Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Outgoing DeKalb school board member says goodbye and beware

DeKalb school board member Don McChesney lost his District 2 seat to challenger Marshall Orson. Here is McChesney’s farewell statement:

Ladies and gentlemen. Tonight I would like to take a few minutes to comment on my four years on the DeKalb Board of Education. I would first like to sincerely thank the voters of District 2 for allowing me the honor of representing you for the last four years. It has been a challenging four years with very few dull moments.

I would also like to thank my colleagues for their contributions to my education about board service. I have truly learned something from each one of you, both past and present.

I have worked for three superintendents in 4 years. I have definitely been broken in properly. My experiences are probably more like having served multiple terms. I definitely know what change is about.

Please allow me to give a few thoughts on areas that we all need to work on. Let’s look at how this school system appears to define diversity. The …

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Georgia: Putting all our eggs and hopes in charter school basket

The battle in Georgia to win passage of a controversial charter school amendment turned out to be costly, divisive and polarizing.

Many might also argue it was unnecessary, given that charter schools were never in jeopardy and more continue to open every year in Georgia.

The state Board of Education already had the ability to approve them, and local school boards, despite the characterization that most were hostile toward charters, authorized nine out of 10 of the existing 108 charter schools now operating in Georgia.

It’s a futile exercise now to question the rationale for the amendment, which, in its most practical application, accords the state Legislature the power to appoint a commission that can approve and fund charter schools over the objections of local boards of education.

The benign question put before voters — “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?”— earned a …

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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, …

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Incumbents appear safe in Gwinnett, Clayton. So, are voters happy with direction of their schools?

The results of school board board elections show incumbents retaining their seats in Gwinnett and Clayton, suggesting that voters are not unhappy with the direction of their schools.

Or at least not unhappy enough to vote in change.

On the other hand, voters approved the controversial charter school amendment, which gives the state more power to get involved in local education decisions.

Clayton offers an interesting situation. In July,  dissatisfied Clayton residents voted out two incumbent county commissioners and the sheriff. So, you can’t argue that Clayton voters aren’t paying attention or willing to act. They have proven they will oust incumbents, who often retain their posts through Georgia due to voter inertia.

But Clayton school board members appear to be holding onto their seats based on current vote counts. Yet, the district is under a warning from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that its accreditation is being jeopardized by board feuding.

So, are …

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