Pass charter schools amendment, get back to fixing education in Georgia

Ask Georgians about education, and you’ll likely hear two things: It’s important to our future prosperity, and we’re lagging behind. They’re right about its importance. There is one area, however, in which Georgia doesn’t trail most other states when it comes to education:

Spending.

Not what you expected? Join the club. But Georgia ranked 23rd in spending per pupil according to the latest data available for all states, the 2007-08 school year. Further analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests budget cuts since then have yet to push Georgia out of the top 30. We remain right around the middle.

Where we do lag behind is in the results we get for our money. Georgia ranks in the bottom third of states when it comes to proficiency in reading and math among fourth- and eighth-graders taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP.

The disparities show up all too plainly when one compares Georgia to the states with which we sometimes compete for jobs — states like Colorado, Florida, North Carolina and Texas. It isn’t even close: We’re above average among that group for educational spending but last or next-to-last in each NAEP category.

In particular, we spend about 25 percent more per pupil than North Carolina. Yet, students there perform slightly better on the NAEP across the board.

Other measures tell a similarly sad tale. Of every 100 Georgia children who begin the ninth grade, just 54 will graduate high school. Just 40 will enroll in a college or technical school, and almost half of them won’t make it to a second year. Only nine — nine! — will graduate.

“Too many [high school graduates] are coming and they’re not prepared,” Dean Alford, a member of the Board of Regents, said at an event this week sponsored by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The state, he said, spends $254 million a year on college and technical students who don’t last until their sophomore year. (Alford also presented the statistics about ninth-graders, citing research by an organization called Complete College America.)

Rising revenues may mean the end of cuts to Georgia’s education budget. But Georgians ought to question whether it really makes sense to add more money to the same old educational model that’s produced those lackluster results.

A key to improving the system, rather than merely pouring more money into it, is restoring the state’s ability to approve charter schools. Charters are public schools, but they give parents and students options while allowing for more innovation — and accountability — than traditional public schools.

The experiences of charters like Fulton Science Academy and Ivy Preparatory Academy, denied contracts or extensions by local school boards despite their track records of academic success, suggests local boards like control too much to give them sole control over charter approvals.

Yet, because of an egregious ruling last spring by the Georgia Supreme Court, the state’s ability to approve charter schools on its own has been severely limited.

This week, Rep. Jan Jones, a Republican from Milton and the No. 2-ranking member of the state House, officially proposed an amendment to the state Constitution restoring the state’s power to approve charters. The House could vote on it as soon as next week, and it deserves to pass the Legislature this year and be put to a voter referendum in November.

It’s good policy and good politics: A new opinion poll commissioned by Americans for Prosperity, which supports charters, found Georgians overwhelmingly believe parents know what’s best for their children and should be able to use the state funds allocated for their children at the school of their choice.

Respondents also said overwhelmingly, to the tune of 71 percent support, that they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports school choice. A two-thirds vote is required in both the House and Senate to put the amendment on the ballot. You do the math.

We can’t afford for them not to take action, because we can’t afford more years of pouring more and more money into an educational system that produces diminishing returns. Again, you do the math.

– By Kyle Wingfield

201 comments Add your comment

Aquagirl

January 26th, 2012
5:57 am

The reason local school boards like control is because they’re elected, Kyle. You act like they just sprang up from nowhere.

Every day this blog is full of “obozo” and “libs” and other mindless yammering, I bet most of the posters couldn’t identify their school board with a gun to their tiny heads. If school boards are the problem, then we need to either become more involved or eliminate them. Doing an illegal run around duly elected local officials goes against all conservative principles.

How quickly y’all abandon those talking points to get what you REALLY want, which is private schools financed by taxpayers. People are not entitled to MY tax money for their private schools, get over it. And y’all admit the complete hypocrisy in begging for entitlements and bypass of local control, or quit calling yourself a conservative.

GodHatesTrash, Superstar

January 26th, 2012
6:13 am

Georgia for 300 years has been at the bottom of the educational barrel, so it will take more than a few years and a few dollars to change the culture of superstition (fundamnentalism), violence and arrogant ignorance that dominates Georgian society.

The biggest problem facing Georgia’s educators is the children of Georgia, most of whom come from generation after generation of willful stupidity.

Giving a world-class education to poorly raised children is an expensive, challenging, and probably, at least in the short run, hopeless.

Road Scholar

January 26th, 2012
6:49 am

If Charter schools are so good, why aren’t they the norm?

Ayn Rant

January 26th, 2012
7:18 am

Charter schools are one of Kyle’s hot buttons. It’s just another political distraction, not a cure-all, for the state of Georgia’s and the nation’s education.

What’s demanded of schools is to educate children to be smarter, wiser, and more fit, motivated, and diligent than their parents. The formidable obstacles are: parents and relatives, dumbed-down, brain-addling television and electronic games, and grand-standing politicians who run the schools by setting “standards” and dispensing funds.

But, why do we want to educate children to be something out of the ordinary in our society? Isn’t the function of childhood education to pass on our generation’s values to the next? Isn’t that exactly what our public schools are doing? Why would we want our kids to be more like Scandinavians, Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, and less like Americans?

Stop the moaning and groaning over education; Instead, praise the schools for their valuable contribution to our way of life! Schools provide a safe environment for children while their parents are at work or play, and they promote the social development of children by supervising the interactions with peers.

As for education, American children learn by observing their parents and relatives, watching television, and playing with electronics devices. What’s the use of trying to teach boring academic subjects in schools? Why should children learn trigonometry and algebra? Their parents never learned it, or have long forgotten it. Who needs history? It’s is just one bloody thing after another that keeps repeating itself .

Don’t worry! Calm down! Everything’s just as it should be.

stands for decibels

January 26th, 2012
7:24 am

A new opinion poll commissioned by Americans for Prosperity, which supports charters, found Georgians overwhelmingly believe parents know what’s best for their children

is that really how the question was phrased? e.g….

“or B) do you think some snivelling bureaucrat should determine your flesh-and-blood’s future over your objections?”

well knock me over with a feather about that “overwhelmingly” business…

ragnar danneskjold

January 26th, 2012
7:29 am

I like the charter schools idea, support Constitutional change. I think the Supreme Court ruling last year was within the realm of reason and logic based on the state Constitution – not egregious – even though I saw a path (not followed) to a different conclusion.

“local boards like control too much to give them sole control over charter approvals” – that is the difference between government and private industry; government overlords are too stupid to know that micromanagement does not work.

Whatever

January 26th, 2012
8:06 am

I’m a conservative and I have a real issue with the state telling local people who elected their local boards how to run their counties. The Feds should stay out of the State’s business and the State should stay out of our locally elected boards business.

Mary Elizabeth

January 26th, 2012
8:18 am

I just placed (8:00 am) the following post on Jay Bookman’s blog in which I urge citizens NOT to support HR 1162. I support charter schools THAT ARE APPROVED BY LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS but not those that are approved by a Statewide Charter School Commission which may have a political agenda of dismantling public schools. Please read my reasons below. I have been a public school educational leader for 35 years. I believe in public education, as did Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, in my opinion, would be appalled at this attempt to undermine public schools, and their inherent ability to foster freedom of thought.
=======================================

“I will call members of of the General Assembly to urge passage of the Ethics Reform Bill –

RIGHT AFTER I urge them to stop the passage of House Resolution 1162, sponsored by House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones (R – Milton), which is in response to the Supreme Court ruling last year that rendered the state Charter School Commission unconstitutional; essentially the state had no right to approve special charter schools that move local public education dollars without local board of education approval.

The proposed amendment allows special charter schools to petition the state for charter status and access local school dollars. This resolution was introduced yesterday at the State Capitol in concert with School Choice Day.

IF PASSED HR 1162 WOULD ALTER THE CONSTITUTION AND ALLOW PRIVATE COMPANIES THAT OPERATE CHARTER SCHOOLS TO SYPHON LOCAL TAX DOLLARS WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY OR OVERSIGHT, WITHOUT ACADEMIC STANDARDS AND WITHOUT EDUCATOR CRITERIA CURRENTLY IN PLACE IN TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

(Thomas Jefferson would be appalled because, in my opinion, this resolution is a strong attempt by the Republican majority legislators to further dismantle public schools, of which Jefferson was a strong supporter. The resolution leads to private sector control over the education of Georgia’s students – not a healthy proposition in that students could be used for profit and/or for propaganda. Jefferson felt that public schools, paid for by taxes on all citizens to educate ALL young citizens, were the foundation of our Democratic Republic because public schools would not be controlled by special interests. Jefferson wanted no limits placed on the freedom of thought. Public schools are not bought by anyone. Public schools belong to the public. Improve them; don’t dismantle them. I support charter schools that are allowed by Local School Board approval, but I do not support charter schools that are allowed by this Statewide Charter School Commission.)

Here is how HR1162 would read, if on the ballot in November. I wonder how many other Republican majority state General Assemblies are pushing a similar resolution, and I wonder what ideological forces might be behind this effort to dismantle public education?

Below is the language of that Resolution. The words sound innocuous. Don’t be fooled.
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“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended for the purpose of raising student achievement by allowing state and local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?” YES or NO
================================================

STATUS: This resolution was just put on the agenda to be heard in the House Education Committee today (Thursday) at 1:00 p.m. in Room 506 in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building (CLOB). This bill is expected to move through committee today.

Hopefully it will not. When you call to support the ethics reform bill, also voice disapproval of Resolution 1162. Thank you.”

Taxpaying Parent

January 26th, 2012
8:30 am

Excellent post, Mary Elizabeth!! Thank you!

GeeMac

January 26th, 2012
8:34 am

Kyle should really stay out of education, as he is as misinformed as most Republican politicians when it comes to education. The reason Georgia is a perennial cellar-dweller when it comes to achievement is largely due to the influence of poverty, which is the single-most important influencing factor when it comes to educational performance. The reason we spend more dollars is directly linked to the negative outcomes associated with poverty, i.e. more students with disabilities and more students receiving free and reduced breakfasts and lunches. The state-commissioned charter school movement is simply a way to side-step local boards of education and funnel money into schools who have the ability to pick and choose their students, unlike regular public schools. I know whereof I speak, as I teach in a public school, with a 99% minority and low-SES student body, located directly across the street from a state-chartered school, which is about 75% white. Allowing the state to approve charter schools opens wide the door to taxpayer-funded segregation.

Atticus Finch

January 26th, 2012
8:46 am

“Parents … should be able to use the state funds allocated for their children at the school of their choice.”
How is this different than saying:
“People should be able to use the state funds on the highway project of their choice”?
So I don’t like the local or state DOT, so I’ll just take my $X and hire a private contractor to repair some potholes. Competition, right?

Mary Elizabeth

January 26th, 2012
8:53 am

Tax Paying Parent @ 8:30 am

“Excellent post, Mary Elizabeth!! Thank you!”
======================

Tax Paying Parent, T
Thank you for your voiced support. You may be interested in these remarks I just posted on Jay Bookman’s blog regarding the difference in public and private sector responsiblities in our nation.

==================================================================
” ‘Mary E. – thanks for the update. Privatization will be the ruin of this nation.’

Thank you for your voiced support. You are right that (an out-of-balance) privatization will be the ruin of this nation. There must be balance between the private and public sectors in our nation. The business sector should be private. Education MUST remain public, including public charter schools that (remain) public institutions in reality, not in name only, controlled by private interests and private money.

Just observe the lack of quality and success of Florida’s schools once they dismantled public schools. Improve public schools; don’t dismantle them by legislators, who are often pawns of higher wealth and power interests, and (who) are not educators, nor do they understand education with the depth of educators.”
=======================================

Junior Samples

January 26th, 2012
9:00 am

Just curious if the Charter Schools were not in the position of selecting their student body, how well they would perform?
If you’re in a position to select your students, you’re not public.

that's goofy

January 26th, 2012
9:10 am

1. The issue with schools is not with school boards it is with the local BOE.
2. A For Profit Company is going to operate in the best interest of the company.
3. As long as the Test is the standard of measurement for schools then nothing will change.
4. Poverty and attitudes of parents and community towards the school as the biggest impact.

Mary Elizabeth

January 26th, 2012
9:11 am

GeeMac @ 8:34 am

Thank you for your excellent post at 8:34 related to poor educational results and poverty, as well as the ultimate result of what a State Charter School Commission might create in Georgia. I am a white senior citizen, who well remembers racially segregated schools in Georgia and the spiritual and moral abyss that these segregated schools created for all Georgians. Now, with privileged charter schools, we could recreate another segregated society, but one now segregated by wealth and class, rather than by race. Is this what we are about as Georgians?

I see a beautiful vision whereby Local School Board’s would establish REAL public charter schools that are allowed to innovate and find more successful ways of targeting and individualizing instruction than mainstream public schools have been able to accomplish. Then, these locally ordained public charter schools would share and coordinate their findings with mainstream public schools for ALL of the public, not just the elite few, which the State Charter School Commission may inadvertently create.

Those with money, power, and time advocate for charter schools established by the State Charter School Commission. I advocate for ALL of those less fortunate families and children who are working so hard just to survive that they have no voice and may not even be aware, as you and I do, of what will be changing in their lives for the worst, if we do not speak up for them. There will ALWAYS be some form of public schools in Georgia because some parents simply will not be able to afford the money and time for private transportation to charter schools, nor be able to afford charter schools, even with vouchers. I speak for those children and those parents. If we deplete public monies for State Mandated Charter Schools, which end up being privately maintained or sponsored, we will have depleted resources from the remaining public schools that will continue to try to educate these less fortunate children.

Bart Abel

January 26th, 2012
9:16 am

But Georgians ought to question whether it really makes sense to add more money to the same old educational model that’s produced those lackluster results.

It’s not the model; it’s the management. Public school has been effective all over the country and all over the world. In fact, many schools in the state use the “same old educational model” to great success.

On the other hand, the record for private schools, charter schools, and voucher systems has been spotty, at best (http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/cobb-board-rejects-charter-1191521.html ). As usual, the case for charter schools is just another rationalization, not supported by the facts, for diverting taxpayer money to private enterprises.

clyde

January 26th, 2012
9:20 am

With statistics such as Georgia has on education,it is clear that doing nothing is not an option.Charter schools may be part of the answer but fixing public schools is also part of it.I know the answers but they are so old fashioned that no one wants to hear them anymore.So I will remain silent.

GeeMac

January 26th, 2012
9:24 am

Thank you, Mary Elizabeth. I am part of the first generation of Georgians educated in integrated public schools. It was difficult for me to imagine what it must have been like in the past, until I came to teach at my current school, which is rural, poor, and nearly 100% minority. What is sad is that, just 15 years ago, this was a thriving, integrated school system, deemed one of the best rural systems in the state. Unfortunately, the last appointed, as opposed to elected, superintendent called in the Department of Education to investigate the use of tracking. It was a huge debacle, gaining national coverage on 60 Minutes, and all but the poorest white families left for private schools in the area. But private schools are expensive, so a group of local parents, tired of paying tuition, decided to open a regional charter school. When the local boards denied their request, they went to the state commission. Now we once again have an effectively segregated public school system, and I think it is regrettable that instead of making progress, we have reverted to the separate and unequal of schools of the past.

GeeMac

January 26th, 2012
9:27 am

If our political leaders, whatever their party affiliation, want to “fix” education, then I suggest they focus on developing an equitable funding formula for all public schools, and stay out of local school board business.

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
9:38 am

“Every day this blog is full of “obozo” and “libs” and other mindless yammering”

You have the freedom NOT to come on this blog. You do know that, right?

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
9:39 am

” I support charter schools THAT ARE APPROVED BY LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS”

That doesn’t make any sense, Mary. That’s like asking the SEIU to approve of car factories that are non-union.

Mary Elizabeth

January 26th, 2012
9:39 am

Bart Abel @ 9:16

“As usual, the case for charter schools is just another rationalization, not supported by the facts, for diverting taxpayer money to private enterprise.”
===========================

Well said, however, if Local School Boards determine which, and how many, charter schools are operative within their districts, and if those local school boards allow those charter schools to innovate for the benefit of coordinating their findings with their mainstream public schools, everyone can become a winner. Public schools will not be dismantled, but improved for the benefit of ALL children, and public charter schools can thrive, as well.

Furthermore, now there exists in Georgia a computerized data system, statewide, of individual student’s academic progress including their standardized test scores. This information should be used primarily to diagnose students’ needs and to target instruction more effectively. Now is the time, having that vital instructional information readily available, for establishing the coordination between our public schools, both charter and mainstream. Now is not the time to create isolated charter schools that serve only an elite few, using public monies to do so.

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
9:40 am

“We can’t afford for them not to take action, because we can’t afford more years of pouring more and more money into an educational system that produces diminishing returns. Again, you do the math.”

The department of education is a joke and has wasted billions over decades. Public schools are horrible and teachers/parents are to blame as well as politicians.

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
9:41 am

Mary Elizabeth

Do you think vouchers are bad? If so, please explain why ALL politicians send their kids to private schools?

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
9:43 am

“Charter schools are one of Kyle’s hot buttons. It’s just another political distraction, not a cure-all, for the state of Georgia’s and the nation’s education.”

Kids who graduate from private schools go on to a better life. They are also funded by parents and private donors.

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
9:43 am

“Public school has been effective all over the country and all over the world. ”

Stop lying.

HDB

January 26th, 2012
9:50 am

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
9:43 am

There are just as many problems in private education as there are in public education; many, however, are in denial about this!! Not all kids who graduate from private schools have a better life just like not all kids who graduate from public schools have e negative life!!

Private education is designed to discriminate whereas public education is designed to educate the MASSES!! The two paradigms are parallel….but not EQUAL!! Vouchers are just another mechansm to defund public education and subsidize private education. Lest you forget that in many cases, the cost of private education is COST PROHIBITIVE to the preponderance of the populace. Funding in BOTH the private and public case is done by parents, private donors…..and corporatiopns..via taxes….

Atlanta Mom

January 26th, 2012
9:50 am

Studies show that some charter schools are good, and some not so much. BUT, what most often comes out, is that the charter schools that do really well, generally don’t have the special education students that public school must accept.

Atlanta Mom

January 26th, 2012
9:56 am

Has anyone noticed this wording “upon the request of local communities”?
We are not talking about parents of students voting about charter school status. We are talking about anyone showing up at a public meeting and voting. Charter school advocates could bus in votes.

Mary Elizabeth

January 26th, 2012
10:00 am

Gee Mac @ 9:27 am

“If our political leaders, whatever their party affiliation, want to “fix” education, then I suggest they focus on developing an equitable funding formula for all public schools, and stay out of local school board business.”
———————————————-

Thank you for your remarks and for your personal testimony that is enlightening. I will not be at home for the remainder of the day, so that I will not be able to respond further.
—————————————————————

Thomas Jefferson’s words from Saul Padover’s book, entitled “Jefferson,” page 68:

“To annul this privilege, and instead of an aristocracy of wealth, or more harm and danger, than benefit, to society, to make an opening for the aristocracy of virtue and talent, which nature has wisely provided for the direction of the interests of society, and scattered with equal hand through all it’s (sic) conditions, was deemed essential to a well order republic.”
———————————————————-

Now, please allow me to highlight a few key words from Jefferson’s remarks, above:

“. . .instead of an aristocracy of wealth, of more harm and danger than benefit to society. . .”

“make an opening for virtue and talents. . .scattered with EQUAL hand through ALL its conditions. . .deemed essential for a well ordered republic.”

(Caps are mine – to highlight Jefferson’s essential thoughts.)
———————————————————

For these reasons and tenets of his thinking, Thomas Jefferson was a strong supporter of public education for ALL of America’s citizens, not segregated by wealth and class, and paid for by public taxes levied on all of society’s citizens. In fact, Jefferson believed that public education was a strong foundation for a free society so that every individual would be able to see into the propaganda and machinations of those of wealth and power who may use ordinary citizens for their own private interests. Moreover, he wanted power and responsibility for the continuance and governance of our nation shared by ALL citizens, not simply those of power and prestige.

Jefferson’s words that all have heard, “We hold these truths to be self-evident. . . that all are created equal.”

Aquagirl

January 26th, 2012
10:02 am

You have the freedom NOT to come on this blog. You do know that, right?

And you have the freedom to seek mental health care and not post compulsively, like twice in one minute. I doubt you will exercise that freedom though, you appear to be enjoying the crazy/angry way too much.

Chuck Doberman

January 26th, 2012
10:03 am

“The department of education is a joke and has wasted billions over decades. Public schools are horrible and teachers/parents are to blame as well as politicians”

So we should then starve it of funding until it withers in invalidity, right? Just like Federal Gov’t in general, if you can’t get public support for abolishing the DOE the just cut off it’s funding until it is no longer possible for it to function, thereby bypassing public approval and at the same time justifying/enabling your position of “abolish now”, correct? Forget holding accountable those who have collected salaries for providing direction. Forget identifying the problem(s) and addressing them. Screw the kids who will be too poor to attend private schools even with the vouchers you “conservatives” love so much… we already know they’re incapable of using an education to better themselves, their communities and the country, don’t we? After all, they’re poor and therefore unworthy.

Better to take our tax dollars and give them to pivately owned charter schools so they can use them to turn a PROFIT (key word) for themselves while only accepting those students that they want attending their institution, right? Trying to educate those poor folk is just a waste of time and money (and PROFIT) anyway… they’ll get along just fine janitoring at those charter schools and gathering carts at Walmart… right?

I would have more respect for conservatives and their legislators if they were honest about their motivations and goals instead of dressing them up in rhetoric and appealing to the worst, most ignorant and inhumane aspects of human nature in us all to forward them

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:03 am

“And you have the freedom to seek mental health care and not post compulsively, like twice in one minute.”

Awe, cupcake got angry. Mental health care? Nah, I’m pretty sane, Aquagirl.

Mary Elizabeth

January 26th, 2012
10:04 am

Final comment: Yes – to answer a question of me above – I do think “vouchers are bad” for all of the reasons I have elaborated upon in this thread.

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:04 am

“Private education is designed to discriminate ”

Ok, I stopped reading after that insane comment. Talk to me when you sober up.

SBinF

January 26th, 2012
10:05 am

Funny, I thought you might have posted some empirical evidence that charter schools better prepare students to achieve some measurable success.

Oh right, such evidence doesn’t exist. So tell me, why the push for charter schools?

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:05 am

” Yes – to answer a question of me above – I do think “vouchers are bad” for all of the reasons I have elaborated upon in this thread.”

Ok, so you’re against poor black kids getting a better education. Got it.

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:06 am

“Jefferson believed that public education was a strong foundation for a free society”

Jefferson didn’t have to deal with todays society.

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:06 am

Chuck Doberman

How many times can you contradict yourself in one rant?

jm

January 26th, 2012
10:07 am

money doesn’t buy better results

better teacher hiring (and firing) improves results

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:07 am

“So tell me, why the push for charter schools?”

Because public schools are full of cheating teachers like the ones in Atlanta.

Chuck Doberman

January 26th, 2012
10:10 am

“Do you think vouchers are bad? If so, please explain why ALL politicians send their kids to private schools?”

Because they can afford to. A better question would be how these politicians aquire that wealth . A person making between 100k – 200k a year for 4 or 6 years somehow comes out of the mix with wealth in the millions, but we’re supposed to believe that while in office they’re serving OUR best interests and NOT using their position, influence and environment to better their own financial standing?

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:11 am

“Because they can afford to.”

Which proves my point that private schools are better.

“A better question would be how these politicians aquire that wealth ”

Stocks, taxpayer dollars, lobbying….

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:12 am

Chuck Doberman

I hear people like Obama talk about how we need to pour more money into public schools yet his daughters have always gone to private schools. Even before he was president.

Parent

January 26th, 2012
10:17 am

My child attends Fulton Science Academy. While I can’t speak for all Charter Schools, I can speak for this one. FSA doesn’t “pick and choose” it’s students. They have an annual lottery, and after names are randomly drawn, there is a long waiting list of names based on the order in which they were drawn. There is a highly diverse student base – all races, religions and financial backgrounds. This school is highly involved in the success of it’s students, as are the parents! There is no questioning Fulton Science Academy’s level of success in educating it’s students. The question I have is – why isn’t Fulton County BOE trying to emulate that success rather that squash it? Decisions like this one are the reasons that parents deserve a choice in education!

Atlanta Mom

January 26th, 2012
10:18 am

I always find it amazing that people think that $9,500 is too much to spend to educate ALL children (special needs included in that amount), when it costs $20,000 to educate those needy children who attend schools like Westminster, Pace, Lovett etc. Why are those children so expensive to educate?

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:21 am

“why isn’t Fulton County BOE trying to emulate that success rather that squash it?”

Because they’re too busy cheating and changing grades for dumb kids.

Somewhere over there

January 26th, 2012
10:22 am

“Why are those children so expensive to educate?’

They’re not. It’s just that politicians have to get re-re-re-re-elected and need some sort of tool to get dumb people to vote for them.

Atlanta Mom

January 26th, 2012
10:24 am

Fulton Science Academy is 3% economically disadvantaged. Do you think that may be some of the reason it is performing at the level it is?

Charter School Dad

January 26th, 2012
10:29 am

My kids were in Public school until we won admission into a Charter school through the lottery. We were in a Blue Ribbon School, so the academic performance was very good. The Charter School we went to has higher performance and both of my kids have prospered.

I live in Fulton County and the only Public School option we had was a Charter School, our zoned school just wouldn’t support our kids.

For us Private or Charter is the only option. The US lags behind in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education in the world. For every kid, who is capable, but denied that education we issue another H1B Visa to import these skills from overseas.

Our Public schools run the BOE seem to focus on the middle to poor performing students. That is definitely needed, but we must also support the top performers, if not we should just keep the H1B Visa machine well oiled.

I have a client that uses 4 major overseas outsourcing vendors. The smallest one has 1,000 engineers and computer scientists in the US, with 4,000 overseas. It takes about 2 weeks from the time a company says they need the skill until a foreign national turns up at work.

Our experience in our Charter School shows me that we can teach our kids to compete in the global economy. I know all Charter schools may not perform this well, but with the 1 data point I have, it looks obvious that we should support this option. I know the County BOE hate losing control, but in many cases they should.