forbid!!!

Maureen Downey

October 1st, 2012
11:12 am

@To all,

My colleague Jay Bookman has an interesting column today on charter schools and who attends them: Take a look but here is an excerpt:

Will state-created charter schools offer poor and minority students a way out of troubled neighborhood schools, as claimed by advocates of a proposed constitutional amendment that will appear on the November ballot?

Or is there a danger that such schools — created over the protest of local officials — will become de facto private schools, drawing a disproportionate share of their student body from wealthier, more influential families, leaving others on the outside looking in?

As it turns out, the state Department of Education maintains a demographic database of every public school in the state, including state-sanctioned charter schools. (The most recent year in which such data is available is the 2010-11 school year). And the data tell us a lot.

Let’s look at Pataula Charter Academy, which serves students in kindergarten through grade six in a five-county area in southwest Georgia. That’s a poor region — in Early County, 76 percent of students are eligible for a free or reduced lunch. In Randolph County, it’s 90 percent; in Calhoun, 92 percent; in Baker, 83 percent and in Clay County, it’s 92 percent.

The public school systems in those counties are also overwhelmingly black. In Calhoun County, where Pataula Charter is located, just 2 percent of the student body in the local school system is white. In Clay County, it’s a mere 1 percent.

Yet in Pataula Charter, 75 percent of the student body is white. Moreover, the percentage of the Pataula student body eligible for free or reduced lunches (54 percent) is well below the regional average. The state classifies Pataula and its other state-created charter schools as “special” schools, and in Pataula’s case at least, that seems accurate for unintentional reasons.

In other state-created charter schools, the demographic discrepancy between their student body and that of the area they serve is less startling but still significant. At the Charter Conservatory for Arts and Technology in Statesboro, just 9 percent of the student body is black, compared to 36 percent in the surrounding county. The percentage of CCAT students eligible for free or reduced meals is significantly lower as well.

Even the exceptions are interesting. Ivy Prep in Gwinnett County boasts a student body that is considerably more African American than other public schools in Gwinnett. However, the percentage of Ivy Prep students eligible for free or reduced meals is barely half the percentage of the Gwinnett district as a whole.

Old timer

October 1st, 2012
11:15 am

I am a supporter of charter schools and school choice….BUT I am not in favor of amending our state constitution to create more government bureauray. I think we can do this with the state board being the appeals process. Also, if voters choose school board members that would be open to new ideas instead of the fighting and theatrics we see now we can improve the schools …and face it…they do need improving.

Corro'll Driskell

October 1st, 2012
11:17 am

Accountability for the use of tax payers dollars is paramount here. So it really doesn’t matter the side of the fence that you support, we can’t afford to allow gov’t officials nor corporations to manage our monies without oversight.


October 1st, 2012
11:24 am

@ DeKalb Dad: I see you have bought the snake oil and are no longer interested in the facts. Hope you don’t really have to take it.


October 1st, 2012
11:26 am

I am beginning to suspect that those who oppose the State commissioned charter school amendment are terrified that this will change the prevailing dynamic of traditional public schools where white students matriculate to college and minorities matriculate to prison.

Local school administrations geniuses have the lasers to zoom in on certain minorities for harassment, discouragement, punitive diatribes, despair and drop out, but the State apparatus would not have that, because the State is the plantation boss for equal opportunity and plurality about outcomes. The academic prejudice between Cobb and DeKalb would start to disappear,
and the State would demand that everybody does well in school…or else…..

All of a sudden this Commission is going to become the State police for public education and boss hog sheriff, the local school board crocodile, with his mean and racist disposition is going to be a side show.

“Trust” and truth means trust that we can continue to have segregation in good public schools, and “truth” means truth that local school officials can continue to hound out minorities to jail cells and the violent warehouses that are their majority schools.

DeKalb Dad

October 1st, 2012
11:31 am

Accountablility: no state commission school will draw a dime unless parents actively choose to enroll their children.

Your tax dollars: the state commission charter schools will use less money per student that all but 5 of the poorest districts in the state.

Expansion of state govt: how is allowing schools run by non-government local non-profits who themselves decide whether or NOT to hire an EMO versus continuing to funnel money to non-accountable bureaucracies expansion of state government? Nancy Jester is insightful on the difficulty of overcoming an entrenched bureaucracy.


October 1st, 2012
11:32 am

Why are my responses to DeKalb Dad being cut out??????

John Konop

October 1st, 2012
11:34 am

DeKalb Dad,

In all due respect the study would not make it out of a basic research methods class anyways. You cannot compare the performance to a public school to the performance of a charter school and conclude anything of substance. A proper study would look at the performance of students who left public schools against any difference via improvement from going to a charter school, normalized by the fact they are older. Most of the studies I have seen from both sides are more self serving propaganda, than a study that would meet basic research standards.

With that said the two biggest factors of success is IQ and parental involvement. On the parental involvement, you would think Charter parents have a higher level than the average public school parent. And that should give charter schools an edge against public schools. But once again, that should be a study based on the above not some spin………………..


October 1st, 2012
11:35 am

Anyone following the Charter school drama in St. Augustine, FL?

For those who support Amendment 1, please research what almost happened in St. Augustine…one of the best school districts in FL.

If Amendment 1 passes and a similar situation arises in GA, would the charters be approved by the state charter commission? Would a top district be forced to accept charter applications?


October 1st, 2012
11:36 am

Watching the Gwinnett county school system “eliminate” the predominantly minority Ivy Prep is what clinched it for me…I’m enthusiastically voting yes. It’s clear that the local school boards view charters as simply taking money away from their control. Sadly, it’s become way more about their control of the money, and less about educating kids.

Kids who are poor, and want to learn, have GOT TO get more alternatives. They are being dragged down by the other kids in the local public schools, and thus consigned to a life of poverty. The cycle must be broken, and it’s clear that the current local public school boards and systems can’t break it.

DeKalb Inside Out

October 1st, 2012
11:38 am

HOPE scholarship is tied to SACS or GAC accreditation. All public schools (traditional and charter) are certified by one or the other.

Maureen Downey

October 1st, 2012
11:41 am

@Itsbroke, There are no comments by you in either spam or filter.

Rick L in ATL

October 1st, 2012
11:42 am

Sometimes you vote people into office expecting hope and change and you get something very different. Look at the people we elected in APS, in DeKalb, in Clayton–just to name three very close-to-home examples–and tell me that we should be stuck entrusting thoroughly mediocre people to make critical decisions involving a central responsibility of parenting–providing a child’s education–without any practical, direct avenue of appeal just because they’re “elected officials.” That’s a tough sell. Sorry. Voting yes.

Sure, it’s an expense we shouldn’t have to bear. But the GA Supreme Court’s laughable ruling made this necessary. Senility or political activism by judges–who can be sure, in this case?– can be expensive.

DeKalb Inside Out

October 1st, 2012
11:49 am

Segregated Charter Schools?
There are two Ivy Prep schools in South DeKalb that reflect the 99% minority population.

Given the blind lottery to get into a charter school, how does a charter school segregate its population? Given a choice (like charter schools), is it possible that people self segregate?


October 1st, 2012
12:04 pm

@RAMZAD, you think we “non-minorities” care way more about you than we do. The plight or success of you is not paramount in my life. Put another way, I don’t care….certainly not enough to make an effort to hold you down.


October 1st, 2012
12:10 pm

@Already Sheared, comparing college to K-12 education does not make sense to me. College is not mandatory and, even though many colleges receive support from taxes, students/parents still have to pay large sums to attend. This is not the case with K-12.

While this is not the topic at hand, some of you charter school supporters should ask yourselves what kind of people will want to work in charters. My understanding is that charter school teachers will not be part of the Teacher Retirement System, and I’ve heard of teaching jobs in Florida charters that require master’s degrees but pay only $15/hour. Most of us aren’t in teaching for the money, but we still want crazy things like food and shelter.


October 1st, 2012
12:17 pm

The writer doesn’t seem to understand we already have a dual system that’s pretty much accountable to noone. Its called the University System of Georgia-Albany St. and Darton, Savannah St. and Armstron Atlantic, Ft. Valley St. and Macon St. We pay for 2 systems because white and black people in Central and South Georgia don’t want to go to school together.


October 1st, 2012
12:20 pm

DeKalb Dad,

Have you even run the numbers? I am not at all convinced that anyone wanting to charter anything but a virtual school could make it work on the numbers, at least in metro Atlanta.

The lowest five districts in GA are probably very low — possibly nothing but state funding and a little bit else. Guessing in the 5K range.


October 1st, 2012
12:31 pm

A good rule of thumb for voters in this state is vote NO, as any constitutional amendment seeks to absolve some people of their share of taxes or responsibility, and “reward” the politically connected. The convoluted language is a tell, also.

[...] the pair wrote in favor the November amendment: (For another view on the constitutional amendment, please see column I posted earlier.) By Jan Jones and Alisha Thomas [...]


October 1st, 2012
12:34 pm

Vote no on “C (Charter)-Splost”


October 1st, 2012
12:35 pm

I understand the Charter School Amendment issue is huge for this blog. But since it is certain to pass (based on numerous polls), why not focus more on how to make it work better instead of tilting at windmills further debating the pro and con at this point? Lightening is not going to strike and reverse the large in favor majority opinion in the next month.

Sure there will be time for that after the election, but why further electrify and harden polar differences of this issue?

Dr. Monica Henson

October 1st, 2012
12:45 pm

Maureen is correct about SACS. Any school or district that seeks accreditation via SACS or any other accrediting body does so on a voluntary basis.

mountain man

October 1st, 2012
12:46 pm

“Charter schools amendment: It is “T-SPLOST of education.””

No, it is NOT the T-SPLOST of education. No one ever promised to create a charter school with tax money and it would end on a certain date and then keep the taxes on. They are not asking for money for one purpose (untie the freeways) and then using for another purpose (MARTA and airports). These are apples and oranges and that is why the majority will vote YES in November.

mountain man

October 1st, 2012
12:53 pm

“My understanding is that charter school teachers will not be part of the Teacher Retirement System, and I’ve heard of teaching jobs in Florida charters that require master’s degrees but pay only $15/hour.”

If the teachers are not part of the TRS then they will have Social Security. One replaces the other.

A teacher might very well take $15 an hour rather than $30 an hour and have to put up with assault, and all the other things that go on in public school.

what's best for kids???

October 1st, 2012
12:58 pm

If the vote is yes, I will move my children to the charter school.
I hope the vote is no, though, as we need seven people at the capitol accountable to no one lie we need a hole in the head.

what's best for kids???

October 1st, 2012
12:58 pm

I should say, I will move my children to A charter school.


October 1st, 2012
1:01 pm


On one hand, you have people who believe that public schools are for educating people. On the other, you have people who believe that public schools are for addressing social ills. So, when public schools massively fail to educate certain populations, the folks who are primarily about addressing social ills want to continue things as they were despite those failures, because their primary agenda is social, not educational anyway. Meanwhile, people who primarily want improved (or adequate) education performance aren’t committed to any particular public school model or ideology.

Here is the rub. Those who wish to use public schools to fix society believe that public schools can educate poorly disciplined, unmotivated children, or should at least try. Because that is – tada – fixing society, especially considering that poorly disciplined unmotivated children tend to be disproportionately represented in certain socioeconomic and demographic groups. Those who are primarily interested in improving education have the belief – based on empirical evidence and experiences – that given limitations on resources, educating kids who are poorly motivated and disciplined is not realistic, and trying to do so impedes the ability to educate children that are motivated and/or disciplined. They also believe that the biggest victims of the “try to educate everyone” ideology is motivated/discipline children who have the misfortune of being stuck in schools with a large (majority) population that is unmotivated and undisciplined.

If your goal is to remake society, then you are willing to sacrifice the motivated kids in the high unmotivated population schools while you work to create a model that educates everyone. If your goal is education, then you see such kids as those who could be educated in a different environment, so your goal is to provide them with a better environment.

Public schools advocate: the greatest good is transforming society, of which education is only a part. Education advocate: the greatest good is empowering individuals with the desire and potential to achieve with the opportunity to do so, and for this education is a vital part that should not be sacrificed.

Which camp are you in? A better question: if you have school-age kids, what type of schools do they attend?

there is no choice

October 1st, 2012
1:03 pm

“Parents already have choices – magnet, public, private, home and charter schools”

Magnet – no choice; not available at all grade levels and limited access based on acceptance
Public – no choice; restricted by geographic location (HB 251 has been limited by restrictions at the district level)
Private – no choice; restricted based on family income
Home – no choice; restricted based on family structure and income needs
Charter – no choice; restricted by geographic location and school availability

We moved here about 6 years ago, pay our county taxes, and have limited choice when it comes to schools. We send our children to private school because it’s our only option. Our zoned school is below our expectations for a quality education and Cobb has limited the effectiveness of HB 251. Even though the current teacher turnover ratio in our area is higher than Cobb averages and even that of Teach for America, efforts to bring in new teachers from TFA were voted down because of the timing.

Other board members, that do not have a stake in the education of our area voted it down. They represent their districts and negatively impacted increasing achievement rates in our district because they did not feel that the “timing” was appropriate. What about the children? How long should they wait?

We’re not going to see true change until the school board members have a vested interest in all of the districts.

John Konop

October 1st, 2012
1:05 pm


I have posted this a few times……………

No board members should be able to be a consultant, owner and or work for vendors, charter management contracts…..Full disclosure if they had any prior affiliation. No board member should be able to be on the board if they revived any form compensation in the last 2 years from any material vendor.

Full disclosure of any office holder and or relatives with any affiliation with vendors providing services for the school.

No board member and or officeholder should have any interest in the property the school uses

Full disclosure of any officeholder relatives employed by the charter school

Board meeting should be listed 30 days in advance on a set day after 7 pm, not at 10 am on random days with short notice….

Any school, with more than 750 students with a private management company should be required to put up bonding to make sure that the school fulfills the school year

Full disclosure on ownership of property the school uses ie detailed list with names of the people with any affiliation to the school and or officeholders

If the property has any ownership affiliation with the private management company it should be put up as security to pay back the government for any free tax payer dollars ie grants and management fees or expenses against the district eats via placing the kids back into school via failure.

Full disclosure of the contract between the private management company and the charter school. Once again a list of any cross affiliations….

Is this really asking too much, for protecting tax payers ?


October 1st, 2012
1:07 pm

Here is a quote from the Georgia Charter Schools Association, in a report on vacant facilities assessment within APS. The entire document can be found at
Thought some of you might find this interesting.

It states:
“Atlanta Public Schools has been a leader in approving and supporting Charter schools in Georgia. The Board of Directors of APS approved it’s first Charter school in 1999. Today there are currently twelve start-up Charter schools operating in APS. Since the passage of HB881 in 2009, which provides that school districts will make their unused facilities available to Charter schools without rental charges, APS has led the way among all other school districts in repurposing their unused facilities for Charter schools. We are happy to report that this study was a collaborative effort with the full support of APS and with a shared intent of assisting additional Charter schools operating within the APS district with their facility needs.” – Tony Roberts, Ph.D., CEO, Georgia Charter Schools Association

So, apparently even the CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association thinks APS has “led the way” in allowing Charters to use their vacant facilities. Interesting.

The part about school districts being legally bound to “make their unused facilities available to Charter schools without rental charges” is also interesting, but may be an argument for another day.

Tonya C.

October 1st, 2012
1:09 pm


Bravo. This is EXACTLY what I’ve been saying. The truth is, whether by intent or happenstance there is already a caste system in education. It is not necessarily by race, but along socioeconomic and parental participation lines. It sucks, but it is what it is. Ignoring the fact is not making it go away any faster.

Public schools are going to continue to lose funding, no matter how much protesting takes place. The question is, where will the money go?

John Konop

October 1st, 2012
1:17 pm

I agree the “one size fit all approach” has been a failure. Jan Jones and I both agree the ” one size fit all approach” does not work. The difference between Jan and I from reading the op-ed posted is I think we need to fix the NCLB as well as add charter schools, with more fiscal accountability.

The right and the left have this issue all screwed up. The truth is we have increased the rate of kids prepared for college at an amazing rate over the last 30 years. The problem is in my opinion, is with kids we are pushing into a 4 year college who would be better served at a tech school. And the kids who are being pushed out because they are in a 4 year prep or out curriculum.

I read an interesting study in the last 20 years we have increased amount of kids taking the SAT by 60 percent. Btw that is when SAT scores started falling. A bell curve on aptitude tells at best we could prepare is about 30 percent for 4 year college from what I read.

Ironically Jeb Bush runs around telling people how we are failing 66 percent of the kids. And if we just had charter schools, tutoring…..we could somehow change the bell curve. The bizarre part is we have close to 4 million vocational jobs for that 66 percent. The solution is simple, but both sides are looking in the wrong direction.

I will give credit to John Barge and many in the legislator trying to deal with this via new bills. But it needs to be coordinated better in our schools via waiving 4 year prep requirement. And this should be the major focus…….

I have made the same point on this issue for years. We need to let the requirements flow from a 4 year college, trade school, JC……..for students to either get a high school degree with real job skills and or the prep requirements for a 4 year institution. Also we need to combine resources between higher education and high school from facilities, staff, administration…..

The above would lower the dropout rate, create work ready graduates for the 4 million job openings in the vocational field, prepare 4 year college bound students better and save tax payer money.

Tonya C.

October 1st, 2012
1:23 pm

John Konop:

All of what you said I can co-sign. I feel like the solutions to many of the problems in education are multifaceted, but there are solutions readily available.


October 1st, 2012
1:30 pm

OK, let’s go with this then: in order to use your government funded medicare/medicaid, you must receive medical at the hospital closest to you – no driving across town to someplace you like better. No chosing your own doctor or specialists.

THAT is our benefit delivery model for K-12 public education, and there isn’t a reason in the world why it has to be that way.


October 1st, 2012
1:35 pm

The first two differences between the charter amendment and TSPLOT are pretty obvious

1) The charter amendment at least stands a chance of providing some meaningful improvement without heaping more tax dollars onto the fire.
2) The charter amendment is going to pass.