If you want to see the two Georgias, look at map of where charter school amendment passed and failed

Wow. If you want to see the two Georgias in stark relief, take a look at the AJC map on which counties supported and which opposed the charter schools amendment. The amendment passed 58 percent to 42.

(Click on the charter amendment tab on top of the map.)

The amendment had its greatest support in metro areas. It had its least support in rural counties and south Georgia.  All along, rural legislators from both parties maintained that this was a metro battle, and the map shows they weren’t far off.

The amendment, which puts the state back in the business of approving and funding charter schools over the objections of local school boards, will have its greatest impact on metro areas where charter school companies are far more likely to set up shop.

The amendment won the support of 2.1 million Georgia voters. It was opposed by 1.5 million.

Sixty percent or more of voters endorsed the amendment in Fulton, Fayette, Gwinnett, Henry, Clayton, Forsyth, DeKalb, Cobb, Spalding, Walton, Barrow, Newton and Rockdale counties.

However, travel farther south and the margins begin to shift.

Take a look. Interesting stuff. (The map also allows you to see presidential voting patterns by county. Good job by my colleagues in AJC interactive.)

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

93 comments Add your comment

living in an outdated ed system

November 7th, 2012
10:28 am

Interesting indeed. What does it say about the state of public education in metro areas? As some of the folks who commented on your other blog post have stated: public charter schools are only sprouting up because parents are woefully unsatisfied with the quality of education their children are getting.

Again – this is a great day for Georgia’s children, and hopefully, every child in this state will have access to a “quality” education.

The next amendment needs to be taking the word “adequate” out of our constitution and inserting the word “quality,” to describe the obligations of our public education system!

Staying the Course

November 7th, 2012
10:33 am

Charter schools should be restricted to math and science focused programs.

usually lurking

November 7th, 2012
10:35 am

What I don’t understand is why in Gwinnett County, the charter amendment passed, yet the challenger for District 3 board of education seat who supported the amendment was soundly defeated by the incumbent who opposed the amendment.

Hillbilly D

November 7th, 2012
10:37 am

All along, rural legislators from both parties maintained that this was a metro battle, and the map shows they weren’t far off.

The urban/suburban areas and the rural areas are two different worlds. Until we figure out that just because something might be good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for the other, things won’t get any better. The more local control the better, whether it’s the schools or something else.

Mountain Man

November 7th, 2012
10:43 am

Why should the southern counties oppose the amendment? The amendment doesn’t create charter schools at whim. If there is no parent dissatisfaction, then there will be no demand for a charter school. It won’t affect them in the least.

Mountain Man

November 7th, 2012
10:44 am

It isn’t like this is taking gas tax proceeds from metro Atlanta and building “roads to nowhere” down in South Georgia.

Librarian

November 7th, 2012
10:48 am

@Mountain Man…it won’t affect us in the least!!!??? How about more reduced funding for our public schools? How about higher taxes to pay for this new bureaucratic agency? Where is the money coming from? Our schools have already been gutted as a result of underfunding on the state level. We have not received our full QBE funding FOR YEARS!

Centrist

November 7th, 2012
10:48 am

So, after two “Get Schooled” morning blogs mostly ignored this HUGE issue that was so covered here before it passed – we get to it.

The map does not represent population – it passed by a VERY wide margin. It passed all around the metro Atlanta area where the AJC is based, even though the AJC bias against it was blatant.

The rural areas where it did not pass is probably because they rightly don’t see a need locally. They probably won’t be having any charter schools there. Parents at least in the most concentrated populous Atlanta area saw a need, and easily overcame the administrators and liberals who turn a blind eye to so many failing schools.

BT

November 7th, 2012
10:49 am

As always, the devil is in the details!!

Eddie Hall

November 7th, 2012
10:53 am

@ Mountain Man- they opposed because they will now pay even higher property taxes to support schools in Atlanta. It was just south Ga. Here in Gordon it failed 4 to one.

Reality Check

November 7th, 2012
10:57 am

It’s very clear what happened in south Georgia. The schol system is the biggest employer in most counties. The local superintendents spread misinformation about how this amendment would hurt the local schools and hurt their jobs. Unfortunately they bought in. The superintendent in Early County was actively spreading lies to everyone.

Reality Check

November 7th, 2012
10:58 am

Eddie – that’s a lie. The charter schools will actually save tax dollars. This is exactly what I’m talking about.

NTLB

November 7th, 2012
10:58 am

The wording on the voting ballot was vague and DECEPTIVE. I feel strongly that most voters thought they were giving saying YES vote to charter schools, when in reality they were saying YES to more control and influence of business entities over public education and less control by experienced educators AGAIN.

Hillbilly D

November 7th, 2012
11:06 am

The wording on the voting ballot was vague and DECEPTIVE.

The wording on amendments is always vague and deceptive. That’s one reason I vote against them about 99.9% of the time.

PublicTeacher

November 7th, 2012
11:09 am

Maureen, It would be interesting to know how the amendment faired in counties that currently have charter schools. I think those counties would indicate a better judgement of public opinion of charter schools in operation. Many of the South Georgia counties have no charter schools and unfortunately the people there really didn’t have first hand knowledge of what a charter school is. The local traditional systems campaigned hard against it, as well as the local media in most of these counties. So, the yes votes in these counties was arguably a vote against the local school system.

Brasstown

November 7th, 2012
11:13 am

Shouldn’t be too hard to change the sign in front private schools all over the state from Biff and Muffy’s Chirstian Academy to Biff and Muffy’s Charter Academy.

catlady

November 7th, 2012
11:16 am

Hillbilly D: I agree. If you vote in favor of virtually any amendment, it means higher taxes for you and more money going into someone else’s pocket!

Pride and Joy

November 7th, 2012
11:18 am

Centrist, you wrote “and liberals who turn a blind eye to so many failing schools.”
I’m a liberal Democrat and voted for Obama twice. I also voted FOR the charter school amendment.

Susan

November 7th, 2012
11:19 am

I spend a lot of time in and around Macon due to business. The local news reports actually reported the charter school amendment as “a way for Atlanta to gain control over your schools and tax dollars.” Really. That’s what they reported as news!

They also had political ads for local elections where candidates opposed gay marriage as a platform.

Just Sayin.....

November 7th, 2012
11:24 am

Interesting that it passed even in APS/Dekalb. Good. At least the urban voters were NOT listening to the race pimps like Joseph Lowery.

I am not sure what to say about the rural/urban split. I think most rural schools are more “personal”. The teachers and faculty are more like family. The community can rally and create change in these schools. A school system like Dekalb or APS, though, is a mindless impenetrable bureaucracy. Perhaps the parents in rural settings don’t feel as though they are fighting windmills like the parents in the huge school systems?

PublicTeacher

November 7th, 2012
11:25 am

For those who still think the ballot language was vague…may I introduce you to the GA Secretary of State’s website where you can read the entire amendments, both Amendment 1 & 2. That’s how you go about casting an informed vote. I did, and voted yes. If you read the entire amendment and voted either yes or no, you made an informed decision. The ballot language was then irrelevant.

10:10 am

November 7th, 2012
11:26 am

Maureen, it’s in the metro areas where failures of our traditional public school establishment to improve learning—are most glaring. That’s also where parents see their own children most at risk because of these failures.

Parents want more choices, and you and your teachers’ union allies simply aren’t able to dissuade them.

Centrist

November 7th, 2012
11:26 am

@ Pride and Joy – some issues are not black and white/ liberal and conservative. I’m sure some conservatives voted against the amendment. My comment about the liberals turning a blind eye to failing schools was general. And it was probably too harsh – liberals know about failing schools, but many want failing traditional and politically correct solutions to work – even when they don’t. Many (unlike you) do not understand the concept that doing the same thing over and over again does not change the natural result.

Entitlement Society

November 7th, 2012
11:27 am

@Hillbilly – “The wording on amendments is always vague and deceptive. That’s one reason I vote against them about 99.9% of the time.”

Wow. You’re certainly living up to your moniker. Are you really that unintelligent that you are unable to research an amendment prior to getting into the voting booth? You simply vote no 99.9% of the time because you don’t understand the “vague and deceptive” wording? Give me a break. Some people don’t deserve to vote.

Batgirl

November 7th, 2012
11:28 am

As Eddie Hall said, it wasn’t just South Georgia. Many counties across the northern border voted against it, too. We do know what charters are, but most folks around here have pretty good sense and know that we should work to improve the schools we have instead of throwing money at a new system. That’s why the amendment did not fare well.

However, I have no doubt that the local “Christian” school is chomping at the bit to convert to a charter. They’ve been trying to figure out ways to get their hands on taxpayer dollars for years.

Hillbilly D

November 7th, 2012
11:33 am

Perhaps the parents in rural settings don’t feel as though they are fighting windmills like the parents in the huge school systems?

That’s part of it. The big thing that gets over looked by the urban/suburban block is that most rural counties have one high school and many only have one middle school. How does a charter school fit into that? The reason they only have one school to begin with is that’s all that the population and money can support. Whether it’s a charter school or not, they’re still going to just have one school.

Another thing is if somebody on the school board (or other public office) does something we don’t like, we can walk right up to them at the grocery store and tell them about it. They can’t hide from the voters like they do in big population areas.

DunMoody

November 7th, 2012
11:33 am

Like I said to many DeKalb educrats campaigning against the Charter Amendment effort … if you were doing a good job (note – not even a spectacular job) of educating our children, this amendment would have fallen flat. The now-known-as DeKalb County School District is making it appallingly easy to write a charter that includes benchmarks for improvement … because we have no where to go but up.

PublicTeacher

November 7th, 2012
11:34 am

Brasstown, you demonstrate your lack of understanding of a charter school. “Biff and Muffy’s Christian Academy” aren’t about to change to charter status and give up their Christian curriculum and be forced to teach the state of Georgia’s approved curriculum. They would be forced to teach public school curriculum, hire state certified teachers, and follow the same guidelines as your local traditional public school. Really? This is the type of false accusations that influenced many voters to vote no. As Susan said about Macon, these SouthGA counties fought this with media and school resources spreading blatant false information to people who don’t know what charter schools are. Otherwise it would have been a huge landslide victory.

Hillbilly D

November 7th, 2012
11:36 am

Entitlement Society

Bless your smug little heart.

d

November 7th, 2012
11:37 am

I am pro-charter but voted NO and encouraged everyone I knew to do so. For me, it came down to this. Do I, as a voter, have control about who makes decisions about my taxpayer dollars? Now that the amendment passed, I can no longer say that. I recently moved from Gwinnett to DeKalb. I voted against Jim McClure in large part because of his vote on Ivy Prep. I felt the school should have been approved by GCPS when they were presenting their original charter. I, however, cannot vote against a member of the charter school commission if they make a decision I disagree with. I have no control, no representation, but my tax dollars still go to a school I do not support or are withheld from one that I do. I can only hope the lawsuit filed against the language places an injunction on the amendment. My greatest hope is that we are asked again in 2014 and the ballot language reads something like “Shall the Constitution of the State of Georgia be amended to allow for the creation of an appointed commission that shall have the power to override the will of elected Boards of Education in regards to the creation of charter schools?” That is what we were truly voting on. Unfortunately, I do believe too many people were mislead by the ballot language more than anything else.

Centrist

November 7th, 2012
11:38 am

Let there be no doubt there will be many supporters (and obviously opponents) of the Charter School Amendment who will be watching for religious indoctrination at new Charter Schools. Sure, there will be sporadic attempts at substituting “Intelligent Design” for science. It will all parents jobs to correct this, and there is the ultimate ability to do so by easily removing their children as a last resort which will hurt the profit motive which is the best correction of all.

Alpharetta

November 7th, 2012
11:39 am

Librarian – Way off base. There will be no reduced funding for our legacy public schools. Charters though will get less. Because they can operate on less. There won’t be higher taxes. Children are funded on a per head basis. Period. If we have more kids, we fund them, at a charter or at a legacy school. Allowing charter schools doesn’t auto create new children.

The commission is filled with unpaid appointments. And, the staff to support them before had a budget of around $650K. The schools aren’t gutted. They are affected by bloated districts who pay their huge back office staff huge paychecks. The head of Gwinnett makes $410K per year. That’ a good number of teachers just for his salary. And there are other minions under him. Get rid of that wasted layer and you have more money for kids.

Jarod Apperson

November 7th, 2012
11:39 am

I’m not sure “charter school companies” is the best choice of words. I know there is some discussion/fear of for-profit companies coming in, but in APS our charters are non-profits which all seem to be truly focused on providing parents options and trying new approaches (constructivism – ANCS, small class size- Kindezi, STEAM – Drew). They haven’t come in to make a quick buck. I don’t know as much about the rest of the state.

MANGLER

November 7th, 2012
11:40 am

Reality Check,
save your tax bills and compare them next year and the year after – the portion going to education. If your tax bill goes down next year, I’ll be around and I’ll buy you dinner at any place you chose.

SmarterInSouthGeorgia

November 7th, 2012
11:41 am

While you folks in the other world were daydreaming about lily-white country day acadamies with this amendment, in South Georgia, we saw this amendment for what it will become. We know it’s yet another equal opportunity, for those who know how to work the system, to expand their practices of cronyism, fraud and abuse – except this time they will do it with the state’s help. Those folks are already lined up to apply for their new ‘charter’ schools where the educators are all going to get a promotion and no one local can hold them accountable. Any attempts at accountability will be called ‘racist’. And you can crow all you want about all the controls that will be in place. Controls work on the honest and the selfless. So, from South Georgia, thanks to all you voters who simply set us up to deal with more scandal in our publicly-funded schools.

Maureen Downey

November 7th, 2012
11:41 am

@10:10. No, they are just as glaring in rural areas.
BTW, the AJC has a series coming out on Nov. 18th on rural schools. I will post about it when it appears.
Maureen

Hillbilly D

November 7th, 2012
11:43 am

A question for those of you in urban/suburban areas, what percentage of your property taxes goes for school taxes? Just curious.

Centrist

November 7th, 2012
11:47 am

Public Teacher @ 11:34 posted it better than I did – except for this: “Otherwise it would have been a huge landslide victory”. It did pass by a huge landslide. Maybe it would have been even greater if there wasn’t so much media misinformation.

Rick L in ATL

November 7th, 2012
11:50 am

The two Georgias are: parents who have a clue and “educators” who don’t. It is that simple. Nobody persuaded my family to vote yes on the amendment; we have eyes and ears and could see the incompetence and fecklessness of our school system “leaders” for ourselves; it was a simple decision.

Those of you who think some moneyed lobby talked fed-up parents like us into anything are just deep in denial.

Sure, you’re scared now. You see how the winds are blowing. You see your empire crumbling; your cheese being moved. But more than anything, you’re upset because you’re being exposed for who you really are: people who purport to care about kids but find themselves defending the utter failure of the current educracy.

Saving traditional public education isn’t a renovation project, it’s a tear-down-and-rebuild. Even if we have to dismantle it one amendment at a time.

Alpharetta

November 7th, 2012
11:51 am

Batgirl, we’ve been working on the schools we have for 100 years (the current public school design has been around that long.) We have build so much bureaucracy into the systems that manage these schools, we can’t change anything. Too many people with paychecks and contracts. Charters don’t have that. They can also be deemed a failure. Teachers and administrators can be fired. Vendors can be replaced.

Most of the Christian schools I know of here in metro Atlanta don’t seem to care about tax dollars. But, as we move towards vouchers and other education alternatives, these schools may ones we have to evaluate. We pay for our kids to be educated in the primaries. If a Christian school does that better than others, this may be a good investment. If I still had young kids though, I probably wouldn’t send them to such a school, even though I’m a Christian.

I sure as hell don’t ever want to see any money go to an islamic school. However, other faith traditions may also provide for a good education.

Fact Checker

November 7th, 2012
11:54 am

Fact: I can’t send my kids to an Albany public school because I don’t want his lifes ambition to be a garbage man.

Fact: My other option has raised its tuition to 12k a year.

Isaac Lassiter

November 7th, 2012
12:02 pm

Gilmer County
Highly Rural, Appalachian community
81% for Romney
55% Yes on Amendment 1

Wow in the other direction Maureen. Maybe you should look at why almost 90 counties in Georgia voted for the amendment and only just under 70 voted against. We all know that there are nowhere close to 90 urban counties in Georgia. The basic premise of your Wow does not hold up and does not show a pattern of an urban versus rural voting. Long County in south GA with 3,559 voters voted for the amendment. How does that work for your model?

Centrist

November 7th, 2012
12:03 pm

Fact Checker posted “I can’t send my kids to an Albany public school because I don’t want his lifes ambition to be a garbage man.”

Harsh. But many schools do reflect the community where trades, small businesses, farms, and blue collar jobs are more of the norm than college prep for white collar jobs. Usually, there are avenues for both – but there is the option you took with a private school with a bigger pre-college track.

Erica Long

November 7th, 2012
12:05 pm

With respect to the overwhelming support the referendum received in Metro Atlanta, I will just say that Black people aren’t stupid. We know that the status quo is not working, and we are willing to take a chance on something new. We are tired of the race-baiting and misinformation dished out by politicos who are more concerned with following the party line (and not upsetting teacher organizations) than they are with fostering good schools that work for our children right now.

In what has become a way too frequent occurrence, and no surprise at all, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus was completely out of step with its own constituency on this issue. Black elected officials need to stop trying to tell their voters what they should believe and need to start listening to them instead.

Susan

November 7th, 2012
12:08 pm

@d: ““Shall the Constitution of the State of Georgia be amended to allow for the creation of an appointed commission that shall have the power to override the will of elected Boards of Education in regards to the creation of charter schools?” ”

Since I live in DeKalb, I’m thinking I would definitely vote YES to the above-worded amendment.

As it is now in DeKalb, you can deal with your assigned local school, apply for a special magnet with certain application criteria or pay for private school. That is, unless you are fortunate to live in the City of Decatur and enjoy their small, well-run school system led by a competent volunteer board. People in Decatur (several AJC reporters and state reps included), although they live in DeKalb, do not understand the pain of dealing with DeKalb schools and should not be telling us to simply ‘work to improve them’. That’s pie in the sky — and very dismissive and haughty advice coming from those who although they live in the same county, already enjoy the kind of schools the rest of us desire for our children.

Maureen Downey

November 7th, 2012
12:09 pm

@Issac, The strongest anti-block was south Georgia, as I noted. The mountain counties did support it, at lower levels than metro. My observation still stands — the farther you go south, the less support.
I will also note that I know many Atlanta folks who now live in Gilmer, Pickens, Lumpkin and Fannin. Those counties are not as rural and removed as south Georgia.
Folks can just look at the map themselves and see the trends.
Maureen

mountain man

November 7th, 2012
12:11 pm

Eddie Hall -” they opposed because they will now pay even higher property taxes to support schools in Atlanta.”

Do people just keep lying thinking someone will believe it. THE CURRENT SYSTEM OF STATE-APPROVED CHARTERS WILL LEAVE ALL LOCAL PROPERTY TAXES IN THE LOCAL COUNTY!!! NOT ONE CENT OF LOCAL PROPERTY TAXES FROM SOUTH GEORGIA HAS EVER BEEN SPENT IN ATLANTA, NOR WILL THEY BE IN THE FUTURE.

Maureen, can you PLEASE set these people straight about local property taxes? For journalistic integrity; for the truth.

Jerry Eads

November 7th, 2012
12:13 pm

Lots of opinions, and I certainly had my own – I must have a dozen pieces I wrote but didn’t post. What THE DATA show is that charters tend to segregate by income (richer kids go to charters) and even so, charters on average (at least as measured by the tests we use) do worse for kids than regular publics. In addition, many dollars were provided by private interests from outside the state in support of the amendment. (The above is the VERY short version.)

Put all that together, and what it suggests is that state politicians will use tax money that would otherwise go to local districts to fund private for-profit charters for higher income families that will not prepare their kids as well as existing public schools. In the process, of course, fewer dollars will be available to teach the lower-income harder to educate kids left in the public schools.

You do the math. For the sake of our kids and Georgia’s economic future, I dearly hope the math is wrong.

Susan

November 7th, 2012
12:14 pm

Oh, and by the way, one of the board-approved charter schools in DeKalb is actually housed in New Birth church and the board and school leadership are high-ranking NB members. The church used to host their own tuition-based, in-house Christian school as well – not sure how enrollment is holding up there.

So, that ‘religious’ fear has already been realized and endorsed by our million dollar public school board.

Centrist

November 7th, 2012
12:18 pm

Ms Downey, I think the posts @ 11:24 (Just Sayin) and 11:33 (Hillbilly) explained the south Georgia vote very well. I don’t think the vote was as “anti” as it was “not applicable here”.