Charter school battle turns ugly as legal arguments heat up

Proponents of the November charter school amendment have protested state School Superintendent John Barge’s public stand against the amendment on the DOE web site, which led the state Department of Education to take down a 29-point position paper highlighting the reasons. A link to that paper was on the Georgia Department of Education’s home page.

Today, Attorney General Sam Olens notified Barge to alert local school boards that they “do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong.”

But Atlanta attorney Emmet Bondurant says Olens — who cited a Bondurant case in his letter — cannot stop elected officials from protesting the amendment.

He says:

I represented the plaintiffs in McKinney v. Brown, one of the leading cases cited in the AG’s opinion..

While the AG is right that a public agency (including the governor and the Legislature) should not use public funds to try to influence the outcome of a referendum, it does not follow that John Barge, as the elected State School Superintendent, or local School Superintendents or members of local School Boards are also prohibited from speaking out and advocating the passage or the defeat of a referendum.

They have the same First Amendment rights as any other citizen to speak out in opposition to a constitutional amendment. The fact that their position may be contrary to that of the Governor and the Republican administration is of no consequence.

The opinion states only that they may not spend public funds or resources to influence the voters’ decision. The same principle applies with equal force to the Governor, the Speaker and other public officials. They should not use public funds, or public resources, (including staff time and public email and web sites) to support ratification.

What’s odd to me about this issue is that it can cut both ways. I have seen charter schools bring their students to the Legislature and to rallies to support the amendment.

Is that also illegal due to the public costs of bringing teachers and kids to the Capitol during the school day?

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

123 comments Add your comment

John Konop

October 3rd, 2012
7:57 pm

Cherokee Charter in their public board meeting used a good part of the meeting as a how to promte and organize support for the amendment, as well as handed out flyers. This seems rather strange that they are only going after one side.

Dunwoody Mom

October 3rd, 2012
8:04 pm

So, what constitutes “public funds” or “public resources”? If BOE letterhead is used to support/oppose the amendment is that a “public resource”? ‘

As I stated on another blog, this just seems like a bullying tactic by certain supporters of the Charter School Amendment.

sneak peak into education

October 3rd, 2012
8:09 pm

I found this web page that contains some wonderful information about charter schools. VOTE SMART GEORGIA. clearly explains who sets to gain if the amendment passes and guess what, it’s not the children, it’s big business. The for-profit charters are funneling in huge amounts of money in the hopes that this will pass. The bill was written by ALEC, an group of policy writers who are backed by corporations and big business-their agenda is to privatize education and put it into the hands of the very corporations and businesses who is funding the policy writers. By the way, Jan Jones, who submitted the bill, is the chair of the educational task force for ALEC. This is just the beginning of their plan to totally privatize Georgia;s public schools.

http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com/whos-funding-the-amendment

If you are going to VOTE NO, please read to confirm the reasons why you are voting no.
If you are on the fence, please read so that you can find out the true motives behind this unnecessary amendment to our states constitution and then VOTE NO.
If you are going to vote yes, please read this and then see if you can still vote that way with a clear conscience, knowing that you will be allowing the take over of public education by big business. It’s not about your children, they want your money.

VOTE NO in NOvember

claytondawg

October 3rd, 2012
8:12 pm

The sooner that ANY kind of government will not longer be involved in school systems the better.

jd

October 3rd, 2012
8:15 pm

So, guess that means that if any school board or superintendent is a member of the chamber of commerce, the chamber of commerce can’t campaign for or against the amendment either.

Someone better read the First amendment… Last time I checked, an AG’s opinion is just that… good luck enforcing it.

Mom to Many

October 3rd, 2012
8:17 pm

So if my middle school child’s school weekly emailed newsletter contained flyers from Votesmart with a link to their website telling me to vote NO to the amendment…is that legal or not?

[...] Charter school battle turns ugly as legal arguments heat upAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Proponents of the November charter school amendment have protested state School Superintendent John Barge's public stand against the amendment on the DOE web site, which led the state Department of Education to take down a 29-point position paper …and more » [...]

Mike

October 3rd, 2012
8:36 pm

Sorta like when Deal was allowed access to the entire Hall County School System’s email system to send out a campaign message during the election? Like that?

3schoolkids

October 3rd, 2012
8:41 pm

@Mom to Many: I’m guessing not, according to the AG, just like the email I got the day of the Supreme Court ruling through the charter school my son was attending urging me to attend a rally the next day at 10:30am with my child at the state capitol would be wrong too.

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
8:44 pm

If the AG is indeed correct, then anyone receiving public funds should refrain from trying to persuade anyone with anything (time, money, physical resources). That does cut both ways, as supporters and detractors both would face the same restraints. That could get messy, now couldn’t it?

P.S. 2012

October 3rd, 2012
8:48 pm

John @7:47P “This seems rather strange that they are only going after one side.”

Not so strange when one considers the type of people we are dealing with.

bootney farnsworth

October 3rd, 2012
8:50 pm

as bad as this is, there is a good side to it.

the voters of Georgia are finally -however faintly- interested in something to do with education which
doesn’t involve football

bootney farnsworth

October 3rd, 2012
8:52 pm

one thing about this which is alive and well: education’s kill the messenger tactic. nuke the messenger if they are right

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
8:54 pm

P.S.: these people often jump to enforce a rule or law they think will limit or muzzle the other side, even if it means their own side may suffer. Clearly the AG did not consider how enforcing this will affect many on the administration’s side in this debate. If enforced, this will effectively muzzle both sides, which doesn’t help either one. I guess he thinks they have this one in the bag if he’s wiling to do that. Or is he just going to go after the opponents and openly ignore the rest? That’s my bet.

Dunwoody Mom

October 3rd, 2012
8:54 pm

I don’t understand the need to try and silence the conversation and debate over this issue. Why is it we cannot have adult conversations in this country anymore?

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
8:55 pm

“the voters of Georgia are finally -however faintly- interested in something to do with education which doesn’t involve football”

Nah, that might only work Monday to Thursday. Come on out Friday night and see if they’re talking about it at the stadium- I doubt it!

DeKalbParent

October 3rd, 2012
8:59 pm

@mom to many Not if sent from school email.
@3schoolkids It can say there is a rally, but cannot tell you how to vote
@bootney We can agree on one thing…the voters of Georgia are finally -however faintly- interested in something to do with education which
doesn’t involve football

crankee-yankee

October 3rd, 2012
8:59 pm

I posted this earlier on another blog…

It does not matter if the shingle states non-profit. Someone is making a profit somewhere. Whether it is the vendor of the curriculum materials, the curriculum per se, the janitorial services, the administrative consultants, the cafeteria suppliers, the out-sourced services, the textbook publishers, the list is endless.

Remember what happened in Texas when they decided to buy the same texts for the entire state. Since Texas, overnight, became the largest market in the country, all the publishers started writing texts that would be “Texas Approved” thereby limiting choice for the rest of the country. And guess who selected the “Texas Approved” texts? I guarantee someone profited there…We are still reaping the “benefits” of that. Not long ago, there was a danger Texas would dictate “faith-based” science texts. That would have seriously affected texts available to the rest of the country. We need to learn from the mistakes of the past!

Make no mistake, the profiteers are salivating over the thought of doing state sanctioned education business in a state with the questionable political ethics of Georgia.

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
8:59 pm

“I don’t understand the need to try and silence the conversation and debate over this issue.”

You only want silence when the discussion isn’t being won by your side. Perhaps the facts are too much for the AG and others like him to debate. Even as discussions have progressed pretty reasonably on this blog, the facts aren’t all in favor of the amendment supporters, and evidently their feeling the pressure up in Atlanta. It becomes easier to just shut it down than to honestly deal with the debate and the questions people are asking. In the end, that will only hurt the amendment’s chances in my opinion.

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
9:01 pm

“their” should be “they’re”….a day editing freshman powerpoints will do that to you!

Mary Elizabeth

October 3rd, 2012
9:03 pm

For the information of readers:

I called Georgia’s State Board of Education this morning and spoke to the Administrative Assistant to the Chief-of-Staff for the State Board of Education. Here are the facts as told to me by that Administrative Assistant: Georgia’s State Board of Education has now – and has had in the past – the power to establish state charter schools. The Constitutional Amendment has no bearing on Georgia’s State Board of Education’s authority to establish state charter schools. The State Board of Education is not taking a position on the Constitutional Amendment. I asked the Administrataive Assistant if the State Board of Education’s power to establish state charter schools would continue – into the future – whether, or not, the Constitutional Amendment passes. I was told that the authority of Georgia’s State Board of Education to establish state charter schools would continue into the future, regardless of the election’s results in November pertaining to the Constitutional Admendment regarding a State Commission for Charter Schools.

Thus, it remains my opinion that the Constitutional Amendment is unnecessary. Parents have presently another option of establishing a charter school when their local school district denies their request for a charter school. Parents can apply for a state charter school through the State Board of Education. I cannot help but wonder why some continue to assert that this Constitutional Amendment is necessary to give parents another option. Parents already have another option through the State Board of Education to establish a state charter school.

I highly suspect that this Constitutional Amendment is more political than it is educational. I, also, am wary of the fact that the State Commission of Charter Schools, which the Constitutional Amendment would confirm, would be composed only of members who are appointed, not elected by the public.

P.S. 2012

October 3rd, 2012
9:06 pm

Should anyone believe this Amendment is some Epiphany by those who wish to give parents choice in their children’s education, perhaps the link below will help your understanding.

http://dianeravitch.net/2012/10/03/pennsylvania-governor-a-pushing-alec-law/

bootney farnsworth

October 3rd, 2012
9:07 pm

@ dunwoody mom

not in Georgia, not on this issue.

for some reason, this is the hill which many on the political right have decided have decided is worth
dying for. the fact they turned so hard and so openly on Barge is very telling. politicians only go that kind of hysterical nutty when the person who must be destroyed has a valid point.

bootney farnsworth

October 3rd, 2012
9:10 pm

what this illustrates is the deal has been done for some very powerful lobbyists and politicians. their goodies are already divvied up and who is Barge (and us poor taxpayers) to intrude on their payday?

bootney farnsworth

October 3rd, 2012
9:11 pm

@ Ron F

M-Th is more than we’ve been getting, so….
baby steps, baby steps

bootney farnsworth

October 3rd, 2012
9:12 pm

you do know most colleges have lobbyists, don’t you?

only makes sense charter schools have them as well

mountain man

October 3rd, 2012
9:17 pm

You people in the public school business did this to yourselves. If you had addressed issues before education went down the drain, there would be no clamor for charters!

Karl Marx

October 3rd, 2012
9:33 pm

John Konop said “Cherokee Charter in their public board meeting used a good part of the meeting as a how to promte and organize support for the amendment, as well as handed out flyers. This seems rather strange that they are only going after one side.”

Why is it strange? After all you said Cherokee Charter is a “for profit private organization” Are you now changing and correcting what you said before?

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
9:35 pm

“I highly suspect that this Constitutional Amendment is more political than it is educational.”

If it walks like a duck, as the proverb says, then….

Clearly this is politics at its finest. A lot of nice rhetoric wrapped around an emotionally charged issue creates a perfect storm where people throw out facts and logic and willingly give up power to the state. An effective political strategy that gets people to willingly give up power to the state, trusting it to know what’s best. And the state is trusting ALEC among others, and we all know where that group gets its marching orders.

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
9:38 pm

“Why is it strange? After all you said Cherokee Charter is a “for profit private organization”

A for-profit organization receiving and using public funds, so they’re subject to the same restrictions as a public entity receiving funds from the same source. If the AG’s interpretation of the law is upheld, then anyone receiving public funds cannot use those funds, resources, or time on the payroll to campaign either for or against this.

John Konop

October 3rd, 2012
9:42 pm

Karl Marx,

Ironic with your name you would agree with that logic!

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
9:51 pm

“politicians only go that kind of hysterical nutty when the person who must be destroyed has a valid point.”

And thus we have AG Olens jumping off the high dive into the cesspool of Gov. Deal’s plan to subvert local control and keep the purse strings closer under his control. Makes it easier to get to privatization with full legal authority.

long time educator

October 3rd, 2012
10:01 pm

Because of a local political fight several years back with schools on one side and a local official on the other, I am only too aware of this legal issue. Public employees may not use publicly paid for equipment (copy machines, telephones, computers, reams of paper, etc.) on publicly paid for time (during the work day) to lobby or campaign for a particular political point of view. Once I am off duty, at home on my personal computer and with my personal printer, my free speech rights kick in and I am free to lobby and campaign at will. On a Saturday, teachers can march on the state house to express themselves on their own time. This also applies to teaching in the classroom; I am not allowed to try to win students over to my personal point of view; so using students to lobby using school buses and under the auspices of the school is also illegal.

Wilbur

October 3rd, 2012
10:02 pm

Dark fears and mysterious allegations that someone might make…gasp…a profit…gasp make me sick. Profits make this economy work. Always have. When we cast profit as somehow a bad thing we are truly un-American. Profits are the reason that we have a fantastic lifestyle, nearly unimagined wealth and great prosperity for most americans.

Of course being for or against charters is not particularly american or un-American. Reasonable people disagree. Historically, when public schools did a better job, there was no argument for charter schools. Now that so many public schools are failing, charters might seem like a more reasonable solution to many people.

Get Educated

October 3rd, 2012
10:04 pm

Every time there is a forum, a press conference, a hearing, children all dressed in uniform are paraded in with signs, seated in front and then led tone by one to the microphone to read a prepared speech in favor of amendment 1. Is this fair to children, making them the stalking face of the pro-amendment crowd?

Follow the money, folks. You don’t stifle debate (what country are we in?) unless there are big bucks to be gotten.

KID

October 3rd, 2012
10:07 pm

I agree with bootney farnsworth and mountain man.

Tony

October 3rd, 2012
10:10 pm

The bullies are out in force trying to silence the truths spoken by those of us who oppose the Amendment 1. I was told this weekend that because I am a school principal, that I was not legally allowed to share my opinion about the amendment. That person’s opinion is utterly false and I will keep telling why I am opposed.

Dr. Barge told the truth in the paper he disseminated. The fact that the legislature and governor have no money to fully fund public schools that provide the education for 95% of Georgia’s children, yet they are able to create a new funding scheme that pays 2 and 1/2 times per child for the charter school students tells a lot about the true motives.

The true purpose of this amendment is to open the doors wide to privatization of our schools.

FBT

October 3rd, 2012
10:10 pm

So, what about all the public tax dollars which have already been spent by our local systems on advocacy for or against amendment one?

Well, well

October 3rd, 2012
10:12 pm

One of the lead consultants for the pro-amendment side is also a consultant to AG Olens. Coincidence, I’m sure.

South Georgia Retired Educator

October 3rd, 2012
10:14 pm

Boy, the Governor and AG are willing to bully teachers and school boards who want to express themselves about a political issue, while the Gov leads the big push to pass Amendment 1 so he can give out-of-state education management companies bundles of taxpayer money. One thing’s for sure, the Gov is not subtle in this dogfight, but he’s very, very wrong and will lose if this First Amendment issue goes to court.

3schoolkids

October 3rd, 2012
10:20 pm

I say since there were instances of “electoral advocacy” from both sides of the argument that we let them cancel each other out and forget about it. But this is just the prelude to the dance and I’m sure that won’t happen. Either way the referendum goes there will be lawsuits.

Adam Smith

October 3rd, 2012
10:41 pm

Kudos again Maureen for your insightful analysis of the legal issue. Yes John Barge can speak in favor of the issue on his own time. Perhaps he could print flyers and distribute them in his neighborhood. I don’t understand why he can’t put an even handed 29 point manifesto, I mean position paper, on the State Department of Ed website. It seems to me that anyone who read that paper would want to immediately disassociate themselves with the vote no campaign out of embarrassment.

Ron F.

October 3rd, 2012
11:19 pm

“When we cast profit as somehow a bad thing we are truly un-American.”

Wilbur, nobody is knocking profit making when investors and consumers use money to support it from their own pockets. The issue here is giving tax dollars to those companies while easing regulations that the public entities receiving them must follow. In essence, many are saying it’s okay to let private companies use tax payer dollars with less regulation. I don’t think it “un-American” to oppose that. If parents choose to pay tuition to a school that makes profit from that, so be it. That is American economics at work. Allowing tax dollars to be given by an appointed commission, which has no direct accountability to voters, to private management companies isn’t the same thing. It’s a step towards privatization, which in most cases ends up costing more for the same or less quality outcomes and restricts voters’ rights to have any influence or control of it.

Sandy Springs Parent

October 4th, 2012
12:17 am

Did you all Catch Mitts new education plan he wants to give all the IdEA you

“you know the handicap Kids” and the Title I ” the poor kids” vouchers with their federal funds to use in their schools of choice. Since he believes the private sector can do it best. Except in his state Mass. Where he lled the state to be No 1 in Education. ( funny part is, it has been for along time before and after Mitt with its Union teachers). . I wonder why he never sent his 5 boys to those Number 1 Schools he created.

So Mitts new plan of the day, he is just going to give all of the students federal money directly to the student. This was one of his new plans. He may get called back in by ALEC And told no you are suppose to give it to the states for for profit charters Mittens so we all can make money.

Cactus

October 4th, 2012
1:03 am

In my opinion, Georgia will get the public education system it wants. It may not be the public education system its citizens say they want, but it will be whatever our actions and votes determine. The people we elected to public office have stripped more than $4 billion from our school system resulting in 140-150 day school years, larger teacher-pupil ratios, and near bankruptcy in a growing percentage of less affluent counties. This reduces our future competitiveness, something ironically our “leaders” in government and business say drives their commitment to education improvement.

In some areas of the state, teachers cannot provide paper to their students, and they pray the bulb in their overhead projector won’t die because there is no money to replace it. Teachers have seen conditions for their students deteriorate to the point that when confronted with the question of parting with some of their own modest disposable income, they are often giving it to the children in their classrooms rather than their biological offspring. These educators are being thanked for their commitment to your children and mine (I am not an educator nor have I ever been) with furloughs and firings generated by political leaders who I believe have been and will remain in the pockets of wealthy, for-profit education management corporations. In my opinion, our elected “leaders” are advancing a market-based approach to education that sounds good to anyone who values competition (as I do) and who is frustrated by the pace of school improvement, which is clearly too slow. In reality, our political “leaders” are part of a political initiative orchestrated by ALEC designed to re-segregate our schools along economic lines while feathering their own personal and political nests. I believe these “leaders” subscribe to the notion that we have given the majority of our population ample opportunity to take advantage of our public education system and that we do not have time to wait for those who slumber to wake up. Our international competitiveness is diminishing, so they assert, which apparently gives society license to help some young people and jettison the rest. Social Darwinism administered by those who see themselves at the top of the food chain. From their perspective, we must create an appointed commission to create a separate school system for the young people who will be our future leaders, people who no doubt physically resemble the ones pulling the levers of power today. How fearful it must be for them to imagine an America that lives up to its creed rather than its unspoken commitment to WASP power. What happens to those remaining in our existing public school system after the fear mongers’ dismantlement of public education is subject to Darwin’s theories on the survival of the fittest, I guess.

I believe it is significant to note that charter schools, which are usually good things, benefit significantly from private school migration. In other words, parents of private school children, and I have been one, are looking for ways to save $17,000-$24,000 a year in tuition costs per child and see high-quality charter schools as a cost-saving option. They’re right; they are in some instances, although only one-third outperform their traditional counterparts, according to Stanford University. One third underperform their counterparts, and one third score at about the same level. Could some of the pressure on the Governor and the GOP-controlled legislature to put forward and ensure voter approval of the charter school amendment be fueled by private school parents who constitute many of the well-heeled political campaign supporters of our current “leaders?” Would it really be terrible for those who recently attended expensive private schools to enroll in existing public schools and mix and mingle with students of different backgrounds? Would it hurt their parents to bring their considerable educations, valuable ideas and time to the aid of a public school serving their sons or daughters? Do we really need a state controlled halfway house that preserves the special status of privileged children at public expense and outside the control of local voters? My son transitioned from one of the most expensive private schools to a very diverse public charter school approved by our local board of education, and it was a learning experience that shaped him into the fine man he is today, and his education did not suffer; he attended one of the top 25 universities (public or private) in America. Perhaps most important he does not see color in the selection of his friends as he might have growing up in the segregated and class conscious Georgia I did decades ago. Winston Churchill, whose mother was a U.S. citizen, once said wryly that “you can always count on Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else.” When it comes to public education in Georgia, we don’t need to try one more silver bullet to improve our schools, in my opinion. I believe it is time for all of us to tell our “leaders” that public education is intended for all of our students and that we must invest our time, attention, resources and will to their success as though this was a war that brought us all together for the common good. In my opinion, the responsibility for good schools does not rest with any one group, but there are some fundamentals that we must insist upon such as adequate funding, parental involvement, workplace learning opportunities for students so they can see the connection between what they learn in class and how it is applied in the “real world,” the recruitment of our smartest people into teaching, and our perpetual investment in educators’ knowledge and skills, high and unrelenting academic standards for students and an insistence that they master those standards to progress, opportunities for students who have dropped out to return or re-enter the education system when they realize their mistake, and a change in the school calendar so we can more quickly regain our competitive advantage in a world that went to 200 or more school days decades ago. Our public education system was the envy of the world at one time, and can be again if we reject the arguments of the small minded who would entrust our future to a politically motivated scheme to aid one group of privileged students to the detriment of every other child. I know less affluent students will be served by charter schools approved by the state, but I think experience has taught us that what may be marketed as opportunity today may be recognized as window dressing tomorrow. Just as in World War II and other international conflicts, we are in this together whether we like it or not and whether we fare well in the future may depend on our commitment to each another, and that includes success for all of our children. It is inconceivable to me to envision a future where the lives of my children and grandchildren will not be affected for good or ill by the lives of those who grew up with them. It may be entirely selfish on my part, but I don’t want members of my family living in a country where a large percentage of its population is unemployable, resentful, and hopeless. It really won’t matter at that point who was to blame. I believe many of the advocates for the charter school amendment’s passage mean well, but from my perspective they have mastered the small picture at the expense of the long-term view. Let’s consider what Churchill observed and reject short-term silver bullet solutions that favor one group of students over another and financially benefit the self-serving; let’s do the right thing and insist that we make all of our public schools perform at a higher level for all of our students. Money may be part of the answer, especially after such Draconian cuts for so many years, but the real solution, in my opinion, is creating a “culture” of high expectations that calls upon each of us to communicate to students, parents, teachers, school administrators, business people, and elected leaders that education is truly a priority for us and that we will back up our fine words on this subject with votes that favor public education champions, personal and professional time invested in the lives of students through mentoring, tutoring, the establishment and enforcement of high academic and vocational standards, encouragement of teaching as a career for our brightest students, assistance for parents who want to help their children but don’t know how, etc. Respectfully, I suggest we get the public education system we say we want by finally doing the right thing and foregoing any more top down silver bullet fixes that only postpone the inevitable commitment we will one day have to make to survive economically. A great education system exacts a price from all of us, and delivers the highest possible return on investment.

Privatization of schools

October 4th, 2012
1:16 am

The BBC website has a fabulous article about what happens when the PRIVATE sector is given a role in public education. Do you think this can’t or won’t happen here in Georgia? If so, think again.

“Two years ago, Limpopo’s education department decided to contract out the procurement and distribution of textbooks. A company called EduSolutions, which operates large state contracts in other provinces, won the bid. But it was soon clear that privatisation meant books would cost the state much more than before.

“They wanted a way to corrupt the system, and the only way is when you bring in a middle-man,” said Solly Tshitangano, a senior education official at the time of the deal.

He says politicians and officials decided to outsource textbook supply solely in order to find a new way to defraud the taxpayer.”

To read the short article in full, please go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19802372

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

October 4th, 2012
2:07 am

Just wait.

Talking and walking money- BIG MONEY, friends.

LarryMajor

October 4th, 2012
4:46 am

Why just school boards?
Why was the Charter Schools Division not instructed to inform charter schools of this decision?
Why is the Georgia Charter Schools Association allowed to take money from member schools for political purposes?

bootney farnsworth

October 4th, 2012
6:41 am

considering gov Deal was considered one of the most corrupt congressmen during his time in DC, lets not act like we didn’t see this kind of thing coming

Mountain Man

October 4th, 2012
7:40 am

“You people in the public school business did this to yourselves. If you had addressed issues before education went down the drain, there would be no clamor for charters!”

And also the existing educational system also brought this upon itself by not approving charters at the local board level. By refusing to approve charters and making it as difficult as possible on them in the name of protecting theri turf and “their” money, local boards have created the demand for the State to intervene.