Barge gets it wrong by opposing charter-schools amendment

Few people claim to be a true conservative by complaining about preventing judicial activism and saving money. But state schools superintendent John Barge tried it last week.

On Tuesday, Barge proclaimed his opposition to a constitutional amendment that would ensure the state’s authority to create charter schools. Barge cited three key factors: his support for local control, his desire to limit government, and the $430 million he said the amendment would cost the state over five years.

But Barge left out a few things.

I won’t spend much time on local control. As I’ve explained before, no control is more local than that wielded by parents and students, who would be empowered by this amendment. To fret over whether the state or a local school board grants them that power is to focus on the wrong question.

Barge’s reference to limited government concerns the state charter schools commission which the amendment would re-establish, reversing a 2011 state Supreme Court ruling. Here again, Barge misses the point.

A commission might seem duplicative given that the court’s ruling did not block the state school board from creating charter schools. But as the majority opinion notes, the court did not address the school board’s authority because it wasn’t asked to do so. The ruling does make clear, though, that a majority of the justices believe the Constitution gives the power to create schools almost exclusively to local school boards. The exceptions are special state schools serving, for example, the deaf or blind.

Given the ruling’s sweeping language, the only thing preventing the court from striking down the state school board’s chartering authority is another lawsuit. And if that lawsuit succeeded, we would be right back where we are today — if, and only if, the Legislature could summon another two-thirds majority to put the amendment back on the ballot. That was no small feat this year.

After the court’s ruling, the state school board continued to award charters, and Gov. Nathan Deal and legislators added money for those schools to bring them closer to the funding traditional public schools get, thanks to their local tax bases. The money comes from a different pot than that used for traditional school funding. Now Barge argues that “extra” money for future charter schools, $430 million between now 2018 by his count, should be used to restore budget cuts.

Here’s what he didn’t say. First, the supplemental spending for charters this year, about $33 million, amounts to just 2.9 percent of this year’s education shortfall, less than $20 per student.

Second, despite the cuts, state education spending per pupil has increased by 10 percent since 2003. No windfall, but hardly brutal austerity.

Most damning of all, though, is that local systems stand to save money that far exceeds that “extra” spending by the state.

This year, that state supplement of $33 million covers almost 16,000 students at state-chartered schools. But the average local school system in Georgia spent almost $3,700 per student in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available.

At 16,000 students, that comes out to local savings of about $58.6 million. Not a bad trade. At that rate, local systems would save about $750 million over five years.

Parental control, legal certainty and more savings. I call that a conservative solution.

– Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

295 comments Add your comment

Beverly Fraud

August 17th, 2012
8:34 pm

Yes it does circumvent local control

I totally agree with Kyle on so-called local control: Nothing can be more local than the control of a child’s parents.

Well @Michael and Kyle that IS a nicer way of putting it than “my WILLFULLY IGNORANT neighbors continue to re-elect totally dysfunctional school boards”

G Mare

August 17th, 2012
8:43 pm

Well said, Mary Elizabeth. I agree with you. I will be voting NO on this.

See, Dave, you are not alone here, badly outnumbered but not alone.

@@

August 17th, 2012
8:44 pm

Is Beverly talking to me?

Victor Hill made me do it.

schnirt

Mr_B

August 17th, 2012
8:46 pm

“It also sounds like a good way for somebody’s buddy to make some money, with state help. We’ve seen enough of that.”

Exactly. And BTW Kyle, $20. ? student would make an annual difference of about 13K a year at my small rural high school. That’s a copy machine that works more than 1/3 of the time, or about 400 or so instructional DVDs that last for years or about a million other things that we don’t have the money for right now.

Michael H. Smith

August 17th, 2012
8:46 pm

totally dysfunctional school boards

One of the reasons I like giving parents the liberty and power of school choice and providing them with the public funding to pay for their children’s schooling is that then they can totally circumvent any and most all dysfunctions, independent of elections.

Michael H. Smith

August 17th, 2012
8:52 pm

badly outnumbered but not alone

Oh you big government socialists are just breaking my wuddle social democracy hating heart.

Booowhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahaha :cry: !

Michael H. Smith

August 17th, 2012
8:59 pm

Yo Mayor Kasim, how’s the beltline corruption working for ya?

I mean… TSPLOST voter mistrust

Just saying

Beverly Fraud

August 17th, 2012
9:00 pm

Who opposes this amendment? Herb Garrett and the Georgia School Superintendents Association, who named Beverly Hall their “Superintendent of the Year” and who, to this day, STILL refuse to rescind the award.

Talk about supporting the FSQ (Failed Status Quo)

And these are the people claiming the moral high ground????

Beverly Fraud

August 17th, 2012
9:05 pm

Aren’t LOCAL people going to LOCAL polls to vote on this? It’s not like they are hiring some outsourced for profit organization to come in and do the voting are they?

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

August 17th, 2012
9:09 pm

(CNN) – The Republican National Committee said Friday it raised $37.7 million in July, making last month the best July in the party committee’s history.

Better start swimming libs, the waves a’comin.

td

August 17th, 2012
9:16 pm

Michael H. Smith

August 17th, 2012
8:52 pm

badly outnumbered but not alone

Oh you big government socialists are just breaking my wuddle social democracy hating heart.

I am in no way a big government anything and am opposed to this amendment. How can you as a conservative value to set up another bureaucracy that is unelected and not accountable to the voters in a local school district?

G Mare

August 17th, 2012
9:18 pm

I report, only in your dreams!

obozo

August 17th, 2012
9:29 pm

Keep your eye on the bling! Watch as the bling swings back and forth. Isn’t the bling pretty and shiny? Does the bling make you sleepy? Hello?

Alright, this one’s ready. Whisper in his ear, when the Repugs use a lot of big words and you can’t remember what we told you to say, call them a racist. When some Con points out how awful the economy is, call him a racist. If you hear some smartass say that the IQ in a room goes up when me and Biden leave, call him a racist.

Got it, Dave?

poor_richard

August 17th, 2012
9:32 pm

Charter schools are re-segregation.
Somebody please show me all of the rules that charter schools do not have to follow.
Teachers that are uncertified? Unlimited class size? Different standards and graduation
requirements? Selective admission? Sounds like a publicly funded private school.
And there is still no evidence that they outperform public schools. , Parental control is great if parents are informed. Most are not, don’t even know their own kids.

Centrist

August 17th, 2012
9:34 pm

I’m with Kyle on this.

Especially the most local control option of parents, instead of politically motivated politicians, and that is what school board members are. If the districted school is not cutting it, instead of moving – a parent would/should have a charter school option. Competition is good.

poor_richard

August 17th, 2012
9:43 pm

I have a bird that I can train to sing songs. He’s gifted and can repeat them with 100% accuracy every time. He is pretty and obedient too because I am bigger than him. I keep him in a cage so that he only knows the songs I teach him. He is not potty trained. I pay him minimum wage in bird feed.

@@

August 17th, 2012
9:44 pm

I’ve just returned from an “AlterNet” universe…early 2011, where a bunch of progressives were giving Obama the heave-ho for having deserted them.

He had one lone defender…his name was Andy.

Paul

August 17th, 2012
9:46 pm

What is galling is that almost all of the parents that are demanding charter schools for the thinnest of reasons don’t pay enough in property taxes to cover more than about 1/3 of the cost for their child to attend school. The rest of the money comes from property owners who dont have children in school but as part of the community understand how their property taxes and state income taxes contribute to the betterment of our state. I dont like the assumption that is made by the charter school proponents that my portion of taxes that are paid to educate their children should be re-allocated without my input or permission.

obozo

August 17th, 2012
9:50 pm

I know those people, @@, and you should wash up.

@@

August 17th, 2012
9:57 pm

Actually, they seemed to be a lot nicer than most of our progressives/liberals/democrats.

I learned something new over there.

The cure for cancer has been found!

Recent studies have shown that smoking pot kills Stage 4 cancer cells?

(ISH)

Cutty

August 17th, 2012
10:20 pm

So the mistrust of government was fine to vote against T-Splost, but ok to approve charter schools. Kyle voted for Newt, so I agree with Barge on this. He knows more than Wingfield and his zany opinions.

MA

August 17th, 2012
11:05 pm

If we are going to have public schools then all money should go to public schools. Charter schools should be like private schools. They should charge tuition. If you have not worked for a public school system you need to stay out of the fray. If you think you can handle it then get in a classroom and help all of Georgia’s children.

Hillbilly D

August 17th, 2012
11:16 pm

If you have not worked for a public school system you need to stay out of the fray.

I disagree with that. Millions have children and millions pay school taxes and they deserve their say as much as people who work in the schools.

G Mare

August 17th, 2012
11:20 pm

You said it, MA!

yuzeyurbrane

August 17th, 2012
11:48 pm

Kyle, if the public schools got rid of all their students they would save even more money per your just absolutely stupid rationale. I hate to use such a harsh description with you because you usually seem smart but an ideologue. Same thing about parents of the school being the best local control. Nice ring to it. Why not just have the PTA’s run our public schools? It won’t happen and they don’t want to because they aren’t qualified nor do they have the time. What you and Koch brothers want is Capella University k-12 style. Why don’t you take your many good right-wing contacts and try as stint as a good investigative reporter? Follow the money and then report on it like they taught you at Grady School of Journalism at UGA. Honest and straight.

Charter Parent

August 17th, 2012
11:48 pm

To “MakeItWhiter”…Your racist rant is ridiculous. I put my kids in a charter school in part because of its diversity. If they went to the public school mandated by our zip code it would have been all white.

maly

August 17th, 2012
11:53 pm

Not sure who said it but addressing the person about white people wanting to keep the school white so they get A CHARTER school. Im white, my child went to an all white school. She had never seen a brown person until we went south and she was scared. We now go to charter and love it.
She now goes to school with all races of people. I loved the diversity!

yuzeyurbrane

August 17th, 2012
11:55 pm

Charter Parent, maybe you are the exception that proves the rule. If you look at the charters being set up in rural counties you will they are almost all white while the corresponding public schools are almost all black. Either it proves white superiority or a racist backsliding to segregated public education since both would be funded by tax money. I am a white Georgia native and I know the nature of the beast. Hardly the assimilation institution that molded 1 nation out of many diverse racial, ethnic, and religious groups.

Roger Dodger

August 18th, 2012
12:01 am

Straight From the “Defeat The Charter Amendment” War Room…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puw4AjBPxPk&feature=player_embedded

md

August 18th, 2012
12:11 am

“Recent studies have shown that smoking pot kills Stage 4 cancer cells?”

The studies I find comical are the ones that link pot with helping dementia patients……but it’s only funny if one reads the study that suggests pot causes dementia first……….

CharterStarter

August 18th, 2012
12:13 am

@Roger – TOUCHE!

Kyle, thanks for hitting the nail on the head again. With nearly half of Democrats supporting the amendment on their own primary ballot question (which was clearly intended to accomplish something else), I believe Dr. Barge’s recent statement is merely a rollout of the next phase of the establishment’s strategy. He is clearly the Superintendents’ Superintendent. His statement could have been written by Herb Garrett, and I would not be at all surprised if some intrepid reporter uncovers as much. The $400+ million comment was a huge straw man, as is the “for-profit” line. I guess textbook, furniture, equipment vendors and consultants are the only ones allowed to make a profit in education (and believe me, they DO!). God help the company that wants to help parents and teachers do their own accounting or HR paperwork so they can focus instead on curriculum or kids.

Thank you as well for pointing out that supermajorities in both houses of our legislature had to pass the referendum question. BOTH parties want this. The opposition is from the status quo, which is afraid of competition – and they should be. The parents and voters of Georgia are fed up with a lot of money getting us nowhere. Their elected representatives have spoken, and now they will speak themselves. I predict a strong majority in favor of the amendment.

Political Mongrel

August 18th, 2012
12:50 am

No. No, no, no. Barge has it right. If the legislature has required public schools to take $4.4 billion in cuts over the last several years and has furloughed teachers an average of 10 days over the last three, it has no business finding an extra $420 million for charter schools for the disaffected parents and students. Kyle, you’ve missed yet again.

Thoughts

August 18th, 2012
1:08 am

Parents do have choices already….private schools, homeschooling, moving, requesting a transfer to another public school with available space.
Kyle, you make it sound as if there is just a great big extra pot of money for these state appointed charter schools. Money doesn’t grow on trees…it is going to come from somewhere – like my taxes. So whether or not it is drawn from the education budget, it says to me that my taxes will probably go up. This is a waste of taxpayer money for a duplication of services. If the public schools aren’t cutting it, then help those specific schools that need it. Many public schools do a great job, especially considering the wide variety of expectations placed upon them.
This is an easy “no” vote.

CharterStarter

August 18th, 2012
1:22 am

@Thoughts, why don’t you want your taxes spent in an effective manner/? Dr. Barge’s position assumes that full funding of education will fix the problems and is an important first step. Whatever full funding means. I think it means “what we can afford.” We must work hard to get the most bang for the buck. Charters are not a deviation from that path – they are, in my expert opinion (having worked with two dozen in Georgia alone), a very necessary part of the solution. And the rest of the solution will require a business-like approach to education, not a bureaucratic one.

This is an easy yes vote. 44% of your liberal friends agree. Do you really expect 60% of Republicans to agree with the establishment? Have fun spitting into the wind!

Thoughts

August 18th, 2012
1:36 am

Not a democrat or a liberal – not a public school teacher – just prefer no taxation without representation.

Mary Elizabeth

August 18th, 2012
5:29 am

G Mare, 8:43 pm

“Well said, Mary Elizabeth. I agree with you. I will be voting NO on this.”
————————————————————————

Thank you, G Mare. I am glad to read that you will be voting “no” in November on this amendment to Georgia’s Constitution.

This amendment, imo, is more political than educational and, as a result, it will hurt, not help, public education in Georgia. Moreover, it is not necessary because there is already, by law, another means of appeal to decisions made by local Boards of Education regarding public charter schools.

Michael H. Smith

August 18th, 2012
6:48 am

BOTH parties want this.

Yeah, okay :lol:

The democrat party in this state is a joke. The Republicans don’t need their votes to do anything, thankfully.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

August 18th, 2012
6:48 am

Dave: So Mike no more discussion
——————-

That tends to happen when you start the discussion by calling people who hold different opinions racists.

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

August 18th, 2012
6:50 am

So how’s that Arab Spring dealie workin for y’all?

“It’s anyone who is resisting the new Egyptian government,” Ibrahim said. “In this particular case, the people attacked and crucified were secular protesters upset because of Morsi’s hostile campaign against the media, especially of Tawfik Okasha, who was constantly exposing him on his station, until Morsi shut him down.”

Well, I guess there are some upsides to having some government janitor bust a jacketed hollow point in your ass, at least he didn’t nail you to a cross.

Michael H. Smith

August 18th, 2012
6:54 am

I’m glad to see more yes votes for this amendment on Kyle’s blog than these three no votes that keep patting each others back for support. :lol:

Michael H. Smith

August 18th, 2012
7:05 am

That tends to happen when you start the discussion by calling people who hold different opinions racists.

What tends to happen when people use words they don’t know the meaning of, is they reveal how weak they are in the head.

There is only one RACE of many ETHNIC divisions. RACE is human RACE has many different skin colors, speaks with many different languages, has many different cultures but in all RACE is human.

Now, proof me wrong you “mental cripples” that depend on the phony “social crutch” of so-called race and racism to support your entire reasoning for everything in life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recent_African_origin_of_modern_humans

Don Abernethy

August 18th, 2012
7:14 am

Low income Christians have to send their children to public schools and have their children exposed to all kind of anti Christian teachings in the name of political correctness. Diversity has increased the crime and drugs and problem children in public schools. Home schooling is the only way low income Christians can avoid all the bad things that happen in public schools. Only the rich can afford the Christian private schools.

Michael H. Smith

August 18th, 2012
7:17 am

Oh by the way Don, Christianity is full of diversity.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

August 18th, 2012
7:18 am

Why the focus on Christians, Don?

JamVet

August 18th, 2012
7:24 am

…exposed to all kind of anti Christian teachings…

Pure unadulterated b*llsh*t.

And why you did not, will not and cannot provide the first example.

Some of our thumpers will not be happy until they get their Christian Madrassas established in this country.

Wake up, the 1950s of Joseph McCarthy and segregation are gone forever.

NO thanks to the arch-conservatives in this nation…

Michael H. Smith

August 18th, 2012
7:32 am

Well, you know lbb when race fails to inflame an argument or someone defuses it then religion is often thrown into a discussion to deflect attention from the genuine issues.

Fact: American children – who have no school choice – fall behind European children – who have publicly funded school choices – academically once they leave the elementary levels of school.

Astounding how our American socialist liberals want us to be everything European Socialist are in this country but not have to do with the educational successes fund in Socialist Europe.

Michael H. Smith

August 18th, 2012
7:34 am

Well, you know lbb when race fails to inflame an argument or someone defuses it then religion is often thrown into a discussion to deflect attention from the genuine issues.

Right on cue brucie! :lol:

JamVet

August 18th, 2012
7:36 am

OK, off to do some good in the community and help some friends on this wonderful Saturday

You enraged neocons all stay inside today, yammering away and puking up your boundless hatred for all things non-Republican all day and all night long, OK?

Toodles…

Michael H. Smith

August 18th, 2012
7:37 am

Pardon my over editing on the fly…

Astounding how our American socialist liberals want us to be everything European Socialist are in this country but not have “anything” to do with the educational successes fund in Socialist Europe.

Michael H. Smith

August 18th, 2012
7:39 am

Yeah, run along brucie, now that you’ve been exposed. :lol: