DeKalb’s Nancy Jester: Parents deserve more choices. “Yes” on charter schools amendment.

DeKalb school board member Nancy Jester supports the charter schools amendment. Here is why:

For an opposing view, read DeKalb board member Eugene Walker’s piece.

By Nancy Jester

Let’s set the record straight about who controls education in Georgia. Superintendents and their administrators do. Local boards of education do hire the Superintendent but once in place, these educrats are in the driver’s seat. The legal framework in our state reinforces the supremacy of the superintendent’s position relative to a board.

School system administrations choose who works in the system and what they do. We often hear that the board and administration are a “governance team”. Sadly, “the team” is dominated by board members with “Stockholm Syndrome” or they are accomplices in the abduction of local control. All of this power comes with a hefty contract that insulates superintendents and gives them a golden parachute at taxpayer’s expense even if their tenure is marked by failure. Make no mistake about it. Local control is superintendent control. If you agree with the superintendent and they are making good decisions for your particular community, you’re probably content. But, if they are not, you are in a constant struggle with little to no redress.

The charter school amendment is perceived as an existential threat to the gravy train for educrats throughout the state. That is what the fight is about. The “local control” that is hailed by the current purveyors of the fine educational products in Georgia, is “educrat control”. They push the buttons and pull the levers and try to make you believe that “stakeholders” have a say in it all.

Despite state legislation on school councils, parents don’t get a seat at the table when selecting a principal for their school. In the struggle for power and control, the educrats have failed you and your children; all the while collecting fat paychecks and doling out six-figure jobs and lucrative contracts to more educrats. If you realize that your voice as a citizen is so diminished within the current power structure of education, you will know that voting for the charter amendment is one of the solutions.

Parents deserve more choices. Communities deserve more input into how their schoolhouses are run. Charter schools are innovation incubators and are governed by a volunteer group of parents, teachers and community members. That’s local control. They get to choose the companies that provide services to their school. If they do a bad job, they will lose their charter and parents will leave their school for a better product. If they are responsible and create a valuable product for their community they will thrive and our children will get the education they deserve.

This responsiveness is completely missing in education today. In fact, in DeKalb we have some schools that have been labeled “failing” for as long as a decade, yet remain open with no replacement of staff. All of the “turn around” plans, accountability measures and excuses brought to us courtesy of the “local control” we have today do nothing to rid our system of failure or make it more efficient, helpful and valuable for the students and community.

Please join me in supporting real local control. Please join me in advocating for kids and taxpayers in DeKalb County and throughout our state. Please join me by voting YES on the charter school amendment.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

132 comments Add your comment

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

Lynn43

October 20th, 2012
9:09 am

Dissension among school board members will invite SAX into the picture. Sounds like Ms. Jester didn’t get her way about something. Actually, the “gravy train” is for the for-profit out of state management companies.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
9:17 am

last I checked, turn out at parent / teacher conference days is less than 50 % statewide. all the charter schools from the pit of hell won’t fix the fact most parents can’t be bothered to give a damn.

reality check: parents already have all the power, they just are too lazy to do what it takes to exercise it.

PTA-attend and join.
School board-get to know the issues, and advocate to and about them. plus elect canidates for non racial/party reasons – say, quality?
volunteer at school – volunteer groups can have a strong impact of the direction of the school.
run for school board
get involved in grass roots issues

in short – get up off your butts, turn off waiting for superman, and do something besides bitch

the power is already yours, you’re just too lazy to use it

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
9:18 am

moderated already?

Maureen Downey

October 20th, 2012
9:21 am

@bootney, No idea why your comment ended up in the moderation file. I am about to drive to Jasper to take my kid to a corn maze, so I hope it doesn’t happen again as I won’t get back online until late in the day.
Maureen

Susan Liebenstein

October 20th, 2012
9:25 am

For profit gravy train, straight from the school board talking points. Those of us in Dekalb have to try something different. We have a super who plays the game, a felon on the school board, and a central office that hires friends and family like it’s going out of style. Frankly I will welcome our new gravy train overlords, I bet they can’t do any worse.

S.

October 20th, 2012
9:25 am

I wish we could have the best of both without redirecting funds from the current system.

Steven

October 20th, 2012
9:30 am

Already voted on Monday 10-15-2012. NO to Charter Schools. This amendment is so similar to ‘Seperate but Equal’ that was declared unconstitutional back years ago. If parents want a different education experience for their children, send them to Woodward Academy, Pius or another school of the like. I get sick of a Republican controlled state always looking for tax dollars to support their agenda but at the same time calling for ‘No New Taxes’.

Bc

October 20th, 2012
9:32 am

Probably because her comment uses profanity?

C. Tampa Ironworse

October 20th, 2012
9:37 am

I’m not worried. I’ve decided to let Obama be my kids’ dad. He can give them healthcare, education and free them from all the troubles of the world. So make sure you vote…give my kids the education and dad they deserve.

mark

October 20th, 2012
9:44 am

Did she say Gravy Train? What gravy? Years of pay cuts, years of cuts for classroom materials. She must live in fantasy land. Six figures pay to operate a 40,000 student system, with 5000+ employees, that is fair pay. In other states, that give hoot about education, principals make 6-figures and so do the leaders!!! Those district are a 1/3 the size of these county systems in GA. Any company that has 5000 empolyees is compensated in this manner.

Did you hear the story of the man who operates the cyber school out of PA, he purchased a 1million dollar condo, and sold it to one of his top workers for a dollar. That is the gravy train. The private companies are looking for funds. Since they own the prisons we finance and the Palor Officers, we finance, now they want the education money.

MAY

October 20th, 2012
9:44 am

’separate but equal’……geez. What else can we say to scare the public and make sure we change nothing? I can’t believe the number of people willing to protect the ‘real’ for profit people in the current system (superintendents, local boards and their cronies, and all the other ‘fat’ that should be trimmed from these systems). Vote Yes and give families options.

Ray

October 20th, 2012
9:47 am

Nancy:

If local school boards have no say in relation to the superintendent when it comes to charter schools, then how is it that the Atlanta School Board just recently overrode Erroll Davis when it come to expanding Drew Charter School to a high school? Erroll Davis didn’t want it (which I think was the right call), but some school board members fussed and got the Drew Charter expansion. So how is it that localk school boards have no control or say on charter schools?

catlady

October 20th, 2012
9:53 am

Nancy, what have you done, in your position, to move forward charter school applications? And what has been her role in shutting down non-performing schools? How has she helped hire superintendents who are not “educrats?”

She is talking out of both sides of her mouth. She should be replaced, at the very least.

Ray

October 20th, 2012
9:56 am

“Please join me in supporting real local control.”

How on earth does voting for this charter amendment and a state level government bureaucracy “support real local control”? Just say the opposite,I suppose, is Nancy Jester’s view, and it will be so.

Mary Elizabeth

October 20th, 2012
10:06 am

“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.”

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/national-govt-politics/koch-election-mailing-to-employees-sparks-controve/nSg9y/

catlady

October 20th, 2012
10:12 am

Ms. Downey: Bring your patience. With the Apple Festival in Ellijay, 515 is a mess.

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

October 20th, 2012
10:15 am

I put this link on the other thread but what Nancy is saying about the limited authority of the schoolboard is precisely what the representative of the Georgia School Board Association said at a Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education presentation this summer. It was for prospective legislature and school board candidates and people like me who collect info on what is really going on in education.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/who-is-really-in-charge-the-school-board-the-super-the-accreditors-or-unesco/

Linda Schultz, the President of the Fulton School Board, was also a speaker and talked about “must defer to the Super” over and over again. Which given my personal experience with Avossa and knowledge of what went on in Charlotte-Meck made me fear for Fulton’s schoolchildren and taxpayers.

The levelling the playing field element of public schooling in the name of John Dewey’s democratic purpose and Quality Learning and the actual meaning of the term “excellence” in education. It’s no secret that the documents I have read make it crystal clear that education is being used to mount a stealth political coup, a fait accompli, in the US and all over the West. This is what I do and I hear from people all over the world who know something is wrong and have heard there is someone in Georgia in the US who has figured it out.

We need an out of some kind. Otherwise we are looking at a P-20 gulag of expensive psychological manipulation in Georgia in the name of education. Expensive expectations without marketable knowledge or skills except in a state directed economy. Where there is no prosperity unless you are politically connected.

And I have no use for politicians of either party pushing that vision of limitation.

Eddie Hall

October 20th, 2012
10:17 am

Nancy
As a BOE member who recently stepped down, let me say, YOU ARE WAY OFF BASE in your assesment! If we have a “gravy train” it must be made with red-eye gravy,( for those who don’t know basically a mixture of grease, black coffee) because I would not use it on MY biscuits! We had a constant job of dealing with cuts and “adjustments” from the state and still found a way to educate the children we were charged with. If this amendment passes, that job will just become more difficult. I realize that does not matter, because the ONE message I get from ALL the PRO folks is it is about “ME”. To heck with the rest of the children. As another poster pointed out, yes, this will lead us back down the road of “seperate but equal”, only this time, as well as race, socio-economic standing will also determine if you get in the “other” school. I say that road should stay CLOSED!
As for management, the supt. that worked for our board NEVER had any doubt who she worked for. Georgia law MANDATES all employees be approved by the BOE. I can say, we reviewed in detail the qualifications of ALL, and on occassion said no. WE the BOE made ALL the decisions on principals. I could go on, but the bottom line is either you are on the wrong end of a decision the BOE made or you have a bad BOE. Either way, YOU have the power at the ballot box to fix it. If this passes you will loose that right. We in recent years have seen more and more of our rights and freedoms taken away. A yes vote will add to that list, KEEP YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE! VOTE NO!

Attentive Parent/Invisible Serfs Collar

October 20th, 2012
10:25 am

I joke about Attentive Parent’s Glossary of Terms but this one explains what Quality Learning really means and what John Dewey had in mind. And no one ever disputes that Dewey’s vision for education is incompatible with any knd of free market capitalism.

http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/why-quality-learning-may-be-the-last-thing-you-want-for-your-child/ . When administrators and accreditors are pushing policies and practices that the original creators say were created to change the American politically, socially, and economically, they simply are not entitled to deference as the Professionals.

Not given those ends. Not in the Least.

say what?

October 20th, 2012
10:36 am

This is so wrong. Ms. Jester is a part of the DCSB yet she wants to take away from the place that she is sworn to protect. I am beginning to wonder if she was elected in order to get detailed and privy information about the school system, then use what she has come to know in executive session with her friends; the same friends who are now crying for a separate county for North DeKalb schools.

This amendment does not put local control in the parents hands. This amendment takes even more money out of the mandated public school system, and places these funds in the hands of for profit management companies. The way the process occurs now, if an application is denied, thent eh state of GA BOE weighs in. With the amendment, if these for-profit companies do not like what their cut will be, then your application is let go without any recourse.

Local control should be just that- local. Parents should get involved not only when things are wrong but when they see things going right. The community should get involved because after all these students impact and drive business decisions. Board members should disclose what, if anything, they are going to fight for in regards to supporting the board and the entity they will represent. It is irresponsible for a board member to proudly and loudly say ” please take money from the decision making of me and my cohorts.” Would the governor of GA defend Alabama and Florida in the water war? No he would fight for what is best for where he was elected.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
10:38 am

gravy train…..hummmm

wonder if we can afford to eat it, since most of us are on wages which let us buy dog food on a good month.

Ron F.

October 20th, 2012
10:38 am

Boards hire, and can indeed fire, any superintendent that doesn’t do the job for which he/she was hired. Ms. Jester should perhaps think about the exact power of the elected board of education. If the super doesn’t do the job, then he/she can be removed and replaced. The board is elected by citizens who entrust that body with the choice of superintendent. Her conclusion would only be right if the super were an elected position, as it used to be. The purpose of having the board of education hire that individual was to end the often contentious power struggle between the board and super. If that happens now, the board is to blame and should exercise its legal authority to put the bum on the street.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
10:40 am

I’ve got a question for Nancy:

since most parents can’t be bothered to attend conferences, show up to PTA meetings, and God forbid ever offer to volunteer at their local school

-all choices they make, BTW-

why should anyone take the “parent choice” matter seriously? parents are making choices all the time – bad ones

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
10:45 am

lets break this down, point by point:

“Local boards of education do hire the Superintendent but once in place, these educrats are in the driver’s seat. The legal framework in our state reinforces the supremacy of the superintendent’s position relative to a board.”

where do the BOE’s come from? parental votes via the ballot box. who elects the lawmakers who
create the system of control? parental votes via the ballot box.

where do the people who fill the BOEs and the golden dome come from? parents/citizens.

woman, how much more choice do you want?

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
10:49 am

“School system administrations choose who works in the system and what they do. We often hear that the board and administration are a “governance team”. Sadly, “the team” is dominated by board members with “Stockholm Syndrome” or they are accomplices in the abduction of local control.”

the Soviets tried group control over management decisions. they imploded due to graft and inefficency.

funny how suddenly there is outrage over the level of power some supers flex. when we make issue of it we’re called whiners, and worse.

oh, the selective outrage.

Disgusted in Dekalb

October 20th, 2012
10:51 am

Bootney, many parents in Dekalb have been doing all of the things on your list for years. The problem is that the parents you describe who show no interest in their children’s education don’t just fail their own children; they fail all of the children in the system by re-electing time after time school board members who aren’t qualified to manage a fast food restaurant, much less handle a $730 million budget. And these incompetent school board members (Nancy Jester excepted) time and again choose to hire mediocre (at best) superintendents in order to maintain the status quo. If Eugene Walker is against the charter school amendment, that’s all I need to know.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
10:53 am

“All of this power comes with a hefty contract that insulates superintendents and gives them a golden parachute at taxpayer’s expense even if their tenure is marked by failure. Make no mistake about it. Local control is superintendent control.”

gee, imagine. this is the same issue WE have continually brought up for years. Beverly Hall ring a bell? but the parents who selected these people were dead silent, or worse blocked out attempts to bring out the light of day.

now local control is a bad thing? Nancy, honey boo boo – make up your mind.

or is the real problem local control is in somebody else’s hands than yours?

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
10:56 am

“The charter school amendment is perceived as an existential threat to the gravy train for educrats throughout the state. That is what the fight is about.”

in your world, perhaps. our concern tends to be lazy parents who have never given a damn before are gonna come in and supplant the idiots in place and make the situation even worse.

edurats? name calling? Nancy, really.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
11:01 am

“The “local control” that is hailed by the current purveyors of the fine educational products in Georgia, is “educrat control”. They push the buttons and pull the levers and try to make you believe that “stakeholders” have a say in it all.

Nancy, honey boo boo…………..it’s called the ballot box. if you don’t like the way your fellow citizens vote, that’s called life. I hated it when Obama was elected, but life happens. the neat thing about our system is if you give enough of a damn you can work for redress in the next election.

again, it appears your issue is you don’t like the fact you’re not in control. which is odd since you’re on the DCSS board and the system you are a part of is a flaming hot mess.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
11:04 am

“Despite state legislation on school councils, parents don’t get a seat at the table when selecting a principal for their school.”

did you not take civics in school?

ballot box, Nancy. recall votes. parents making issue of things to the existing chain of command.
changing the chain of command if they don’t like it.

‘course, this is hard work, not a magic bullet.

lahopital

October 20th, 2012
11:05 am

So, what she’s saying is that if you’re pro choice, you’ll vote yes?

FairLady

October 20th, 2012
11:05 am

Thank you Maureen and Nancy for these insightful and honest words in favor of the GA Charter School Amendment!! Parents do need options TODAY!! We CANNOT wait for more money to be thrown to failing schools in hopes that they will improve!! My children need help NOW!! Parents need more options and if the small additional dollars in comparison to huge amount allocated to traditional public schools can help our children, charter schools may help in the goal of improving the bleak educational levels in some school districts!! Nancy, you are truly a brave, courageous champion for the many of us who are forced to a failing school district based upon our zip code!! Hopefully more parents will realize that hope is in our hands if we vote YES for Amendment One!!! Thanks so much!!!!

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
11:09 am

“the educrats have failed you and your children; all the while collecting fat paychecks and doling out six-figure jobs and lucrative contracts to more educrats.”

Nancy, honey boo boo….are you really gonna go there? really? considering you’re on the DeKalb board?

I’m curious: where have you been while teachers have been raising these issues for years? I may have missed it, but I don’t recall you leading the pack for making our voices heard.

and while there are too many six figure types in the system, how many of us proportionally make that kind of money? and why haven’t the parents in these districts been crowding the halls of the board meetings, the gold dome, ect pushing these concerns?

again, this takes work. ain’t no magic bullet for lazy parents.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
11:12 am

“If you realize that your voice as a citizen is so diminished within the current power structure of education, you will know that voting for the charter amendment is one of the solutions.”

if you have allowed your voice as a citizen to be diminished, the first question you need to ask yourself is – why? what was more important to you than being involved. are your values out of step with your community?

all the charter schools in the world don’t fix these issues

VOTENO!!

October 20th, 2012
11:14 am

So disgusted by the ridiculous comments from those that have never stepped a foot inside a public school and criticize the success of those that DEDICATE their lives to its operation and betterment of its students! The losers, if this amendment passes, is the state of GA!. Eventually, this “Charter School ” movement will end up before the Supreme Court. Charter Schools are just a clever way to disguise “modern day” segregation.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
11:15 am

“Parents deserve more choices”

parents don’t exercise the choices available to them now. increasing the selection will not improve things, it will just create more choices they ignore.

it seems Nancy, honey boo boo child, what you issue is the world isn’t offering you exactly the choice you specifically want. I’m so sorry, but life rarely works that way

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
11:23 am

“Communities deserve more input into how their schoolhouses are run. Charter schools are innovation incubators and are governed by a volunteer group of parents, teachers and community members. That’s local control. They get to choose the companies that provide services to their school. If they do a bad job, they will lose their charter and parents will leave their school for a better product. If they are responsible and create a valuable product for their community they will thrive and our children will get the education they deserve.”

Nancy, honey boo boo child, did you just fall off the turnip truck? what on earth makes you think for one second the sudden creation of a charter school will make people act any different than they already are in the dysfunctional system you’re a part of?

back room deals will still be made. haves and have nots will still be created. vendors will still get preference based on their connections.

if you’re really lucky, you might -again, might- have parent utopian involvement for a year or so. they they’re gonna go back to watching X factor and worrying if the Dawgs can land the prospect in Kids R Kids daycare.

in short, everything you do now with DCSS will just find a new home.

again, I suspect you have reason to feel you will be on the inside track, instead of the outside.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
11:28 am

“This responsiveness is completely missing in education today. In fact, in DeKalb we have some schools that have been labeled “failing” for as long as a decade, yet remain open with no replacement of staff.”

the mirror is in your bathroom, Nance. use it. what you describe as a failing of the system is really the end result of choices made my DeKalb parents. I’ve seen school systems shut down over the perception of racial bias or the suspension of a star athlete. your community is getting EXACTLY the system it wants.

again, civics 101.

if you truly are so outraged, it may be time for you to move, since your values are no longer in sync with your community

Anon 4 this

October 20th, 2012
11:28 am

There is evidence that Nancy Jester is right about local control when she says school councils have no real say over choosing a principal. The school council at CW Hill Elementary rated Yolanda Brown as the lowest of the 3 finalists when the former principal retired. The superintendent overrode the decision and violated school council law by not giving a reason to the school council as to why the decision to override was made.

While you can’t be sure what would have happened if the school council recommendation for principal had been followed, it is known that under Yolanda Brown’s leadership, the school ended up on the Severe Concerns list during the cheating scandal.

If anybody is wondering if this was a case of APS racism, like NAHS has been accused of, it was a majority African-American school council that rated two white candidates over the African-American Yolanda Brown, only to have that recommendation overridden by the superintendent.

It may not be a good enough reason to pass the amendment, but Nancy Jester is right on this point.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

October 20th, 2012
11:36 am

@Fairlady “Parents need more options and if the small additional dollars in comparison to huge amount allocated to traditional public schools can help our children, charter schools may help in the goal of improving the bleak educational levels in some school districts!! ”

Charters can be, and have been, established in GA already. We do not need a constitutional amendment to establish charters. Maybe local parents are just too overburdened or lazy to work to help establish charters in their neighborhood, so they want some big profit company to come in from out of state and do it for them.

“Huge amounts allocated to “traditional public schools”? In my small district, we have suffered cutbacks for years now. Our principal vacuums the front office because we have so few janitorial staff. Our classrooms are bursting at the seams. We are struggling to raise funds for replacement books and supplies through garage sales and t-shirt sales. Our central office staff is limited, and many of them are doing double duty in terms of job descriptions. We have all taken pay cuts and furloughs to keep things running.

“Charter schools MAY help”? Perhaps it would be smart to look into how well charters have worked in other states where they have been established and use that information to determine if they DO actually help. You know, actual research into the issue?

Overall, they do not seem to be generally better or worse than public schools. In low SES urban settings, for elementary students, they tend to do better. In other areas and at higher grades, they tend to do worse. Should we throw billions into something that MAY help? How about investigating traditional districts in which schools are doing very well – and YES, they DO EXIST despite the continual drumming mantra of “all public schools are failing” that some favor – and try applying those approaches before we toss out the baby with the bathwater and go for something else that MAY help?

Oh, I know – because then some corporate folks won’t be able to get their hands into the taxpayers cookie jar.

FairLady

October 20th, 2012
11:41 am

The opposition floods the blogs with anti-charter rants!! Fear of change is a terrible thing! Fear of competition and loss of funds and power are the only things that fuel the opposition
Hopefully more parents are fed up with the educational status quo in Ga, and will Vote YES for the amendment!! At least it’s a step in the right direction for the children of Georgia!! The courage of people like Nancy Jester gives us parents hope of a brighter day for the education of the children of GA.

bootney farnsworth

October 20th, 2012
11:42 am

“All of the “turn around” plans, accountability measures and excuses brought to us courtesy of the “local control” we have today do nothing to rid our system of failure or make it more efficient, helpful and valuable for the students and community.”

which leads me to my final thought: as a member of the DeKalb board, what exactly were you and your colleagues doing while DeKalb metaphorically burned? seems to me the board shoulders a large scale amount of the blame for this fiasco, right beside the “parents” you advocate for.

it seems you helped crash and burn one system so badly you want the state to give you another so you can do it again.

I’m sorry Nancy, but no. raise the money for a charter school yourself and burn it to the ground.

I love teaching. I hate what it is becoming...

October 20th, 2012
11:57 am

@FairLady “The opposition floods the blogs with anti-charter rants!!”

No one here has offered an “anti-charter rant”. No one has said that they are totally against charters. And you seem to be the only one using excessive explanation points.
So, who is “ranting” again?

Folks are against the “charter amendment” that would put control of establishing charters into the hands of a FEW appointed members of the state government and rewrite our constitution.

I will repeat what I said before: “Charters can be, and have been, established in GA already. We do not need a constitutional amendment to establish charters. ”

If this ONE important point has escaped your notice, maybe you should educate yourself on this issue in more depth.

FairLady

October 20th, 2012
12:30 pm

Very few start up charters are ever approved by local school districts. And I do not mind if a FEW appointed leaders on a Commission help in establishing charter schools especially in areas of failing schools. You’re right !! I am ranting! Parents and students in GA deserve more. Many GA schools are failing our students, and I am hopeful that the Charter School Amendmentbwill be a small step in turning around GA’s educational system. You may not agree, buts have read polls that most GA voters favor school choice. Guess we will see on election day. I’m very optimistic that most GA voters are hopeful that charter schools may be a tool in the tool chest to rebuild Georgia’s lagging education system.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

October 20th, 2012
12:38 pm

Sorry Nancy, I already voted “NO”.

Parents have plenty of choices right now. As it is, schools and administrators are often held hostage to the irrational demands of parents think the schools and the system should accomodate their little darling and no one else. The last thing parents should have a say in is who the principal of the school is. Unless the guy or gal has a criminal record or a clear record of incompetence, they need not be involved. A lot of the parents I meet are batsh(i)t crazy, I wouldn’t want any of them having more control than they already have.

The current school system is adequate if not equal. Could it be improved? Oh yes. Absolutely yes. Do we need to amend the constitution to do so? NO.

FairLady

October 20th, 2012
12:47 pm

I am so glad Nancy Jester speaks for me!! She really knows the facts!!! Unless your child is in a failing school, you don’t get it!! We cannot wait till our school system gets their act together!! Parents are local control and on election day we will have a voice for change. Keep on speaking Ms Jester!! We need the truth!!

Bob

October 20th, 2012
1:12 pm

bootney farnsworth 10:40 am
I’ve got a question for Nancy:
since most parents can’t be bothered to attend conferences, show up to PTA meetings, and God forbid ever offer to volunteer at their local school-all choices they make, BTW-
why should anyone take the “parent choice” matter seriously? parents are making choices all the time – bad ones”
Let me explain this one, group that does do most of the volunteer work and go to PTA meetings are tired of carrying the load for those that do not. The people you speak of, the parents that use schools as baby sitters are not the group pushing for change. Many schools have failed for years and can’t blame it on money.

FairLady

October 20th, 2012
1:30 pm

Exactly why charter schools are needed Bob. They may meet a specific need for students who do not make it in a traditional public school. Bad parents do not make bad schools. Many of us parents do not have the skills needed or time available to be there in PTA or provide needed support. I believe most parents care. This amendment provides more options. Parents get to decide on election day if they want more choices if they are forced in failing schools based upon their zip code. Let’s give choice a chance by voting YES!!

Denise

October 20th, 2012
1:57 pm

What are schools like Sarah Smith Elementary doing right? Why can’t Sarah Smith be used as an example for elementary schools in Dekalb County?