Guest column: Only six of 10 kindergartners will graduate high school. Vote “yes” on charter amendment to improve their chances.

Here is a pro piece in favor of the charter schools amendment by Atlanta educator Tyler S. Thigpen.

Thigpen is Head of Upper School at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School in Sandy Springs. A former teacher in Gwinnett County, Thigpen is co-founder of the Chattahoochee Hills Charter School of SW Fulton and continues as a voluntary adviser to the school.

By Tyler S. Thigpen

Money and control are at the heart of the current debate about our state’s upcoming charter school vote, critics argue, while innovation, choice, and opportunity are king for amendment supporters. But there is another, and more urgent, narrative that should move us when we vote next week: We are in desperate need of stronger leadership and higher standards in Georgia k-12 education.

Let us create a statistical snapshot of 10 children who entered kindergarten in Atlanta this year. These darling children have since been sounding out letters, singing songs, and writing the alphabet. It does not take more than a classroom visit to see that that their minds are open, their futures bright.

But if nothing changes in our schools, then by the time these 10 kindergarteners are 18, only six of them will have graduated from high school. And by the time these same young people are 21 years old, only two of them will have graduated from college.

Ten kindergarteners. Six high school graduates. Two college graduates.

Statistics statewide are equally as dismal, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports, with a mere 24 percent graduating from college.

That is, of course, if nothing changes.

What has been absent from the recent conversation about charter schools is that when the state-appointed Charter Schools Commission, in its day, authorized charter schools, in every instance the commission held its schools to a standard higher than the one to which their local district held neighboring schools.

When we applied for charter status for Chattahoochee Hills Charter School, we had to demonstrate our commitment and plan to outpace Fulton County Schools in absolute terms (that the percentage of our students scoring advanced or proficient on end-of-grade tests was greater than in other schools in FCS), in comparative terms (that we outperformed other FCS schools with similar demographic profiles), and in longitudinal terms (that the percentage score of individual students in our school increased over time at a rate greater than at other). Schools lacking either a similar plan or the expertise to execute did not make it past the first round.

The commission also has a track record of meaning what they say, having denied the reauthorization of underperforming charters like Imagine Marietta and West Chatham Preparatory Academy. Moreover, the commission was made up of uniquely qualified educational leaders, including a former University of Georgia president, who, unlike elected officials who navigate competing priorities, could be focused singularly on academic achievement.

Few to none would deny that what Georgia needs is 10-10-10. Ten kindergarteners. Ten high school graduates. Ten college graduates.

Every sector of our economy stands to benefit from achieving this goal. Business savvy college graduates will populate our state’s corporations. Well-trained administrators will fill our state’s public offices. Shrewd alumni will enter and positively shape finance, law, housing, and health.Georgia boasts the busiest airport in the world, the fourth busiest port in the United States, and, if Georgia were a stand-alone country, the 28th largest economy in the world. As a state, we are economically ambitious, yet we remain academically underperforming.

Within 10 years, more than 60 percent of jobs will require a college degree. Already, most new Atlanta jobs require higher education. And these jobs are quickly outpacing the number of college graduates that our state is producing.

In “Immunity To Change,” authors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey suggest that at this moment in history, we are experiencing a mismatch between the world’s complexity and our own. To fix it, we can try and reduce the world’s complexity, or we can enhance our capacity to manage that complexity. The first won’t happen. The second, they argue, has long seemed an impossibility of adulthood and something too difficult to achieve in our schools.

But failing to prepare our children to navigate a 21st century marketplace is not a valid option. And 10-6-2 is absolutely unacceptable. We must confront complexity head on.

After the Georgia General Assembly established the Georgia Charter Commission in 2008, national leaders lauded our representatives for positioning the state to experience academic innovation and growth, and high-performing school leaders were drawn to Georgia where they have launched successful schools.

Charter schools are not a panacea. But they are a mechanism for change. And in a state where 10-6-2 is the reality, change is sorely needed. More school leaders in Georgia should be thinking about how to outperform neighboring schools and outdo their own growth year after year. And we need state leaders who demand it.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

141 comments Add your comment

james

November 2nd, 2012
9:34 am

Sorry but to let our state government be
in control of Charter Schools is a mistake.
Let the local boards handle the charter schools.
The main reason only 6 of 10 finish HS is the
people having these kids- ignorant blacks, whites,
Latino’s who have no busiess having all these
children when they can’t even take care of themselves.

Just a fact that isn’t going to change anything by approving
this bill…. Vote No… Less government is needed not
more….

misty fyed

November 2nd, 2012
9:40 am

The basic premise is wrong. 40% won’t graduate because they quit. The schools didn’t kick them out. They didn’t refuse to teach them. The schools didn’t close or pre-select them for failure. 40% quit but 60% did not. The education opportunity is there for them to take. They have to reach out and take it. No Charter school can force that decision. The Charter school will show an increase in graduation rate simply because their students are the ones who parents care enough to be involved. Show me a Charter school that can take over an entire student population of a school and improve the performance and we can talk. As it is, the Charter school stats look good because they get the higher achieving students. In the end, the public school will still be left to educate the ones who’s parents fail them…only now with less money.

guest

November 2nd, 2012
9:41 am

We will continue having low graduation rates until we decide to change the culture.

Concernedmom30329

November 2nd, 2012
9:42 am

Supporting the amendment, but wondering what the demographics of Chattahoochee Hills will be as compared to surrounding schools. Along with a charter school up in White County, this one seems to be driven by the desire for new development and to attract families.

Roach

November 2nd, 2012
9:46 am

How exactly will giving a share of our inadequate schools budget to out-of-state for-profit school management companies, leaving even less for Georgia students, improve the situation? There is zero evidence that charter schools outperform traditional schools overall, but there is plenty of evidence that tehre is no more money for schools coming from the legislature. Whatever the school operators take in profits most certainly is taken away from your children. Don’t be fooled. Vote NO.

Mountain Man

November 2nd, 2012
9:52 am

I am not sure I agree with the arguments presented here even though I voted “YES” on Amendment 1.

I don’t believe in the 10-10-10 argument – not all students SHOULD go to college. There are many fine professions (yes, even ditchdiggers and garbagemen are fine professions) that do not require a college degree. Indeed, if high schools put out a quality product (read: students who can read , write, and do simple arithmetic) MOST people would not need to go to college.

The other disagreement is that you cannot force a loser who does not want to finish high school to do so. If the student is hell-bent on shunning the “too-white” image and wants to join a gang, then that is what they are going to do. The best thing for society is to get them in prison as quickly as possible and keep them there as long as possible.

What SHOULD be the target is to get the students who CARE and WANT to learn into an environment where they CAN learn. That is not happening now. They are crowded into classrooms with SPED students that disrupt the class, with discipline problems that disrupt the class, with kids who miss large chunks of classes due to absenteeism, and “socially promoted” students, forcing the teacher to “dumb down” the instruction.

This is why charters are needed, to separate the grain from the chaff, since the traditional schools will not do this.

PJ

November 2nd, 2012
9:52 am

“I am voting for Charter Schools because they work, they work on much less money and they teach the kids what they need to know to succeed in life. Public schools are Unions, maintain bad teachers and its all about the money and benefits, not the students. Vote Yes for Charter Schools. Vote Yes for our kids.”

This was one of the AJC vents today. And the sad part is it had 64 votes. Some people really, really think that they’re voting for or against charter schools. Ignorance in action.

Batllek Toskabra

November 2nd, 2012
9:54 am

This ballot initiative promises to take even more dollars away from public school students.Taxpayer money should be used to fund schools that benefit and educate ALL Georgia students. If this amendment passes then the public schools will become the domain of the least, the lost, and the left behind. The budgets of local school districts will be stripped significantly and sent to private schools. Not only will this pool of money have to be shared between public and charter schools, but the state will create more charter schools (not create additional funding!) Charter schools will be funded simply by taking dollars from public schools and public school students.

mystery poster

November 2nd, 2012
9:56 am

From the article “Within 10 years, more than 60 percent of jobs will require a college degree”
So then, why should our goal be 100% college degrees? Are they saying our garbage collectors should have degrees? I’m not trying to minimize any profession, my garbage collectors are hard working individuals who do a great job but I’m not sure a college degree is necessary for that line of work.

Devil's Advocate

November 2nd, 2012
9:58 am

misty fyed’s post owned the one by james.

I love how the same people who preach “personal responsibility” don’t seem to use it. I still haven’t met a person who failed to graduate because of a school or teacher.

williebkind

November 2nd, 2012
9:59 am

I like charter schools because it makes education voluntary! Imagine that!

Mellisa

November 2nd, 2012
9:59 am

I attend the University of Georgia I spent all 4 years of high school in a Georgia public school. I graduated 7th in my class because I put in the effort and hard work necessary to do so. I never once felt that my ability to learn was hurt by “SPED” kids or the kids that never showed up to school, or the kids that did drugs. I concentrated on doing what I knew I had to do to succeed and in the end, I did. You’re child is NOT above the public school system. Hard work, focus, and determination is what will get them far in life….not a charter school education.

Mountain Man

November 2nd, 2012
10:01 am

I hear it repeated over and over here – Amendment 1 will TAKE MONEY AWAY from your school. How is that? The Supreme Court of GEorgia ruled that LOCAL taxes cnot be accessed by these state-approved schools. So the local schools will end up with MORE MONEY PER STUDENT when a charter school opens and diverts students to its campus. The only question would be about STATE funds (which make up a minority of school funding). There have been NO plans to remove state funds from schools, yet the denouncers of this amendment assure us this is going to happen.

School funding was being cut WAY before this amendment ever was proposed. Was that because of Amendment 1? Or was it just because of reduced tax income and prioities of the State? How much money is spent in traditional schools to support bloated adminstration and pursue expensive litigation at the expense of teaching kids? THESE are the people you are DEFENDING! These are the ones you WANT to have total control over your tax dollars! These are the ones who have run Clayton County and Dekalb county into the ground! And you want to PROTECT their right to refuse choice to their constituents.

williebkind

November 2nd, 2012
10:02 am

” I still haven’t met a person who failed to graduate because of a school or teacher”

I have. There were some who made a mistake and were forced out because of the superintendent’s or principle’s personal beliefs.

guest

November 2nd, 2012
10:02 am

Why would you encourage a high school kid to choose a “low paying” career? Then once they get that “low paying” job, we have to listen to them whine about how unfair it is that they make low wages. Instead, we need to encourage them to aim high. There’s no penalty for having a good education. In fact, it opens other doors that may not necessarily be in your major.

Mountain Man

November 2nd, 2012
10:03 am

“From the article “Within 10 years, more than 60 percent of jobs will require a college degree””

Why? Because a high school diploma is a worthless piece of toilet paper!! There is no guarantee that a high school graduate will be able to read, write, or do simple math.

williebkind

November 2nd, 2012
10:06 am

I find that those who graduate college think everyone else should graduate college. Now only 50% of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Have we lost our high paying service jobs? I hope so because we need to make things not just provide services.

williebkind

November 2nd, 2012
10:08 am

Maureen we need an updated picture of you, I have drooled over this long enough.

mystery poster

November 2nd, 2012
10:10 am

@PJ
I saw that vent, too, that said that unions are ruining public schools in GA. I get so sick of saying again and again that we have no teachers’ unions in GA.

I wonder who is ruining the schools, then. /saracasm

Country boy

November 2nd, 2012
10:13 am

If charter schools do a better job, don’t cost the state any more money, and don’t cost any local tax dollars, why don’t we make all of the schools charter schools and eliminate local school property taxes?

Ivan

November 2nd, 2012
10:14 am

Anyone that is trying to hide behind the “we need local control at the school board level” argument is delusional or just not being honest. We have a 9 member board that covers a huge geographic area where one person is supposed to represent our neighborhood interests. However, the entire board votes on any charter application. Meaning if our board member doesn’t create alliances with the rest of the board, we don’t get what we want and if we wait four years to vote her out, it’s too late for my kid. Vote Yes – we can and will do better than the current system.

Devil's Advocate

November 2nd, 2012
10:40 am

1. In a free market economy there will be those who make more and those who make less. No amount of education will guarantee that an individual will make more. There are only so many jobs that pay a lot of money.

2. williebkind, don’t be so vague. Please elaborate on what mistake was made. Was this a personal issue or an educational issue? If the student did something “bad” that got them kicked out of school, well whose fault was it? Also, could the student not have attended a different school?

yuzeyurbrane

November 2nd, 2012
10:41 am

Because of high geographic mobility (the average American moves once every 5 years) the alleged statistics re kindergartners graduating high schools is almost totally meaningless regarding evaluating Georgia’s experience. I think the Headmaster of the charter school who wrote article needs to go back to school or at least stop being so condescending towards the intelligence of the readers of this blog. We are not her students.

AlreadySheared

November 2nd, 2012
10:42 am

Charter, schmarter.

We’ll have real educational reform in this country when the tax dollars allocated to educate a student follow the student to whatever accredited institution his or her parents choose. AKA, we trust parents as their children’s most important advocates.

Imagine, if you dare, a health care system where medicare/medicaid only pays you benefits if you go to the hospital you live closest to; go somewhere else and you pay out of pocket, while your medicare dollars still flow to your neighborhood hospital. Anybody want to SWITCH to that system of care?

Of course not, but that’s the payment model that voucher opponents advocate for our children. Charter schools aren’t the answer, but they are a very very small step in the right direction.

bootney farnsworth

November 2nd, 2012
10:44 am

all the charter schools in the universe won’t fix the real problems we are determined to ignore:

-disinterested parents
-an anti achievement/education mentality in many parts of US society
-pols like red meat Fran who know better, but cloud issues for political gain

Devil's Advocate

November 2nd, 2012
10:47 am

As for vouchers, I’ve always wondered why people want to live in an area where the schools are “bad”. I mean a given school is defined by the people who live in the school’s district. If enough bad apples attend the school to make it a “crappy” school then why would any person claiming to want better for their children want to live there?

It doesn’t make much sense to transport your children to another better performing school and impose on the locals of that community now does it?

People are no different than politicians it seems. Everyone seems to believe that there are unlimited resources available when it comes to “getting their’s”.

AlreadySheared

November 2nd, 2012
10:55 am

@Mellisa,
If you graduated high school 7th in your class, it’s a safe bet you didn’t take a lot of classes with the off-the-hook, disruptive, “how can I get out of this firetrap” knuckleheads that populate some lower-achieving classes, and DOMINATE the worst of them.

ALL diligent, hard-working students deserve the learning environment you experienced, not just those in the top 10% of their classes.

DeKalb Inside Out

November 2nd, 2012
10:57 am

Roach,
This is another common misconception. If you look at the History of Funding Education in Georgia you’ll see that school districts have received more and more money ever year over the last 26 years. Adjusted for inflation, they are getting more now than they ever have.

Note: All local money stays with the local school district. Therefore, for every child that goes to a charter school the local school district has more money per child in their system.

Question
Who cares if charters do not outperform traditional schools? If state chartered schools do not provide a superior education then parents will choose not to go there. The school will subsequently fail and close. I wish we could say the same about the traditional schools.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

November 2nd, 2012
11:02 am

(G)uest,

Your initial comment is true. So when do we begin changing the culture?

A word of warning: Change agents are unwelcome in some parts of our society. Unfortunately, PubEd seems to be one of those parts.

As difficult as it might be to believe, there are many folks in and outside public education who must like the present arrangements. Sure don’t see many of the top-level educrats agitating for change.

John Barge and his team are change-agents. As such, theirs is a most difficult position.

bc

November 2nd, 2012
11:05 am

@Mellisa
Charter schools are public schools

Mountain Man

November 2nd, 2012
11:06 am

“As for vouchers, I’ve always wondered why people want to live in an area where the schools are “bad”. ”

Uh, because some people CAN”T move – they don’t have the financial availbility. Imagine you live in Clayton County now – prices of houses are down nationwide, but in Clayton County, they are abysmal (who wants to BUY a house where the schools are crappy?). You can’t afford to sell to buy somewhere else. And your job may be in Clayton County. Parents should not be required to move to a new school district just because theirs is failing. Charter schools would give these parents options.

Bob

November 2nd, 2012
11:06 am

Misty “The Charter school will show an increase in graduation rate simply because their students are the ones who parents care enough to be involved.” Exactly, and these parents are tired of having their kids being shackled by the kids of the parents that do not care. The charters will attract students that have parents that care, the parents that do not care will not move their kids. This is a way for students to better themselves by not having time and resources spent on the 40% that end up quitting. 10 – 10 – 10 is not realistic and Thigpin should think about 10 – 9 – 4, much closer to reality even in a world with more charters.

Mountain Man

November 2nd, 2012
11:10 am

“all the charter schools in the universe won’t fix the real problems we are determined to ignore:

-disinterested parents
-an anti achievement/education mentality in many parts of US society”

Bootney, did you really read what you wrote? Of course charters will help with disinterested parents because THOSE parents won’t apply for charters. Same thing for the second mentality. THAT is the reason we need charters, so that parents who ARE interested in a good education for their children have the availability to give it to them (rather than being TRAPPED with the disinterested parents’ kids).

guest

November 2nd, 2012
11:17 am

Dr. Spinks,

To start, I think we need much harsher punishment across the board for committing crimes. We need to essentially scare the hell out of kids that prison is not some glorified right-of-passage, but instead some hell-hole that they never want to go to. Second, we need to cut back on government assistance. As long as people know the government teet is ready and willing, they will never change. Make them experience how bad life can suck with nothing and then they’ll change and hopefully teach their kids along the way.

Unfortunately, I feel this will never happen bc we have too many special interest groups in the country that will scream racism, sexism, etc.

Shar

November 2nd, 2012
11:18 am

Mr. Thigpen is slick, I’ll give him that. But his article is yet another in the queue of misrepresentations, misdirections and artful dodging of facts that are the best that proponents of this amendment can trot out to fool the voters.

There are two things he says that are correct: “Money and control are at the heart of the current debate about our state’s upcoming charter school vote” and “We are in desperate need of stronger leadership and higher standards in Georgia k-12 education.”

He proceeds to try to co-mingle charter schools with the solution to the two issues posed, and fails utterly. He fails to note that there is no research, no evidence that charter schools graduate more students, or achieve higher results than the “10-6-2″ he decries. He certainly tries to imply that, but he neither addresses it nor offers any information at all on charter performance. None. Read the article again – he is very good at making the reader THINK that charters are somehow “better” without actually putting forth any evidence of success. A slick con.

He also, like every other pro-amendment writer and speaker I’ve heard, tries to portray this amendment as a means of increasing charter schools, when it is not. It is indeed about “money and control”, but it wrests both out of local hands and puts them into the sticky fingers of state legislators and the cronies they appoint to grease the path of out of state corporations to drain our public investment in K12 education. If this thing passes, these cronies and their legislative sponsors, none of whom is required to have any background in education, will be given the power to put charters of their own design into communities that neither requested nor want them – and those communities will have no redress, since their own representatives won’t have the power to intervene. This opens the door to all the out of state corporations to “donate generously” to the legislators and impose their for-profit management, their own curricular agendas, their staffs and teachers who are not accountable locally but rather to their corporate employers and their no-bid provisioners on local districts whose only role is to pay for them, without any oversight or input. This explains why 96% of the money supporting this amendment is coming from out of state.

There is nothing in this amendment that gives parents, students or taxpayers any rights they do not currently have. It is ALL for the legislators and their pals. It is also not about charter schools, it is about the K12 budget, which the Georgia constitution and the Georgia Supreme Court has thus far held out of the reach of those greedy, grasping legislative fingers.

Mr. Thigpen ought to be ashamed of himself, but like most of the proponents of this measure he is apparently too driven by self-interest and the need to deceive voters to feel any sense of shame. His article is completely devoid of anything except insinuation and suggestion. He offers no facts about the supposed superiority of charter schools because there simply isn’t any – if such evidence existed we’d all have been inundated with it by now. Instead, he invokes everyone’s frustration with the current system and the poor results of our massive investment without offering any solutions at all.

Yes, Mr. Thigpen, we do need “stronger leadership and higher standards.” Unfortunately, you offer neither, and like too many education bureaucrats you are primarily concerned with your personal well being and are only too willing to dupe students, parents and taxpayers to bolster your own success.

sneak peak into education

November 2nd, 2012
11:21 am

Say no to bigger government to duplicate the process that is already there. This has nothing to do with charter schools; we already have a mechanism for that in place. By voting no does not mean you are against charter schools but against the drastic measure of;

1. Agreeing to give up your democratic vote at the local level.
2. Allowing our governor/ legislature to take control over where tax dollars are spent, even though they have shown that they are no friends of public schools.
3. Opening the flood gate of for-profit charters to come in and educate on the cheap while paying themselves huge wages (there are countless reports of the huge wages that the CEO’s of these schools are paying themselves and only a small portion goes to educating the students-see below for just one example)
4. The republican party can’t explain why they are supposed to stand for small government but wish to expand it when it fits into their paradigm of lining their pockets and that of their donor friends. Heck, even their tea-party friends have come out with a big NO to this amendment.
5. Charter school expansion will do nothing but take more funds away from our already cash-strapped schools system.

Changing the constitution is a serious matter and will be extremely difficult to change back. Once the sugar high for the proponents wears off, they will come back down to reality with a huge bump when they see the true effects that allowing the big, for-profit businesses from beyond both our state and national borders flood the market and provide education on the cheap. Please send a BIG MESSAGE to our legislature that they cannot privatize education and to back off-if we allow this, the next step will be vouchers and allowing teachers without certification to teach your children.

http://gbitchspot.com/gbitchspot/?p=3286

VOTE NO in NOvember.

Devil's Advocate

November 2nd, 2012
11:23 am

Mountain Man,

This issue started long before the economy went south. Besides, you bash on Clayton and Dekalb every chance you get so why do you care about those people? This issue affects everyone in GA, not just Clayton County. What does a family’s financial/housing situation have to do with changing how education works in this state? Are we going to repeal the potential change when the economy improves and everyone can afford to move whenever they want?

I mean students have been graduating from lesser schools for decades and living productive lives so it can be done if the student desires success in life. Everyone cannot and should not expect to have a smooth path through life. Sometimes we just have to overcome our past, take advantage of our current situation, and cut a new path for future success.

Bruce Kendall

November 2nd, 2012
11:24 am

Charter schools will not fix this. Only a community of engaged parents can fix this, and that includes all types of schools. If you look at the last five years of charter school data you will find the average charter does not perform significantly better or worse than the average public school. Yes, some years they perform worse.

Paul

November 2nd, 2012
11:26 am

Under Tyler Thigpen’s criteria of graduating from college by 21, both of my daughters would be considered “outside” his statistical analysis. One graduated by age 22 and qualified for HOPE the entire way. The other did not and struggled for a while and even took a year off from college to grow up a bit but she will graduate next spring at age 24 and has a firm plan for her life. Bottom line is that Mr. Thigpen’s 10-6-2 measure of the state of Georgia doesnt tell the whole story and his 10-10-10 is overly simplistic.

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
11:36 am

Probably 20% quit so they can get a job and have some decent groceries at home. Probably 20% quit because schooling has lost it’s meaning. “guest” says put more people in prison and scare them. I guess they missed the part about the USA already has more people incarcerated than any country in the world, probably in the history of the world. More than Russia or China or any of those “boogah-boogah” bad places you’re always being told is the enemy. I once mentioned the US rate of incarceration at an informal teacher meeting at restaurant and one of my colleagues said, “I’m glad. It makes me feel safe and I’m willing to pay for it.”

The real subtext for the USA is absence of health care distribution, astronomic rate of housing people in prisons, and using debt/credit in place of services. Countries where they decriminalise drugs, the drug use goes down. So, think about that. Every since Reagan removed the anti-trust laws, allowing big companies to consumer little companies, and now the major medias are own by very few players, including your local internet service provider monopoly Comcast, you will hear nothing in the major medias about the astronomic rate of incarcerating people and the lack of health care distribution, but the minute you leave the borders of the USA, it is very apparent.

Charter school amendment will not change the 6 in 10 but it might give people more choice and maybe just a little less mono-culture and propaganda. And if you’re thinking of being a little crooked, go to Russia, China, and India and you’ll be a lot more free. Well, anywhere else in the world, really. Fight for your right to be a little crooked! down with prisons and prohibition laws! Up with public health and prosperity! Vote for Charter Schools! Break up the mono-culture!

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
11:40 am

ps the above is not an endorsement of illicit drugs, and fyi for anyone wondering, private citizen is stricken with no inclination toward such, but it would be nice if we applied money to build things instead of keeping humans in cages, and USA is the #1 in keeping humans in cages.

Mary Elizabeth

November 2nd, 2012
11:42 am

“But if nothing changes in our schools, then by the time these 10 kindergarteners are 18, only six of them will have graduated from high school.”
===============================================

You are correct in saying that “if nothing changes,” but what must change must be a collaborative effort between public charter schools and traditional public schools so that EVERY student is taught where he or she is functioning, in point of time, throughout his/her school career, whether he or she is functioning within a public charter school or within a traditional public school. A separate Commission of Charter Schools is not needed and will likely not foster this collaborative effort between traditional public schools and charter schools because the effort to create this state Commission has appeared to be more political than educational, imo.

Moreover, more than likely, those 4 students will be left in traditional public schools because their parents will not be able, for various reasons, to send them to a charter school. We must never forget the needs and the development of these 4 students (and others like them), even so. We must continue to support our tradtional public schools, and we must continue to fund well traditional public schools in order to continue to serve students such as the 4 kindergarten students mentioned above. We must not create so many public charter schools that we drain funds away from those students remaining in our traditional public schools. Public charter schools must be carefully assigned and they must work closely with traditional public schools, in a collaborative effort, for all of the public school students in Georgia.

Vote NO on NOvember 6 to Amendment 1.

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
11:43 am

Craig Spinks You’re the very incarnation of what Charlotte Iserby talks about, using “change agents” to push a corporate agenda.

Bruce Kendall

November 2nd, 2012
11:44 am

@ DeKalb Inside Out. Roach is more correct than you are. Your reference to Nancy Jester is full of false assumptions. Her data is correct and incorrect. Correct because that may be what was funded (did not do a line item check), but incorrect because the state has been underfunding education since 2003. According to information released by Georgia Schools Superintendent John Barge, State-Government over the last eleven years has underfunded our children’s education using austerity cuts, a total of 6 trillion, 621 million, 912 thousand, and 468 dollars. If they cannot fund public education by law, where will they find funds for charters? Oh, and by the way, I support charters.

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
11:50 am

Yesterday a local worker brought up to me the shortage of welders. He referenced the local tech. school and how they could not produce enough welders to meet demand. He said where the real money is at is in trades and not going to college. I was not directing the conversation, it was he who was volunteering this viewpoint. Here’s a news report on shortage of skilled trade workers. http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/46674386#46674386

DeKalb Inside Out

November 2nd, 2012
11:53 am

Hi Bruce Kendall
I don’t think there is any one thing we can do to fix education in Georgia. I am open to suggestions. Quite a few people have recommended many tools we can implement from dual enrollment to bootcamps. I like innovation and we should use every tool we have at our disposal including chartered schools. Without Amendment 1, state chartered schools are in jeopardy.

You say average charter schools do not perform significantly better or worse than the average public school. I ask you: So what? Parents know what is best for their children. If parents believe a state chartered school is better for their child, whether the data says it’s a better school or not, then a parent can send their child to a state chartered school. If parents do not believe the state chartered school is better, then it will fail and close.

Look at Cherokee Academy. A majority of the people fought charter schools tooth and nail because they allegedly were not necessary because Cherokee has great schools. Yet a state chartered school opened and some parents decided that the state chartered school would be better. That academy is alive and well today.

Amendment 1 is about giving parents choices and not forcing them to go to one school or another.

Future Gov

November 2nd, 2012
12:34 pm

To Dekalb Inside Out – For your information…If the Cherokee Acadmeny is doing so well, like you pointed out in your post, then why is it that one out of four students have left the academy and re-entered Cherokee County Public Schools?

Hillbilly D

November 2nd, 2012
12:45 pm

And yet, some of us who never spent a day in kindergarten or day care graduated from high school, relatively painlessly.

Private Citizen

November 2nd, 2012
12:50 pm

Kris

November 2nd, 2012
1:17 pm

If the republicans think their tactic of withholding tax money from schools (like they are doing in Washington Trashing the economy for their gain). they are WRONG !

If (god forbid) f this pocket lining boondoggle passes Since GA is 48th in education will that make GEORGIA (with 2 systems 96th in education).

The solution is simple restore the money as required by the constitution to the public schools.

Elect all Government positione with strict term limita and very healthy fines for un ethical conduct.

Vote No on Amendment 1

http://www.votesmartgeorgia.com/