Poll: Young voters, young parents back charter schools amendment

Mark Rountree of the locally based Landmark Communications has a new poll for Channel 2 Action News that shows two results you might have expected: Mitt Romney is almost certain to win Georgia, and the charter schools amendment is heading for a very close finish.

There are a number of interesting numbers within the poll, however, and the one I find most intriguing is this one about the charter schools amendment (as posted at Peach Pundit):

There is a stark difference in levels of support based on the age of the voter. Younger voters are strongly supportive of the Amendment (57-32% among those aged 18-35), while older voters slightly oppose the Amendment (40-41% in opposition among those over age 64).

People aged 18-35, of course, largely represent two groups: Those who are most recently graduated from high school, and those with young children either already in school or about to enter school. (For instance, this newly minted 34-year-old — my birthday was Saturday; and, yes, the Bulldogs gave me the only present I wanted — has a son who’s two autumns away from starting school and an infant.) It would also include teachers in the first half of their careers.

The poll doesn’t break down that result further — i.e., whether 18- to -35-year-old parents who aren’t teachers view the amendment differently than teachers of the same age, whether they’re parents or not. But I think it speaks volumes that this age group so strongly supports the idea that we need to try some new things when it comes to public education in this state.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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177 comments Add your comment

Greg

October 29th, 2012
2:49 pm

Young voters also backed Obama, so I am not sure I look to them for wisdom…

Greg

October 29th, 2012
2:51 pm

Also, I am 36 with an 8 year old and a 5 year old, so this amendment will have an impact on me.

ragnar danneskjold

October 29th, 2012
2:54 pm

I voted today, for the amendment. “Education” issues do not burn at my soul, and my vote was purely ideological. I simply rephrased the question to ask, “which vote increases options for the individual?” The evil of government is that it constrains choices, and gives the overlords power to make decisions we prefer to make ourselves.

There are elements of the question I dislike – voting “for” the amendment theoretically increases government by making it more useful through expansion. I rationalized my choice as “increasing power for one set of bureaucrats”, and “diminishing another set of bureaucrats,” effectively a wash.

ragnar danneskjold

October 29th, 2012
2:56 pm

Our host’s essay solicits demographics – I am older than dirt.

JDW

October 29th, 2012
3:07 pm

My guess is that most of them don’t really understand what they are voting for. I have had several discussions with people that think there will not be any new Charter Schools unless this amendment is passed and that is simply not true.

I can’t let this pass…

@Ragnar…”The evil of government is that it constrains choices, and gives the overlords power to make decisions we prefer to make ourselves.”

So you fought back by voting to create a seperate state run infrastructure to usurp the wishes of the locals…now how does that make sense.

sailfish

October 29th, 2012
3:09 pm

kyle

First off, your election chat with bookman was pretty good. At least you come off way more “nuanced” than some of your political partisan writings.
I maintain that charter schools are pie in the sky, but then I’m from that older demographic. We’ve been around awhile longer and it is significantly harder to bamboozle us; that’s basically what charters do – looks good on paper but doesn’t hold water upon execution.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 29th, 2012
3:10 pm

JDW cherry-picks again.

Go back to the previous statement by ragnar.

He wants options.

This is an appeals board – nothing more, nothing less. Hardly the term “infrastructure would be used for.

MANGLER

October 29th, 2012
3:24 pm

Can the GOPers on here please help explain how this isn’t corporate welfare at the expense of the tax payers? If the companies and outside interests want to open a charter school and charge a tuition to join it (much like private and perochial schools already do) then let them, on their own dime. You’re for choice? OK. Then choose to pay for your childs education yourself and not funnel the money from the rest of us. Choosing to send your child to a private school but making me pay for it is not, how would you say, fiscally conservative? Moral or ethical?

Public School Parent

October 29th, 2012
3:25 pm

Voting NO. This public school parent within the 18-34 demographic opposes Amendment #1. I’m voting no because this amendment won’t fix the problems ailing public education in Georgia and is likely to compound bloated government systems and stressed school budgets.

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

October 29th, 2012
3:29 pm

Who does Mangler think pays for public school?

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
3:29 pm

MANGLER: Charter schools aren’t private schools. They’re public schools. What isn’t fiscally conservative is continuing to pour more and more money into a system that produces the same mediocre results.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
3:30 pm

sailfish @ 3:09: “looks good on paper but doesn’t hold water upon execution.”

Au contraire, mon ami.

Matz

October 29th, 2012
3:30 pm

If the amendment passes, then an appointed board gets to make decisions about how school taxes are spent in local jurisdictions, while the people who live in those jurisdictions have no say in those decisions whatsoever. BIG GOVERNMENT INTRUSION, but somehow, the tightie righties think big gubmint is a good idea whenever their crooked state officials use it to line the pockets of their corporate friends from out of state. Basically this would amount to publicly-funded private schools, since these “options” will certainly not be available to all the children who want them. Once again, profits over people: Brought to you by the the Georgia GOP and their billionaire sponsors.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
3:31 pm

JDW @ 3:07: “My guess is that most of them don’t really understand what they are voting for.”

I could say the same thing about many people who oppose it. See MANGLER @ 3:24, who indicates a belief that charter schools are private schools.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
3:36 pm

Matz @ 3:30: Almost completely false.

But especially this part: “Basically this would amount to publicly-funded private schools, since these “options” will certainly not be available to all the children who want them.”

These schools have to take all comers. If there are more applicants than slots, they’re filled by lottery. There is no favoritism.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
3:39 pm

This was a particularly clever phrasing, Matz: “an appointed board gets to make decisions about how school taxes are spent in local jurisdictions”

The way you’ve phrased it is technically true: The state board would be able to authorize money to be spent on schools in local jurisdictions. After all, where else would the schools be located? But the implication, that the state would be appropriating locally raised school taxes, is completely false.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 29th, 2012
3:39 pm

“Can the GOPers on here please help explain how this isn’t corporate welfare at the expense of the tax payers?”

Sure, as soon as you an explain why giving school tax dollars to private construction companies to build schools isn’t corporate welfare.

“You’re for choice? OK. Then choose to pay for your childs education yourself and not funnel the money from the rest of us.”

As Kyle pointed out, they’re still public schools. However, mangler, to your point, I’m all for choice as well. So if I choose to put my kids into a private school, at least I deserve what I was forced to pay in school taxes for the public school I’m no longer using to help pay for that private school, right?

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
3:40 pm

Public School Parent @ 3:25: Please explain how an unpaid commission of seven members, aided by the same DOE staff already working on charter applications, is “likely to compound bloated government systems.”

Matz

October 29th, 2012
3:44 pm

When schools morph into instruments of trade on the stock market, then it’s not really about the kids anymore. When taxpayers and parents no longer have a say in their local schools, it’s not about public education anymore.

INVESTMENT ADVICE ON CNBC: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000109398
“It’s a high-demand product… The industry is growing about 12-13% a year…. high-growth, stable, recession-resistant BUSINESS…. it’s a PUBLIC PAYER, the state is the payer in this category….”

The Koch Bros don’t live in Georgia. Do you think they’ve been pumping money into this ad campaign because they suddenly give a good gosh darn about the poor, perpetually under-educated, disadvantaged children of this state? Yeah, right. Only a sucker would willingly vote to cede their own voice for somebody else’s stock values. Geezus.

Public School Parent

October 29th, 2012
3:48 pm

@ Kyle, because the operating budget of the old Charter Commission was around $1 million. And because Amendment supporters have identified no way to pay for the new schools and can’t or won’t fund local charter schools and traditional public schools which already exist.

Matz

October 29th, 2012
3:49 pm

“These schools have to take all comers.”

Uh-huh. Sure they will. Because the people you prefer to trust said so. Because their track record of honesty and full disclosure is spotless.

jd

October 29th, 2012
3:50 pm

The unconstitutional state commission did appropriate $1 million of Gwinnett County Funds when it chartered Ivy Prep — and hence the lawsuit that declared such action and the commission unconstitutional — so, tell us again how those local funds are not going to be hurt given the implementing legislation? And, are not state tax dollars, which the implementing legislation authorizes at higher per pupil amounts than K12, local dollars?

JDW

October 29th, 2012
3:51 pm

@Tiberius…”This is an appeals board – nothing more, nothing less. Hardly the term “infrastructure would be used for.”

Maybe in Tiberusville..back in the real universe John Barge says….

“I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education,”

Now what party does he represent…oh yeah I remember now…I suppose he is banished for “free thinking”

JDW

October 29th, 2012
3:54 pm

@Kyle…”I could say the same thing about many people who oppose it. ”

That is most likely true as well…arggghhhh…I guess you can’t peel thier heads back and pour knowledge in.

Of course you think its about choice and I think its about money and turf…

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 29th, 2012
3:54 pm

Kyle, there’s just no getting these anti-amendment people off of their faux talking points, no matter how much you may try.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
3:55 pm

Matz @ 3:44: For years, we’ve operated under the assumption that businesses want good public education so that they will have a good work force. Are you saying that’s suddenly not true?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

October 29th, 2012
3:57 pm

Barge was not only co-opted by the education lobby years ago, he also got slapped down really hard for campaigning on this issue with government funds.

You picked a poor example, JDW.

Ray

October 29th, 2012
3:57 pm

The pro-amendment folks, including Kyle, love to keep saying that charter schhols are public — not private. But if an out-of-state private charter school company comes in and starts a state approved charter school, using mostly public funds, are they really “public” or “private”? Is the Univ. of Phoenix “public” because it receives 90%+ of its funding from federal tax payer funded student loans? What’s the difference with a private charter company using public funds for its school? Seems to me that just because a private entity uses public funds doesn’t make it a “public” operation — it’s just a private operation funded by public money. Sort of like out-sourcing to private companies.

JDW

October 29th, 2012
4:06 pm

@Tiberius…”You picked a poor example”

No I picked the perfect example…you and your brethren just don’t like that the one Republican in the best place to evaluate the impact didn’t come down on your side…as for the construction lobby…my guess is they are all for it…got to build all those new state sponsored charters after all.

Matz

October 29th, 2012
4:07 pm

Mr. Wingfield @ 3:55,

I’m delighted to see you making a standard Democratic Party talking point: Good school systems attract businesses and good jobs. Let’s improve public education, which improves not only the future generations’ ability to compete in the world, but the caliber of businesses we attract to our communities, our local economies, and of course, our property values. I agree, and think this is a much more pragmatic approach than the, “I got MY kid in a decent school, to heck with your kid, because your kid is not my problem” talking point I hear so often from well-to-do Republicans.

That still does not explain why it would be a good idea for the citizens of Georgia to cede their right to a voice in the schools in their own communities because for-profit corporations are asking them to do so. Mama always said, “It doesn’t hurt to ask!” Mama also said, “Just because he asks, does not mean you have to say yes.”

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:08 pm

Public School Parent @ 3:48: “because the operating budget of the old Charter Commission was around $1 million”

Wrong. Check the state’s funding reports. The state administrative costs of running the commission never reached even $300,000 in a single year.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:08 pm

Matz @ 3:49: “Because the people you prefer to trust said so.”

No, because that’s already the way it works in practice. And there’s nothing in HB 797 that would change that.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:10 pm

jd @ 3:50: Because HB 797 does not replicate the old system. It supplements state-chartered schools’ funding from the general budget, not by reducing local systems’ allotments.

And no, state dollars raised by state taxes are not the same as local dollars raised by local taxes.

carlosgvv

October 29th, 2012
4:10 pm

Young Christian fundamentalist parents don’t want their children exposed to those liberal lies from hell, evolution and The Big Bang Theory. So, they want to send them to charter schools where the State won’t determine the courses taught but local school boards filled with fundamentalists will.

When it comes to being near or at the bottom in catagories that matter, Georgia is always there. And, it’s no accident. We work at it!!!!!

JDW

October 29th, 2012
4:10 pm

@Kyle…”The state administrative costs of running the commission never reached even $300,000 in a single year.”

The money is not in the commission its in operating all those new charter schools…it is just math. If you add 7 new schools a year it costs $430 million a year (according to Barge) sooner or later that money has to be diverted from somewhere.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:15 pm

JDW @ 3:51: Go read the law. Here’s a link. Read lines 154-185, which describe the kinds of applications the state commission could consider, and in which ways. It is an appeals board.

For the link-lazy, here are the key bits:

“…the petitioner shall concurrently submit such petition to the commission, to the local board of education in which the school is proposed to be located, and to each local school system from which the proposed school plans to enroll students.”

and

“The commission shall not act on a petition unless the local board of education in which the school is proposed to be located denies the petition…”

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:16 pm

JDW @ 3:54: No, I think it’s about choice and about money and turf. Didn’t you read yesterday’s column?

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:18 pm

Ray @ 3:57: In that case, there is no public sector — because every public agency purchases materials or services from some private company or another.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:19 pm

JDW @ 4:06: Charter schools almost never build their own buildings. They tend to rent existing space…usually not as shiny and new as what traditional public schools have.

Savannah Paul

October 29th, 2012
4:19 pm

I agree with Sailfish and I imagine that we are in the same age group. My children went to traditional public schools and did well. Now that they are out I have a large problem with the 18-35 age group thinking that it is no big deal for them to assume that I and probably 2 other taxpayers with grown children would have no problem seeing our tax dollars diverted to charter schools just so that they can have more choice when there is a pretty fair chance that their kids already go to well performing schools.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:22 pm

Matz @ 4:07: This is about improving public education. Because, for the umpteenth time, charter schools are public schools.

Why are you so wedded to the system and the institutions rather than the goal of providing a good education for the public?

Btw, there’s already profit in the public schools. It shows up as excessive central administration and bureaucracy. The “for-profit companies” you’re so worried about will, in most cases, contract with the charter school’s governing board to provide these administrative functions at a lower cost. That’s where they find their profit. Class sizes and classroom materials generally remain the same or are better.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:24 pm

carlosgvv @ 4:10: These are public monies, so the same restrictions about using public monies for religious purposes apply.

If the Georgia GOP wanted to introduce religious components to the curriculum, why wouldn’t it do so now? It already controls all the levers of power in this state. It doesn’t need a charter school commission to try to do that.

JDW

October 29th, 2012
4:25 pm

@Kyle…of course they have to be denied by the local board first…got to keep up appearances!

I did read the other column but you are on the wrong side of the money argument… the dollars are flowing from the Walton’s, K12 and other people with a profit motive.

On the turf part, it is the state that is horning in and in my opinion diluting the ability of local schools to take full advantage of the parents at their disposal. See that’s where all that effort that goes into creating unneeded new charters should go, into improving the local school…if that means converting it into a charter fine, but you and I both know we are going to see a rash of new additive schools if this thing passes.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:26 pm

JDW @ 4:10: No, Barge said it would cost $430M over five years, and he got to that number by assuming a linear growth in the number of charter schools that may or may not make sense. There wasn’t a long enough track record under the old commission for us to say what the per-year average should be: After all, you would expect a higher number in the first year or two due to pent-up demand, and then for that number to tail off as that demand is met.

At the same time, Barge is for restoring “full funding” under QBE to existing public schools. That would come out to about $6 BILLION over five years. In your words: “sooner or later that money has to be diverted from somewhere.” Where?

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:28 pm

Savannah Paul @ 4:19: I went to traditional public schools (in Dalton) and did well, too. No charter school would have popped up in Dalton at that time because the traditional public schools were so good. Look at the history of state-chartered schools: They pop up in places where the traditional public schools aren’t good.

Ray

October 29th, 2012
4:28 pm

Kyle @ 4:18: What? I think you’re being disingenuous. Just because a private company uses public funds doesn’t make it a public school. That’s the problem a lot of people have with this amendment — you’re taking public money and giving it to private companies to run schools. That sounds like you’re privatizing the public schools to a lot of people.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:29 pm

JDW @ 4:25: You are right about one thing: The state is trying to stop local schools from taking advantage of parents! And kids!

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:30 pm

Ray @ 4:28: OK, so if it isn’t about funding, then what makes a public school a public school now?

Darwin

October 29th, 2012
4:36 pm

“This is about improving public education. Because, for the umpteenth time, charter schools are public schools.” Answer: They are public schools run by private corporations who give campaign donations.

“Charter schools aren’t private schools. They’re public schools. What isn’t fiscally conservative is continuing to pour more and more money into a system that produces the same mediocre results.” Answer: There is no research that indicates that charter schools out perform traditional public schools. Once it becomes common knowledge, do you think we will eliminate charter schools for something else more competitive? Of course not. The politicians will continue to pour public tax payer money into private enterprise. Because they will receive the benefits of campaign money.

Kyle Wingfield

October 29th, 2012
4:38 pm

Darwin @ 4:36: “There is no research that indicates that charter schools out perform traditional public schools.”

False. Here’s the evidence.