State charter-school advocates try to squelch dissent

If approved by voters next month, Amendment 1 would give appointed state officials — officials answerable to politicians, not to voters — the authority to create and oversee special state-authorized charter schools anywhere in Georgia. The wishes of local voters and locally elected officials would not matter.

In other words, Amendment 1 is about taking power from the hands of the many and concentrating it in the hands of an unaccountable few. If you have any doubt about that claim, look at the heavy-handed manner in which those backing the proposal are trying to silence those who oppose it.

It’s safe to say that no one knows the potential impact of Amendment 1 better than school boards and superintendents. The Georgia School Superintendents Association and the Georgia School Boards Association strongly oppose its passage, as do many school boards, school board members and superintendents.

But according to their critics, they do not have the legal right to express such opinions. Supporters of Amendment 1 claim that school boards, for example, are forbidden from passing resolutions opposing the proposal because that constitutes an illegal use of taxpayer money to influence an election.

They have also enlisted powerful allies in their effort to silence opposition. Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has issued an advisory opinion that is short on specifics but ominous in tone, warning that “school boards do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong,” an apparent reference to the school-board and superintendent associations.

Atlanta attorney Glenn Delk, a longtime advocate of private-school vouchers, upped the ante this week when he filed suit against all 180 school boards in the state, insisting on their silence. The concerted effort to intimidate opponents of Amendment 1 has even convinced State School Superintendent John Barge, an elected statewide official, to take down a statement explaining his personal opposition to the proposal from the state Department of Education website.

It’s important to note that the law forbidding use of taxpayer resources to affect elections is important and ought to be respected. But to date, statements by education officials and associations have been well within the customary limits of that law in Georgia.

For example, while Barge pulled down his statement of opposition, as of Tuesday the website of Gov. Nathan Deal still contained two press releases touting the governor’s support of Amendment 1. In addition, Deal traveled to Cherokee County for a high-profile ceremony last spring in which he signed legislation related to Amendment 1, a clear use of taxpayer money to publicize his support of the measure.

Last summer’s failed campaign to rally support for a regional transportation tax also offers a stark contrast. The state Department of Transportation made no secret of its support for T-SPLOST. A FAQ still available on the DOT website warns that if the tax measures are rejected, “Georgia’s regions and the state as a whole would not be able to address its transportation infrastructure needs for a growing population and potential economic development.”

Deal himself endorsed the T-SPLOST in an op-ed column presumably written by state staff at state expense. Among other places, that column was published on the website of the Georgia Municipal Association, under the headline “Georgians need to support T-SPLOST”. GMA serves the same function for city officials that the school board association serves for school-board members. Similar examples can be cited involving the Association County Commissioners of Georgia (the trade organization for county officials), the Atlanta Regional Commission and countless county commissioners.

Yet somehow, perhaps because those in power also backed T-SPLOST passage, none of these examples caught the attention of our attorney general, and no concerted effort was made to silence them. One rule for them, another for everybody else.

– Jay Bookman

247 comments Add your comment

Aquagirl

October 10th, 2012
7:32 am

Small gub’mint and free speech-lovin’ conservatives at work.

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
7:33 am

When I decide something is really bad, and I find out that a powerful individual with whom I have had some nearly-deadly-serious dustups in the past, *also* thinks it’s really bad?

it’s really bad.

Gwinnett’s superintendent told the group that the amendment they’ll have the chance to vote on “is not about charter schools. I have no problem with charter schools. We have plans for three or four more as we speak. The real issue is … at a time of severe financial means … where is the money coming from?”

Added Wilbanks: “Go ahead and approve charter schools, but make sure you use a vehicle that’s already available to you. (With this amendment) you’re setting up a dual school system, and quite frankly folks … you know we’ve had two school systems before in this state. We used to say they were separate but equal. Now, the separate was correct, but I don’t think the equal was, do you?”

Take this PoS initiative out back and shoot it, hack it to bits, and bury it in multiple locations so that it can never rise again.

(and Jay’s piece outlining how the bill’s backers are trying to gag dissenters, should tell you all you need to know about its moral bankruptcy.)

JDW

October 10th, 2012
7:37 am

Anything ole Raw Deal can do to consolidate power in his hands is worth doing from his point of view. After all power=money….just check Raw Deal’s before and after balance sheet…simply amazing how one could clear all that debt on a governors salary!

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
7:39 am

Atlanta attorney Glenn Delk, a longtime advocate of private-school vouchers, upped the ante this week when he filed suit against all 180 school boards in the state, insisting on their silence.

Here is this guy’s website/bio:

http://www.lightmasanddelk.com/glenn-delk

here is his contact info, from
http://www.lightmasanddelk.com/directions-and-map

Suite 1150
1355 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30309
404.876.3335
Fax: 404.876.3338

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

October 10th, 2012
7:42 am

“Take this PoS initiative out back and shoot it, hack it to bits, and bury it in multiple locations so that it can never rise again.”

and THAT is why I’m your biggest fan.

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
7:46 am

from downstairs:

and not one mention of the Death of a Salesman reference in the post?

yebbut *plenty* dast blamed this man.

N-GA

October 10th, 2012
7:48 am

So if regular public schools can’t do the job, take some money away from them and open some charter schools. The regular public schools will immediately improve, right?

Defies logic….

Ol' Timer

October 10th, 2012
7:48 am

In a word, Charter Schools drain money away from existing public schools into the hands of private companies who are able to cherry pick their students — something the public schools are unable to do — and still evidence of their ongoing superiority is questionable.

Now, I’m aware that there are liars, damn liars and then there’s statistics — but I’d like to see where Charter schools are superior over the long haul to well-run public schools. Show me!

The conservatives love privatization and this is an just another example of their love afair. And, we’ll not talk about the opportunities such intanglements provide for corruption and fraud.

“Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.” ~George Will

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

October 10th, 2012
7:52 am

Conservatives and suppression.

Who’d a thunk it?

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

October 10th, 2012
7:53 am

““Conservatives define themselves in terms of what they oppose.” ~George Will”

George Will opposes blue jeans.

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
7:57 am

The conservatives love privatization and this is an just another example of their love afair.

[...]

Conservatives and suppression.

Given that many of the superintendents from these districts who are opposing this PoS initiative are certainly politically conservative, themselves, I’d say this is beyond the usual left-right axis, and in another solar system, frankly.

Reality

October 10th, 2012
7:59 am

Just vote “no” on charter schools.

They lie. They twist the facts. They suppress any opposition. And why? Because it is all about the money. Corporations want access to the education tax dollars – plain and simple.

Fulfilling Father’s Campaign To Segregate Public Schools

October 10th, 2012
8:03 am

The Koch brothers are simply fulfilling their father’s legacy. In 1958, Fred Koch — the founder of Koch Industries — joined a group of manufacturing executives and Robert Welch to found the John Birch Society, a virulent far-right group that dominated the civil rights debate. The John Birch Society organized an impeachment campaign against then-Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren for the Brown v. Board decision outlawing racial segregation, and mobilized its supporters to oppose integration of schools on the grounds that mixing black and white would lead to the “mongrelization” of the races. Fred supported the John Birch Society’s anti-civil rights campaign, and wrote a screed denouncing the civil rights movement as communist-inspired.
Charles and David did not only inherit an oil company, they inherited a political philosophy. The Tea Party movement, orchestrated by AFP and other Koch fronts, reflects the paranoid style of the movement started by their father, Fred. As Thom Hartmann has explained, corporate interests have long funded far-right, paranoid movements to continually shift the balance of politics in America. The radical right creates political space for corporate candidates like Richard Nixon or Mitt Romney to appear “moderate” in contrast. David Koch, it should be noted, actually supports Romney for president in 2012 even though David’s fronts have spent the last two years boosting reactionaries like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-news-section/188-188/4594-koch-brothers-campaign-to-segregate-public-schools

Jm

October 10th, 2012
8:03 am

The current system is broken.

Almost all remedies must be tried until a solution is found.

State charter schools are one such tool.

Pre Brown -vs- Board of Education

October 10th, 2012
8:07 am

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:12 am

State charter schools are one such tool.

Pete Peterson is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

Jm

October 10th, 2012
8:14 am

Anti Koch spam alert

Jm

October 10th, 2012
8:16 am

Sfd

Tough love

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:17 am

Jm, the educational system is not “broken.”

And while I’m at it, our nation is not “broke”, so you know where you can stick your austerity fo’evah rhetoric that is part and parcel of the Borg collective you call home.

Disgusted in Dekalb

October 10th, 2012
8:19 am

To say school boards or local government is answerable to their constituents is naive at best and stupid at worst.

The parents in Dekalb wanted to stay with the current school calendar but the board voted to change it.

The new Dunwoody city government is totally going against the wishes of the citizens of Dunwoody on several issues.

If corporations want to open charter schools without taxpayer money, they’re free to do so. Why do they need an amendment and separate government agency to do so? We don’t need another shady backroom government agency in this state. Put the money towards the public school system, not out of state corporations who really care little about our kids.

The primary concern here should be our CHILDREN. But its not, its about money and power. Governor Deal and all Georgia politicians should be ashamed.

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

October 10th, 2012
8:22 am

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wherewestand/reports/finance/how-do-we-fund-our-schools/197/

“It’s a little known fact that when it comes to the funding of our schools, the U.S. Government contributes about 10 cents to every dollar spent on K-12 education – less than the majority of countries in the world. And it wasn’t until 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as part of his War on Poverty, that the federal government created a lasting program to fund K-12 education.

So where does the bulk of the money for our 14,000 public elementary and secondary school districts schools come from? State and local governments. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, state and local funding accounts for approximately 93 percent of education expenditures.

What’s the source of these funds? In most states, it’s sales and income taxes (both corporate and personal). But on a local level, these funds usually come from property taxes, which are set by the school board, local officials or citizens. It’s this system that causes the most dramatic differences between states, and even within districts.

Depending on the property wealth of a community, its schools might boast gleaming buildings and equipment, or they might be dilapidated – struggling with the burden of outdated equipment and unpaid bills.

According to the most recent Funding Gap report by the non-profit group The Education Trust, many states still provide the least amount of funding to school districts serving students with the greatest needs.”

skipper

October 10th, 2012
8:23 am

I am not sure what the answer is, but a brain-damaged donkey could do a better job than APS….they have shown that local control is nothing more than electing incompetance and putting it in charge. Absolutely no care for qualifications (in many cases) is the rule of the day. Not a single executive with kids IF he relocated his company to Atlanta (save for a crusader or two) would enroll his kids in APS (save the VERY FEW semi-successful fringe schools.) What the hell do folks do……………

ByteMe - Thugs vs. Ilk... in 3D!

October 10th, 2012
8:24 am

To say school boards or local government is answerable to their constituents is naive at best and stupid at worst.

The parents in Dekalb wanted to stay with the current school calendar but the board voted to change it.

Then vote them out of office. That’s where they are answerable.

The state charter board that will be appointed and NOT elected? How can you vote them out you might ask?

TaxPayer

October 10th, 2012
8:25 am

If this law passes, what should we expect to see transpire. How soon before taxpayer dollars for education are siphoned off to fund for-profit k-12 schools designed to enrich the likes of Rupert Murdoch and company. Free FOX News broadcasts for everyone beginning in kindergarten.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

October 10th, 2012
8:26 am

I am certain there will be a lot of conservatives screaming about tyrants, dictators and “FREEDOM”…….. everyone knows them crickets are so loud they can drown out those screams.

Jm

October 10th, 2012
8:26 am

Sfd

You’re funny. Wrong, but funny.

Adam

October 10th, 2012
8:26 am

Jay you’re obviously missing the point. Everything in the world is all about MONEY, and if you’re being PAID to be on the school board then any opinion you express is one that you make on company time, whether you’re at home or not. They OWN you because they pay you. And education should be all about profit, just like health care and everything in life.

I’m charging you 5 cents for this opinion post.

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:29 am

Then vote them out of office. That’s where they are answerable.

and if one were to look at the shameful participation rates in school board elections, one realizes that most of the keening and wailing one reads online is just so much sound and fury signifying nothing. the vast majority of Americans, I think, have no clue what their own school board is up to, don’t bother to vote up or down, don’t attend public meetings… and yet they cry and complain about property taxes, which are the funding mechanism for these schools.

(I guess I’m having one of those “we have met the enemy and they is us” moments. I’ll get better.)

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
8:29 am

FULFILLED,

I listen to American Left and the Righty XM shows in about equal amounts…I figure the truth is somewhere in between which has turned out to be an effective means for me to get a handle on the issues….I’m about as big a fan of Hartmann as of BIGED, Joh Gibson, Rush Limburger or Sean Handj*b…they all are blind red and blue sheep pandering to sponsors and the demands of stations..

It is fair to say that BO has gotten at a minimum, equal support over the past few year from Wall Street, Telecom (both of which he originally promised to bring to justice) and other big businesses needing to continue control of DC agenda…he is no different than the rest in that category..

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:31 am

Wrong, but funny.

Well thanks.

Totally-motally off-topic but I’d really really like to get your reaction to this piece (perhaps some other time/place), which I posted a few stories down but got dead-threaded.

http://www.alternet.org/economy/8-facts-prove-our-govt-not-going-broke?page=0%2C1&paging=off

America does not face a debt crisis. Nor are we likely to face one in the next 100 years. In fact, we are the last country on Earth that needs to worry about its public debt.

What’s really behind the debt histrionics is a relentless effort by these Very Important People to use a trumped-up crisis to shred the social safety net and bring forth their bleak vision of a dog-eat-dog society where government provides for no one (except the super-rich). Unfortunately, many liberals are also buying into a “debt crisis” that doesn’t exist.

indigo

October 10th, 2012
8:34 am

I suspect a conservative agenda is the fuel running this charter school engine. If this Amendment passes, look for a large number of charter schools teaching the Earth is 6,000 years old, evolution and the Big Bang are tools of the Devil and the New Testament is the proven word of God.

Science really is a candle in the dark and the winds of ignorance are strong, especially in Georgia.

Joseph

October 10th, 2012
8:36 am

It’s sad Jay that you are almost always on the wrong side of every issue. Instead of putting children first you seem to always put adults and their gubmint salaries at the top of your agenda. I have to ask again. How can you sit from your perch and comment on something you have no clue about? It’s hard to take you seriously when you know nothing about the area’s that charter schools serve. All you can do is pull up stats while in the comfort of your AJC office. Get out and take a look before spewing tripe that honestly makes you look clueless. The stats you put forth are for the most part irrelevant. Visit a charter school and then visit a local public school. Look at the difference. Look at the attitude’s of the children and their parents. They are the people that truly count! Not teacher unions! Not misguided dems who honestly don’t know the facts and simply vote how they are told.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
8:37 am

GRANNY,

Spot on…I live in Johns Creek school district and am embarassed to state my property tax nut…the newly built school(s) are indeed gleaming..I’m glad my kids get to go to good schools but it pains me to note the discrepancy between school districts…another issue is the latest trend of citihood…Johns Creek, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and the like…I never liked the idea of new government infrastructure…which will come back to bite us.

I understand the argument over charter schools…not completely but any chance we have to improve schools without utilizing the traditional, failed strategy of throwing money at education which has borne zero fruit..

Trusslady

October 10th, 2012
8:41 am

What you have, is government that is now afraid of its people. We shot down T-SPLOST with a resounding voice, and now they are afraid we will defeat the charter amendment. Power to the people, my brothers and sisters, power to the people.

Jay

October 10th, 2012
8:43 am

“It’s sad Jay that you are almost always on the wrong side of every issue.”

Joseph, if that’s another way of saying that you and I almost always disagree, I’m quite fine with that. Doesn’t bother me in the least.

ROTFLMFAO

October 10th, 2012
8:44 am

Jay,
Doesn’t this sound more like it should be the Republicans instead of the Democrats?

Republican viewpoint – the government decides

Democrat viewpoint – the people decide

Polotics makes strange bedfellows. And I am a Republican!! :)

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:44 am

If this Amendment passes, look for a large number of charter schools teaching the Earth is 6,000 years old, evolution and the Big Bang are tools of the Devil and the New Testament is the proven word of God.

oh, I don’t know if it will be a “large number,” but any number greater than zero teaching such nonsense *and* publicly funded, is too many.

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

October 10th, 2012
8:46 am

“oh, I don’t know if it will be a “large number,” but any number greater than zero teaching such nonsense *and* publicly funded, is too many.”

word.

kayaker 71

October 10th, 2012
8:46 am

We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if the APS and others like it, including Clayton County, had just done their jobs. Inadequate teachers supported by strong teachers unions and entrenched superintendents with an agenda of giving education lip service, spending taxpayer’s property tax money for what?…… a 56% HS graduation rate with some who couldn’t add 2 plus 2 and are unable to even fill out a job application without help. Parents of sick and tired of this nonsense.

Mighty Righty

October 10th, 2012
8:47 am

I support any change to our education system that will return it to the high standards it once held. Clearly, the present system of Union control doesn’t work. The proof is in the results. Charter schools are a demonstrated improvement over our failing system. This debate should not be political, or should not be about who has control. The debate should be about whether Charter schools are a positive alternative to the failing education system now in place. It shouldn’t matter who is in charge. The elected school boards have failed! Period. No one should fear replacing them with some other system.

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:47 am

Pol[i]tics makes strange bedfellows. And I am a Republican!

it’s like I said–I really think this one ought to be in another solar system, and well beyond the usual cons v. libs dynamic.

Put another way; there are plenty of reasonably honest Republicans out there who know that they voted for — let’s call him what he is — a crook, in Nathan Deal. they made an ideological choice. Now it’s time to deal with a consequence of that choice, and tell Deal that there are limits to what you will tolerate.

ROTFLMFAO

October 10th, 2012
8:49 am

Jay,
Doesn’t this sound more like it should be the Republicans protesting instead of the Democrats protesting?

Republican viewpoint – the government decides (usually the Democrats’ position)

Democrat viewpoint – the people decide (usually the Republicans’ position)

Politics makes strange bedfellows. And I am a Republican. :)

RESUBMITTED FOR CLARITY

Aquagirl

October 10th, 2012
8:50 am

The elected school boards have failed! Period. No one should fear replacing them with some other system.

If you want to get rid of the school boards, then get rid of them. Why are you comfortable with leaving the majority of money and control in their hands while carving out a couple of niches? Oh, wait, it’s all about the children. Or 5% of the children and their thieving pickpocket parents anyhow.

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:50 am

We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if the APS

I love me some “we have to destroy the village in order to save it” arguments in the morning.

scrappy

October 10th, 2012
8:52 am

“One rule for them, another for everybody else.”

Shocking! Just Shocking that this would come from Republicans! Oh wait, no… not really, that is there take on everything.

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:52 am

Why are you comfortable with leaving the majority of money and control in their hands while carving out a couple of niches?

Ooh ooh teach, I know.

It’s because such people are lazy and stupid. They would rather cast a vote for a hideous thing like this initiative because it has the word “charter” in it, than do the relatively hard work of recruiting and campaigning for better school board members.

n

October 10th, 2012
8:53 am

There are hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars at stake for the corporations who will build and run these schools. That is why their sponsor/crony political alliies are so rabid in their campaign of support. Follow the money.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
8:53 am

STANDS,

I looked at your post regarding the support of the left to continue accumulating debt as it is not a problem…I couldn’t disagree more and this is what scares me the most about left’s perception (and sometimes that right…alhough they are more vocal in attempting to address this) that it is not a problem to continue selling debt…this is our #1 security issue…IMO…the odd thing is that despite promises of DODD-FRANK to eliminate reliance on rating agencies who are the root to the big collapse, this has not occurred…under BO and current congress total lack of leadership, we lost our credit rating…oddly we have to borrow more money to maintain same….that’s nuts.

We are heading for another downgrade in the coming years regardless who is in office….keeping on this trajectory will increase our security risk and result in debt investments in US no longer being the gold standard..especially if we keep putting more currency in play..

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
8:55 am

MIGHTYRIGHTY

When did our education outcomes register as “high”? What was the metric used to define this?

jconservative

October 10th, 2012
8:55 am

Never vote to increase the power of the central government.

larry

October 10th, 2012
8:56 am

Jay………..Jay……….. um, Sam Olens, line 1.

Now you’ve done it.

The local school boards do not have 1st admendment rights. But Wal-Mart, headquartered in another state , pouring in millions in support of this admendment, has 1st admendment rights.

Citizens United indeed.

oy!

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

October 10th, 2012
8:56 am

“Clearly, the present system of Union control doesn’t work.”

clearly, you don’t know the first thing about Georgia teachers.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
8:57 am

STANDS,

Here is the counter argument to the left “deficits are ok” pitch…

http://midknightgraphs.blogspot.com/2011/01/debt-service-costs-and-looming-crisis.html#!/2011/01/debt-service-costs-and-looming-crisis.html

kayaker 71

October 10th, 2012
8:57 am

Sure, let’s hang onto the status quo. Let’s just keep on graduating only half of our students and call that doing your job. What if a lifeguard was only successful at saving a half of drowning swimmers….. how about the fire dept only putting out half of the fires that they are called on to help save…… Would this be acceptable? Certainly not. Why, then is it OK for anyone, no matter their political persuasion, to accept this kind of job performance from our government schools?

TaxPayer

October 10th, 2012
8:58 am

Only a con would think that having an outfit like a Phoenix University providing for-profit “education” at the k-12 level is a step forward. Then again, given their level of education I shouldn’t be surprised.

Granny Godzilla - Union Thugette

October 10th, 2012
8:59 am

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am…

October 10th, 2012
8:37 am
GRANNY,

Spot on…I live in Johns Creek school district and am embarassed to state my property tax nut…the newly built school(s) are indeed gleaming..I’m glad my kids get to go to good schools but it pains me to note the discrepancy between school districts…another issue is the latest trend of citihood…Johns Creek, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs and the like…I never liked the idea of new government infrastructure…which will come back to bite us.

I understand the argument over charter schools…not completely but any chance we have to improve schools without utilizing the traditional, failed strategy of throwing money at education which has borne zero fruit..

.
.
.
.
Throwing money around is just plain stupid.

Effectively investing money where it needs to be is smart.

Charter schools are not the answer.

stands for decibels

October 10th, 2012
8:59 am

SR @ 8.53, if you’re something more than the concern troll I fear you might be, if you are actually an intelligent, independent thinker, you will eventually come around to my way of thinking on this.

I know it is more than a tad counter-intuitive in no small part because one hears so many supposedly liberal folks mouthing the same “debt baaaad… must tighten bellllttttts….” stuff that benefits a tiny group at the expense of the vast majority.

In the meantime, if you want to continue tilting at something as superficial as a freakin’ credit agency score, had at it. Tell Rocinante I said “hi.”

larry

October 10th, 2012
9:01 am

“Clearly, the present system of Union control doesn’t work.”

Clearly, if the present system had Union control , you might have a point.

Mary Elizabeth

October 10th, 2012
9:01 am

In my opinion, there are powerful political forces at work behind this constitutional amendment. Wal-Mart heiress has contributed $250,000. toward seeing it passed. The bill’s sponsor, HR 1162, was Rep. Jan Jones, who sits on ALEC’s Educational Task Force, and may be chair of that Task Force, according to one poster. When I attended Georgia’s House Committtee Meeting last winter in which some committed citizens opposed this amendment, the Committee’s Chairman was was so incensed that he was heard to say, outloud, as if to himsellf, but so audible that the whole audience heard him say, “We are going to pass this bill,” before the votes were even cast.

This Constitutional Amendment is unnessary. There already exists another means of establishing state charter schools, when parents might be denied authority to establish the charter of their choice by their local school district, and that means is through the State Board of Education. Georgia’s BOE, by law, can now establish state charter schools, and has already established well over a hundred of them.

This Constitutional Amendment would establish a parallel school delivery system, to Georgia’s traditional public school system, which would lead ultlimately to vouchers being used for the privatization of public schools. Even before vouchers would be passed, private management corporations would have a vested interest in these schools. That means that billions of dollars of Georgia’s tax property tax money, which was meant for the education of ALL of Georgia’s school children – equally – would be available to for-profit managers of quasi-private public schools. Children for profit. Teachers as commodities to that profit.

The forces of power behind this bill, such as Gov. Deal, Rep. Jones, and the many other Georgia legislators who are members of ALEC, such as Sen. Majority Leader Chip Rogers, thought that they had this amendment easily on track for passage into state law, once it had cleared legislative passage.

This bill is not about education so much as it is about profit and control of education by powerful forces in our nation who have an aversion toward “government” and government agencies such as traditional educational “government” schools. This amendment has the power to change educational delivery in Georgia to satisfy the nearly rapid Republican ideological agenda of privitazing public education, as well as most public “government” institutions. They want the wealthy, powerful elite to be in control even of public education. That is reflective of their the hierarchial vision for America and of Americans that is prevalent in in the present Republican Party.

This ideology is the opposite of the egalitarian vision established for our nation in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson knew that the wealthy, powerful elite would try to use the unsuspecting masses for their own financial self-interests and that is why he advocated for the public education of the masses, paid for by all citizens through public taxes – so that the masses would be aware, and not manipulated to be unaware, that their rights could be taken away from them by the powerful. This Constitutional Amendment would establish in Georgia’s Constitution an appointed Commission on Charter Schools. That Commission would contain ALL Republican political leaders, according to the rules under which that body would exist. To be clear, those rules do not state that the members must be of the Republican Party (or Democratic Party), but as so conveniently falls in Georgia, those members will all be Republican members in this Republican dominated state, such as the Lt. Gov. Republican leaders in Georgia’s legislature, I believe. Rare is the Republican who disagrees with the Republican party line. Moreover, the intent of establishing that state Charter School Commission in Georgia far exceeds Georgia’s interests, in my opinion.

Don’t be fooled. Public education as we have known it is on the line with this amendment and ultimately the power of the average citizen to have a meaningful voice may be on the line because of the ability of powerful forces that are behind this amendment to wield their way, and their interests, in Georgia. (Btw, I support charter schools that would be limited in numbers and that would work with traditional public schools so that educational delivery in Georgia would be wisely balanced to serve ALL students in Georgia, equally well. That can already be accomplished through local school districts and through Georgia’s State Board of Education.

This Amendment is unnecessary and it is highly political, imo. Vote NO in NOvember to Amendment 1.

Joseph

October 10th, 2012
9:01 am

Jay:

But does it not bother you that the majority of people in this state disagree with you? Georgia is a bright red state that’s run efficiently except for the educational system. And why is that? Because many local school boards along with administrators are corrupt. That’s a fact Jay.

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
9:01 am

JAY,

Where does this release by GAE stand in terms of free speech? Probably apples and oranges but I find it interesting nonetheless..

http://gae2.org/content.asp?ContentId=1655

b-troll

October 10th, 2012
9:03 am

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/aps-boss-says-buckhead-school-is-failing/nSYmr/

The protest garbage from these ninnies is non-sensical.

Davis is trying to clean up. And these morons are protesting. I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of it is race driven.

BuckeyeInGa

October 10th, 2012
9:03 am

If corporations want to open charter schools without taxpayer money, they’re free to do so. Why do they need an amendment and separate government agency to do so? We don’t need another shady backroom government agency in this state. Put the money towards the public school system, not out of state corporations who really care little about our kids.

The primary concern here should be our CHILDREN. But its not, its about money and power. Governor Deal and all Georgia politicians should be ashamed.

Agree..They can always open a private school.

DJ Sniper

October 10th, 2012
9:03 am

People, the charter schools themselves are not the issue. The issue is that Amendment 1 will take the power away from the people and give it to a state appointed board that has no oversight at all. That’s the problem most of us have with this amendment.

Also, the bullying by Nathan Deal and Sam Olens is reprehensible. If they don’t want taxpayer dollars voicing opposition to this, then taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to support it either. This is what you get when you elect a crook like him.

Jay

October 10th, 2012
9:04 am

Joseph, we don’t know what a majority of Georgians believe on this matter, and even if we did, it would not bother me in the least to be in the minority.

If you change your own views to conform with those of the majority, I do not.

larry

October 10th, 2012
9:05 am

ALEC’s Educational Task Force,

Contridiction in terms. ALEC doesnt believe in education.

Welcome to the Occupation

October 10th, 2012
9:06 am

Lots of little coups, adding up to one big coup.

These people will stop at nothing.

b-troll

October 10th, 2012
9:06 am

ME is long winded. All the time.

Roll Back

October 10th, 2012
9:07 am

Georgia is a bright red state that’s run efficiently except for the educational system.

______

Eat those words! Georgia has had one of the HIGHEST unemployment rate for years. Is Georgia not a member of these United States?..

JohnnyReb

October 10th, 2012
9:07 am

Moonbat logic continues to escape most of the populous. This will be confirmed in the Nov election. The charter school amendment will pass because it’s what the people want – they have had it with public school systems in not all, but too many cases. School boards should be banned from using public funds to campaign against the amendment because they have a vested interest in keeping the status quo. Comparing them to Deal and other state officials/agencies is apples to oranges.

bob

October 10th, 2012
9:07 am

Lets stick with the status quo, after all, its working so well ! Look at what just happened at North Atlanta High School. The parents and students that care just got the shaft by APS. What happened was nothing new and that is why we need to gut public education as much as possible. NAHS has a core group from the neighborhood and a larger group bused in. The core group is active in the school and the parents of those bused in do little. The core group pays most of the property tax, the bused group does not. The people let go were liked by the core group made up by people in the neighborhood, but Beverly Frauds replacement , Davis, told the parents that pay the bills and volunteer time and run the PTA a lie. Davis told these people that the state was going to take over NAHS, a lie told by a liar. NAHS has a higher grad rate than many APS high schools yet none of those are being eyed by the state ? If the state gets involved do they go after the worst performing schools or those in the middle and do they go into a district and take over one school ? The worst part of it is that if the city didn’t bus kids from other neighborhoods then NAHS would be at the top of the list. This is how it works with the left, screw over the group like the involved parents in order to coddle those that could care less. I have an open mind, if someone can tell me why the Parents of students at NAHS should be happy by the way this was handled please fill them in.

Jay

October 10th, 2012
9:07 am

Stevie Ray, I don’t understand your question.

hiram

October 10th, 2012
9:09 am

The two-bit con artists who dominate Georgia’s politics are only concerned about their bottom lines. Their attitude is, if the voters were dumb enough to elect them, they deserve what they get – the welfare of the citizens is the least of their worries.

Metro Coach

October 10th, 2012
9:09 am

Why are liberals so anti-choice? Aren’t you supposed to be the party of choice? You know, like abortion on demand, gay rights, etc. Or is it that you’re afraid that if families are allowed to choose which schools their children attend, and subsequently succeed at those schools, people will realize that the entire government controlled public schools are not the be all end all of education as you would have everyone believe? Democrats, the anti-life, anti-choice party.

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

October 10th, 2012
9:10 am

” The charter school amendment will pass because it’s what the people want ”

obviously. which is why they’re shutting down all forms of protest.

Roll Back

October 10th, 2012
9:10 am

The charter school amendment will pass because it’s what the people want – they have had it with public school systems in not all, but too many cases.

____

They said that T-SPLOST would pass also. Does anyone know the outcome?

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

October 10th, 2012
9:11 am

“Aren’t you supposed to be the party of choice?”

you are free to send your child to a private school anytime you like. you HAVE choice.

Welcome to the Occupation

October 10th, 2012
9:12 am

Where have I heard the name Sam Olens before?

Don’t tell me! I just know I’ve heard it before somewhere.

#_career_ladder_for_hack_career_politicians

JC Cunningham

October 10th, 2012
9:13 am

The only way to beat a bully is to stand up to them. This fight is not over, until we, the people say it’s over!! Olens and Deal can’t silence a whole state. The only way to ensure that Amendment 1 (Charter School Amendment) is defeated in November, so for each and everyone of us to get off our butts and start your very own grass roots campaign. Start by making your own flyer (or copy an existing one) print out a couple hundred and go door to door in your neighborhood. Then go to your local high school football game this Friday and place flyers on car widows. This Sunday excuse yourself while the choir is singing and place flyers on every car there. Set up your very own phone bank by personally calling everyone on your contact list in your cell phone. PLEASE don’t assume that every friend and family member is aware of this Amendment. Encourage friends to do the same. If just 5000 people throughout the state of GA. would start their very own grass roots campaign this week and reached just 100 people we would reach 500,000 potential voters by October 15th, the first day of early voting. Olens and Deal can’t stop us from protecting our Public Schools and our children, only we can do that, by doing nothing and that is exactly what they want us to do.

TaxPayer

October 10th, 2012
9:13 am

Rupert Murdoch already “educates” many of the cons via FOX News. He probably figures he has earned those teacher’s salaries.

Welcome to the Occupation

October 10th, 2012
9:13 am

Metro Coach: “Why are liberals so anti-choice?”

What a stupid question.

BuckeyeInGa

October 10th, 2012
9:13 am

@Bob 9:07
NAHS has a core group from the neighborhood and a larger group bused in. The core group is active in the school and the parents of those bused in do little. The core group pays most of the property tax, the bused group does not. The people let go were liked by the core group made up by people in the neighborhood,

What does the above statement has to do with what’s going on over at North Atlanta? I’m missing your point?

Jm

October 10th, 2012
9:14 am

Sfd

Your 8:31

On points

1. The debt is not leveling off as is suggested. Japan’s economy is also not considered “strong” as they suggest. They also suggest America is considered string and stable. The downgrade should suggest otherwise. Plus, short term interest rates are controlled by the government, not the market, so low rates are not a sign of investor confidence per se.

I could punch holes in the other 8 points, but these morons have buried so many false notions in their first point, that I don’t have the patience to go through all 8.

Sfd, if you can’t recognize that post as a bunch of garbage, hopefully you can now.

Joseph

October 10th, 2012
9:14 am

Jay:

We do know that the democrat ballot measure did really well. The Republican version will certainly do much better with a helluva lot more turnout. I have intimate knowledge of this issue Jay while you don’t. Again I ask? How you can sit from you perch so far away and think you know better. The liberal mindset is numbing to those who are truly informed….

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
9:14 am

STANDS,

The fact that you choose to challenge my intellect instead of offering further, bi-partisan support for your point speaks volumes…anyhow your opinion of me is not my business…if the LIBS are ok with a plan to continue borrowing money, despite our maturity in years which is among the lowest and is a much better measure of risk…that plus the factor of when the interest on the debt is higher than economic growth, the larger our annual surplus needs to be…here is another…as bi-partisan as I can find, argument against your support for continued debt spending…if you remain interested in the issue as opposed to the typical DEM personal attack retorts..

Mary Elizabeth

October 10th, 2012
9:15 am

Bob, 9:07 am

You don’t have to “stick with the status quo,” Bob. If you like the idea of establishing state charter schools, just apply to the State Board of Education to get that accomplished. I repeat – this Constitutional Amendment is unncessary for the establishment of state charter schools. Georgia’s State Board of Education already has that authority.

DJ Sniper

October 10th, 2012
9:15 am

JohnnyReb, I have news for you: A lot of people on both sides of the spectrum are opposed to this amendment.

MetroCoach, this issue really isn’t about liberals vs. conservatives. Go back and read my last post. I’ll say it again: It’s not about the schools themselves; it’s about voting power being taken away from the people. Why is that so hard to understand for some of you?

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
9:15 am

Look before I leap...

October 10th, 2012
9:16 am

Jm

October 10th, 2012
8:03 am

The current system is broken.

Almost all remedies must be tried until a solution is found.

State charter schools are one such tool.

Now that’s pretty funny,
Sounds a bit like strapping wings and a folding chair to your lawnmower and hoping it will fly.

http://www.wright-brothers.org/History_Wing/Aviations_Attic/UFOs/UFOs.htm

Stevie Ray..Clowns to the left and Jokers to the right..here I am...

October 10th, 2012
9:17 am

JM see my link above…incredulous to think our solution is to continue to borrow money, especially from those who have exhibited aggressive tactics to undermine our system..

Ben Shockley

October 10th, 2012
9:17 am

Gotta keep our kids in government school so we can keep cranking out mindless, brainwashed liberals.

Jay

October 10th, 2012
9:19 am

Interesting that supporters of the amendment are willing, even eager to acknowledge in this format what leaders of the Amendment 1 crowd deny deny deny in public:

This is an effort to undercut and in time eliminate public schools as we know it.

Dori K.

October 10th, 2012
9:19 am

Rather than debate the charter schools issue as a whole, I’d like to address what I think is a fallacy in the specific content of this column. Jay, you complain that Attorney General Sam Olens didn’t tell the governor to cease and desist his support for the amendment when he issued his advisory letter to State Superintendent John Barge.

I may be misinformed, but my suspicion is that, as a matter of course, Olens only offers counsel on topics he’s asked to advise on. It’s much like a court case–a judge is not supposed to make broad, sweeping rulings, but is supposed to decide only the case before him. Olens was asked for advice by Barge and he gave it. If amendment opponents believe the governor should have to follow the same rules of staying out of the debate, they have now sought the proper remedy by raising those issues with the A.G. themselves.

All of that said, I would prefer if neither side were using this tactic. I believe in the free marketplace of ideas and don’t like to see debate cut off by lawsuits.

Ben Shockley

October 10th, 2012
9:19 am

Welcome to the Occupation

October 10th, 2012
9:13 am

“Metro Coach: “Why are liberals so anti-choice?””

“What a stupid question.”

Liberalism 101…don’t answer tough question, just mock and deflct attention….

Jm

October 10th, 2012
9:19 am

Sfd

This is a real gem: “the cut in our AAA rating should be viewed for what it really is: a political act to help Wall St support the Republicans”

Sfd, seriously dude, don’t read propaganda.

Joseph

October 10th, 2012
9:20 am

Jay I’ll take a quote from your hero Obama. ‘You may want to move on to something else” because you along with your rabid followers are certainly clueless…..

Joseph

October 10th, 2012
9:20 am

Have you ever set foot in a charter school Jay????

Classic Conservative

October 10th, 2012
9:21 am

Know this (no public funds were expended to send this message) The so-called charter school amendment is not about school choice. It is about letting somebody you don’t know and have no influence over decide how to educate your children. It is about profit for private companies. Many of the corporate school managers have agreements that allow them to usurp the powers of the school directors if the corporation experiences a loss. They control the books and will likely experience a paper loss in order to take over. Many of the agreements also provide that if there is a profit over the budget’s expectations, it goes to the corporation.
I’m okay with charters by local school boards, BUT I’m wildly against this liberal state takeover of local control. Vote NO on the charter amendment.

mbtc

October 10th, 2012
9:21 am

“Clearly, the present system of Union control doesn’t work.”

Truely showing your ignorance here. Georgia has no teacher’s unions to speak of (primarily associations like Paga and GAE)and the local versions of the AFT (union) are defanged with no right to strike.

USinUK - not very ladylike (and former Girl Scout)

October 10th, 2012
9:21 am

“Gotta keep our kids in government school so we can keep cranking out mindless, brainwashed liberals.”

Marist / Woodward / Pius, etc, are ready when you are …