State senator on why he opposes amendment: Best charter schools are those approved by local boards, not state.

Yesterday, I posted a pro charter amendments piece by two Georgia House members. Now, here is a piece in opposition by a Senate member, state Sen. Steve Henson of DeKalb, the leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

By Steve Henson

As we approach the Nov. 6th general election, Georgians will be asked to make their voices heard on a number of important issues. From the President of the United States to local government representatives, voters will head to the polls to determine who will make governmental decisions on their behalf.

One critical issue voters will decide on doesn’t have a name or political platform; yet, it has the potential to drastically change the face of public education in Georgia for our children and grandchildren. The Charter School Constitutional Amendment on the November ballot would reshape the way we fund secondary education.

The charter schools ballot conversation has focused on the idea that public schools are inferior to charter schools. Supporters have repeatedly cited facts and figures that make the claim of the superiority of charter schools. Charter schools can be a great addition to the education mix.

The truth is, according to the state Department of Education, during the 2010 –2011 school year, Georgia had 162 charter schools in operation serving 56 local school districts. Of these charter schools, 70 percent made “adequate yearly progress.”

This is comparable to 73 percent of traditional public schools earning the same that year. Of all the public charter schools in our state, conversion charter schools – those schools that have converted from traditional public schools to public charter schools – are outperforming virtually all other public charter schools in the state. These schools have been chartered and supported by their local school boards.

However, the ballot initiative isn’t about the merits of charter schools. Once voters make it past the extraordinarily biased preamble language on the ballot and read the fine print, they will find the proposed amendment creates a new state level funding mechanism that builds a parallel school system, diverting additional taxpayer funds away from our public school system. This parallel funding scheme uses charter schools as theme; but buyer beware.

Partisan politics aside, we can all agree on one thing: Georgia’s children deserve good schools and a great education. The Charter School Amendment, however, is not the solution. Local school systems, parents and educators, should be able to retain control of their districts and decide if, and when, they admit locally approved charter schools.

As we continue to recover from the most severe economic collapse since the Great Depression, it is important to look at the financial ramifications of the amendment. The state has repeatedly cut teachers salaries, and funding for local school systems, increased class sizes, laid off 4,400 teachers, reduced the teaching tools available to educators and has shortened the school year by up to 36 days in two-thirds of our school districts. Year after year, budgets cuts to our secondary education system have left local school systems with no choice but to make drastic changes that hurt our most important resource: our children.

But our children are not the only ones hurt when we do not prioritize education. An educated workforce positively impacts our economy and supports job growth. Good schools attract businesses to our communities. Georgia will flourish when we emphasize education and support it with state dollars. Instead of using our tax dollars for special interest tax breaks or tossing them carelessly at risky schemes, we must make education our number one priority.

Republican leaders, who drafted the charter schools amendment, want you to think this ballot initiative is the only way to save schools and improve education. But they are wrong.

Many know the ballot initiative is a risky plan. The Georgia Department of Education and Republican state School Superintendent John Barge have been steadfast in their opposition of this constitutional amendment. Local boards of education and business organizations have encouraged taxpayers to reject this measure that would take away local control and divert funds from existing schools.

I believe in Georgia and I believe we simply cannot turn our back on our children and our public school systems. It is imperative that we prioritize and adequately fund our schools so that our children have the greatest chance for success.

Please join me in voting “No”’ on the Charter School Amendment. In doing so, you will effectively be voting for local control, a brighter future for all students and an economically healthy Georgia.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

107 comments Add your comment

Eddie Hall

October 2nd, 2012
7:03 am

I will join you in voting NO! Reform is needed in SOME localities, but to change the WHOLE system is akin to chopping off a hand because you have a splinter in your finger! This is about MONEY and the desire of outside businesses that want state funding with OUR tax dollars. VOTE NO!

Fred ™

October 2nd, 2012
7:08 am

The so called “Charter Amendment” is nothing more than a money grab.

Steve Y

October 2nd, 2012
7:37 am

You said “The state has repeatedly cut teachers salaries, and funding for local school systems, increased class sizes, laid off 4,400 teachers, reduced the teaching tools available to educators and has shortened the school year by up to 36 days in two-thirds of our school districts. Year after year, budgets cuts to our secondary education system have left local school systems with no choice but to make drastic changes that hurt our most important resource: our children.”

You say the regional school districts should have control over their schools. But, you also say those districts aren’t paying their bills. The state is. But you also say the state should have no say so. Huh?

You know you’re not telling the whole story. You say this ballot initiative is risky. It’s not risky. Because history show it not to be.

The Charter Commission has been in operation dating from this year back 2 years. During those 2 years of operation, 60 charter schools were presented to the regional school districts. Only 4 were approved. That’s only 6.7%. An irrationally low number. The year before the commission started, none, or 0% were approved. That’s terrible. And that’s why we have a state oversight board like the Commission. Our elected officials at the state level were worried that its citizens were being bullied and marginalized by these regional school districts.

Charter schools are the most local a school can be. Parents and supporters perform severe due diligence and present their requests with their due diligence to the regional school boards for approval. And only 4 were approved? The most local of folks, the taxpayers and their children, are continually denied the opportunity to fix schools in rural and urban areas. Why? Is it to protect high paying school superintendent jobs (one earns over $400K per year)? Is it because a charter may show them up? Status quo has been the status quo for too long.

During that same period, the Commission, appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor and other elected officials, reviewed the 56 charter requests that weren’t approved by the regional school systems and approved 16. That’s a 28.6% approval rate. Not too crazy. Of these, 14 opened.

So, why still are the regional boards still upset? They want NO competition. They don’t want to do anything about their neglected areas. They don’t care. They only care about the status quo. They say “it’ll get better over the next 10 years.” The kids don’t have 10 years. They only have now.

So, if the state is paying for the regional traditional public schools, or part of the budget for those schools, it should get a say so in their operation. And that’s why we had the Commission. Citizens were upset that so many charter schools were being unreasonably rejected.

Most voters don’t know the Commission was in place before. But, the lawsuit by the regional school systems forced this ballot initiative to enable the Commission to continue. Can you believe these regional systems, combined with only a 67% graduation rate, would spend time and money to block their citizens from being able to control the destiny of their own children?

The new Commission will approve schools and not require money from the regional school systems to support those schools. New charters approved by the Commission, appointed by elected officials, will be funded by the state, on a per student basis, at the average of the 5 lowest per student district rates in the state. Yep, they’ll get far less than most of the schools in Georgia. So, not only will they provide educational competition to the regional districts, and they’ll be TRULY local, they’ll be more cost effective for Georgians. Today the regional district schools get regional and state funds.

The ballot initiative doesn’t divert one penny from the current education system. The monies the state will use are already in place for charter schools and were never destined for the regional school districts. All this ballot does is allow a state body, appointed by our elected officials, to provide an outlet for parents and locals who have been unjustly denied by their regional school systems, to have a chance to have someone else hear their request to form their own school. And if successful, the state will pick up the tab, leaving the regional district with the same regionally collected money, for less students, a better deal for the regional school system. I would think the regional school districts would be excited by the competition, a chance to improve themselves.

bubba

October 2nd, 2012
7:46 am

Lot of words not saying very much.
Interesting to see AYP used as the criteria for comparative success by a democrat legislator.
(btw: I don’t know that I’d pay much attention to a legislator from Dekalb on education matters – your own county is broken beyond repair)
Rather than complaining about the Charter amendment, why isn’t the legislator fighting tooth and nail to restore state funding?

“This parallel funding scheme uses charter schools as theme; but buyer beware.” – beware of what?? You’ve made no point.

“Local school systems, parents and educators, should be able to retain control of their districts and decide if, and when, they admit locally approved charter schools.” – In charter schools, parents and educators retain Greater control over the schools than they do when they are run by the school district. Seems like the only party less involved is the school district – sounds like this legislator is promoting the retention of power by a small group of board members.

“year after year, budgets cuts to our secondary education system have left local school systems with no choice but to make drastic changes that hurt our most important resource: our children.” – what a bunch of meaningless blather. Interesting, while there have been dramatic cuts, class size increases, etc. – test scores have been improved as has AYP performance. Sounds like if anything, too much money had been invested in the schools for too little investment.

“…want you to think this ballot initiative is the only way to save schools and improve education. But they are wrong………….” And apparently the legislator doesn’t have any viable alternative to put forward.

“In doing so, you will effectively be voting for local control,….” – with Charter schools, far more control is handled at the specific school level, doesn’t get any more local than that. If you want local control, it sounds like voting “yes” on the amendment is the way to go.

Ed Johnson

October 2nd, 2012
7:49 am

“Once voters make it past the extraordinarily biased preamble language on the ballot and read the fine print, they will find the proposed amendment creates a new state level funding mechanism that builds a parallel school system, diverting additional taxpayer funds away from our public school system. This parallel funding scheme uses charter schools as theme; but buyer beware.”

The charter school Lake Oconee Academy, in Greene County, Ga., offers an excellent example of the evolution of a “parallel school system” built by diverting taxpayer monies to fund the charter school. Soon, the charter school will expand to include a high school, at somewhere between $19 million and $30 million cost to the citizenry. The charter school recently went before the Greene County BOE requesting $30 million but local pushback on that great amount of money caused the charter to cut their request to $19 million. Be certain that when the charter school expands to include a high school, the Greene County Public Schools system will have been made defunct for the most part.

It seems there hasn’t been media coverage of this situation beyond Greene County.

Steve Y

October 2nd, 2012
7:57 am

The other commenters talk about “outside businesses” who want “our money”. Who are these outside businesses? Rand McNally? Yep, out of state and selling to the current non-charter schools. Want to know other “outside businesses” who want money from our schools? Dell, Apple, Cisco, Harcourt, Ford, Sony. Oh, and they are “for profit” companies. So, our schools should ONLY buy products and services from “non-profit” companies based in Georgia making products in factories in Georgia? We’re going to have some very skimpy schools.

If the state funds charter schools at a per student rate of the average of the lowest 5 per student district rates in the state, I hardly see how this is a “money grab”. I think the “money grab” you’re speaking of is how the bloated and failing bureaucracies in the regional districts are paying themselves like fat cats and are scared of any competition from the parents. Oh, that “money grab”? We need to fund the kids, not the fat cat educrats.

And if we should buy the products and services to enable us to fund the kids, even if those products and services are from companies based outside of Georgia and even if the products we use are manufactured in factories outside of Georgia.

Barry

October 2nd, 2012
7:58 am

As screwed up as our public school system is, the only thing I need to know to make a wise vote, is the “Teachers union” and “The board of education” is against the amendment.
With that, My vote is yes!

Let me predict, the total vote will be very close to the Tslposh results.

John Konop

October 2nd, 2012
8:03 am

Debbie Dooley one of the founders of the Tea Party asked an interesting question on this issue. Would republicans support this amendment if democrats were in control and they made the appointments to the state board? Once this is the law whoever is on control in the future will be making the appointments.

John Konop

October 2nd, 2012
8:07 am

Steve Y,

The problem with your logic is when the charter schools have a private mangement contract like in Cheroke County as a percentage they pay higher adminstrative cost.

mark

October 2nd, 2012
8:16 am

if there was a teacher union in this state, we would be on strike. There is not!! a union in this “right to work State”!! if you want your money going out of state, vote yes!! if you want no control, vote yes. if you want the best education, fully fund the law!!

sneak peak into education

October 2nd, 2012
8:24 am

While many things about the vote make no sense (the misleading wording on the ballot for one), I think that that adding another layer of government, and non-elected for that, to do something that already exists at the local level, is confounding to say the least. Especially when it is backed by those who are supposed to be all about smaller government.

The other thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is that this is just the beginning of what Georgia would see as a wholesale privatization of education. Jan Jones is on the education committee of ALEC; their MO is for one thing regarding education and it has nothing to do with our children-it’s about ensuring that the business of public education is passed into the hands of the private corporations and businesses who look at education with dollar signs in their eyes. It’s a shady business this ALEC thing. The companies who fund them and are very same members who help to write the policy that is used at our state legislative level to privatize education, prisons, etc… so that they, in turn, step in and provide the service. The public needs to be aware of their profiteering motives and be assured that they have no interest in our CHILDREN, just the MONEY they can make off their backs. For more about ALEC, watch the Bill Moyer’s special “The United States of ALEC”. It is an eye-opener and will help you see how these small steps at the state level are just a stepping board into taking over public education all over the country. Look to Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and you can see how they are further down the road and the unmitigated disaster it has been for the children and public education there.

Keep democracy alive and don’t give up your vote at the local level, which is what you will do if you allow this amendment to pass. Keep charter approval at the local level, keep your right to have a say in what goes on at the local level and VOTE NO in November. Don’t pass it into the hands of a non-elected committee and, remember, why would they care about public education when the very same people more than likely, have their kids in private schools? They are not invested in the system and, ultimately, don’t care about the decisions they make and are more likely to be swayed by the big companies who will be courting them and wining and dining them. VOTE NO.

Dunwoody Mom

October 2nd, 2012
8:26 am

I have made it no secret that I am 10,000% against this amendment. Here are 2 of many issues:

1. Despite the fact that the Charter School proponents claim funds will not be diverted from public schools, they have offered no plan as to how they will finance said charter schools.
2. Nathan Deal, one of the most ethically-challenged Governors in this state’s history, will be appointing the members of the board that approve/disapprove these charter schools. How and/or can these members removed? Not only should this alone cause one to vote against the amendment, I would have to believe this is also unconstitutional.

John Konop

October 2nd, 2012
8:40 am

Steve Y,

Charter schools have a national failure rate of 12 percent. And when Florida went to a model making it easier for charter approval the failure rate doubled. What facts do you have that the local rejection rate is to high?

Lynn43

October 2nd, 2012
8:46 am

I would think that if the amendment gets passed, it would have to be enforced strictly on what was on the ballot and what the voters approved. No where does it mention that the governor will appoint a 7 MAN commission to approve charter schools, therefore, that isn’t what the voters are voting for. Is there any way to challenge this deceit?

Dunwoody Mom

October 2nd, 2012
9:00 am

@Lynn…Following is the verbiage. It is so vague that heaven only knows the mess that is going to come out of this if it passes…

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?

Cellophane

October 2nd, 2012
9:03 am

As the charter business ramped up in Georgia, local boards began denying more and more of the lukewarm template applications they were getting from the charter chains. The commission approved these, even though they did not meet the definition of the law that requires charter schools to provide innovation and increased student achievement. Georgia’s charter school law does not allow school boards to approve charters merely for “choice,” which is what the commission did and will do again. Call them something else– these are NOT charter schools.

Marney

October 2nd, 2012
9:07 am

This is neither the panacea nor the devil that most of the combatants paint it as.

The seeds of that are in the fine print—they will receive funds equivalent to the 5 poorest school districts. That is enough less than the local funding available from most of the districts that have a preponderance of the present charters—plus no funds for a building. So there will still be a large financial incentive to get district approval…but there will also be an easy excuse for district denials en mass.

Marney

October 2nd, 2012
9:12 am

@Cellophane It was Dekalbs LOCAL policy that required unique innovation…not state law which directs local boards to approve what is “in the public interest”. Actually “professional business management”of the Dekalb school system would be a huge improvement…

And that is the really issue that I would trade my vote on this amendment to John Barge for, if he would do his day job with some backbone….

Classroom Teacher

October 2nd, 2012
9:33 am

I’m all for choice. Parents have choices now – public or private, charter or home.

I’m afraid of all the “marketing” that is going on to push a political agenda that looks to paint all public schools as bad and all public school teachers as lazy and incompetent, all in the name of “market share.”

These schools will operate just as any other school does – more $$ for more students in the seats. When will we learn that education is not, and cannot be, a for profit enterprise. Educating children is a calling.

Steve Y

October 2nd, 2012
9:42 am

John Konop, what happens when a public charter school “fails” and when a pubic legacy school “fails”? The charter is closed. The legacy keeps on failing.

bubba

October 2nd, 2012
9:45 am

@classroom teacher:
Your points come across as a bunch of whining without any depth of thought. (please protect us from competition, big bad political agendas, and preserve our god-given calling to “education” – and of course our terrific retirement benefits).
Congratulations on finding time to post in the middle of the school day.

MAY

October 2nd, 2012
9:47 am

@Ed, Lake Oconee Academy has a good relationship with their BOE (approved and renewed by Greene Co. Board). You’re saying that it’s been bad for the community to have this stellar school a part of their educational tool belt? It’s not a parallel system, it’s a Greene County school.

Dunwoody Mom

October 2nd, 2012
9:56 am

@Steve Y – there are plenty of “failing” charter schools that are not closed and won’t be as long as the for-profit companies are making money. Look no further than our neighbors to the south – Florida. Despite the fact that over half of Florida schools that graded a “F” were charter schools, those schools continue to stay open and more charters are approved each and every day.

Honestly

October 2nd, 2012
10:11 am

The Charter School movement is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to further separate high achieving students from those who need more help. The movement also seems to want to turn the clock back to the 1950s and segregate some students from others. It’s sadly true that school districts have, over the past many years, been segregated by the demographics within their boundaries, but to add a legalized layer of segregation is wrong – for all students.

Steve Y

October 2nd, 2012
10:13 am

Dunwoody mom, the only schools in Georgia that are failing and staying open because of making money are our legacy schools with the fat cat educrats and their educracy. Charters such as FSA with great grades can be shut down if their finances are not EXACT.

Are you saying that if a charter school buys books from McGraw Hill, the charter can’t be shut because McGraw Hill is making money and has some special inroad to keeping charters running? If the school buys Dell computers, well, Michael Dell will come down and perform a smack down and force the authorizing body (state or regional) to keep the school open? Seems they stink at that because charters are shut down in Georgia.

Pardon My Blog

October 2nd, 2012
10:15 am

This voter is voting “NO”. I see charter schools as a way for private individuals to profit and take from taxpayers and the public schools. If you are not happy with the public school then home school or go to private school or better yet get involved and get a BoE and Superintendent that actually have an interest in being the best school system.

Dunwoody Mom

October 2nd, 2012
10:17 am

@Steve Y – I am talking about the companies which run the charter schools, not vendors from which schools buy their books. The idea that some have these these schools will be more responsive to their children, parents, etc., is stunning to me. These companies have one objective: To make money off the education of our children. Whether these children actually receive a proper education is not one of their priorities. Why do you think the funding for the Charter School movement is coming from out of state entities with ties to these companies.

I really wish more people would educate themselves on what is really going on here. I wish it was about our chidren’s education….it isn’t.

John Konop

October 2nd, 2012
10:24 am

Steve Y,

If a public school fails we tax payers still own the property and all assets. If a Charter fails in some cases private management companies walk away with millions………..while we are left holding the bag. I support charter schools, just do not think we have enough controls in place.

bubba

October 2nd, 2012
10:25 am

The Charter School movement is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to further separate high achieving students from those who need more help. …..turn the clock back to the 1950s and segregate some students from others.
- interesting thought, but wrong from the few examples of charters I’ve seen. I’ve seen the opposite – take a look at the International Academy of Smyrna – majority minority, parents have brought their children there for a more rigorous environment with more educational freedom, there are no IQ tests to get in
While racial segregation is clearly wrong, many people believe that self-segregating (magnets, tailored charters, etc.) is the best thing possible for many children. Why stifle opportunity, choice, and academic freedom? Sounds like being against charters is “turning the clock back to the 1950’s”.
btw: implying that charter schools are driven by racism/racial segregation is pretty sad

RAMZAD

October 2nd, 2012
10:26 am

Vote for the Amendment.

The Amendment, contrary to the propaganda, is no threat to local control, which is already an unmitigated disaster producing enough people who graduate from high school and can not read.

Local control was the genesis of “Separate but Equal.” Local control continues to use the tax money from everyone to create some super public school that every local parent wants to attend but only a few well positioned to ever dream of buying into the zone.

It is local control that has parents lying about where they live and setting up dummy bedrooms in more well to do relatives houses to smuggling their students into the zone.

It is local control that has parallel school systems in place; administrative warehouses characterized by drugs, guns, low expectations and failure and, another; coveted halcyons of learning laced with AP stars and starlets. It is local control that has Board members in open warfare and SAC trying to wave the white flag. Local control is a disaster for public education and continues to be.

Local control is code for power grabs, racism, us and them, group think, and all the other leadership diseases that make the United States 18th in Mathematics and science among industrial countries.
Don’t believe the hype. Local control is war on children and criminality for parents trying to get their children a good education.

high school teacher

October 2nd, 2012
10:42 am

It’s all about the money. If approved, the state could approve a charter school in a patricular district, and then cut funding from that district to accommodate the charter school. I’m not opposed to charter schools; I’m opposed to Robin Hood funding of charter schools. Please vote NO to this amendment.

bubba

October 2nd, 2012
10:45 am

@high school teacher:
Given that school performance has improved since state education funds to public schools have been drastically cut, it seems like the cuts have been some of the smartest things the state government has done. Putting more pressure on teachers to perform has led to some good results. Hope you are enjoying your mid-school day blog break.

Steve Y

October 2nd, 2012
10:46 am

Dunwoody Mom, We live in Georgia. Georgia has different charter school laws and rigorous and enforced expectations, which is EXACTLY why Georgia’s charters are successful. In Atlanta Public Schools charters made AYP 9.7 percentage points higher than the district. In DeKalb County, charters made AYP 13.2 percentage points higher than the district. In Fulton, charters made AYP 13 percentage points higher than the district.

Start up charters in Georgia exceeded the state average in the percentage of schools meeting and exceeding standards (charters 92.7%, traditional schools 91.6%0.

APS – charters 90.4%; district 85.0%
DeKalb – charters 94.6%, district 84.5%
Fulton – charters 96.7%, districts 93.3%

In the High School Graduation Test, charters exceeded the state average 92.3% to the district’s 83.6% for % of schools meeting or exceeding standards. Comparison with districts is no exception:

APS – charters 96.9%, districts 83.6%
DeKalb – charters 100%, districts 86.8%
Fulton – charters 94.2%, districts 93.8%

Charters consistently outperformed the legacy school districts. As much as I love Florida, this is Georgia and we have a laser like focus here on charter success. I sure hope that focus on success infects the regional school districts. I want Georgia to surpass all other states in education. For our kids and for our citizens.

Ron F.

October 2nd, 2012
10:47 am

“The ballot initiative doesn’t divert one penny from the current education system. The monies the state will use are already in place for charter schools and were never destined for the regional school districts.”

And where, pray tell, did that money come from when every state agency was forced to cut budgets repeatedly? This became a budget line item that forced cuts elsewhere. When the state has failed to meet its legal obligations to school funding since the 80’s when they wrote the QBE funding formula, then why should anyone believe they’ll fund anything as legally required? The funds for these state approved schools, regardless of number, will require cuts somewhere else unless revenues increase steadily enough to keep up with demand. In the meantime, the yearly cuts to education funding continue. I have no faith in the legislature’s commitment to fund anything at this point.

Dunwoody Mom

October 2nd, 2012
10:47 am

Steve, is your data based on conversion-charters or stand-alone charter schools?

John Konop

October 2nd, 2012
10:51 am

Steve Y, your study would not pass a basic research methods class in college. You need to compare the improvement of the students who enterd the charter school not verse another school. If the kids already had high score, you have no idea how they performed under your study.

Ron F.

October 2nd, 2012
10:53 am

Steve: look behind the performance numbers. You’re comparing a few hundred or perhaps a few thousand kids in charter schools to tens of thousands system wide in the larger systems. Add to that the attrition rate in many of the charter schools and the demographics (which may or may not match the district and often do not), and the comparison is even weaker. Statistical comparisons are tricky as you post them.

high school teacher

October 2nd, 2012
11:01 am

bubba,

home with a sick child. So yes, I am enjoying my mid-day blog break…

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

October 2nd, 2012
11:08 am

@Bubba unless you live in Dekalb or have a child enrolled in a Dekalb school, then your only knowledge of the system is obtained via the AJC.

“Putting more pressure on teachers to perform has led to some good results.” Now that statement’s “pretty sad.”

C Jae of EAV

October 2nd, 2012
11:09 am

Statements such as “The charter schools ballot conversation has focused on the idea that public schools are inferior to charter schools.” As offered by Sen. Henson are precisely what distorts the debate on this issue. This sort of leading statement pits stakeholder groups againest each other and misdirects the core concern that prevents many from making more informed choices.

@Ed Johnson – Your example highlights other facets of this debate that are not being discussed. IMHO, there are solutions avialable that would help us bridge toward a sound resolution leveraging available resources in a better way and limiting the level of new taxpayer expenditure. Alas, the educrats that hold “power” (simular to congressional leaders) have no interest in solving problems, they are concerned with holding power indefinately.

@ John Konop – I’ve repeatedly asked why the central office can’t supply the adminstrative services to charter schools in their districts instead of having these institutions seek these services from other 3rd party suppliers? Most of these private managers are not doing anything that the local district central office couldn’t do. But if the local district is so bent on not allowing the charter school to operate in the first place it seems to me the opportunity to create a synergistic working relationship is lost.

@Dunwoody Mom, et al – The issue of funding state sponcered charter schools seems pretty straight forward to me. Should a school be approved, the institution will be provided state-level funds (which today go to the local district where the school would operate) on a per pupil basis. This funding will be indexed based on the 5 lowest district allocations based on the state’s current formula (which I add is manipulated by some larger urban districts at the expense of smaller more rural ones). Furthermore the state approved charter would not be able to access any portion of the local county/city level funding unless approved by the local board.

Not there isn’t much abiguity there. The educrats in power will say “The State is taking money away from us”. But when you look at the equation is that really the truth. It is more accurate for them to cry “The State will redirect funding that we receive today to provide the education of students and as a result we don’t like the fact we can control all the money being provided by the state to educate students”. We need to take our head out of the sand and realize that this isn’t a money grab! It’s a it’s a fight over who gets to control portions of the same pool of money that exists today.

bubba

October 2nd, 2012
11:17 am

@Bill & Ed’s Excellent Adventure
“..unless you live in Dekalb or have a child enrolled in a Dekalb school, then your only knowledge of the system is obtained via the AJC.”
Not true, not sure why you would think that.
My knowledge is from:
Seeing friends with children from a number of the Dekalb feeder patterns (St. Mtn, Avondale, Lakeside, Tucker, SW Dekalb, etc.) pick up and move in the past several years (or go to parochial, charter, or private schools) as it became obvious that Dekalb had fallen and couldn’t get back up.
I’ve also gained knowledge by interviewing several Dekalb school teachers for new jobs who expressed the same concern (fallen and can’t get back up).

niecey

October 2nd, 2012
11:21 am

i’m not sure why any schools are handled at the local level. they should all be statewide and the state should distribute funds to each county equally.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

October 2nd, 2012
11:22 am

We should cut to the chase…

The folks who’ll vote yes on this are either Republican or they work or have a child at a Charter School.

The folks who’ll vote no on this are Democrats or they work or have a child enrolled in a public school.

If I’m not mistaken, this “same pool of money” is derived from property taxes. The “educrats” are crying because since 2003 Republicans have cut $4 billion from local systems, and upon the approval of this amendment, put forth under the guise of “school choice”, they’ll have an even greater control of the pot and take more from public system.

I’m completely supportive of Charter Schools, but not if the choice presented is charters for the sake of public schools.

Old timer

October 2nd, 2012
11:26 am

Another NO vote….

Dunwoody Mom

October 2nd, 2012
11:27 am

Why is the mechanism for funding charter schools not in the Amendment? C Jae, what you posted about funding is in no way binding. That can be switched if/when that Amendment passes.

Bill & Ed's Excellent Adventure

October 2nd, 2012
11:28 am

@Bubba I have plenty of issues with DCSS and its dysfunction. However, I, like the Dunwoody mom, feel this attitude that “Dekalb is broken beyond repair” is just as destructive as those who have mismanaged the system and taken us to this point. It’s not helping at all. I have two kids enrolled in Dekalb schools, so I’m trying to be optimistic.

bubba

October 2nd, 2012
11:32 am

@Bill…
Appreciate your point about attitude; though sadly the facts are the facts. 25 years ago people were saying the same thing – hoping Dekalb would turn around – didn’t and won’t. Charters provide a better option for the children of Dekalb and other challenged areas.

Dunwoody Mom

October 2nd, 2012
11:33 am

@bubba…well, I have 1 child in DCSD (oldest was Class of 2012, now at UGA). You haven’t asked me about my experience with DCSD. Yes, the Board and the School District have dysfunction and issues. From my experience, the dysfunction has not filtered down into the school house. Teachers, despite all of they have faced and do face, do their jobs and, for the most part, do it well.

But, the charter school movement has been built around the idea that teachers are bad and that anyone can do a teacher’s job. It’s funny that several who support the idea that teachers unions are bad and that anyone can be a teacher, begged and pleased for the “real’ union-supported NFL referees be returned to the game because their replacements were abysmal.

Dunwoody Mom

October 2nd, 2012
11:34 am

Oops, that should be “pleaded”.

bubba

October 2nd, 2012
11:35 am

@DM..
But, the charter school movement has been built around the idea that teachers are bad and that anyone can do a teacher’s job.
– Not true. Believe or not, Charter schools use teachers too