Charter school amendment debate far from over: Next up in the Georgia Legislature, redefining “public” schools.

Here is a guest column by Lee Raudonis, former executive director of the Georgia Republican Party. He also worked for Paul Coverdell in the Georgia Senate, state GOP and U.S. Peace Corps. A former private school teacher, Raudonis is now a communications consultant and writer whose clients include political candidates, public officials and the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. 

By Lee Raudonis

Be forewarned: the recent referendum on Constitutional Amendment 1 related to state-approved charter schools is being viewed by its authors and key supporters as much more than an endorsement for increasing the number of charter schools and — they have promised us — improving academic achievement. They view it as an endorsement for drastically altering public education as most Americans define it.

To better understand what I mean, think about the terms “public housing,” “public hospital,” and “public school.” For most people, the term “public housing” conjures up images of low cost, government-subsidized housing for people with little or no income who cannot afford to buy or rent their own homes. Similarly, the term “public hospital” is commonly used to refer to publicly funded hospitals that primarily serve those members of society who have little or no income or private health insurance.

Unlike the previous terms, the term “public school” does not normally conjure up images of places where only “poor people” attend school. Rather, for most of our nation’s history, the term has most commonly been thought of as the place where American children of all descriptions attend school. It is the place where children from the lowest income level to some in the highest income level, and the vast majority in between, come to learn how to read, write, and calculate, as well as countless other lessons, such as how to be good citizens. It is the place that America as a whole is educated.

This is the concept of public education that many of those who pushed the charter amendment apparently wish to change. Some would very much like to see the day when most American children attend schools other than what we currently define as “public schools.” They would prefer that parents place their children either in charter schools or, even better, receive vouchers from the government and send the children to private schools of their choice. Traditional public schools (schools for children of all types) would be replaced with a new type of public school — one for those children whose parents were not motivated enough to move them into a charter or private school or for whom there were none available. In other words, public schools will come to be viewed similarly to public housing and public hospitals, as places for children whose parents, for whatever reasons, cannot find a better alternative.

The charter amendment debate is not over, because the debate was never about charter schools. It was about the nature of public education. It will reappear again and again as the “conservatives” (people who want to conserve and protect the traditional American concept of public schools) and the “neo-radicals” (those who wish to drastically change the nature of public education) debate the numerous measures that the “neo-rads” will put forth each and every legislative session in the name of “providing greater school choice” for Georgia’s parents.

The time has come for the neo-radicals to reveal their true intent for each new “school choice” initiative they bring forward. It is only fair that members of the public understand that each neo-rad measure passed takes them one step closer to their goal of redefining public education.

Clearly, there is much about public education and our public schools that needs to be changed. There is always room for improvement. The question that the neo-rads don’t want the public asking, however, is where all of the neo-rad changes, if enacted, will eventually lead. They want the public to believe that each new proposal provides just one little way to increase parental choice. They do not want the public to know that all of the proposals, taken as a whole, could lead to the creation of a new public welfare program called “public schools.” And, they undoubtedly do not want the public asking pesky questions such as how well these new neo-rad public schools will be funded when the majority of the neo-rad constituents no longer have children in the “public schools.”

In the 2013 session of the General Assembly, the neo-radicals are certain to introduce several “school choice” initiatives. The public needs to be aware that these measures, like the charter school amendment, are about much more than their stated intentions. They are about redefining the nature of public education in our state.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

117 comments Add your comment

Jim Kelly

November 28th, 2012
6:40 am

In 1999, I was present in the gallery of the United States Senate when Mr. Raudonis’ former boss, Senator Paul Coverdell, acknowledged on the floor of the Senate four Atlanta-based civil rights leaders for their critical support of the Georgia Charter Schools Act of 1998 and for the further expansion of educational freedom in Georgia. These women had made the trip to D.C. to personally express their support of Senator Coverdell’s legislation to expand school choice at the federal level. I can only imagine how saddened the late Senator Coverdell would be to see that Mr. Raudonis has rejected the Senator’s vision in favor of the status quo his present employer so assiduously protects.

mountain man

November 28th, 2012
6:45 am

Yes, Maureen, there is a fringe element that is committed to destroying public schools – but that is all that they are – a fringe. They probably account for 10% of the population. But the charter school amendment passed with 58% of the vote including a lot of Democrats and a lot of blacks. Why? Because they look at our current schools and say SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. We have made “improvements” in the system for the past 40 years and each “improvement” makes things worse. Don’t hold children back – it damages their self-esteem (but socially promoting them puts them at educational risk and holds back the rest of the students). Don’t assign homework. No grades below 50. No zeros. And above all – NO DISCIPLINE. Add into that a shift of funds from regular students to SPED students. No enforcement of attendance.

Things had tho change and the only change offerred was charter schools. Everything else just boiled down to whining about funding.

Fix the essential problems with the current schools and you will see the majority does not back destroying “public” education.

Are you serious?

November 28th, 2012
6:58 am

The reason the Amendment #1 passed was because Governor Deal and his handlers manipulated the language on the ballot. It was akin to describing a toxic waste dump as a beautiful garden.

We have problems, but the passage of Amendment #1 was because of the misrepresentation of the amendment on the ballot. If you didn’t know what the Charter School Amendment was, you would have been stupid to vote no. After all, everybody wants local input and control.

David Farrar

November 28th, 2012
7:22 am

Let’s start at the point we all seem to agree upon when it comes to a discussion of public education here in Georgia: our public schools are overcrowded and failing. If our public schools were a business, they would be closed, or like Lee Raudonis suggests above: simply abandoned if the students had anywhere else to go that offered better education at the end of the day. This last point tells us structural competition is the key to improving what has become over the years a unionized state monopoly structure.

There are many ways to achieve structural competition in a closed system. It is taken for granted, of course, this action will be fiercely opposed by the teachers’ unions. As the ‘producers of public education, their structural objective is to establish more and more control over the consumers of their product, not less. The more control producers have over their consumers, the more control they will have over salaries and performance. It’s just that simply. It’s the same way with any closed system where the consumers are forced to use the product, but aren’t allow a choice of products. Our public school system is a structural monopoly. A monopoly that isn’t designed to produce a better product for the consumers, but a product that will allow its producers to always charge more and more, while actually doing less and less.

The obvious solution (as it has been for many years) is to empower the consumers of public education: the students, and, in the case of juveniles, their parents. Yes, there will be lots of huddles placed in the way by the unionized producers’ guild. There’s the equal access issue that will have to protected. But there is nothing involved with giving the consumers of public education here in Georgia a choice of public education producers that can’t be successfully overcome by Georgia law, if the demand is there from its consumers.

ex animo
davidfarrar

South Georgia Retired Educator

November 28th, 2012
7:32 am

Mr. Raudonis is right. From the mouths of legislators over the past few years, we have heard a desire to legislate school vouchers and more school choice. The approval of Amendment 1 opened the door for these folks. No doubt there will be a variety of bills introduced to expand this concept, with the aim of doing away with public schools as we know them. Legislators who really care about the institution of public education had better wake up and realize that allowing this to happen will be the worst possible way to change public education, taking us back to a time long ago when private schools became the alternative to integration. The Governor and other leaders don’t seem to understand nor care about what is about to happen—in fact, they support it. Now it’s up to public education leaders, parents, professional organizations, and other political leaders to speak out and defend the institution that educated the great, great majority of Georgians. Don’t allow a small group of “neo-rads” to have their way; public education is not the bad guy in this picture—it’s the victim of those who want to grab control of our most valuable public institution.

disappointed

November 28th, 2012
7:34 am

@mountain man, I’d venture to argue with you that it isn’t just a fringe group–at least not when it comes to our politicians. Charter schools are NOT the only choice parents have/had. They exist and were going to continue to exist whether amendment one passed or not; however, we’ve now given an un-elected body the authority to generate new schools with no clear or transparent oversight to use public funds from wherever our legislator sees fit. What you described, the ‘improvements’ that haven’t worked, well I hate to burst your bubble, but that amendment was just another one of those ‘improvements’ you described. Public education will never benefit from political posturing or policy. Rather, we can only improve our schools through better teacher training and preparation, which starts in the university classrooms that need reform by the way, and improving our administrations. Charter schools are good; no argument there from me; however, we are foolish to believe a new governing body generating new schools and siphoning funding in new directions will help ALL our students. Isn’t that the goal? To help ALL students.

Mountain Man

November 28th, 2012
7:39 am

“Isn’t that the goal? To help ALL students.”

NO. The charter school amendment was never intended as a cure-all. It was a CHOICE issue – it gave parents who were dissatisfied a CHOICE of another option. The vast majority of parents would never use a charter school, eeither because their local school was performing well or because they just don’t care.

The ONLY way that charter schools could make things better for ALL students is if the competition forces our traditional schools to rethink and address their basic problem issues – that would be a general advantage to having charter schools.

Mountain Man

November 28th, 2012
7:42 am

“Isn’t that the goal? To help ALL students.”

Students and parents who don’t CARE about education do not deserve our help. There is no help for them. You are just wasting our money trying. You can lead a horse to water…

10:10 am

November 28th, 2012
7:49 am

Sadly, Raudonis neatly self-identifies in his piece as the true extremist—who chooses to regard all who would introduce real competition or parental choice as “neo-radicals.”

I’m saddened to see my old association, PAGE, paying for advice from such a Cold Warrior.

Ronin

November 28th, 2012
7:49 am

Interesting analysis by Mr. Raudonis. However, for the reasons that mountain man posted at 6:45, I believe that the author is seeing the glass as half empty, when it’s actually half full.

58% of the voters said it’s time for meaningful change. When you factor in that almost all district school employees, probably around 10-12% of the total ballots, you’re looking at a figure of approximately 70% of voters whose paycheck is not associated with maintaining the current education model.

Government needs skilled workers to maintain a growing/healthy economy. As far as people being educated at “government” schools or via a voucher program, it really doesn’t make any difference. What is important is more parental involvement and less government regulations. Establish a vocational career program starting in 8th grade and offer other choices to students and parents.

As far as segregation in schools, yes, it may happen. However it may be as simple as grouping the mathematicians on one career path while allowing the plumbers to learn their vocation/profession. Teaching to the middle is not the answer.

dc

November 28th, 2012
7:59 am

and we should shut down Fedex and UPS so the USPS doesn’t have competition either. What an idiotic article. The only way to drive meaningful change is through competition. The past 30 years of “change from within” (and doubling of per pupil funding) have accomplished exactly…..nothing.

Thank goodness I live in a state where the majority of folks are less concerned with protecting the educrat “status quo” and more focused on providing an effective learning environment for the individual student.

Astropig

November 28th, 2012
8:00 am

Look, the education monopoly isn’t going to clean its own house.The school board politburo establishment offered nothing but scare tactics and fear in response to the charter schools amendment.(They even trotted out a race hustler to try to gin up the votes of the worst victims of bad schools). The truth is,people don’t really know what they want,but they really don’t like what they’ve got. I didn’t see or speak with ANYONE during the charter schools campaign that called it a magic bullet…Except the education monopoly. They used (and are using) that characterization to set the stage for a campaign to discredit it and call it a failure after a very short time. It’s a tool in a toolkit,nothing more. Teachers that are honest with themselves know that improvement is a process,not an event. It will take time for these incremental reforms to work.

Politicians may be slimy and duplicitous,but they can count. They could read the (approx) 60/40 win for the amendment as a mandate to stop listening to the education monopoly and go in another direction. They now know that parent trigger is doable politically ,as well as other needed reforms.The monopoly will defend everything to the last ditch and will suffer a few tactical wins but a strategic defeat.They are too inflexible and hidebound to see that.

cris

November 28th, 2012
8:02 am

you can’t legislate parent involvment…nor can you ignore those children whose parents don’t care. But you can politicize the issue and place blame…and continue to get the same results. I’m honest enough to say I don’t know the solution to the problems of public education, but I can say that this scenario isn’t the solution either….

Eddie Hall

November 28th, 2012
8:13 am

First of all. gett off the 58% high horse. The way that pig in a poke was worded, no way it was going to fail. All you supporters can thump your chest and be happy, but this was always and will always be, about money. Let’s see if any “real” change comes down for those systems that would vote FOR this, and yet continue to elect bad BOE’s. As I have said all along, change was needed, this was not it, The governor and this legislature are certainly not guardians of the people, more like the “pocketbook”.( and i mean theirs and their big money supporters!)

Lynn43

November 28th, 2012
8:22 am

From what I am hearing, now that the election is over, most people had no idea what they were voting for because of the deceptive language of the ballot. Had the ballot question actually been truthful and outlined exactly what the Amendment was to accomplish, it would not have passed. But this was what the supporters planned. “Deceive the voters and get what we want”.

williebkind

November 28th, 2012
8:24 am

“Public education will never benefit from political posturing or policy”

That is exactly why I prefer charter schools. Schools lost prayer before classes, lost prayer at ball games, cannot wear particular clothing, and ect… I will never trust public education again. They have lost founding father values and tradtions and opted for vile disgusting alternatives. Take government control out of public education! Just send the taxpayers money back to the community and let the community do its job.

Snarkysnake

November 28th, 2012
8:32 am

All of you people that are trying to diminish the 58% number can save your strength. What you are really trying to say is that the voting public is stupid because they didn’t buy into the boogerman stories that you tried to peddle during the campaign.If the vote had gone the other way,you would have been using the numbers to browbeat legislators and say that the people have spoken.Want some cheese with that whine?

William Casey

November 28th, 2012
8:35 am

@EDDIE HALL: You are absolutely right about the 58%. The wording made the amendment “fail proof.” Several of my educated and concerned non-educator friends were going to vote “yes” until I explained that these “charter schools” were going to be governed by a board appointed by the Governor. That single bit of information changed about 12 votes to “NO.” Too bad I didn’t have $250,000 in out-of-state money to get the word out.

indigo

November 28th, 2012
8:36 am

“the time has come for the neo-radicals to reveal their true intent”

Unfortunately, we already know the “true-intent” of Georgia Tea Party Republicans. They want a Georgia filled with Christian fundamentalist school boards who will insure schools teach creationism, a 6,000 year old Earth, the absolute truth of The New Testament and the evils of science.

William Casey

November 28th, 2012
8:37 am

Hey Snarky, let ME do the wording and I can make Hell sound like a condo on the beach.

BehindEnemyLines

November 28th, 2012
8:48 am

Talk about trying to close the barn door after the horse is out, my goodness, how clueless IS Raudonis?

Public schools in Georgia are _already_ viewed as on par with public housing, with the exception that “cannot find a better alternative” should read “cannot find, or are unwilling to make the sacrifices needed for, better alternatives”.

williebkind

November 28th, 2012
8:50 am

indigo

November 28th, 2012
8:36 am
Your atheism is prominent! Christains believe in science. Didnt you get the memo?

robert thomson

November 28th, 2012
9:01 am

The bottom line is this; Public Schools, Charter Schools, Private Schools, whatever, many students achievement level will not change simply because we havent changed many of the other variables, poverty, familial problems, truancy, drugs, parental involvement. When are we going to stop blaming schools for the problems of public schools and look at some of the real issues here??? This is ridiculous. The “know it alls” that have never stepped foot in a public school since they attended themselves have no idea. Most teachers are extremely hard working, motivated professionals. To continue to blame teachers and the public schools is just plain stupid. I teach in a public school in GA, and we are in the top 5% of the state in graduation rates and test scores. WHY??? Demographics, thats why! I have a friend who teaches in the same subject area in a different school, is a fine teacher, i would argue he’s better than me in many ways, and their graduation rate is literally less than two thirds of ours. WHY??? Demographics, among other things!! STOP STOP STOP STOP blaming schools and teachers….If you keep blaming teachers, you are going to ruin the profession. I already know many teachers who are leaving because of this… DOnt think there are thousands of way better teachers waiting in the wings to take our job, because there are not.

Snarkysnake

November 28th, 2012
9:07 am

“Hey Snarky, let ME do the wording and I can make Hell sound like a condo on the beach.”

And I can make public schools in their current form look successful…

I was ambivalent about the amendment until a friend referred me to the documentary “The Cartel”. It’s a couple of years old,but it really opened my eyes. I watched and paid special attention to the segment on charter schools. I was so fired up that I brought three members of my own family and one in another to the polls to vote for amendment one.The more that I learned,the more that I agreed that the current system is broken and cannot be fixed by the people that broke it.

The “Eureka”! moment was when the spending per classroom was broken down.There are districts in the film that spend over $400,000 per classroom, pay the teacher $60K AND DEMAND MORE MONEY. (The numbers in Georgia are surely different, but the proportions are likely the same)

If you’re defending that system,you must be a (well compensated) part of it.

He pulled the wool over our eyes...again

November 28th, 2012
9:08 am

Lynn43 hit the nail on the head – it’s just another Nathan Deal money-grab for his corporate cronies and buddies – they want access to the billion dollar public school budget and they want to control who does and who doesn’t get charter schools – they tried the same thing with the TSPLOST but when it got defeated they knew they had to use a different strategy with the charter school amendment – the new strategy was DECEPTION – Deal wanted his hand-picked, unelected cronies to have al the decision making power and the public school’s money and he was able to trick Georgian’s into giving him both – y’all better wise up

Dewey Cheatham & Howe

November 28th, 2012
9:16 am

Hey Snarky, let ME do the wording and I can make Hell sound like a condo on the beach.

So…You’re saying that you would write a deceptive amendment question to serve your own ends ?

CJae of EAV

November 28th, 2012
9:22 am

@Are you serious? – Despite the hue and cry over the ballot language, I don’t believe the general “voting population” was confused at all about the amendment and what was at stake. Its passage as suggested by @mountain man is indicative of the exasperation people feel over decades of subpar public schools and the desire they have some form of progressive change.

@disappointed – no clear or transparent oversight hardly describes the manner in which most of the larger local districts in GA operate in relationship to the public they serve. It amazing how much is spoken to the alledged lack of accountability for state level authortization/funding of charter schools, when a large % of local districts have a horrid track record in this regard, yet we have long line of local board reps who have spent decades holding down seat and superintendants racking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries & bonuses with no end in sight. Let’s get real here, if it were about accountability, we wouldn’t have half of what exists today.

Centrist

November 28th, 2012
9:29 am

Despite the headline of this blog, the debate is over and Charter schools are now a part of our public education. The shrill communications consultant letter is just purposeful noise which will be properly ignored by those who implement Charter school policies – but is simply meant to be more fodder for those who were on the losing side of amendment vote.

Amazed

November 28th, 2012
9:33 am

Many of the 58% were manipulated into a yes vote. Read the ballot question. I have talked with many folks who said how cold you say no to something that sounded so positive for education? After explaining the “real outcome” voters remorse set-in. This constitutional amendment was/is a fraud. It is about access to public funds for-for profit companies. Next step?

To hell in a handbasket

November 28th, 2012
9:40 am

If you live in DeKalb County, as I do, and you did not .t understand the wording, you are an idiot.

Astropig

November 28th, 2012
9:51 am

“Many of the 58% were manipulated into a yes vote. Read the ballot question. I have talked with many folks who said how cold you say no to something that sounded so positive for education?”

…Do you mean manipulated like local school board elections and ESPLOST ballots where the outcome is usually determined by the overwhelming number of voters who are employed by the school system? (In my county and many others,the largest employer is the school system).

You mean manipulated that way?

Batgirl

November 28th, 2012
10:02 am

I hope all you people who are so supportive of for-profit charters and vouchers for private schools and so anti-public school are around in 25-30 years to see what you have wrought. I suspect you will be wishing for the good old days of 2012.

Mr. Raudonis, William Casey and robert thomson, you are all spot on.

William Casey

November 28th, 2012
10:03 am

@DEWEY: Yes, I can write manipulative sentences. The difference is, I DON’T.

Just A Teacher

November 28th, 2012
10:11 am

The amendment passed and is now law. I’ve been around Georgia’s schools too long to believe that it will be used to benefit anyone but the wealthy lobbyists who funneled money into getting it passed, but who cares? I will just get up every day, come to work, and do my job just as I have for years. I teach in a high school with a 98% graduation rate, so I expect to be targeted in some way since successful traditional public schools can’t be allowed to outperform charter schools. I just hope I can make it through this recession in my current job before it is eliminated.

William Casey

November 28th, 2012
10:13 am

HEY SNARKEY: Anyone who knows me (I use my real name) knows that I’ve been a critic of public schools for my entire 31 years as an educator. Nevertheless, I remain a supporter of the concept. This BS Amendment won’t help.

disappointed

November 28th, 2012
10:15 am

@williebkind so you honestly believe that public charter schools will be allowed to have prayer in the classroom again? These schools have the ability to develop a charter that adopts prayer as part of their school; however, you will be hard pressed to find a group that will get a charter passed with that agenda. And to blame public schools for the lack of prayer in our schools is ludicrous! That has everything to do with governing bodies, not the school systems themselves. I just don’t understand your logic here. And again, the issue aren’t charter schools. Charter schools are not the enemy. The amendment wasn’t needed.

@mountain man, I’m sorry but it’s a false assumption that more charter schools will generate competition for schools to improve, and quite frankly I’m appalled that you believe that students should be denied a better education simply because they have uncaring parents! Public schools don’t and cannot work as the free market does. In capitalism there has to be a winner and there has to be losers, and public education in America was not founded on the principle to educate the few and privileged. If you want to become more like China or even other European countries, than fine I suppose, but be aware that they actively filter out students who they believe don’t have the mental and financial resources to perform at a university level; therefore, they are excluded from what we as a country have always taken pride in, which is the American Dream. That you can come from humble beginnings and overcome circumstances you’re born into is unique in this world, and I firmly believe as soon as we try to turn our schools into capitalist ventures we will only elevate those who already have and continue to push down those who do not. The amendment will not change the quality of schools in our state.

Brasstown

November 28th, 2012
10:20 am

A majority of the citizens of our country aren’t buying the storyline anymore being pushed by big business. Unfortunately, Georgians are once again being manipulated. “It’s states rights; not slavery!” “We can’t compete because of unions!” “We can’t harvest our crops without illegal labor!” “High taxes are keeping businesses out of Georgia!” and now “It’s about giving parents choice!” The trend is changing here as it is in VA and NC, but not before we destroy public education. Twenty years from now, it’s going to be a big mess to clean up.

Snarkysnake

November 28th, 2012
10:37 am

“HEY SNARKEY: Anyone who knows me (I use my real name) knows that I’ve been a critic of public schools for my entire 31 years as an educator. Nevertheless, I remain a supporter of the concept. This BS Amendment won’t help.”

Okay. Then instead of telling us what WON’T work, please do what the NO on Amendment 1 people didn’t do and tell us what will. They ordered us to go to the polls and vote no (and we didn’t comply) without offering us an alternative. You have the floor.

concerned

November 28th, 2012
10:37 am

@Mountain Man – Your statements, “Don’t hold children back – it damages their self-esteem (but socially promoting them puts them at educational risk and holds back the rest of the students). Don’t assign homework. No grades below 50. No zeros. And above all – NO DISCIPLINE.” This is not the doing of teachers but of PARENTS! Parents have forced administration and teachers to coddle their children because their children are precious and are never at fault. Read Teaching with Poverty in Mind by Eric Jensen and A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. to see what many schools and teacher face on a daily basis. Teachers can’t change the system. Don’t be so blind to what is taking place in Charter Schools today. The students aren’t getting a better education and I bet the teachers face the same issues you mentioned. Until parents educate their children at home first edcuation will never get better.

bootney farnsworth

November 28th, 2012
10:45 am

two mixed observations

-that we have issues to resolve is not up for debate. its fact. only red meat Fran’s robots will deny educators have been yelling long and loud about problems within the system. but for some reason people either ignore it, or call us whiners, parasites, ect. perhaps the greatest example of how badly we’ve failed is that the public was unable to distinguish fact from propaganda.

or choose to ignore them.

-it funny to me how (based on voting stats, which are by nature subject to question) the same people who voted against Obama/democrats due to big government concerns are the ones who voted A-1 into place. I disagree with big government, except when it suits me.

Heika

November 28th, 2012
10:45 am

A faceless anonymous Internet poster’s opinion.

Looking for the truth

November 28th, 2012
10:46 am

Concerned – amen! Parents do not want their kids educated. They want them in gifted classes because their neighbors’ kids are there. If they don’t qualify for gifted, then they want them to get A’s and B’s. We say we want our kids ready for college, but when the rubber hits the road, then “it’s too hard’ or “too much work” becomes the rallying cry!

Parents decide what you want – then act accordingly.

bootney farnsworth

November 28th, 2012
10:47 am

@Snarky

feel free to browse the GS archives. or visit MACE. its all there for you.

but it requires an open mind.

bootney farnsworth

November 28th, 2012
10:49 am

@ looking,

there have been more than a few threads here decrying our success rate, then decrying how much we make students work.

Warrior Woman

November 28th, 2012
10:58 am

How much of Mr. Raudonis’ position is due to his vested interest in the education status quo? He is not an unbiased source, by any means.

RCB

November 28th, 2012
10:59 am

You can add amendments, change the laws, throw $$ around and blame teachers all you want, but it’s the PARENTS who determine their child’s outcomes. You cannot legislate good parenting.

Lee Raudonis

November 28th, 2012
11:14 am

Just for the record, I support school choice, including private schools and charter schools—as long as the state government provides sufficient funding for public schools. What is sufficient funding? I think most educators would be happy if the state supported public schools at the level that the state has determined is required, which would be full-funding of the Quality Basic Education Act or some similar formula. I agree that competition is a good thing, but the competition has to be fair. If public schools are properly funded (based on the state’s own formula), I am convinced that most will compete very well with private and charter schools. However, if the state continues to reduce public school funding (as it has for nearly a decade) while increasing the number of competitors that do not play by the same rules (transportation, testing, etc.), it obviously puts public schools at a disadvantage.

Some bloggers have suggested that very few legislators want to change the nature of public education. I hope this is true. It shouldn’t be difficult to determine who is right. If the General Assembly continues to underfund the public schools, while simultaneously increasing the number and types of options to public schools, I fear that my theory might be correct. On the other hand, if the General Assembly begins to reinstate the austerity cuts of the past decade and steadily increases funding to meet the state’s formula, I will be more than happy to admit that I was wrong. The question isn’t whether there should be competition in education, it is whether the public schools will be allowed to compete fairly.

Senator Fran Millar

November 28th, 2012
11:20 am

Maureen, this column is ridiculous. There is no movement afoot to redefine public education except to try to increase academic performance. This is why we now have college and/or career readiness options. This is why we are putting more and more $$ into technology vs bureaucratic overhead to try to help more students.With a 67% graduation rate from high school and 56% graduation rate from college after SIX years, does this gentleman not think we might try to do something different?

catlady

November 28th, 2012
11:20 am

Mountain man: Your list of things at 6:45 is good, except in practice, parents don’t accept that THEIR child needs to have the same consequences. THEIR child’s situation is DIFFERENT. Then the excuse making starts. It is always THOSE OTHER CHILDREN who should get the Fs, be held back, etc. Everyone’s child is a special snowflake, delicate and unique, and those rules DO NOT apply to that special child!

Snarkysnake

November 28th, 2012
11:30 am

“feel free to browse the GS archives. or visit MACE. its all there for you.

but it requires an open mind.”

No. That’s not what I asked for. I don’t want to read the GS archives. I want the guy that’s telling me that nearly 60% of the voters who voted yes had a better alternative available to them and did not take it. No weasel words, no GAE handout talking points-A real alternative that would improve the public schools that doesn’t involve20th (and 19th) century solutions to 21st century problems. Stop being intellectually lazy and answer the question.

Open mind = agreeing with your opponents. Example: Hirohito had an open mind after Nagasaki.