Amendment One: A chance at a choice for students who today have neither

No one among us, if faced with a persistent disease and a physician who’d failed to cure it, would be content to continue consulting only that doctor — and, especially, to be told we could not seek a second opinion.

None of us believe we could live in a place with only one grocery store, selling only junk food, and be expected to maintain good health.

Nobody I know would want to learn a trade but have the opportunity to work for only one employer.

And I’m certain no American would stand for living in a country where just one name, the same name, appeared on the ballot year after year.

Yet that’s exactly the situation we expect thousands of students, parents and even teachers in Georgia to accept. We can take one small but important step toward changing that by approving Amendment One and increasing their educational choices.

This amendment, which would affirm the state’s role in creating public charter schools, is neither a magic potion nor an indictment of all traditional public schools. Many traditional public schools do a fine job educating many of their students, and nothing about Amendment One would change that.

This amendment is, however, a recognition that our system of offering a single public school to any given student, based on nothing but that student’s place of residence, has squandered the potential of too many kids who needed a different approach.

It is true that some people manage to overcome educational adversity. We rightly celebrate those parents, many of them single parents, who take on additional jobs, who drive long distances, who uproot their families — who do anything it takes to ensure their children can attend better schools. We are justifiably proud of those teachers who transcend red tape and a lack of support to help kids beat the odds.

These stories are truly extraordinary, some of them seemingly superhuman. But it defies these words’ definitions to expect the extra-ordinary and super-human of every person who faces such daunting circumstances.

In a sense, the Rev. Joseph Lowery was right when he recently warned against modern-day school segregation. What he missed is that we’ve already segregated our students — into those who have good public schools, those who have the means to escape the bad ones, and those who have neither — and that the radio advertisements he recorded placed him on the side of those who have given us that segregation.

What he missed is that, in a land where opportunity is supposed to be as close to equal as we can make it, the civil rights issue of our time concerns that third group of students, who are ensnared in a system that diminishes their opportunities.

Opponents of Amendment One have cast it as a partisan, race-based measure, when support for this measure has united Georgians of various ideologies, backgrounds and colors in a way few recent political issues have. They have conjured all manner of supposition about the motives of those who support state charter schools or would approve them (or those who would appoint the approvers), about the numbers of schools that would be created and what their student bodies would look like, about what would happen to those who didn’t attend these new schools.

What they haven’t done is advance a persuasive defense of the system they seek to protect, the one that has left so many people so desperate for another choice.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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246 comments Add your comment

Aquagirl

November 5th, 2012
5:59 am

What they haven’t done is advance a persuasive defense of the system they seek to protect

Ah, the “if you oppose MY solution, you oppose a solution” card. I wondered how you were going to blow past the AJC story on how metro charter schools serve fewer poor students than the surrounding systems. Or yet another political buddy appointment to a state board by Gov. Deal. Ignore them, double down, and accuse those who don’t favor diverting money of sitting with the status quo. Well played Kyle.

That should be effective for a state full of fake conservatives not known for their critical thinking skills. I’m pretty sure the amendment will pass so it’s really not necessary to bend yourself into any more pretzels.

Michael H. Smith

November 5th, 2012
6:29 am

By the way Kyle, how is that 70 years of Republican control doing in the State of Georgia these day?

About as well as the above misspeaking person who originally told that big lie too!? :lol:

Wonderful how these loudmouth phonies always talk about freedom of choice and the right to choose so long as the choice is the one government chooses and not the individual’s choice.

Let the public education tax dollar follow the student.

mike

November 5th, 2012
6:31 am

Actually Rev. Lowery has not missed a thing about segregated schools. There are plenty of people in this state who recognize what is being done to the students and the educational system here. The mindset is to march education back to the 40s,50s and 60s under the guise of a better education system. What is ironic of the Georgia school system is it has been and probably will remain at the bottom of the list when compared to other states. You should be proud of the fact Georgia is at least ahead of Alabama and Mississippi. Reading about and watching school business in this state is better than going to the local comedy club. It would really be funny but the only people who seem to suffer are the children of this state.

Michael H. Smith

November 5th, 2012
6:45 am

Lowery should read the AJC more frequently before misspeaking on the issue of school re-segregation. When he does at least he can then speak with some level of intelligence on the subject of school re-segregation.

Georgia can also be proud that it does not rank in the top five in the country – as like California, Texas, NEW YORK and Washington D.C. – for adult illiteracy:
Way to rebound Georgia!

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right

November 5th, 2012
7:27 am

It doesn’t matter what the institution or how badly it screws up, liberals will cling to it like Velcro.

It’s clear to see they’ve abandoned “hope and change” and rejected moving “forward”, even when their institutions fail the very people they claim to want to help.

Streetracer

November 5th, 2012
7:35 am

Aquagirl:

Think maybe the difference in poor kids attending charter schools vs traditional public schools might have something to do with parental expectation? After all, it takes some commitment to get one’s child into the charter school.

Road Scholar

November 5th, 2012
7:48 am

“Nobody I know would want to learn a trade but have the opportunity to work for only one employer.”

I did!

“And I’m certain no American would stand for living in a country where just one name, the same name, appeared on the ballot year after year.”

You mean like Georgia where all you need is an “R” behind your name (I know it is a state, but it makes my point)

“This amendment, which would affirm the state’s role in creating public charter schools, is neither a magic potion nor an indictment of all traditional public schools.”

No the elected school board system does that. Charter Schools are already permitted, but by approval of our local school board, not by a board of UNELECTED cherry picked board members by the Governor. What, he has even more friends he wants to appoint to state management positions?

@@

November 5th, 2012
7:50 am

I voted in favor of the amendment.

According to Rev. Lowery, I’ll be going to hell for being white and having done so.

schnirt

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

November 5th, 2012
8:05 am

The more that people are educated enough to make critical decisions and have reasoned thinking, the less they vote for dummycrats.

What’s not to like about it?

Cherokee

November 5th, 2012
8:21 am

Sounds all touchy feely, Kyle.

The results, however, are already evident in states like Florida which are farther down this road. Higher costs to taxpayers, huge benefits to the private corporations who are pushing this, and further slippage in results for the poor children who are left behind in the public schools.

But hey it’s being pushed by Republicans, so the average Georgia voter, never too worried about logic, will vote for it. And it will probably pass.

Steven

November 5th, 2012
8:38 am

I see this thing as having no way of passage. Voted NO and so did all of my constituents. I see this Charter School saga work in other states as Florida. Parents want more choices then go to a private school and PAY the tuition.

roswell mom

November 5th, 2012
8:39 am

It’s so strange when a Republican starts telling you that government control needs to be moved to a centralized location. I expect them to start calling us comrade citizens next. But, if Kyle tells us these for–profit education companies funding this amendment to the tune of over $2M are here to help, well, how could anything go wrong.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 5th, 2012
9:00 am

Get your shovels, Cons. Landslide incoming in less than 24 hours.

Tellthetruth

November 5th, 2012
9:10 am

@Steven. So you and ALL your constituents voted no. How would you know that? What do you do–take them to lunch, tell them to vote NO, tell them you’ll be watching as they vote and they better vote NO? Or did you just stand at the polling place and each told you how they voted. Thank God I am not your constituent! What this amendment is about is parents having the first and final say about their children’s education. They are tired of having school officials and others (like you) tell them what’s good or bad for them or their children. Children having a great experience and succeeding in their current school won’t leave. But the ones who are not will finally have a chance for another public school option where they may flourish. VOTE YES FOR AMENDMENT ONE IF YOU ARE TIRED OF BEING TOLD AS A PARENT WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR CHILD. VOTE YES BECAUSE YOU KNOW BEST.

Streetracer

November 5th, 2012
9:13 am

Tellthetruth:

AMEN!!!!

ByteMe - Got ilk?

November 5th, 2012
9:13 am

Opponents of Amendment One have cast it as a partisan, race-based measure

Strawman alert! Strawman alert!! Whoopp… Whoooppp…

I cast it as a partisan, campaign coffer-filling measure that once again takes away local control and moves it to appointees of the plantation owners who aren’t going to be beholden to the citizens of the district where these schools will be inflicted.

roswell mom

November 5th, 2012
9:15 am

tellthetruth – what makes you think that state sanctioned charter schools are going to be better than locally sanctioned charter schools? We’re talking about changing the constitution here and the money supporting the change is coming from out-of-state, for-profit “education” companies. I guess they think our pols can be bought cheaply and our money can be taken easily. They may be right.

independent thinker

November 5th, 2012
9:20 am

If someone can promise me that Tagg Romney and his company that owns private for profit schools and the Romney family will not make a dime along with other Republican vulture capitalists, I will vote for it. Of course it is really funny to see cons pushing for a bigger state agency in a Southern state to supplement local control so that the white kids do not have to be contaminated with the minorities and local riff raff . I guess that is how you end up with elitists like Mitt who could not give a flip about the little folks and the 47% who have never had to rub shoulders with them . Mandatory public service should be required to avoid such results

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

November 5th, 2012
9:20 am

“Parents want more choices then go to a private school and PAY the tuition.”

I’m fine with that, Steven. Are you fine with giving me back my school taxes since I’m not going to use your failing system?

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 5th, 2012
9:23 am

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 5th, 2012
9:24 am

Are you fine with giving me back my school taxes since I’m not going to use your failing system?

No, I think you ought to play by the rules like everyone else and stop looking for special treatment.

rwcole

November 5th, 2012
9:24 am

So Kyle is in favor of a bigger gov’t bureaucracy that takes control away from local officials and gives our tax dollars to out of state corporations. Typical Kyle.

Aquagirl

November 5th, 2012
9:25 am

They are tired of having school officials and others (like you) tell them what’s good or bad for them or their children.

Those parents don’t seem to have a problem accepting others’ money now, do they? Imagine that when you take someone’s tax dollars they get a say in how that money is spent. That’s really radical, someone should write it down somewhere. We could call it a “constitution.”

People who want my money without my input are called thieves.

commoncents

November 5th, 2012
9:25 am

roswell mom-
And you think doing nothing is going to have better results?

rwcole

November 5th, 2012
9:25 am

How many kids will receive a better education in GA because of this law. Or more importantly, how many millionaires will my tax dollars be subsidizing?????

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

November 5th, 2012
9:26 am

I’m not sure that anyone on this blog has managed to type so much incorrect information into one post as not independent non-thinker has done @ 9:20.

Cutty

November 5th, 2012
9:26 am

If you really trust Deal, Chip Rogers, Ralston and the rest of the republicans to truly do what’s best for your child then vote yes for this farce.

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

November 5th, 2012
9:29 am

“I think you ought to play by the rules like everyone else and stop looking for special treatment.”

So according to Finn, “special treatment” is having my money taken from me with no benefit to me whatsoever, to pay for people I don’t know in order for them to receive benefits.

Got it.

Whatever

November 5th, 2012
9:30 am

This is flat out a lie. We have the choice to go to the ballot box and elect local board members who will approve charters. It’s a great system that all conservatives should love because it’s based on local control.

I don’t need an appointed board that I have no say over having this kind of control. Sounds like something Obama would come up with.

I guess cons only like local control when it suits their needs. That’s why I started being more of a moderate con.

BenDaho

November 5th, 2012
9:31 am

wondered how you were going to blow past the AJC story on how metro charter schools serve fewer poor students than the surrounding systems.

Liberal logic: lets deny choices and chances to students of wealtier families using the government to deny them the availability of an alternative. It’s only “fair” that they have the same options as poor people.

FairLady

November 5th, 2012
9:31 am

If many of us Georgians were not DESPERATELY wanting a change in education in GA, this vote would never have happened!! I’m so tired of GA continually being in the BOTTOM three in the Nation in Education. Anything that gives parents (ultimate local control ) unique and quality education options is a step in the right direction. Charter Schools will not replace district schools; they just give parents other options that may be better suited for their children. Charter Schools just need the opportunity to grow and flourish in GA, and without this amendment they will ultimately wither and die.
I voted YES for Amendment ONE, and to more charter schools in GA. This is a step forward away from the status-quo of being in the bottom of education in the Nation.

carlosgvv

November 5th, 2012
9:33 am

This ammendment is a real chance for fundamentalist parents to finally get themselves on school boards and stop those evil schools from teaching evolution and science and bringing education back to where it belongs, the unerring literal truth of The New Testament.

Cutty

November 5th, 2012
9:33 am

This will pass because the second type of republicans (suckers) will feel like the first type of republicans (the rich) in sending their kids to a charter school. Until they realize how much money is being made off of them. Of which Kyle has yet to write an ‘article’ on the financial aspect of amending the constitution.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

November 5th, 2012
9:34 am

End the bureaucrat-enforced system of educational apartheid. YES on Amendment 1. YES for change.

commoncents

November 5th, 2012
9:36 am

So glad I don’t have kids right now… the only way to not be seen as some sort of racist/bigot/elitist/republican snob by this group would be to willingly send my kid(s) to a failing school where they can get the same sub-par education as those kids with parents who don’t care about their own children’s future.

Question Man

November 5th, 2012
9:37 am

Isn’t Amendment One simply a way for the state officials to gut local control? Isn’t this Republican initiative the exact opposite of what Republicans supposedly stand for?

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

November 5th, 2012
9:39 am

“Isn’t Amendment One simply a way for the state officials to gut local control?”

No.

“Isn’t this Republican initiative the exact opposite of what Republicans supposedly stand for?”

No.

Thus ends this episode of ‘One-word Answers to Stupid Questions’.

Cutty

November 5th, 2012
9:39 am

Know commoncents, you can send ur kids wherever you want. I just don’t want to pay for it while you yell and scream about ‘those’ moochers.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

November 5th, 2012
9:40 am

Question Man, don’t libs support “choice” and “access”?

commoncents

November 5th, 2012
9:40 am

Cutty- blah blah blah “Until they realize how much money is being made off of them.”

Why again is making a profit a bad thing? Usually, making a profit means means having success. If someone has to make a profit in order for kids to receive a good education, then so be it.

The current education budget is more than enough to get quality results, yet we aren’t seeing them.

Aquagirl

November 5th, 2012
9:40 am

“special treatment” is having my money taken from me with no benefit to me whatsoever

Tiberius doesn’t understand why it’s to his benefit that we attempt to educate all children, instead of living in a society filled with illiterate dopes.

This doesn’t surprise me in the least.

BenDaho

November 5th, 2012
9:41 am

commoncents

November 5th, 2012
9:36 am
So glad I don’t have kids right now… the only way to not be seen as some sort of racist/bigot/elitist/republican snob by this group would be to willingly send my kid(s) to a failing school where they can get the same sub-par education as those kids with parents who don’t care about their own children’s future.

In a liberal’s mind this is only fair. Never mind that as a nation we get less bang for the buck than other nations on education.

CharterStarter, Too

November 5th, 2012
9:44 am

Kyle –

I just posted this on Maureen’s blog… thought you might find it …. interesting.

Indeed, billions ARE at stake… which is why the opposition is fighting so hard.

Take a look at this….

$1,638,888,503

That, my friends, is the amount of money we spend in this state on school district bureaucracy.

If anyone is wondering why the districts and their affiliate organizations are fighting so hard, it is because they are protecting THIS – they KNOW charters can do it more efficiently, and that scares them to death. They fear the public will catch on and demand this same efficiency.

Think about it.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 5th, 2012
9:45 am

So according to Finn, “special treatment” is having my money taken from me with no benefit to me whatsoever, to pay for people I don’t know in order for them to receive benefits. Got it.

It’s called living in a society and contributing to that society. You don’t want to contribute? Move out.

commoncents

November 5th, 2012
9:47 am

Cutty- “Know commoncents, you can send ur kids wherever you want. I just don’t want to pay for it while you yell and scream about ‘those’ moochers.”

When I have kids, I will.

In the meantime, I am already paying for the horrible education of others. Paying for the education of others doesn’t fall under the “moochers” category, either. But it is a shame I’m being taxed to pay for the horrible education of others, when better alternatives are possible.

**Maybe if kids received a better education, we could also reduce the “moochers,” as you call them. I’d consider that a win-win :)

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

November 5th, 2012
9:55 am

I’m all for contributing to society, Finn and Aquagirl (and my taxes – you know, those things you aren’t familiar with since you sponge off of society – more than “contribute”), but if I have school taxes taken out and I don’t use them, especially if I have kids of school age and my schools are as bad as they are in Georgia, why can’t I just get back what I pay in taxes to pay for their private education?

In case you missed it, it IS my money, you know.

And if my kids are no longer in that school system, the expense to have my kids in school is no longer needed as well, right?

I know this logical argument is lost on you two, but try to keep up, OK?

yuzeyurbrane

November 5th, 2012
9:56 am

Kyle, as pointed out by one poster, you nicely avoided talking about recent AJC investigative report that knocked the legs out from one of your most prominent arguments—namely that charter schools rescue poor kids from failing traditional public schools. Your silence resonates. Instead, you ask us the voter to take radical action out of your frustration with the current system. Not a true conservative’s philosophy. At most, the current state of education calls for continued experimentation and careful well-thought actions to reform the system. For me, I go by the walks like a duck philosophy and therefore I think it is fair to attribute selfish and ideological motives to many of the proponents of the Amendment. It seems like many of the proponents are engaged in an obvious push to emasculate and eventually destroy public education. What will replace elected county school boards? Who will set standards? Who will be hired? Who will fire? What will parents’ groups do to run schools? Answer: hire for profit companies whose main interest is the bottom line. Or maybe it will be such chaos that proponents will next propose vouchers good at both charter and private schools? Folks, think. A revolution (even a right-wing one) is easier to make than actually running something. Careful, well-thought reform is always the preferred alternative.

ragnar danneskjold

November 5th, 2012
9:57 am

Well argued, wish I had written that essay. Compliments.

zinc

November 5th, 2012
10:02 am

@ CharterStarter, Too

Maybe if the state loosened the strings & rules on public schools, they too could do a better job. I think it is silly to create another set of schools. Especially ones that get to play by different rules and then compare them to the public schools. If you want a choice…send your child to private school.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

November 5th, 2012
10:04 am

This is like the Con argument about getting rid of illegals. Most con voters don’t understand that that group of people’s labor is in demand by those who run businesses and, by employing that group of people at low wages, allows them to keep their prices down.

You educate all the children as best you can. Some will go on to become doctors and lawyers, some will go on to become criminals, some will go on to become janitors. Even a limited education improves the employability of an individual and an employed individual spends money (ie, participates in our economy.)

Why do Cons have such an inability to understand the long game?