Do parent trigger laws fire blanks? Is it parents who really take over schools or management companies?

In explaining the impetus for his parent trigger bill,  House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, cited the need to get parents and school boards talking.

“It creates an additional avenue of communication directly from the parents to the school board, which I think is critically important.” Lindsey told a media assemblage earlier this month.

Wouldn’t coffee chats be an easier way to get parents and school boards talking?

House Bill 123 allows a majority of the parents or a majority of the faculty and instructional staff  to petition for a complete overhaul of the school by converting to charter school status or another turnaround model.

The bill specifies that the parents can:

1) Remove school personnel, including the principal and personnel whose performance has continued not to produce student achievement gains;

(2) Mandate the complete reconstitution of the school.

(3) Mandate that the parents have the option to relocate their student to other public schools in the local school system to be chosen by the parents of the student from a list of available options provided by the local school system.

(4)Mandate a monitor, master, or management team in the school that shall be paid by the school system;

(5) Prepare and implement an intensive student achievement improvement plan; or (6) Mandate a complete restructuring of the school’s governance arrangement and internal organization of the school.

One of the criticisms of parent trigger laws is that while they involve parents at the start in organizing the petition drives to pull the trigger, the final outcome is most likely the conversion of the school to charter status and the hiring of an outside management firm to run the reconstituted school. (Here is a rundown of states with parent trigger laws.)

In fact, the ascendancy of for-profit education companies contributed to the defeat of a parent trigger bill in Florida last year because parent groups argued that the law would lead to corporate interests running the schools.

Consider the position taken by Parents Across America:

The law creates a process known as the Parent Trigger, which allows a majority of parents at a low-performing school to sign a petition to trigger one of a narrow set of options – firing all or some of the staff, turning the school over to a charter operator, or closing the school. These are the same options offered in the federal School Improvement Grant program, despite the fact that none has been consistently successful in improving schools nationwide. Although Parents Across America strongly supports true parent empowerment, we oppose the Parent Trigger process.

According to the AJC:

Known as the Parent and Teacher Empowerment Act, the bill would, however, give final say-so to local boards of education, something some argue could drastically limit its effectiveness. “This bill is about cutting through the bureaucracy and making local school systems perform better,” Lindsey said.

If the bill passes, Georgia would become the eighth state in the country to pass a parent trigger law. Twenty states have considered similar measures, with most facing strong opposition from teachers groups.

Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, former chair of the Senate education committee, said he’s not certain what good the trigger bill does if school boards aren’t required to do what the petitioning parents or school staff request.

“That, for me, defeats what I thought was the primary purpose, ” Millar said. “What does this do? What’s the point?”

Lindsey said local boards of education could not be forced to implement the edicts of petitions from parents or school staff under the current state constitution.But he said school boards are likely to feel quite the pressure, particularly in instances where a two-thirds majority of the board must vote to deny a petition coming from 60 percent of parents.

“That creates quite a groundswell that I think most boards would take a serious look at and try to accommodate, ” Lindsey said.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

48 comments Add your comment

Wilbur

January 31st, 2013
12:56 pm

I remember when my kids were in middle school and the Principal set up a parents council to get more input from the parents about the school. Of course the input was promptly disregarded as the principal had no intention of leaving her agenda or of actually partnering with parents. As long as the school regards the parents with suspicion or as second tier stakeholders, the divide will continue. Eventually the kids leave the school and the parent’s pespective shifts to “taxpayer”.

Obsolete

January 31st, 2013
12:56 pm

It can’t be worse than wallowing in the schools that need this option.

WillinRoswell

January 31st, 2013
12:59 pm

Lindsey must be naive or worse. I know plenty of school boards that won’t change even if a tsunami hit them, much less a “groundswell.”. They not only believe in “local control,” but in local chokehold.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
1:13 pm

dogs howling at the moon make more sense than this

Dunwoody Mom

January 31st, 2013
1:21 pm

I’m not sure how I feel about it, but all I know is that for parents in DCSS, desperation is setting in and they may support any and all options to get out from under the school district.

DunMoody

January 31st, 2013
1:28 pm

“Is it parents who really take over schools or management companies?” Is it really the homeowner who cuts his grass or a lawn service? Is it really the parent raising her child at home or a day care center during the day? Maureen, that question implies there’s something inherently wrong with “management companies” being USED by parents to run a school. Parents – ie, adults – who make informed, intelligent decisions about providers, who are deeply engaged in monitoring that provider and are part of the decision-making process, and who see results in terms of student achievement – why again is that a bad thing?

living in an outdated ed system

January 31st, 2013
1:35 pm

I am still reviewing the bill and all of the implications it triggers, so my comments are initial reactions and not necessarily my final opinion on the matter. While I believe we must continue to provide more parent empowerment and a parent trigger mechanism may have validity, let me share a few comments on what I have read:

1. First of all, this may become VERY difficult to gain bi-partisan support. I believe the timing of the bill is premature and too soon after the “raw” sentiment that came out of the charter amendment and it may backfire on the Republicans. That is a political comment and not a comment on the substance.
2. The definition of “failing school” as laid out in the bill is vague and problematic. First of all, the DoE is still figuring out the accountability measures (G-STAFS) and so I find it difficult to create this bill until those measures are agreed upon. In addition, I don’t believe that one year graduation rate is an indicator of a “failing school.” I think there needs to be a multi-year indicator. There are too many ways for a school to fall into this category.
3. I don’t see how this bill aligns with the other legislation where a board can be removed by the Governor if a school board faces a loss of accreditation. We should be looking at governance and accountability in a unified manner.
4. Continuing from #3, I find a major problem if a school board is able to override a petition with a supermajority vote. There needs to be a way to tie the problems with a school board to a parent petition. So if the constitution is again the constraint, as Lindsey says, then in this case, maybe good legislation is no legislation until such time as that can be rectified?
5. I am not sure what the true purpose is of the teacher petition is, based on what is in the initial bill.

I am still processing the implications here. Look, we all know that many of our schools are in dire straits. Some are having major governance issues, and others are failing because of poor instruction and/or wasted funding against the wrong solutions, not to mention bloated bureaucracies. If a child is in a failing school and has no other options, then this mechanism can become a “last resort” option, but in this case, I would find it hard to believe that parents would choose anything other than a charter conversion. Why send their kids to another failing school?

The issue is not private charter management companies. There is already plenty of privatization in public education, just ask the textbook publishers. If a charter school is following the rules of its charter, the money is not “corrupt,” and the school is generating favorable student achievement, then the issue of corporate interests running schools has ZERO merit.

To be continued – however, to sum up my initial reaction, I believe that the Republicans didn’t truly think this through before drafting it. But maybe there’s a path to compromise.

DunMoody

January 31st, 2013
1:36 pm

I also want to comment on Fran Millar’s concern: “Sen. Fran Millar, R-Dunwoody, former chair of the Senate education committee, said he’s not certain what good the trigger bill does if school boards aren’t required to do what the petitioning parents or school staff request.” I agree with this – trigger bills are only PART of the solution. Our school system’s central office has a pro forma attitude about parent engagement and requests, including the state-sanctioned governing school council. They don’t listen now. They won’t listen in the future if the current administration stays intact. The only solution is local control, whether with a smaller school system (constitutional change), portfolio model (see Texas and Minnesota examples), or independent charter (but only to a slightly less degree than conversions). Conversion charters still leave teachers and on site staff under the egis of the central office. Parent trigger law still keeps the school under the egis of the central office.

Jarod Apperson

January 31st, 2013
1:44 pm

We’ve seen in APS that charter management companies seem to do a better job when they have very active parent groups holding them to a standard.

Whether it is good idea or not, this bill is worthless because of the performance requirement. I don’t think there is a single school in Georgia where less than 65% of students passed the low Math and English bars the state sets.

If there are any it is only a couple, and unfortunately for Dunwoody Mom, they aren’t near you.

living in an outdated ed system

January 31st, 2013
1:55 pm

@Jarod, part of the problem is that I am not certain that the criteria for “poor performance” in this bill is consistent with the accountability measures being established by the DoE. And again, there are too many ways a school can qualify the parent trigger. Need to be simplified and be consistent. There are so many issues that need to be worked out before this bill will be ready for a vote.

Centrist

January 31st, 2013
1:58 pm

Liberal loaded headline questions meant to solicit affirmative answers.

Not worth answering or commenting – moving on.

Maureen Downey

January 31st, 2013
2:05 pm

@DunMoody, Good point except that the for-profit model in charter schools has some real problems as the Imagine saga underscores. The inherent problem, at least thus far, is the profit part of the equation.
Maureen

Simmer Down

January 31st, 2013
2:12 pm

I have found that if you ask for people’s input and then proceed not to take the information and do something with it – it becomes more harmful than not asking for the input to begin with.

DunMoody

January 31st, 2013
2:32 pm

@Maureen, to extrapolate, does that mean “for profit” is a bad thing? I think that’s inherently disingenuous thinking. Should public education providers use only nonprofit resources for books, curricula, technology, etc.? Should a government entity (municipal, legislative, etc.) use only nonprofits rather than outsource or privatize certain aspects of their management or services?

Education management companies should be treated as a resource – monitored, managed, and held to exacting requirements for results. In my view, it doesn’t matter if they make money doing so as long as they do a good job doing so.

I do recognize that there have been issues with for-profit school management companies not doing a good job. So fire them and choose another. That’s marketplace economics.

living in an outdated ed system

January 31st, 2013
2:56 pm

And again, the “for-profit” management company is not what this is about. I think there are other challenges with the current bill that need to be resolved first. This is not necessarily about having more charter schools, but even so, what this is about is dealing with a failing school and giving our children a quality education.

bootney farnsworth

January 31st, 2013
2:58 pm

I used to be bothered by this sort of thing. now I’m amused. I’ve washed my hands (metaphorically) of the whole stinking thing. I’m of the opinion these days to let them have whatever they want. they (the agitators) want control.

let them have it.

dad99

January 31st, 2013
3:00 pm

Honestlly, we as parents of our labeled struggling schools barely make it to PTA, school council meetings…..so now we are expecting more involvement, and parent trigger laws to be the answer. Me and my wife can count on the same few being there and involved each time. Its time to look in the mirror…..

living in an outdated ed system

January 31st, 2013
3:07 pm

@Bootney, I hear ya, I do. At the end of the day, parents pay taxes, and those dollars are supposed to pay for a quality education. The moral hazard here is partly “be careful what you wish for”…….

Just Sayin

January 31st, 2013
3:29 pm

Let them do it. I’m all for it. Like dad99 said. Parents do a lot of hollering, but you can barely get most of them to do anything. Let them get exactly what they want. When the management company takes over and starts a charter and immediately starts kicking their kids back out to the puclicly run schools they will be yelling bloody murder. This is the reason SOME charter schools are successful. Some of the biggest shouters have some of the worst kids in the system.

LD

January 31st, 2013
3:32 pm

These comments are specific to HB123 – not a commentary on the concept of parent/teacher trigger.

IMO, it is not clear if the petition the parents or teachers sign saying, “Yes, we want some changes!” is the same petition that is presented to the school board. It needs to be so parents and/or teachers understand what they are signing on for.

I also have many questions about the voting process – how are blended families counted? How will the signatures be verified?

Parents should have a student currently enrolled in the school to be eligible to vote – not just anyone “…who is eligible to enroll in the following year.” Just because a student is eligible, does not mean he or she will enroll. And, if you don’t and haven’t had a student in the school then you don’t really know exactly what problems need to be addressed.

The two-year time frame to submit another petition is too short and there needs to be something recognizing progress (i.e. – if adequate progress is being made, no new petition may be submitted). For example, the two year time frame means that for high schools the graduation rate will be determined by the junior class the year the turnaround was implemented. This class may have already fallen below an adequate graduation rate at the time of implementation just through drop-outs and retentions. Realistically, it is not going to help a school to have a new plan every 2 years; at a minimum give a school 3 years and prevent a new petition as long as progress is being made.

Also, why shouldn’t the parent trigger apply to charter schools? Can charter schools be great? Yes. Can charter schools be abysmal? Yes. They are public schools like any other. If the majority of the parents or faculty at a charter school are unhappy with the governance, administration, faculty, results, etc, why shouldn’t they also be permitted to petition the LBoEd to implement one of the turnaround options (including appointing a manager/monitor, replacing the administration, or restructuring the governance)?

dc

January 31st, 2013
3:57 pm

the whole “for profit” thing is truly baffling. A profit motive is the absolute best driver for 2 outcomes 1) The best possible product, so clients continue to buy, and 2) the most efficient delivery organization, so you don’t get priced out of your market (and clients stop buying).

US post office, vs UPS or Fed Ex….seriously, is there any comparison at all?

DMV, Dept of HHS, MARTA, etc…the list of bloated, expensive, and incredibly rude “non-profit” organizations is endless.

Dekalbite

January 31st, 2013
4:08 pm

I remember when all of the hospitals and insurance companies used to be non profit. How has the profit motive worked out for us? How many medical care corners do hospitals cut to make their profit margins rise? Look how fast insurance will deny and drop anyone who becomes ill. It seems some parts of society should be non profit. The worst areas to turn from nonprofit to profit seem to be the ones that hold their customers captive – i.e. their “customers” absolutely cannot choose to never be sick and never be educated. Perhaps schools need to remain non profit.

Looking for the truth

January 31st, 2013
4:16 pm

What do parents want? Once someone can definitively answer that question without platitudes like, “a good education”, we can get focused around one idea.

School administrators that do not make parents part of the equation are the reason why laws like this exist. On the other hand, parents do not always get passionate about issues that will improve their child’s educaiton. If a parent group wants to take over the school because an administrator didn’t do everything the way they wanted, is that not just another recipe for disaster. School improvement can mean so many things. A better definition of “triggers” is clearly needed in any legislation of this sort.

Beverly Fraud

January 31st, 2013
4:34 pm

Why not a teacher trigger to remove incompetent principals? While you don’t want to cut a principal off at the knees as far as making decision, there comes a point…for example if a full 75% of staff has lost faith in the effectiveness of the leadership, isn’t it very likely that principal isn’t a good fit for that school?

Checks and balances people, checks and balances…

jd

January 31st, 2013
4:41 pm

Wait — some of these measures were what Barnes had in his A+ Reform bill — which these same folks dismantled… because they said the measures took away local control… I am confused

steven

January 31st, 2013
4:43 pm

I find it interesting that in Florida they voted down a “Parent Trigger” Bill because parents felt that it would lead to corporate interests running schools, but here in Georgia Amendment 1 passed that does just that: leads to corporate interests running schools. The Georgia Legislature is so backwards. Take tax payer money from schools and start for profit corporate interest run schools. Thanks Congressmen.

Lynn43

January 31st, 2013
4:46 pm

This is all about management companies taking over schools, but how many “failing” schools do management companies want? Management companies produce no better results, therefore, their reputation is ruined. But wait! Most charter school parents interpret charter schools to mean free private school for people “just like me and my child”. It doesn’t matter how bad the school is or how little education their child receives, if they can brag that “my child attends Bla-Bla Charter School”, they think it will make an impression on other people.

Most parents do not know what is happening in schools. All it will take for these “parent triggers” who are unhappy that they can’t run the school to get their petition is to falsely word their presentation to unaware parents (as the legislature did on the charter school amendment), and these parents will sign anything. This is not a good “thing” but just more cooperation between the legislators and big business.

Maureen Downey

January 31st, 2013
4:50 pm

@DunMoody, I just talked to the folks at Parent Revolution — the group that created the parent trigger movement — and they support laws that limit the management companies to non-profits because of the problems with the for-profit sector. That is one of their concerns with the Georgia law. They are also concerned with the lack of appeal to parents if the school board turns down the petition. And they prefer the law be limited to failing schools, which the Georgia law is not.
Maureen

Clutch Cargo

January 31st, 2013
4:52 pm

This initiative, like the Charter School Amendment, came about because the education monopoly wouldn’t clean its own house. (And in the case of train wreck systems like Dekalb and Clayton counties, the equivalent of DFACS had to be called in to save the children). Better get with the program, educrats. Your time is running out-Fast.

Tick, tock.

Big Mama

January 31st, 2013
4:53 pm

Maybe instead of a Parent Trigger Law, we should ask another state to come in and take over our education system. There are several states that seem to be doing a good job educating their children. Maybe they can do a better job with Georgia.

Maureen Downey

January 31st, 2013
5:15 pm

To all, Here is an excerpt of a piece by Ben Austin, founder of Parent Revolution and creator of parent trigger, on why he opposes school takeovers involving for-profit companies. He wrote this in response to a Michigan law that, like, the Georgia law, allows for-profits to run schools once the trigger is pulled:

Since the passage of the “Parent Trigger” law in California in 2010, lawmakers across the country have begun to look closely at similar legislation for their own states.

Those of us who conceived Parent Trigger three years ago, and have been working on its implementation in California and around the country since, applaud those legislators who are joining parents in creating better schools for their kids.

At the same time, we cannot support the current provision allowing for-profit charter school operators to takeover a school once parents have successfully used the Parent Trigger. We’re also concerned the bill does not include any quality standards for eligible charter operators.

For those who maybe unfamiliar with the Parent Trigger, it is a simple, yet potentially transformational law giving parents real power over the educational destiny of their own children. A Parent Trigger law empowers the majority of parents at any failing school to either bring in new leadership and new staff or transform their school into a high-performing charter school.

Since the passage of the California law in January 2010, three additional states – Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana – have passed similar laws. This means nearly 25 percent of public school parents in America are now empowered to transform their child’s failing school through community organizing.

Parent Trigger is not about asking parents to run our schools. It is about asking our schools to give parents power over the decisions that affect their children. By empowering parents, we are creating a new dynamic in schools that is strengthening families, schools and communities.

Parent Trigger changes the dialogue from one in which district bureaucracies, including school boards, administrators, teacher unions, and others fight over turf and economic interests to one driven by the question, “What is best for our kids?

There are critics of the Parent Trigger who suggest its remedies are punitive. The question is, “Punitive for whom?” In California, the Parent Trigger only applies to systematically failing schools, schools that have been failing to meet academic benchmarks for four or more years. Under the provisions of SB 620, only public schools the Superintendent of Instruction has determined to be among the lowest achieving five percent of all Michigan public schools would be eligible for conversion.

The critics may view the Parent Trigger as “punitive” for the adults working at these failing schools, but the status quo is punitive for the children trapped in them.

The passage of SB 620 in the Senate is, without a doubt, a significant first step in providing Michigan parents with the power, encoded in law, to transform under-achieving schools that are failing their children.

The whole premise of the Parent Trigger is to make public schools more public, compelling schools to actually serve the parents and kids they supposedly exist to serve. As the creators of the Parent Trigger we have always stood for a simple and fundamental proposition: Parents must have power over the education of their own children, and profit has no place in public education.

In Arizona, we took a similar position of opposition to proposed Parent Trigger legislation allowing for a voucher system to be put into place.

Michigan state legislators have an almost unprecedented opportunity to get it right by passing a Parent Trigger law. Tens of thousands of Michigan parents will benefit profoundly from legislation that gives them an equal voice and seat at each and every table making decisions involving their child’s education.

What legislators must not accept is any legislative provision allowing public schools undergoing conversion to be administered by a for-profit charter operator. Likewise, allowing operators with poor track records (many of whom are for-profits) to run a “triggered” school is not the kind of quality option that parents deserve.

Without these changes, SB620 would be a travesty and contrary to the spirit and concept of the Parent Trigger.

It is my hope legislators, as they meet in Lansing, will change this measure for the sake of the thousands of parents who want a better future for their children.

Jerry Eads

January 31st, 2013
5:26 pm

Dunmoody is one of the many who assume that running schools like a for-profit business is the answer. Jamie Vollmer started there some years ago after becoming somewhat famous as the maker of “the best ice cream in the country.” Here’s a short (5 minute) clip of him telling the story of how he came to realize that doesn’t work. Fun piece.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoVgbH2lyZQ

RCB

January 31st, 2013
5:32 pm

You can keep trying all of these new and “in fashion” ideas, but you’ll still have the same students and the same parents in alot of these schools. Nothing will change. I can’t even imagine a parent group exisiting at some of the APS, Dekalb and Clayco schools.

RCB

January 31st, 2013
5:33 pm

Well, Jerry, running the schools like a school doesn’t seem to be working.

DunMoody

January 31st, 2013
5:53 pm

@Jerry Eads …Actually, I’m one of many who do NOT assume anything. I simply have questioned whether a “for profit” option is always a bad thing. I believe intelligent parents would want to have ALL options available to them – nonprofit, for profit, converstion, independent, etc. I have appreciated Maureen’s feedback. Information is power.

DunMoody

January 31st, 2013
5:54 pm

Sorry – conversion. Tiny iPad keys!

Dewey Cheatham & Howe

January 31st, 2013
5:57 pm

“the whole “for profit” thing is truly baffling. A profit motive is the absolute best driver for 2 outcomes 1) The best possible product, so clients continue to buy, and 2) the most efficient delivery organization, so you don’t get priced out of your market (and clients stop buying).

US post office, vs UPS or Fed Ex….seriously, is there any comparison at all?

DMV, Dept of HHS, MARTA, etc…the list of bloated, expensive, and incredibly rude “non-profit” organizations is endless.”

I hope that you teach economics somewhere, because you are SPOT on !

That was so good that I had to post it again.

Carlos Mendoza

January 31st, 2013
7:32 pm

I was the board president when Parent Revolution successfully bullied our small district in California with lawsuits to implement the Parent Trigger Law. Parent Revolution is my biggest concern with the Parent Trigger Law. The Parent Empowerment Act of 2010 in California sounds great, but it is not a grassroots movement. Parent Trigger is not a grassroots or parents movement. It creates division in the community. Parent Revolution has big backers and uses that might to prop up Parent Trigger. Without Parent Revolution – there would be no Parent Trigger. That is not the solution to what ails our school systems. With over twenty years experience as an educator, I have come to the conclusion that the free market private sector, without government funding, is where the solution will come from. I am promoting a radical 21st century change in education. What about you? http://coachlerningacademies.me/ https://twitter.com/Coach_Lerning

living in an outdated ed system

January 31st, 2013
9:32 pm

@Maureen, thank you for sharing the views of Parent Revolution. Very important for the discussion. Like them, my biggest initial concern from reviewing the bill was the lack of appeal if a school board denies their petition, which defeats the purpose of the trigger. I suspect that the other issue about for-profit mgmt companies could be a compromise if the GA republicans felt like compromising. They already have two Dems co-sponsoring the bill – I was surprised they would sign on so quickly.

Maude

February 1st, 2013
7:43 am

I teach in a Title 1 school we have more staff at PTA meetings and Parent Nights than parents. My question is where will the parents come from that can make these changes??

Story of Two School Boards

February 1st, 2013
8:07 am

Here is a story of two school boards from the same area. 1) School board A decides to raise the local millage by 1mill to avoid furlough days and a reduced calendar. 2) School board B controlled by “Tea Party” advocates won’t even consider a 1/4 millage rate increase and cuts the school year by 5 days for students and 7 for teachers. Which board acted in the best interests of the students?

Mary Elizabeth

February 1st, 2013
9:17 am

Maureen Downey, 4:50 pm, Jan. 31: “@DunMoody, I just talked to the folks at Parent Revolution — the group that created the parent trigger movement — and they support laws that limit the management companies to non-profits because of the problems with the for-profit sector. That is one of their concerns with the Georgia law. . . .”
====================================================

I support laws that limit the management companies of charter schools to non-profits. My reasoning for this is given, below, in a post that I had made yesterday on Kyle Wingfield’s blog. That thread on Kyle Wingfield’s blog is entitled, “In defense of Georgia’s tax-credit scholarships.”
======================================================

“Kyle, thank you for your response. You are correct that I do not see it the way you do. The national movement toward dismantling public schools for private ones, or for public charter schools which are operated by private corporations for profit, is not a movement that I support.

That movement has deeper political and philosophical variances from my thinking than I can discuss here. However, I believe that I do see what is going on in our era, with long-ranged ramifications for our state and nation. I will say, however, that I support private schools that are paid for by private funds, and that I support a reasonable number of public charter schools that will work in harmony with traditional public schools – and not against them – for the equal benefit of all of the students in Georgia. I will, also, say that I support the improvement of traditional public schools so that all students in Georgia are well-served. I tried to be a leader toward that improvement of Georgia’s public schools before I retired. I continue to share my thoughts, based on my educational background and experiences, of how to improve Georgia’s public schools on the ‘Get Schooled’ educational blog of the AJC, as well as on my personal blog.

Bottom line: I do not support schools in which the primary intent is profit. I saw myself as a public servant when I was a teacher, and an educational leader, in Georgia’s public schools. The hours that I spent, over and beyond the required hours, were freely given by me for the betterment of Georgia students and of their families, and not for additional money for myself. The educational philosophy of serving all students equally well, and not for monetary reasons, is what I want to see sustained in Georgia and throughout our nation.

Profit has its place in American society and I am certainly not against making a profit in the private domain. However, I believe that profit-making does not belong in public education. Moreover, to the extent that personal profit-making already exists in public education, then I believe that it must be uncovered and stopped. I want Georgia’s public schools to continue to place priority on educating all of Georgia’s students equally well, and not on profit. One cannot serve two masters equally well. One has to choose. The public domain has its place in American society, just as does the private domain. There must continue to be a well-orchestrated balance between the public and the private (or between making personal profit for one’s self and one’s family and serving the common good of all and not for profit for one’s self) as our founding fathers recognized. My life’s choice, and my life’s work, has been in serving, and advocating for, the public domain, which ideally serves the common good.”

Mary Elizabeth

February 1st, 2013
9:33 am

Another poster on Kyle Wingfield’s blog, who had responded to my post, posted the following link from the New York Times, entitled, “Educational scholarship funds meant for the needy benefit private schools.” I thought that some readers of this blog might, also, want to read the content in that link, especially in that that situation in Georgia is highlighted in the article. See below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/education/scholarship-funds-meant-for-needy-benefit-private-schools.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Pride and Joy

February 1st, 2013
6:02 pm

Wrong question.
It doesn’t matter whether parents take over the school and run it themselves or whether parents take ove rthe school and hire a management company or whether parents teake over the school and allow Martians to run it.
The question is — who is doing a better job?
If parents pull the parent trigger law and hire Martians and Martians run the school better than the traditional school system, then PRAISE the Martians!
Parents work for a living. WE PAY THE TAXES for the schools. Of course parents cannot simultaneously be at the office 8 to 5 and be in the school system from 8 to 3. Cloning hasn’t advanced that far yet.
The point is to get the kids out of harms way and in many cases, traditional public schools are harming the kids and then kicking parents in the teeth by making parents pay for the schools that harm the kids.
the RIGHT question is — when the parent trigger law is pulled — are the students any better off than when they were under the rule of the traditional public school.

Pride and Joy

February 1st, 2013
6:06 pm

Andy by the way…tomorrow I am going to a BRAND NEW CHARTER SCHOOL meeting. I am very excited! The interest in it is so amazing that several sessoins are now scheduled and parents will be turned aaway at th edoor.
THAT IS HOW MUCH PARENTS WANT TO GET OUT OF APS AND DEKALB TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

Pride and Joy

February 2nd, 2013
9:31 am

Maude, your logic is flawed when you complain that more staff is at PTA meetings than parents…
I am a PTA member and PTAs do one thing — raise money. I am constantly selling, givng and giving and giving and for what?
I have absolutely NO input into how my child is educated. my concerns are ignord and that is why we ditched the public school and went to a private school this year.
When parents go to PTA meetings and ask for changes and are ignored…they no longer go to PTA meetings.
I was the gung ho volunteer endlessly giving my time and money and that is all the teachers wanted…my time and my money. They don’t want to hear my ideas or input.
teachers and staff have to recognize that parents like me want to be involved more than just emptying my wallet so taht you can have presents and money at Christmastime, presents andmoney on Vlaentine’s day, presents and money duriing teacher WEEK and GULP! ridiculous END OF YEAR GIFTs!
When PTA meetings have few parents YOU need to do something different.

Pride and Joy

February 2nd, 2013
10:29 am

RE: “Wouldn’t coffee chats be an easier way to get parents and school boards talking?”
Coffee and good are always a good way to get people together but…
TALKING means both groups are LISTENING as well as talking.
LISTENING with the intent to RESPOND appropriately.
School systems in Dekalb and APS DON’T LISTEN.
School systems and teachers in Dekalb and APS want parents to put up and shut up and empty their wallets and clean the school and do volunteer work without ever having an opinion.
As evidence, look at the so-called balanced calendar being proposed by APS and Dekalb.
It creates a nightmare for the very people who pay for the schools — working parents.
YET, the school systems offer ZERO solutions for the problems of what to do with kids during four one week “breaks” during the school year.
APS and Dekalb could EASILY require the after school care programs to be OPEN during those four one week breaks to care for the kids but do they even think about it?
NO!
They just MAKE problems for the very people who PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

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