DeKalb’s Eugene Walker: Keep schools in local hands. “No” on charter schools amendment

DeKalb school board Chairman Eugene Walker opposes the charter schools amendment. Here’s why:

For an opposing view, read DeKalb board member Nancy Jester’s piece.

By Dr. Eugene Walker

While most of us are going about our daily lives in our normal routines, there are a handful of folks at the State Capitol who have been up to no good. With our economy still in tatters and our home values still at historic lows, these lawmakers approved a referendum which will appear on the November ballot which would have devastating effects on the DeKalb County School District and the children we are charged with educating.

If passed in November, a governing organization would be created, called the Georgia Charter Commission. Although the words “Georgia Charter Commission” won’t appear anywhere on your ballot, this seemingly well-intended and well-worded question would put the State of Georgia in the local school business and created a new bureaucratic umbrella. Local residents would have no control over this new commission, yet the system would cause these same taxpayers to shoulder more of the tax burden for schools than they do now.

To be clear, this has nothing to do with the whole charter school debate. DeKalb County has 13 charter schools, and the Board of Education believes in them and supports their work.

This would be yet another new state entity which would suddenly erect and operate new charter schools in areas that already have charter schools or public schools, or both. Funding for the students that end up at the new state schools would follow the students. It is estimated that this would amount to $430 million in state funding alone. Who would end up shouldering this $430 million tax shift into the duplicate school system? Local taxpayers, of course.

It’s easy to point out the enormous and obvious cost of this new behemoth, but the sinister is always more subtle, and much more dangerous.

Separate school systems used to be the norm in America. Prior to 1954, children who were white went to one school, and children who were black went to a “separate but equal” school. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Brown vs. the Board of Education that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”. I could have told them that, because I was in school then.

You see, public schools are constitutionally mandated to educate all children. Charter schools can pick and choose. Since the measure of success of all schools is test scores, charter schools have their pick of the brightest students which often are from households of confortable affluence. Now as long as all of the children remain under the control of a single, locally controlled school system, there is stability of the funding mechanism for all of the students regardless of their means.

It goes without saying that in our current economy, local school systems cannot take a $430 million hit from the get-go, and be able to continue to provide a quality education for all students. The children of the rich will always be able to afford to go to any lengths to attend the best schools. Children of lessor means will be trapped into the underfunded remains of a once-great school system. This referendum places us back on the path to separate and very unequal educational system. No, children won’t be divided on the pure basis of race, but on the basis of economic class.

The referendum before voters is, in short, the beginning of the end of universal free public education, and the decline of the control of local residents to control their own school systems. It would be turning back the clock to pre-1954 segregation, and we must fight to keep this from happening.

It is often said that “those who do not study history are bound to repeat it”. I find it ironic and heartbreaking that this phrase now applies to people who call themselves educators.

–from Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

155 comments Add your comment

[...] For an opposing view, read DeKalb board member Eugene Walker’s piece. By Nancy Jester [...]

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
9:05 am

I’m tired of this issue. let the state push this through, what the hell? maybe Sonny can get a school attached to his fish camp to make the damn thing viable.

this is like a kid who is determined to stick his hand into the fire to see what happens. let’s let them.

if it works, excellent – glad it did. if it doesn’t..which it almost can’t…really bad to be you, hope you can homeschool or afford private school. if they are allowed to remain.

while there are many who truly believe this to be a good thing, I respect your concerns and efforts.
but lets not kid ourselves as to the bulk of what’s going on here.

-power hungry lawmakers determined to bring us to heel.
-yet another way the majority of parents are trying anything and everything to keep from having to actually be involved in their childrens lives.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

October 20th, 2012
9:21 am

I find this letter to be extraordinarily disingenuous given the reality of the unprecedented power the state of Georgia has given to the unelected accreditation agency, SACS and AdvancED, that are not accountable in the least to taxpayers. It is also inconsistent with the hand tying the accreditors have now imposed on our locally elected school boards on what their authority actually is in any dispute with district policies and practices as I explained here after listening to a GSBA presentation.

I heard off the record from numerous school board members around the state that they are essentially now subject to gag orders and they were so glad I figured out what they were not permitted to tell me.

In fact I raised this issue because Martha Greenway was misrepresenting the Charter Amendment at a Riverwood Principals Coffee. Anything that so threatens officials who emailed me that a decline in PSAT scores does not matter because the PSAT does not measure “what we want Georgia schoolchildren to know and be able to do” must be a good thing.

We need somewhere for taxpayers and students who still want the knowledge measured by the PSAT. And it is abhorrent to bring up the spectre of Separate but Equal. Shame on you.

I am so tired of being lied to by educators who live off our taxes.

Beverly Fraud

October 20th, 2012
10:18 am

@invisible I am curious. Is there anywhere in the world that is immune to the goings on you describe in your blog? Or has it become that all encompassing?

Beverly Fraud

October 20th, 2012
10:26 am

“I find this letter to be extraordinarily disingenuous given the reality of the unprecedented power the state of Georgia has given to the unelected accreditation agency, SACS and AdvancED, that are not accountable in the least to taxpayers”

You don’t mean the same organization that if THIS VERY PAPER is to be believed (Maureen correct me if I’m wrong) tried to strong arm the Atlanta BOE into naming, as board chair, a woman conspired with Beverly Hall to hide evidence of systemic, widespread cheating?

A board chair is removed from power after she conspired with a superintendent to hide evidence of cheating and SACS tries to reinstall her back into power? This is “good governance”?

These are the “good guys” in this amendment squabble?

Beverly Fraud

October 20th, 2012
10:44 am

“Children of lessor means will be trapped into the underfunded remains of a once-great school system.”

He CANNOT be implying that, if this amendment passes, DeKalb will go from great to “once great”?

Is there not a UNIVERSAL consensus that, as they say, that horse done left the barn?

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

October 20th, 2012
10:46 am

Beverly-it is worse in certain countries than others. The Qualifications Frameworks and Quality Assurance and SEL focus is really the furthest along in the UK and the Scandinavian countries. In India and Australia the private schools have been targeted as well using tax supported vouchers as the rationale. In Canada the Alberta Wheel of Competency is now showing up all over the globe and Michael Fullan (Ontario) is an adviser all over the globe. The Bioregional movement and its ed vision originated in British Colombia and our Pacific Northwest. really strong in Portland and Seattle. My post before today’s was tracking from Hong Kong back to US and Canada.

UNESCO has always had a political vision from the time of its founding. That you could change the West politically and socially by changing culture. Atlanta and Dallas and Denver are all targets out of deep resentment at the Milliken (Detroit) school busing case. There is still active hope of overturning that ruling to maintain that economic segregation equals racial discrimination and only metrowide busing will remedy. The Environmental Justice movement is run nationally out of Clark Atlanta and the Regional Equity Movement has Atlanta actively in its sights.

This is in many ways a good old-fashioned political coup. Think of education administrators and accreditors as part of a class of the nomenklatura who would like to live at our expense all of their lives. And they want to rig education to benefit themselves in terms of continued revenue while knocking out every aspect that fosters mental independence and individuality. Then an insufficient number of voters can object in time. Very little in an ed degree would make you aware of the dangers inherent in Best Practices. Or appreciate the magic of an Axemaker Mind.

But the economic pie is not fixed. What is being done to gain political and economic power threatens everyone and everything that works. When I was at a breakfast recently a tablemate agreed I was right but laughed that I was so worried because anybody who can figure out things and connect the dots of stories they were never told will “always be OK.”

I really am a mom. I really was a history major. I live economics and use it daily in what I analyse. If something cannot work, we must talk about it before a fatal plunge together into the abyss. Even if I suspect I will be able to jump in time.

Our children cannot. This country cannot. These ideas really do have a tragic history that is the most likely consequence yet again.

So I write.

Mom of 3

October 20th, 2012
12:33 pm

This man needs to accept that it is time to move on. The old rhetoric is not cutting it. Schools (specially in Dekalb) are in crisis. He continues to pretend all is well and keeps the race card is his back pocket. Parents are not represented and need as many options as possible. The future iof schools is coming fast.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

October 20th, 2012
12:44 pm

Thank you Dr. Walker. This charter school amendment is completely unnecessary. There must be a lot of power and $$$ driving it because I KNOW the state Capitol doesn’t care about educating our children. There is no question that our educational system needs improving but that is more a function of the politics of this state than the educators who are hard at work to make it happen. I already voted NO.


October 20th, 2012
1:13 pm

Mr Walker needs to get his head out of the black hole of failing education in DeKalb schools and see the light of hope for schools!! We parents cannot wait for them to get it together for our children. I stand with Govenor Deal and 2/3, of a non-partisan House and Senate who feel there needs to be options NOW for children who are trapped in their failing schools based upon their zip codes!! Parents are local control and we have an opportunity for our voices to be heard on election day. I voted YES for Amendment One. It’s one more tool we can use to help rebuild our struggling school systems in GA.

Mary Elizabeth

October 20th, 2012
3:13 pm

“The referendum before voters is, in short, the beginning of the end of universal free public education, and the decline of the control of local residents to control their own school systems. It would be turning back the clock to pre-1954 segregation, and we must fight to keep this from happening.”

I totally agree with Dr. Walker’s words, above. Below are words which I have previously posted on Jim Galloway’s blog, 10/18/12 at 3:30 pm, which will indicate how politically based, rather than educationally based, the constitutional amendment is.

My response, below, is to a poster by the name of Phil who posted that the State Board of Education also consists of appointed officials, as would the state Commission for Charter Schools, after I had stated that parents – right now – have the choice of applying for a state charter school if their local district denies their application.

“Phil: ‘You just described the State Board of Ed – every member of which is appointed by the Governor.’

You are correct in that, Phil, however those State Board of Education members are primarily educators, not politicians; otherwise, you would not have witnessed the dissent of Dr. John Barge, Georgia’s Superintendent of Schools and a Republican, who has disagreed with Republican Governor Deal by opposing this Constitutional Amendment which would establish a State Commission on Charter Schools. Dr. Barge has proven himself to be a true educator, not a politician, in his core.

Moreover, the membership of the State Commission of Charter Schools would come from a list supplied by Georgia’s House Majority Leader and Georgia’s President of the Senate, as well as from the Governor, all of whom are Republican politicians. In addition, Rep. Jan Jones and Rep. Edward Lindsey, who sponsored HR 1162 which became the Constitutional Amendment, are both members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Please preview the link, below, to see how ALEC has had its political influence into this legislation. Rep. Jones is part of the Educational Task Force of ALEC as well as on the Education Committee of Georgia’s House of Representatives.”

Room 704

October 20th, 2012
3:42 pm

It’s too late to worry about separate school systems……..Students use Ipads in one part of the city in Atlanta, and the kids at the opposite end cannot carry books home…….This system isn’t working……time for more choices……….VOTE YES!!!


October 20th, 2012
4:02 pm

The proposed Amendment 1 smells like backroom political favor-trading and has neon arrows pointing to fat private bank accounts at taxpayers’ expense. Parents have local control now, and they should start by demanding that we detoxify schools of existing standardized testing mandates that are feeding political cronyism and fattening profiteers who couldn’t care less whether your kid ends up in Yale or in prison. It also allows teachers who don’t give a hoot phone it in instead of actually creating a culture of curiosity and lifelong learning. Or, we can whine and pretend that knowing the difference between an abstract noun and a concrete noun is really important stuff for our future generations, and that ALL kids don’t really need computers or smartboards or clean bathrooms or good lighting at school. Let’s insist that the STATE fix our antiquated, corrupt, goal-less education system before creating a redundant one. Amendment 1? I’ve had sour milk in the fridge that smelled better. No thanks.


October 20th, 2012
4:14 pm

Mary E .re:…”The referendum before voters is, in short, the beginning of the end of universal free public education, and the decline of the control of local residents to control their own school systems. It would be turning back the clock to pre-1954 segregation, and we must fight to keep this from happening.”

I am afraid very few of us know anything about ALEC and the way it has tentacles in all elements of the society…..


October 20th, 2012
5:02 pm

Yo Doc, tell us about the school building program funded by bonds that has been looted by the thieves in Central Office, IMHO, who are I believe are under indictment for their crimes. Isn’t the school system also involved in a hundred million dollar lawsuit with at least one building contractor over these and other crimes? Now you want to save the taxpayers some money? I think you are just protecting your own rice bow.

red herring

October 20th, 2012
5:05 pm

same old same old… our public schools have become a black hole for tax dollars. we must come up with a better system and when one is proposed it can’t be voted down by education unions and high paid administrators. put the money in the classroom. get parents/students involved not just in education but some before school prep (painting/cutting grass/etc) like the private schools do to survive. stop building new schools everywhere on the taxpayers backs—renovate and fix the old ones—- the main thing is we have kept pouring more and more money into education and it hasn’t improved. the next logical step is to change the system. why does a public high school need a supt. and asst. supt.s plus several principals/vice principals and all of these people need a “staff” to support them??? most private schools have a headmaster and teachers. go figure…..

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
5:21 pm

Keep schools in “Local hands?” Does anyone understand that the public schools in Georgia are now in “Gates Foundation hands?” That where all this stuff comes from that has been signed into law in Georgia. Georgia public schools are most definitely not in local hands and maybe? someone might look at where some of this comes from that is mandated into law and “re-delivered” into the school house? Every one of these initiatrives has a name and a source and none of the sources are in Georgia. So if you are cheerleading for local control, you are not only very naive, you’re just plain uninformed.

The best part is the Gates Foundation spends $300 million / year paying off the press (not meaning the AJC, but the national corporate medias and such) so there is ZERO counterpoint or commentary on them.

Do yourself a favor and do a web seach for “Gates Foundation” combined with “Race To The Top” “Valued Added Metrics VAM” and “Georgia charter school amendment.”

State of Georgia’ll sell its soul for $10. if it comes from a foundation and a cult of personality. If William Faulkner was alive, he’d come after you with a shovel.


October 20th, 2012
5:22 pm

The only cure for the current corrupt system is a complete end to free public education. If parents have to pay for the education of their own children, they will impose discipline on the child and the school. The innocent property owner is currently being held hostage, trapped between the education establishment on one side, and the student and its parent on the other, both demanding more, more, more. I urge less, much less, call it ZERO, nothing, nada!

Mary Elizabeth

October 20th, 2012
5:43 pm

Paulo 977, 4:14 pm

Thanks for your response. For those who may not be more fully aware of ALEC and its stealthy “tentacles” into our democratic Republic – on many levels – through its political contacts and wealthy patrons such as the Koch Brothers, I will repost the following, below. There was good reason for Thomas Jefferson to have advocated for public education as a foundation of a democratic society, so that ordinary citizens would be educated to see into the machinations of the wealthy elite and how they might use the ordinary citizens for their own self-interests purposes. See below.

Nancy Jester: “Parents deserve more choices.”

Parents have more choices right now without changing Georgia’s Constitution in order to accommodate essentially, imo, a politically based state Commission for Charter Schools. They can apply to the state Board of Education to establish a state charter school, if they are denied a charter school by their local school district.

See below, as to why I believe that this Constitutional Amendment is more political than educational.

Posted originally 10/19/12, 10:19 pm:

“ ‘Also, there would seem to be an issue of coercion when a charter school employee gets such a request from a principal for what amounts to a political endorsement.
Wouldn’t the employees of the schools feel pressured to comply since it would be obvious if they didn’t as their names would be missing from the pro amendment ad?’

I wish to connect some dots for those that may not be aware. Principals obliged to the Georgia Charter School Association that supports the Constitutional Amendment appear to be practicing coercion toward their teaching staff in their charter schools to support this amendment. Likewise, managers of a Koch Industries firm here in Georgia – Georgia-Pacific – also appear to be practicing coercion with their workers to get them to support Gov. Romney for President. (See link below.)

The sponsors of the original HR 1162 which became the Consitutional Amendment, Republican state Representatives Jan Jones and Edward Lindsey, are members of ALEC. The Koch Brothers are conservative Republicans who support ALEC financially.

On the front page of the AJC today (paper edition) was an article entitled, “Should your boss sway your vote?” and online that article was entitled, “Koch election mailing to employees sparks controversy.”

Below are the beginning lines of this article:

‘Earlier this month, the corporate parent of Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific sent its 50,000 employees election-related material that included a list of political candidates supported by the company.

The mailing by Koch Industries drew national attention, raising the question of whether employers should bring politics into the workplace, and to what degree. . .

The Koch Industries mailing also contained a letter from company President Dave Robertson and opinion pieces written by top executives David and Charles Koch, who are brothers and prominent backers of conservative causes. David Koch’s commentary states his support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.’

Those who initiated and/or practiced coercion in the workplace in these two instances appear to be Republicans supportive of a conservative ideology espoused by the Koch Brothers regarding free markets. Hmmm. That should make you think. Any time you have an autocratic setting in which power at the top dominates, you will get coercion of employees because workers are not seen as equal to management and are, therefore, not respected as much as those in superior positions.

If you do not see that that autocratic ideology has the potential to undercut the very foundational tenet on which America was based – that “all are created equal” – then you are in denial, in my opinion. Just another reason to vote NO to the Constitutional Amendment in NOvember, which appears to me to be more political than educational.

Btw, perhaps Dr. John Barge made his decision regarding not supporting the Constitutional Amendment based purely on educational considerations, not on political ones, so his particular political persuasion was irrelevant to his decision. If that were the case – and I believe that it was – then Dr. Barge is a true educator, not a politician obliged to others. Someone of standing should nominate Dr. Barge for a Kennedy Center ‘Profile in Courage Award.’ He well deserves that honor, in my opinion.”

no mas

October 20th, 2012
5:52 pm

Dr. Walker,

Please show me how charter schools will be able to “pick and choose”. A charter school can neither turn a student away if there is a seat in the school for him/her nor force a student to leave if he/she doesn’t score well on tests.. They are public schools and they must abide by the same rules as all other public schools.

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
5:54 pm

Serf’s Collar, Ir has occurred to me that having a private non-government agency doing K12 public school regulation is completely bizarre. It seems like in Georgia no one is willing to step to the plate and govern, it is like it is the governing avoidance state and I’d don’t mean that as a compliment. Outside of Atlanta, the standard of living in Georgia is really atrocious, tons of poverty. And no one can even comprehend that the rest of the 1st world has health care where you go get treatment and then leave without debt and with your bank account in tact. Recently I spent 2 hours at a doctor mega-plex. They didn’t even do any treatment and I left with a $1500. bill. I talked to the lady in billing and she said “You’re preaching to the choir, I’m trying to figure out how to buy groceries.” At another doctor office I went and visited the lady in the billing office and she confided in me that neither she or any of the workers there had health insurance (!)

This place is the pits, for real. If you ever want to go teach outside of the US, according the OECD, the rest of the developed world not only has universal healthcare, but also, teachers teach 35% hours less than US teachers, and then get paid more in comparison to other professions.

People need to recognize with Bill Gates foundation is doing to the state of Georgia. They’ve already signed all this trendy Gates-garbage into law. I stopped using Microsoft 15 years ago. Read a report of the new Windows 8 and the person said it is awkward, time consuming, and difficult to use. Gates made his fortune through monopoly. In Europe he is considered a criminal. Android operating system that is taking over the world is built on Linux and there are Americans who are the real deal and have made real design contribution to it, like Ian Murdock. Bill Gates has monopoly and appropriation in his blood. Now that Windows has run its course of opportunity and is obsolete, Gates was to appropriate and monopolize education as his new business venture. He knows how to pull the levers and do it. Over in Seattle, where he’s from, the educators are onto him and he’s no cult of personality there. Living in Georgia is starting to feel like stale Russia in the old era. Everybody’s broke, they’re signing communist era education law (already done that), and the exploit on medical care is extreme and the people are as dumb as any peasant that ever walked the earth. Living in Georgia is like having a dumb girlfriend that runs you down and costs you a lot of money.

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
6:00 pm

PS According to my forays on the internet, at least one person “out there” thinks that in Georgia people wear styofoam hats and play banjo and sing “Dixie.”

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
6:08 pm

I heard it said that the UN Agenda 21 is the new curriculum. “Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally…”

concern parent

October 20th, 2012
6:39 pm

Why didn’t Mr. Womack put that much effort into saving the paras, clerk and media specialist positions.

The Deal

October 20th, 2012
7:14 pm

Gene Walker’s opposition to this amendment is enough to make me vote Yes, which I did. Here in DeKalb, we have no control, local or otherwise. The few good charters and magnets we have are full, and, before I spend my savings on private school, I think I am due more for my thousands of tax dollars than the disaster we have today. “Choice” doesn’t really exist in DeKalb.

sneak peak into education

October 20th, 2012
7:25 pm

@ Mary Elizabeth-thank you for your comments once more. You are a tireless warrior fighting against the rhetoric we hear of “our failing schools, the children cannot wait, the unions hurting our children, our corrupt and failing school boards”. All of these are manufactured to make it seem like our WHOLE education system is in crisis mode and who is behind it; the reform group and, more importantly, ALEC, As I read the posts for the proponents of amendment 1 they say they want local control yet they are willing to give up their democratic vote and put their trust into the hands of our governor, speaker of the house and lieutenant general who have shown by their actions that they do not value public education and can hardly be expected to be good guardians of it. If this amendment passes the proponents may feel euphoria for a short time but when they see what the true outcome will be and the fact they can’t take it back, You only have to read the horror stories of what is happening in other states that allow for-profit charters. I am sure they will be disheartened at their choices. I cannot understand why anyone would agree to support this policy, especially when they know that the right-wing group ALEC is behind it. ALEC has made it clear that their wish is to privatize public education and pass it into the hands of big corporations and profiteers. Why would you wish this for the children of Georgia? Our public schools are not perfect but they serve EVERYONE. Our energies should be directed into making our public schools better-not dismantle it and create a 3-tier and segregated school system.
Vote NO in NOvember

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
7:28 pm

This is an html test post.

Sandy Springs Parent

October 20th, 2012
8:01 pm

Invisable Serf, I do not understand most of your manic raving. What I do know about Riverwood is the Eddie Echols’ corrupt theft regime promoted several other Special Ed teacher / Coaches like himself that were involved in the theft of the $70K found in the audit. Many of the in-parents who I have known since our kids were on various teams in Buckhead or Private Schools, are nothing but big drunk pill dropping bullies. One of them who sent a crazy e-mail when those of us pushed for the removal of the abusive AD, Jeff and Girls Coaches who went on up to the next school North, sent a rambling e-mail about how wonderful they were. This was the same crazy parent who said the drugs found in the car his son drove on campus, were his drugs, since it was his car. He didn’t want Jr. expelled or inelligible for scholarships or federal loans. This crazy e-mail went out before 5:00 P.M, we all had a good laugh. Their daughter always said she couldn’t rely on parents picking her up after 7, since they would drink too much wine.

The real facts are Avaosa exposed a major theft of school funds by the Principal and AD, Jeff, within the first month of his arrival last year at Riverwood. I will tell you it runs much deeper.

The biggest shame of all is that Riverwood has the absolute worst Physic’s teacher in the world, that teaches both AP and General Physics. She is from East India. The Tutors of Fulton County and Buckhead love her at $50/hr plus. Some students have rich parents that are paying for tutors as many as 3 times a week. This is an open secret. The counselors at Riverwood try to steer every kid into Earth Science. But then you ask, as a parent my child wants to go in the medical field or Engineering field, they need Physics. The counselor is still trying to steer you to Earth Science. Then they do not even offer Anatomy, and you are like, what?? What does my bright kid take. Then if you as and educated parent insist that your child take Physics, and you stay involved, you find out this lady can’t teach. You try to assist her since, you have a Master’s in Civil Engineering when she hands out a project to design a truck runoff ramp on an interstate in the mountains. I even sent her The DOD specs, from several states which had all the calculations, from US DOT. She ignores it. Who knows more? Me a person with a Civil Engineering Degree ( we design roads) or an imported from India Physics teacher, that the Counselors try to tell students to avoid her class.

Then to top it off the AP US History Teacher, aka Baseball Coach and now the AD, starts out the AP US History Class by stating that most of the students in this class have never known failure. They will know failure in my class. That is BS. He gave projects that he told the students you could find the information for free on the internet. BS, not my childs topic I had to purchase a $49 membership to a specific archive to get newspaper articles from The Middle Colononies Prerevolutionary War. Not very fair if you would have had children of different income brackets in the class. It was still a strech for my budget the weekend before I got paid. AP classes vary greatly from school to school and teacher to teacher.

Any child in Public School should not have to pay $50/hr private tutors to just comprehend the work. That is what it was at at Riverwood. That is pooring teaching.


October 20th, 2012
8:35 pm

Eugene Walker personifies the disaster that is local control of public schools. He is the front man for the education rat hole that is DeKalb County.

He was there when former DeKalb County School Superintendent and project manager, Pat Pope, were misappropriating $10 million of the DeKalb School construction budget. He was there when fellow Board member Jay Cunningham was double dealing pizzas to the schools they both supervise. He was there when the DeKalb County School Board degenerated into a local war zone.

The CrossRoadsNews had to edify Eugene Walker last August that one in five DeKalb seniors did not graduate in May. Walker could not even open his mouth. He was clueless.

Eugene Walker is a primary part of the reason that SACS is now breathing down DCSD neck about Board cronyism, micromanagement, HR and hiring fixing schemes, Board harassment of school administrators and some fifty complaints from DeKalb residents to SACS about unprofessional budget practices, legal expense shenanigans, and other Board transgressions.

So, it is no wonder that Walker is playing on his propaganda trumpet to defeat Amendment I. What a day when DeKalbians get smart and fire him from the Board and relieve him of all contact with DeKalb County schools. DeKalb academic progress will begin immediately.

Mary Elizabeth

October 20th, 2012
8:41 pm

Thank you for your compliment, Sneak Peak Into Education, and I return the compliment to you in your tireless efforts to defeat Amendment 1.

“FACT: The public needs to realize that almost 60% of the state commission charter schools (not charter schools approved locally) had contracts with EMOs (for-profit education management organizations) vs. only 12% of all other startup charter schools in Georgia, which means a portion of the $86 million in state funds these schools receive go to out-of-state companies.”

“FACT: The state (of Georgia) has already cut $4.4 billion from schools since 2008.”

“What it (Amendment 1) means to our public schools. Shorter school calendars. Ballooning class sizes. Lost jobs. More furlough days. Fewer programs and resources for Georgia students. Amendment 1 siphons money and resources from already underfunded traditional public schools and existing public charter schools. That money then goes into the coffers of state commission-approved charter schools often run by out-of-state, for-profit charter school management companies.”

“Did you KNOW? According to the Georgia Supreme Court, the state clearly overstepped when it created the state commission to approve charter schools. That commission approved charter school applications until the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that UNCONSTITUTIONAL this past year. The power to authorize charter schools belongs (exclusively ) to local school boards as stated in our Constitution.”

“FACT: There is already a policy in place for reviewing charter school applications by local school boards + there’s already an appeals process in place, too.”

“Our students – the future of our state – deserve more than Amendment 1 can promise. While the preamble that appears above the amendment language on the ballot promises to improve student achievement and parental involvement, we know that it might do that – but only for the very few. ALL children across Georgia deserve the equal opportunity to learn in engaging, innovative, creative, and safe classrooms and schools. We build those classrooms and schools by investing in public education – not strip-mining it for big profit.”

Source for the above quotes: KNOW Magazine from GAE, Volume 11, Issue 1

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
9:09 pm

@ Sandy Springs Parent, You need a charter school all to yourself, one with a helicopter landing pad! :-) Seriously, you go to a school and “push for the removal” of teachers? Wow. That’s pretty out there. I’d think if a teacher did some crime or something, but to be frank, it sounds like you are deciding your school manager or something. Do you push for the removal of people work at stores you go to, or is this consumer method exclusive to education? Let me clarify a little.

My personal belief is people need to be shown the right way to do things, but the “off with their heads” or “fire this / that teacher” is really extreme. Sandy Springs Parent, please don’t be extreme with school staff. Its challenging work on a good day. You’re perspective is a good reason we need school choice. If you lived in Belgium, you could choose any number of schools and the funding goes with the student where they decide to go to school, what fits them best.

Seriously, you seem like the kind of parent where people warn of your coming and from the side, some roll their eyes at “the crazy one.” I’m not too un-crazy myself but I try not to go after people. Maybe I should take a lesson from you and I’d do better if I really went after people.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

October 20th, 2012
9:10 pm

I see the order of the posts changed while I was gone. This morning it was Jester first, Now it is the Walker negative story. Will it rotate again?

Private citizen-Agenda 21 relates to education through Regional Equity and Bioregionalism but it is really a land use regulation offensive. It came out of the 1992 Rio summit on Sustainability.

Sandy Springs Parent-if you find my posts manic, fine. You come on here and criticize fine teachers who do right by students.

If you like Avossa, fine. Have him over for a dinner party. The issue is whether what is going on in the name of that charter and the 2017 vision is anything the taxpayers would knowingly support.

And by the way the Teaching for Excellence Model Riverwood is using and raising money for is run by one of the co-creators of Transformational Outcomes Based Education. After Tr OBE became notorious after Columbine, Spady left the country because he was better known. Australia and South Africa. Spence Rogers took over the lucrative training franchise.

Riverwood is pushing the New 3 R’s. Here’s an explanation I wrote two months before the excited announcement.

Fulton is implementing toxic ideas with a tragic history.

Precisely when do you think we should talk about the actual facts?

I believe early on works best.

And recognizing that support from the accreditors was the only explanation for Avossa’s you can’t touch me attitude has been enormously revealing. So I do not like what is going on. But they could not have picked a worse school district if stealth was the goal.

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
9:17 pm

Note to self: Don’t work anywhere near Sandy Springs. Parents’ll try to get you fired.

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
9:30 pm

Collar, Why do the powers that be insist on harassing teachers with these weird themes and stuff? You know as well as I do that, after a tough day, sitting through two hours of this stuff as faculty meeting leads to burn out really fast. It is like it physically hurts, you put out so much energy and then get stepped on with this brainwashing stuff. You know, these kind of intiatives are illegal in Germany. I guess after the Nazi era they wrote a law, “no character training in schools.” I’m not being flippant. It’s illegal over there. Personally, I’d rather scrub toilets at the 7-11 than listen to this stuff in the workplace. There’s been like 20 of these brainwashing initiatives. Old timers can list them off. I remember somebody told me about “Wonder of the Work” or somesuch. You hold up three fingers with each hand like a “W” and make an “O” with your mouth and then say “WOW!” It sounds like mad cow disease to me and gives me bad thoughts.


October 20th, 2012
9:44 pm

Well, I’m of the opinion that if Eugene Walker is against it that means it will benefit the children more than him and his cronies…

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
9:48 pm

@ Sandy Springs Parent, Your experience reminds me of one class I had a community college. Ironically it was a government class. The teacher would show up late in running shorts and sometimes we’d find a note on the door that he wouldn’t be there due to his side job doing acting. And yet, he was protected by the department. The class was so bad that everybody dropped except for five students. And then the guy went and gave me a “D” for my grade and I had a 4.0 otherwise. I retook the class, paying for it again, and took it independent study (one of the standard offerings) from the department head, made my “A” and moved on.

Your sentiment also reminds me of some experiences at a public university where the dept. seemed determined to steer people away from their interests. In this case, I judged it best to just get away from the place. They also misrepresented some programs that they really did not have. Oh, and another course at a different public college where at least one of the assignments was so loaded with identity politics that it was impossible to do the assignment per the instructions, it was so in conflict. Check this as another place to just break ties and get away from. I can empathize with your view.

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
9:53 pm

How can someone promote “a caring economics” in a country without a healthcare system?

Private Citizen

October 20th, 2012
10:18 pm

“2007 brought The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics

Nice…. plagiarize the Adam Smith title.

Dr. Monica Henson

October 20th, 2012
11:15 pm

“[P]ublic schools are constitutionally mandated to educate all children.” Absolutely true.

“Charter schools can pick and choose.” Patently false.

Dr. Monica Henson

October 20th, 2012
11:16 pm

Because charter schools are PUBLIC schools.


October 21st, 2012
6:41 am

As hasbeen said before, follow the money. Where is the funding coming from that supports passage of this amendment? Out of state emtities are supporting it. Why would an out of state entity support a change in the GA constitution? I submit it is NOT because of altruism. There is money to be made and that tax-payer money, instead of educating GA children, will leave the state.


October 21st, 2012
7:22 am

Government run schools are failing Georgians and have for the past 50 years.Why are so many of you so willing to protect the systemic failure by refusing to let competition improve the failures?

What is so scary about competition? You love competition when it comes to your choices in every part of your life but you suddenly hate it when it comes to educating your children? Want to shop and be forced to eat rotted meat and stale bread at the government run grocery store? Want to get your hair done at the Georgia Department of HairDo’s? How about a nice, tasty dinner provided by the City of Atlanta Board of Dining Establishments?

You don’t personally have to choose the charter schools in your areas, but why should you prevent another family from making a choice to educate their children as they choose? So many of you claim that parents won’t get involved in their schools to make changes. Maybe a stay-at-home mom can be involved, but why pay a school system $9,000+ a year to educate your child and then turn around and have to go run the school in your off hours?
Why not pay $7,500 a year at the charter school of of your choosing and have professionals run it for you. If they fail you, take your kids out and go to another school around the corner and spend your $7,500 at that school instead. That is what choice will allow. All schools will improve with more school choice because the monopolized education system in Georgia cannot function when parents have a real choice.

Upper income parents are not driving the school choice movement. Poor and middle income families are doing it. Upper income families have all the choices they need. Stop pretending that there is an evil monolithic monster behind the school choice movement. It is primarily made up of parents that don’t want government educating their children. Yes, the same government that fails in almost every service it provides.

If you live in the suburbs and make a decent living, you have CHOICE because you can afford to move to a different district. However, many of those Georgians that you whine about not caring about their own children are trapped in failed schools and are probably working on their third or fourth generation of being screwed by the current “separate school systems”. How does forcing a child to a certain school simply by the zip code the family can afford on their address make sense?

I would love nothing more than to have entrepreneurs from around the country working hard to earn my family’s education dollars and improving the choices I have in the process. What is so wrong with someone making money doing a great job educating children? How many of you work for a company that provides a service for profit and are proud of the work you do? How is that any different from an education company providing that service for your family? Don’t you know that the teachers and administrators that work for a charter school have great pride and satisfaction in delivering a great education to your children?

Quit scaring Georgians with all of the phony charges. Georgia parents deserve a choice and voting YES is another step in the right direction.


October 21st, 2012
7:37 am

This shouldn’t even be on the ballot since the GA courts already ruled against public funding of private schools. Kind of like going to the trouble of banning gay marriage when it’s already illegal.

concerned educator

October 21st, 2012
7:39 am

I say vote “yes” for the charter school vote. In Dekalb County we have experienced poor leadership from our school board and everyone in the county office. Our school board votes to take the cap off of Crawford Lewis’ legal fees and votes to give other county workers in leadership positions, raises. All of this while others, the people working in the schools with our children take pay and benefit cuts. Charter schools will at least give us smaller environments and some governing not run by our school board. Which by the way has the information wrong; charter schools do not get to choose their students.


October 21st, 2012
8:28 am

Charter schools have been and remain a valuable option for Georgia communities. Decisions about whether to approve a charter school are currently made by local leaders elected to their county or city’s school board by local voters. Charter school advocates who feel that the local board of education has dealt with them unfairly can already appeal that decision to the state board of education which is comprised of individuals appointed by the Governor. The charter school amendment isn’t about improving education options for Georgia’s boys and girls; it’s about the money our elected “leaders” expect to realize (and may have realized already) from the for-profit education management corporations that see our schools as a huge market for their “services.” There is nothing wrong with corporations making a profit, but there is also no evidence to suggest that the quality of public education will improve with their receipt of tax dollars. According to Stanford University, one-third of charter schools outperform their traditional counterparts, one-third perform at the same level, and one third underperform. I respectfully suggest we ask ourselves why the Governor and other “leaders” are willing to invest so much political capital on this issue and why they were willing to threaten funding for Gwinnett Tech if the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce didn’t reverse its opposition to the charter school amendment. In my opinion, this is all about money, our money and its redistribution to politicians and the education management corporations that are pulling their strings. I also believe that this is being sold as the means of helping children trapped in failing schools in a classic bait and switch operation. We know that charter schools, which again I believe are good things, benefit most from the enrollment of students formerly attending private schools. Many affluent parents today are looking for alternatives to private schools as a result of the economy, and I think their voices are being heard by the politicians who received their campaign contributions. Establishing a charter school commission that is not elected and not accountable to voters and taxpayers and whose members are appointed by the Governor, the Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the Georgia House provides the means to selectively establish schools using tax dollars badly needed by our existing and more accountable public education system. We have already seen this Governor’s willingness to direct tax dollars to projects that reward his friends and supporters regardless of benefit to taxpayers from whom this tax money is derived. Our political “leaders” deliberately stripped more than $4 billion from public schools, then decried the failure of local schools (many of which teeter on the brink of bankruptcy as a result of state actions), and forced through (ala TSPLOST) a constitutional amendment proposal to provide for more “choice.” Those who think passage of the charter school amendment will create opportunities for poor children to attend outstanding charter schools are likely to be disappointed with the actions of a charter school commission populated by appointees of the current Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker, in my opinion. There will be window dressing, to be sure, but most of those attending the new, publicly funded charter schools will be the children of privilege, those whose parents have clout with the Governor and who see great benefit in having taxpayers save them the $24,000 plus dollars they currently pay – per child – for private school tuition. In my opinion, this is a major league gullibility test for Georgia voters. I believe the Governor and his agents believe they can sell this by portraying its passage as something good for parents and children who need an opportunity for a quality education not currently afforded them, but if that is not enough they’ve taken steps to ensure passage by using language on the ballot that is grossly misleading if not false. Why do they feel they must mislead voters on the language of the ballot if they honestly believe in this amendment and its benefits to the state? In my opinion, they don’t trust voters to look at this amendment objectively because we will ultimately see it for what it is and vote “no.” They want to trick us, and they think they can get away with it because we are distracted by the realities of working long hours, raising children, and fulfilling other duties that leave little time for anything else. Our elected “leaders” are supposed to be in office to understand issues and vote in ways that serve the interest of the community, not the interest of for-profit education management corporations or those affluent individuals who can afford to make large campaign contributions, in my judgment. I suggest we vote “no” on the charter school amendment and send a message to our ethically-challenged Governor that we won’t tolerate deception and efforts to redirect our tax dollars to corporations and individuals who favor him with political contributions. The Louisiana-style politics of our current Governor and his cronies will continue until voters make it clear that Georgians want a higher-standard of ethical governance that serves all citizens. Rejection of TSPLOST sent a message, but it doesn’t appear to have been heard. Let’s vote “no” on the charter school amendment and see whether those in power finally get the message.


October 21st, 2012
8:31 am

Ron, it is a constitutional amendment. If it passes then it cannot be ruled un-constitutional by the court.


October 21st, 2012
8:36 am

Do you really want to listen to someone that has lead DeKalb County schools?
Is DeKalb County the model we want for the rest of the state?
Competition is the only solution.


October 21st, 2012
8:40 am

Cactus, the privates in north Buckhead such as Lovett are 16k a year, Woodward is higher. The parents sending their kids to those will not be jumping ship to new charters. Look at the public alternatives as it is. Garden Hills Elementary is 80% Hispanic and and the white/black students are forced to learn in an environment geared toward the Hispanics. You can whine about charters all you want but it is a sad day when people are forced to pay high property taxes and send their kids to privates because the local elementary school caters to illegals.

Jim Cherry

October 21st, 2012
8:41 am

DeKalb County schools are now a lost cause. When I was in charge they were top ranked. Charter school may be the last hope for public schools.

Logic please...

October 21st, 2012
8:43 am

Why would anyone listen to anything coming from DeKalb County BOE. Obviously, something needs to change. Unless you want to continue to slid downhill, vote for the charter school amendment.