Archive for the ‘Charter schools’ Category

Atlanta lawmaker to push parent trigger bill in January. Cites North Atlanta High as an example of why it’s needed.

In a break from the charter school debate, here is something coming your way in January — a push for a parent trigger law in Georgia by Atlanta state Rep. Edward Lindsey. (See earlier blog on parent trigger laws.)

The trigger law allows parents to take over a failing school and reopen it as an independent charter if they collect signatures from the majority of families. Only a few states have a parent trigger law.  The first was enacted in California in 2010 and adopted since in some fashion in Connecticut, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

But 20 other states, including Georgia, have seen unsuccessful efforts to pass parent trigger laws. The film “Won’t Back Down” was a fictional account of a school takeover over a parent trigger law.

This is the official release:

State Representative Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta,  the Georgia House Majority Whip, announced today his intention to push for passage of a Parent Trigger Bill during next year’s legislative session of the …

Continue reading Atlanta lawmaker to push parent trigger bill in January. Cites North Atlanta High as an example of why it’s needed. »

Final stretch: Is charter school amendment about “money versus public schools” or “giving every child an option”?

As election day looms, the AJC examines the emotions and money around the charter school amendment in a Sunday piece. The amendment remains an explosive issue with great interest from both inside and outside the state.

Pro-amendment groups, including national school-choice advocates and for-profit charter school operators, have raised more than $2 million; amendment opponents have collected $123,243, mostly from public school officials, according to an analysis of campaign-finance records by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Please read the entire piece before commenting.

The AJC editorial page came out today in opposition to Amendment One, saying it would be a waste of taxpayer funds to create a new bureaucracy to do what the state board of education can already do. The AJC joined GOP State School Superintendent John Barge in contending that the creation of another layer of state government is wrong when Georgia has slashed billions from school funding over the last few …

Continue reading Final stretch: Is charter school amendment about “money versus public schools” or “giving every child an option”? »

AJC Sunday editorial: Support charter schools but oppose Amendment One

In the Sunday AJC, the editorial page urges the defeat of the charter school amendment because of the costs of creating a new bureaucracy without compelling justification. (You can read a rebuttal of that viewpoint by Gov. Nathan Deal here.)

Here is the editorial:

We don’t oppose charter schools, but we do urge voters to say “No” to the proposed amendment to Georgia’s Constitution that would create a legal way for the state to circumvent local school boards to create and fund charter schools.

While we have some concerns about the implications to local decision-making when it comes to schools, the strongest argument against Amendment One is simply that the state can’t afford it.

Given that Georgia’s existing public schools are so pitifully underfunded, we find it unconscionable to ask voters to divert precious tax dollars to benefit a relative few.

So-called “austerity cuts” and other reductions have sliced away state support for K-12 education for a decade. Georgia …

Continue reading AJC Sunday editorial: Support charter schools but oppose Amendment One »

In response to AJC editorial, Gov. Deal says charter amendment deserves voter approval

The AJC editorial board comes out Sunday with an editorial urging the defeat of Amendment One, citing the cost of creating a new bureaucracy to approve charter schools when one already exists.

Here is a counterpoint to that opinion from  Gov. Nathan Deal.

By Nathan Deal

Georgia parents enjoy a multitude of choices when shopping for a pair of jeans, a car or a bag of potato chips.

And when it’s time to go off to college, their children can choose a campus that fits them best.

The diversity of options in the marketplace shows that competition and choices drive innovation and improvement. It demonstrates that one size does not, in fact, fit all.

We would abandon a grocery store that didn’t give us options, so why don’t we demand the same from the public education system?

All parents want their children to do better than they did, but that can’t happen if they don’t have access to high-performing public schools.

When they go to the polls this November, Georgia voters have a chance …

Continue reading In response to AJC editorial, Gov. Deal says charter amendment deserves voter approval »

New AJC analysis: Fewer poor kids attend charter schools in metro area. Does that matter to you?

A new analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds fewer low-income students enrolled in metro area charter schools.

Whether these new findings alarm you will depend on whether you believe charters ought to focus on areas with high poverty and low opportunity or whether they ought to be an option even for parents in areas with high performing public schools. The trend nationwide is for charters to open in middle-class communities where parents want more specialization for their kids.

Having watched this movement from the very start, I can attest to the shifts in both goals and definition. I attended a charter school conference 20 years ago where the purpose was defined as creating good options for kids who didn’t have any. Charters were seen as an antidote to failing inner city schools.

Now, charters are seen as a way to create different options for parents who may prefer their children in a school that focuses on math, offers Mandarin or is single gender. Charters have …

Continue reading New AJC analysis: Fewer poor kids attend charter schools in metro area. Does that matter to you? »

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

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

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

By Tyler S. Thigpen

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

Let us create a statistical snapshot of 10 children who entered kindergarten in Atlanta this year. These darling children have since been sounding out letters, singing songs, and writing the alphabet. It does not take more than a …

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

Charter schools amendment: Say “no” to ed biz “shamans” and “snake charmers”

In the final stretch of the charter school amendment battle, I am going to run a few more pro and con pieces.

Here is the con from high school educator Ian Altman of Athens. Stay tuned for a pro piece shortly.

By Ian Altman

Georgia voters will decide next week on Amendment 1 and whether to allow a politically appointed commission in Atlanta to override elected boards of education. Hence, they will be deciding whether to let millions of their tax dollars evade the respectability of their provenance by enriching the lives and moral self-regard of the billionaire Koch brothers, professional disparager of teachers Michelle Rhee, and Walmart heiress Alice Walton, among other mega-donors outside of Georgia who are dissatisfied with the vintage of our state constitution.

The mellifluous promises of these white collared carpetbaggers would have us believe that the best interest of our kids is in the fragmenting of the public interest through the proliferation of for-profit charter …

Continue reading Charter schools amendment: Say “no” to ed biz “shamans” and “snake charmers” »

Failing charter finally closes and principal collects a cool half million. Is sufficient oversight in place?

I just spoke at the Atlanta Rotary Club meeting about the charter school amendment on next week’s  ballot.

One point that came up was whether the state had sufficient monitors/regulators in place to keep tabs on the charter schools it will approve if the charter school amendment is passed next week. (I noted that whether we are discussing bridges, day care centers or nursing homes, the state never seems to have enough compliance officers or resources to keep up with the recommended number of inspections, reviews and follow-ups.)

Most charter schools in Georgia are approved by local school boards where the distribution of funding is uniform and tightly controlled.  Tax dollars come already allocated with little latitude in setting spending priorities.

But neither local school boards nor standard funding procedures apply to state-approved or independent charters, which have greater freedom in how they spend their tax dollars and operate outside of the direct control of the …

Continue reading Failing charter finally closes and principal collects a cool half million. Is sufficient oversight in place? »

Most pro charter amendment money coming from outside Georgia. Most against from state educators. Does either worry you?

The AJC has been following the money in the high-powered, high-profile campaign for the charter school amendment, which would give the state the power to overrule local school boards and approve and fund charter schools. Presumably, that would lead to more charter schools in Georgia. Voters will decide the question on Nov. 6.

The AJC reports:

Groups backing the charter schools constitutional amendment have again pulled in far more money than amendment opponents, the most recent campaign filing statements show.  Families for Better Public Schools, which supports the amendment, raised $1.28 million during the filing period that ends 15 days before the election. Families’ haul was 70 times more than the $18,164 the main opposition group, Vote Smart! No to State-Controlled Schools, raised during the same period.

A second amendment supporter, Georgia Public School Families for Amendment One, raised $55,000. Despite the group’s name, all of its money came from a single donation …

Continue reading Most pro charter amendment money coming from outside Georgia. Most against from state educators. Does either worry you? »

Guest column: Put even more limits on power of school boards

Mpaza S. Kapembwa is a student at Williams College, studying on a Gates Millennium Scholarship, among other scholarships. A 2011 graduate of DeKalb County’s Cross Keys High school, Mpaza has written two essays for the Get Schooled blog, which you can read here and here.

Here is his third:

By Mpaza S. Kapembwa

While opponents of the charter school amendment say it takes away control from local school boards, I argue the state hasn’t gone far enough in limiting that control.

The debate has been wrongfully focused on local versus state control, parent choice and whether or not the amendment will create publicly funded “private” schools. These issues have made both sides forget that they are all fighting for the same thing: A better system.

Creating more charter schools might give parents a new option, and they need that choice because they are the major stakeholders in the system, but choice alone won’t do much. The fact that no student is guaranteed a spot in a charter …

Continue reading Guest column: Put even more limits on power of school boards »