Big news for charter schools amendment

The General Assembly wasn’t in session yesterday, but there was big news anyway. From the AJC’s Kristina Torres:

The GOP-controlled General Assembly came within reach Thursday of asking voters to revive the state’s ability to sponsor charter schools, when one of the Senate’s most venerable statesmen said he would buck his party and vote yes — as two others suggested they would strongly consider it.

State Sen. George Hooks, D-Americus, said he made his decision to vote for the measure on behalf of local parents stung by accreditation concerns involving the leadership of Sumter County Schools.

Sen. Curt Thompson, D-Tucker, said a yes vote would be consistent with his past support of charter schools. Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta, said he would give the measure “strong consideration.” A vote on the measure is expected Monday in the Senate.

Republicans reportedly believed Davis was one of the Democrats on board with the amendment when they brought it to the floor two weeks ago, only to table it when it became clear the votes weren’t there. The decision by Hooks, the “Dean of the Senate,” may provide just the opening needed for other Democrats who are inclined to vote for the amendment but loath to go against a caucus position.

In fact, if it becomes clear that the caucus position has been broken, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the amendment pass the Senate with a few votes to spare — or by a narrower margin, but with some Republicans who didn’t really want to vote for it being let off the hook.

There just might be an election angle here. Redistricting in South Georgia put Hooks in the same Senate district as Sen. Freddie Powell Sims and, as far as I’m aware, Hooks has not announced whether he will retire or try to defeat his fellow Democrat. If it’s the latter, this would be a high-profile issue on which to stake out a different stance.

Either way, Monday could bring a big development on one of this session’s biggest issues.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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53 comments Add your comment

that's goofy

March 16th, 2012
12:08 pm

I’m not against charter schools – but I am against for profit charter schools. The for profit model has been so successful in FL.

I would love to see added to the bill: If parents enroll their child in a charter school the kids stays there the entire year (unless they move out of the county). Too many time I had students return to my school after the parents realized the charter school was worthless.

ragnar danneskjold

March 16th, 2012
12:09 pm

“but with some Republicans who didn’t really want to vote for it being let off the hook.” RINOs.

that's goofy

March 16th, 2012
12:09 pm

carlosgvv

March 16th, 2012
12:25 pm

All of these charter schools Republicans are so eager to have will be nothing more than “Christian Academys”, designed to teach, among other things, that all science is only theory, that evolution is a liberal attempt to destroy Christianity and that God is an absolute truth. This will keep Georgia’s huge number of fundamentalist parents happy and insure they continue to vote Republican.

One-Eyed-Poet

March 16th, 2012
12:27 pm

Just another step on the long and winding road to providing {welfare} Vouchers to conservatives who send their children to private schools.

St Simons- island off the coast of New Somalia

March 16th, 2012
12:50 pm

one step closer to Amelia Island

Jefferson

March 16th, 2012
1:06 pm

This is not what amendments are for.

JF McNamara

March 16th, 2012
1:07 pm

One step closer to resegregation…

Junior Samples

March 16th, 2012
1:14 pm

Let’s just call them private schools.

Junior Samples

March 16th, 2012
1:16 pm

Next, government funding for private universities.

Freedom for ever

March 16th, 2012
1:17 pm

Someone please tell me something the repubs have done to help fix transportation, bolster the economy, bring businesses into the state or improve education? In the last years since the repubs took over the Georgia legislature and governor’s house, all I have seen is bills passed around push red-state issues to get individuals elected while the state has trailed the nation in employment, economic development and education.

This is another hot button issue to rally up the base that will do nothing for education or the state of Georgia.

Junior Samples

March 16th, 2012
1:19 pm

Wonder if they’d provide vouchers for a “Muslim Academy”? Legally, there’s nothing to stop it.

Jefferson

March 16th, 2012
1:20 pm

Let the state fund public schools charter & traditional and do away with local school property taxes. Use income taxes and corporate taxes to fund with. But nooooo, sometimes you fickle “what’s in my best interest” crowd want local control until you have to go around the laws, then you want an amendment.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 16th, 2012
2:53 pm

“All of these charter schools Republicans are so eager to have will be nothing more than “Christian Academys”, designed to teach, among other things, that all science is only theory, that evolution is a liberal attempt to destroy Christianity and that God is an absolute truth.”

You are really brainwashed, carlos.

Bart Abel

March 16th, 2012
3:05 pm

Charter schools are a means to transfer taxpayer dollars to well-connected, for-profit companies with little to no evidence that this approach improves outcomes.

People are looking for a silver bullet to fix our educational system, and for some reason, many are under the false impression that charter schools are it. But studies over the course of decades have shown charter schools to not be that much different than conventional schools, and sometimes worse (I had posted some of them on a different thread on this topic). For example, the state Department of Education found that, for the 2011 school year, 70 percent of charters met Adequate Yearly Progress goals, while 73 percent of regular schools made AYP.

The problem with Georgia’s educational system is not that it is government-run. The problem is that Georgia voters are more interested in paying the lowest taxes possible today than we are in adequately funding education for the best possible tomorrow. No matter how many years we’re at the bottom, no matter how many teachers we furlough or layoff, no matter how large class sizes become, no matter how inadequate our educational facilities and supplies, Georgia voters response is always the same…don’t raise my taxes (or cut them) and let the chips fall where they may.

I suspect that, if given an opportunity to vote on this amendment, Georgia voters will overwhelmingly support it. I also know that the perception of charter schools does not comport with the reality.

http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/cobb-board-rejects-charter-1191521.html

Kyle Wingfield

March 16th, 2012
3:11 pm

Bart: Find me one quote from one actual person who is under the impression that charter schools are “a silver bullet to fix our educational system.”

Only the president has defeated more straw men than you.

td

March 16th, 2012
3:18 pm

Bart Abel

March 16th, 2012
3:05 pm

The amount of money spent on education does not equate to the quality of education received. Washington DC spends more money per pupil then any other school system in the world. Do you consider their students receiving the best education in the world? The city of Atlanta spends more per pupil then any school district in Georgia. Are they the best school system?

I am a Republican but went to a debate 2 years ago for State school Superintendent and Kari Willis (libertarian candidate) was asked a question about how she would close the educational gap in the state. She had the most profound and intellectually honest response I think I have heard about education. She said that education will not change in the inter city or the rural areas of this state until there is a cultural change in these areas no matter how much money you throw at the problem.

I truer statement about the state of education, not only in this state but across the nation, has never been said. Until parents decide that education is a valuable commodity to their family and treat it as such we will not have real changes in education. Charter schools are a way for the parents that have a high regard for education to segregate their children away from children whose parents to not hold education in the same manner. The problem I see is that it will not work for long because these parents are not willing to put in the work at home will insist that their children should be allowed in the same charter schools and will insist that their children should be passed along in the same manner that they were in the public schools.

Kyle Wingfield

March 16th, 2012
3:21 pm

Also: I’ve already addressed why cherry-picking that one statistic from the DOE’s report is hugely misleading. See here for more.

Jefferson

March 16th, 2012
3:28 pm

Kyle, explain why we need a amendment. Charters exist today without an amendment.

Kyle Wingfield

March 16th, 2012
3:31 pm

Jefferson: I’ve already done that, too.

td

March 16th, 2012
3:33 pm

Kyle, Do you have any comments about the post I made in reference to Barts?

Kyle Wingfield

March 16th, 2012
3:36 pm

td: Not sure about the last sentence, but otherwise I agree. Oh, and because race almost always gets brought into this: The loudest clamoring and most desperate need for school choice is among black parents who want their children to get a better education but can’t afford to move to a better district or send them to private schools. And, not coincidentally, charter schools are somewhat more likely than traditional public schools in Georgia to serve black students.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 16th, 2012
3:41 pm

Georgia is in the middle of the pack in per pupil spending. Don’t let facts get in the way of your love for big government and taxes on people who are more successful than you.

Jefferson

March 16th, 2012
3:41 pm

Kyle I read that, why do you think you know more than the court? Is this not just an end run ? If you don’t like public, just go private. Its only a Vette or 2.

td

March 16th, 2012
3:44 pm

Kyle Wingfield

March 16th, 2012
3:36 pm

It was not my intention to make my post look like it had a racial component. I was really thinking more about the rural white parents where I live out in Paulding county. When Paulding starts a charter school and it is successful the ones that do not care about education will be the first ones to raise h3ll and when their children are allowed in and do not succeed they will blame it on the teachers, principals or the curriculum and insist that their children be given extra credit or something to pass.

Jefferson

March 16th, 2012
3:44 pm

I don’t see consistancy. But that is the GOP way.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

March 16th, 2012
3:46 pm

Consistency is for small minds.

Kyle Wingfield

March 16th, 2012
4:00 pm

Jefferson: I don’t see the inconsistency.

td: I didn’t mean to imply that *you* were bringing race into it. But someone, at some point, invariably will.

carlosgvv

March 16th, 2012
4:26 pm

Tiberius – 2:53

I suspect you are some rich snot-nosed kid living at home with Mommy and Daddy with nothing to do but plague us with your mindless posts each day. If your gravy train ever derails, you will howl like a baby and fold faster than a bad poker hand. Now, go run to your Mother and let her pat you on the rear. Theres a good boy.

Bart Abel

March 16th, 2012
4:33 pm

Kyle,

My “silver bullet” assertion is neither a quote, nor a straw man. It’s an inference. And a reasonable one at that given the prominent attention that the local media, many voters and parents, and Georgia legislators (and you) give to the issue. Compare coverage of and attention to charters with coverage of and concern about reduced funding, teacher layoffs and larger class sizes in recent years. My “silver bullet” assertion is also a reasonable inference given that there’s an entire movement built around expanding charter schools…commonly known as “the charter school movement.” It has been relatively successful at increasing the number of charter schools statewide and nationwide, despite their dubious results.

If you don’t agree with my inference, then that’s one thing. But to label it as straw man, which would amount to deliberate deception, is itself deceptive.

I think it’s pretty well established that we don’t like each other Kyle. If you insist on getting personal in every single exchange to reiterate that fact, then I can play too. I’ve got your friend Newt Gingrich’s word list to use as a reference: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4443.htm

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

March 16th, 2012
4:40 pm

They are birds of a (green) feather, flying into the political wind turbine of political reality as their daydreams of minimizing the amount of plant food, also known as carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere strikes rational Americans — who do drive their own cars — as economic masochism.

And pretty stupid too, just sayin…

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 16th, 2012
4:46 pm

“I suspect you are some rich snot-nosed kid living at home with Mommy and Daddy with nothing to do but plague us with your mindless posts each day.”

And that would be something else you are wrong about, carlos.

But being wrong is your forte.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 16th, 2012
4:49 pm

“People are looking for a silver bullet to fix our educational system, and for some reason, many are under the false impression that charter schools are it.”

No, Bart, people are looking for a way to better afford to take their kids out of failing school systems while not having to contribute so much to them when they no longer use them.

ld

March 16th, 2012
5:04 pm

since it looks like th GOP is beating the war drums to repeat the Afgan & Iraq military industrial complex boondoggl–

suggest military cadet charter schools–

might as well begin early training of those impoverished Dems the GOP seems to deem “expendable” .

Bart Abel

March 16th, 2012
5:04 pm

By the way, Kyle, I know that you want to continue portraying me as some kind of shrill for President Obama, despite the reality. All the evidence in the world isn’t going to convince you otherwise, but for the record, President Obama supports the expansion of charter schools (I don’t). So in this case, among others that you conveniently ignore, the shrill is you (I found that word without Gingrich’s help).

“The President supports the expansion of high-quality charter schools. He has challenged States to lift limits that stifle growth among successful charter schools…” http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 16th, 2012
5:14 pm

I don’t think Kyle is trying to paint you as a shill for Obama, Bart.

He just calls you out because you’re wrong on so many subjects.

And you’re just testy because he consistently catches you at it.

Bart Abel

March 16th, 2012
5:33 pm

“shill”, not “shrill.”

I was wrong about that. Thanks Tibee.

Mary Elizabeth

March 16th, 2012
5:35 pm

I posted the following two posts regarding charter schools on Maureen Downey’s “Get Schooled” blog on March 1, 2012. I wish to repost them here in that a major charter school bill is the topic of this thread. I should state that I am not advocating against charter schools per se through posting the below, but that I want the public to be knowledgeable of, and wary of, the growing momentum toward charter schools as “the answer” to problems facing education.

I support public schools, as did Thomas Jefferson, which are paid for by taxes from the general public. I realize that currently charter schools are public schools, but that could change over time, as has happened elsewhere. I believe that charter schools should work in harmony with, and not against, local Boards of Education and that any appeal regarding the authorization of a given charter school can better be handled through Georgia’s Department of Education than through an amendment to the state’s Constitution, which was originated by legislators, not educators.

=====================================================

(1) “Mary Elizabeth, March 1st, 2012, 10:24 am
——————————————————————–
@Ron F, 10:10

‘Money will only be available to fund the state charter schools when they take money from somewhere else. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how that can be accomplished, and it worries me. This isn’t about local control or parent influence. It’s about the fact that 50% of the state budget goes to education and a lot of money sharks smell it and want a piece of it.’

———————————————————

Thank you for stating this so succinctly and so well, Ron F.”

(2) “Mary Elizabeth, March 1st, 2012, 1:32 pm
———————————————————————–
Krissy, 12:15 pm

‘Plan A is the public school system and plan B can be the charters. Please do not keep my child from plan B. He has every right to a decent education as every other child. I believe Jefferson would be in favor of all types of education. He would reason that what works for one might not work for all.’

——————————————————————————————

You make some compelling arguments for individualizing to instructional need for every student. I, too, believe each student’s needs should be served in education; however, I think we need to be very wary of seeing that answer – or plan B, as you say – through charter schools. Those individualized needs can be accommodated through specialized schools paid for by traditional public education. In fact, as I recall from my years as an active teacher, magnet schools served that purpose, and there were also specialized public schools for students with learning disabilities.

In my readings of Thomas Jefferson, I do not believe that he would ever have wanted to see schools created that eventually served a profit motive. As a public servant, he – unlike other politicians of his day – refused to benefit financially from his public service. Moreover, he wrote that he supported public schools so that the nation would not be controlled, or ruled, by a small number of the powerful and wealthy. Our nation is evolving into that, however. Notice who are supporters of charter schools as has been discussed on this blog – the Walmart Family Foundation which donated over one million dollars to charter schools in Florida, and the Koch Brothers, who are part of that wealthy, controlling class within our nation. Jefferson would not have been pleased with this overall movement (i.e., educational control by the most wealthy and powerful).

The problem with charter schools is that they can evolve into profit-making schools over time, especially if that is the vision of their top wealthy, politically powerful supporters. Be wary.”

====================================================

Also, I wish to share the following link. Although the brochure in this link was written by Common Cause to address legislation in Minnesota, upon reading all of it, one can better understand how educational (and other) legislation within many states, including legislation within Georgia, share similarities. Be aware, also, that some of Georgia’s top legislators are members of ALEC.

http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/78448237?access_key=key-a6hdjq8v38luteku97w

Dusty

March 16th, 2012
5:35 pm

Bart Abel @ 4:33

You do not play well on the playground. If you cannot cope with the opinions of others, au revoir!

Dusty

March 16th, 2012
5:38 pm

Mary Elizabeth

THAT’S TOO LONG!! Have you no pity??

getalife

March 16th, 2012
5:44 pm

The gop attack education for the uneducated con vote.

sanitarium is at war with colleges.

Dumb them down, if you will.

Dusty

March 16th, 2012
5:48 pm

Good grief! I think I’ll go eat dinner (far from the madding crowd!) That oughta help! And it is so pleasant outside! Springtime!! errr Summertime! It’s 80 degrees!!

Dusty

March 16th, 2012
5:51 pm

That does it. getalife is here. Reason has gone. I’m gone too.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 16th, 2012
5:55 pm

“The gop attack education for the uneducated con vote.”

I suggest you view this, getaclue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mm1KOBMg1Y8

Now prove to us that “cons” are uneducated.

Michael H. Smith

March 16th, 2012
6:15 pm

Thomas Jefferson would NEVER support the present day public schools. Anybody that suggests the public schools of this present day are the means to enlighten minds rather than control them is either purposely lying or slothfully ignorant.

The only people who object to the public funding of education applicable to wherever the best education can be obtained, whether it is in public schools, in public charter schools or in private schools, are those who fear losing their power or their jobs or both.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

March 16th, 2012
6:19 pm

“Thomas Jefferson would NEVER support the present day public schools. ”

Exactly, Michael H. Smith!

Typical liberal ploy to take one statement ever made and create an entire belief out of it. Just as they do with “separation of church and state”.

Linda

March 16th, 2012
6:48 pm

Mary’s “article” is longer than Kyle’s article & is a “rerun” from 3/1. Is she getting paid? I ain’t paying her.

Decatur Joe

March 16th, 2012
9:05 pm

Let’s all remember one important fact; this constitutional amendment has far more to do with the state having a shared role in public K-12 education in Georgia with 180 local boards of education than it does with charter schools. The Supreme Court ruled that these 180 local boards of education which include the dysfunctional APS, the criminal DeKalb, the insane Clayton, the lousy Richmond, boards of education (and far too many others to name) have “exclusive control” over public education. This is the first time in our state’s history that local boards have 100% control over education, leaving the General Assembly with the unenviable task of passing a constitutional amendment to reestablish a shared role in public education. This shared responsibility allows the state to authorize charter public schools, no differently than 26 other states across the nation. If the charter school is not successful academically and educationally, it can and should be shut down by their authorizer. Problem is, most authorizers in Georgia are local boards of education who have no clue what it means to be a good authorizer of charter schools. (see Fulton County Schools closing of Fulton Science Academy, one of the highest performing schools in the state). Lastly, if you take “for profit” organizations out of public education, you will have nothing left but children standing around staring at each other. Textbook companies are for profit. Companies that build schools are for profit. Former Governor Roy Barnes use to say “teachers are for profit”. It is the end product we need to be concerned about. A quality product at a competitive price is what makes for a good service provider. I hope all charters, like local board of education, and state government are doing what they need to do to ensure proper oversight is done for any signed contract.

Mary Elizabeth

March 16th, 2012
9:53 pm

Public schools are paid for, primarily, by public tax dollars. Charter schools have the potential, far greater than public schools, to exist for profit. I am not against charter schools per se, as I had previously written, but I believe that the numbers of charter schools must be prudently controlled – if one cares to sustain traditional public schools in Georgia. If the intent behind a Constitutional amendment is to establish a state Commission for Charter Schools that will authorize many more charter schools than would be allowed, or advisable, through local Boards of Education across Georgia, then doing that will aid in dismantling traditional public education. Time will, eventually, tell intent. In the meantime, as “Ron F” was quoted as saying in my first post, today: “Money will only be available to fund the state charter schools when they take money from somewhere else.” There is only so much money to go around in the state budget.

Please read the below link, entitled, “Charter Schools and the Attack on Public Education,” which is replete with factual information regarding this issue:

http://www.isreview.org/issues/62/feat-charterschools.shtml

@@

March 16th, 2012
9:58 pm

JF McNamara:

One step closer to resegregation…

Pure, unadulterated BS!!!!

Please explain to me why the private schools in Clayton County have a large population of black students. There’s a Christian school close to where I live…grades K-12…it’s 95% black.

Do ‘ya think black parents don’t want something better for their kids?