Charter schools amendment points the way for Georgia GOP

Republicans are doing some soul-searching after losing the presidential election and some winnable U.S. Senate contests. The Georgia GOP should be similarly self-reflective after delivering the second-smallest margin among states won by Mitt Romney.

The same demographic trends Romney failed to overcome are increasingly apparent in Georgia. Republicans here must learn to win over voters they typically haven’t attracted. Fortunately for them, Tuesday also offered a template for doing so: the successful charter schools amendment.

The referendum to affirm a state role in creating these public schools was passed in a Republican-dominated Legislature with crucial, but limited, Democratic support; was endorsed by our Republican governor; was opposed by the state Democratic Party; drew much-scrutinized financial support from wealthy Republicans outside Georgia; and was slammed in a radio ad by a civil-rights icon, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, as a precursor to resegregation.

Yet in Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties, home to about a third of all Democrats and black registered voters in Georgia, 72 percent of voters backed President Barack Obama’s re-election — and 66 percent approved the charter schools amendment. And why not? The students and parents in those counties face some of the most dysfunctional school systems in the state.

In all, the amendment got 62 percent in pro-Obama counties, 56 percent in pro-Romney counties.

Georgia Republicans have big trouble in big cities, but the amendment won in every single county where at least 40,000 people voted on it. And it got 65 percent of the vote in the 10-county metro Atlanta region where the T-SPLOST was defeated in July by 62 percent of the voters.

It may seem odd to liken the passage of the GOP-led charter schools amendment to the defeat of the GOP-created T-SPLOST. But the pairing offers some important lessons.

Each contest featured a coalition of mostly suburban “movement” conservatives and mostly urban black Democrats that has rarely, if ever, figured into Georgia politics.

Why did these groups come together? In part, it’s because the losing side in each referendum essentially argued, “Trust us.”

For the T-SPLOST, it was the state transportation apparatus and the politicians who like to meddle with it. For the amendment — despite opponents’ efforts to tie it to the same politicians — it was the educational establishment that runs local public school districts.

Decades of experience left Georgians wary of trusting either group. There’s an opportunity here.

Republicans often talk about financial waste in public services. They’re less adept at addressing these services’ failings from users’ perspective.

This is less true when it comes to education. The amendment was a chance to reach out to non-Republicans with a solution for improving public education for them. There will be more chances — soon, I hope.

On transportation, the Georgia GOP shouldn’t talk about privatizing MARTA, for example, purely as a way to save money. As long as DeKalb and Fulton have a sales tax for transit, MARTA isn’t likely to cost taxpayers less.

But Republicans could promote privatization as a way to improve transit without spending more money. In my 2010 series on MARTA, I estimated the agency could increase bus services by about one-eighth (over 2008 levels) without increasing spending, by privatizing buses the way some cities out West have.

If Georgia Republicans don’t find a way to promote conservative principles with new blocs of voters, the choice won’t be theirs much longer.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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425 comments Add your comment

carlosgvv

November 9th, 2012
5:36 pm

The Charter schools amendment definitely points the way for GOP Georgia parents. Now they can put themselves on school boards and insure that creationism and anti-science courses are a majority of the subjects their children take.

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

November 9th, 2012
5:42 pm

True to form, when a lib sees a freebie, they go for it. If they had to pay more for the charter schools, they’d let the kids grow up stoopid, like them.

Hillbilly D

November 9th, 2012
5:46 pm

It’s no secret that I voted against Amendment 1 but I really don’t think it’s passing here has much national relevance, one way or the other. I’m still thinking it’ll wind up being a jobs program for a group of un-elected/appointed cronies but we’ll see.

Banderson

November 9th, 2012
5:54 pm

Does this mean that Georgia’s GOP will be putting a preamble before its candidates’ names? Something like, “(GOP candidate’s name) provides for improving citizen achievement and citizen involvement through more options.” It worked for the amendment, so it might help.

MarkV

November 9th, 2012
6:04 pm

While I have a neutral position on the charter school amendment, I believe the passage of the amendment had much less to do with what Kyle suggests, and most to do with the language, which was clearly inappropriate.

Rockerfeller Republican

November 9th, 2012
6:04 pm

Hillbilly, go get yourself a life. The members of the charter commission are UNPAID. One of the strongest leaders of the former commission was Dr. Charles Knapp, former UGA president and he is NO cronie.

Carlos, what color is the sky in your world? Do you not notice how much our public education system is in need of reform? You must be too busy analyzing the Zapruter film for a second shooter to notice.

Rockerfeller Republican

November 9th, 2012
6:08 pm

Mark, why is targeting higher parental evolvement and increased student achievement misleading? I am so tired of the same cry babies who want better for children and society yet do not want it if it means things will change with the status quo.

cc

November 9th, 2012
6:30 pm

Rockerfeller Republican:

Did someone kick you out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?

MarkV

November 9th, 2012
6:30 pm

Rockerfeller Republican @6:08 pm

A simple reason: When you are asking people to decide on a proposal, you do not tell them that it will result in improvement. That is for them to decide, and vote accordingly. As was already mentioned in different words, how would you like, for instance, the Presidential candidate you oppose to be described on a ballot as “Mr. X, who will improve the country’s economy.”?

cc

November 9th, 2012
6:34 pm

“Off topic, I know, but here’s an excellent article from Hendrik Herzberg of the New Yorker. Food for R thought, methinks:”

Why the link? It appears that you posted the whole article!

Alter Ego

November 9th, 2012
6:50 pm

@cc

No kidding. The New Yorker such a fine example of unbiased journalism it needed posting twice.

I voted for amendment 1, and I’m glad it passed, disqualifying efforts from the special interests nonwithst

Rockefeller Republican

November 9th, 2012
6:53 pm

Mark, the intent is to offer public school options which increase parental involvement and student outcomes. As that is the intent, 59% of Georgians said, “YES” we want just that. I find NOTHING misleading.

Bob

November 9th, 2012
7:03 pm

Carlos, it seems as though inner city parents are tired of libs running failing schools in their neighborhoods. Its funny that leftists such as yourself call repubs anti science for nor caving to treehuggers. Science says we have been warming and cooling as far back as real scientists can look. In fact, earth was once totally frozen, thank goodness for warming ! Did you know that real science tells us that the Sahara desert has changed form desert to wetlands and back about every 20,000 years due to the natural wobble of the earth ?

cc

November 9th, 2012
7:11 pm

“No kidding. The New Yorker such a fine example of unbiased journalism it needed posting twice.”

Along the lines of MSNBC journalism . . .

“I voted for amendment 1, and I’m glad it passed, disqualifying efforts from the special interests nonwithst”

I also advocated for and voted YES on Amendment 1. The naysayers were the government indoctrination center employees and their sycophants.

Rafe Hollister, dreading the eventual decline caused by Obamanism

November 9th, 2012
7:11 pm

Kyle good column. Any time the Black vote splits is historic, and gives hope that the monolithic group think in that community, may be penetrable. Obviously when their children’s education is involved, they showed with their actions on this amendment that they will not bow down to the “Black Leaders” , and will vote their own conscience. Encouraging for sure.

The next thing the legislature needs to do is have the money follow the children. The Charters have to compete with less money, as only the state money follows the child. The Local money raised from property taxes stays with the local school boards and this source is the primary source of funding for government schools.

MarkV

November 9th, 2012
7:27 pm

Rockefeller Republican @ 6:53 pm

Amendment: “Provides for improving student achievement and pa rental involvement through more public charter school options.”

If you find nothing misleading, I cannot help it. The amendment makes a claim that it “provides for improving student achievement,” etc. As was clear from the public debate before the election, not all people agreed with that. The voters should have been those, who decided whether it did or not, not those, who wrote the text of the amendment. The fact that you agree with the text does not make it automatically true.

bluecoat

November 9th, 2012
7:45 pm

simply worded the amendment would have failed.

bluecoat

November 9th, 2012
7:50 pm

Im so happy cc won an amendment vote.

Public School Parent

November 9th, 2012
8:30 pm

No dice Kyle. The amendment won in large part because of the ballot language and ridiculous preamble. Before we rush to commend the wisdom of Clayton County voters, let’s remember that they continue to elect dysfunctional school board members, and they’ve elected Victor Hill…again.

Dusty

November 9th, 2012
8:54 pm

I’m sorry but I never got excited over the charter school engagement. Maybe I don’t see where it wiill make a lot of difference. The wording did not matter to me because I did not make it a semantics study.. I hate to weaken something that has been successful for years past. But I guess we will give it a try. Yeah, I know. Public charter schools . Gonna be twins. OK…

Then again, I get another feeling that isn’t pleasing. I’m not sure Kyle likes being a Republican. He was downright chilly over Romney. Everything he mentions about Republicans needs changing.

Sure we lost the last presidential election but that has happened before in our history and we didn’t revamp the party for losing. We made a few changes but kept the principles. We kept moving along and winning the next one. The pendulum swings.

Kyle is the calm, level headed one who considers all aspects in every case. That’s good. But it is hard to show excitement over something you are not excited about. You just can’t put your “heart” into it. That seems to be the case here. Good work but few fireworks to throw up stars in the sky

Not to worry though. Pleasing everybody is an impossibility. I’ll settle for that.

Kyle Wingfield

November 9th, 2012
9:00 pm

John Q: It was not only off-topic far too early in the thread, but it was too long of a cut and paste. If you want to link to another article, provide a link, attribution and a short excerpt. And don’t go off-topic so soon.

mike

November 9th, 2012
9:12 pm

ATLANTA, GEORGIA–November 9, 2017. Voters disillusioned with Amendment 1 resoundingly defeated the Amendment in a referendum.

After 5 years, outcomes in Charter Schools remain disappointing. Resentment of State officials and perceived meddling in local school business is the major impetus behind the referendum.

“What we got and what they promised us are two totally different things,” one voter was overheard as saying. “It was a big, fat waste of time and the taxpayers’ money,” another was overheard to say.

It would appear after this referendum that charter schools are a “dead” issue in Georgia — at least for the foreseeable future.

Truth is

November 9th, 2012
9:43 pm

Kyle. Don’t fox news fool yourself.’the amendment passed in those counties because of the ads on tv, KIss 104, and V103 with Autumn and President Obama. African Americans were specifically targeted because they needed their votes, not because they intend on helping their children. We will remember in 2014. I don’t get to vote out Edward Lindsay but Deal will not be re-elected.

mike

November 9th, 2012
9:48 pm

Given that Paula Broadwell, biographer and author of the new book about David Petraeus, has been identified as his lover, it only makes sense that the title of the book is “All In.”

mike

November 9th, 2012
9:50 pm

I won’t post poor, old, homely Holly Petraeus’ photo out of sympathy, but here is Paula Broadwell’s.

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_md8yikr2Ny1rc0unto1_500.jpg

Mr. Snarky

November 9th, 2012
10:07 pm

If that’s the best hope that republicans have, then it’s pretty bleak.

Regarding charter schools, clearly the biased language helped it pass. There are already plenty of charter schools, and we’re well on our way towards a two tier public school system…one tier of charter schools for families that are motivated, and a lower tier for everyone else.

Communities would be better served by working to improve school boards and existing schools. I’m lucky to live in the City of Decatur where the schools are excellent due to the small size of the district and high parental involvement. Taxes are also high, but its cheaper than tuition.

Brad J

November 9th, 2012
11:24 pm

Kyle, great article. I’m a black independent who voted for Obama (and I confess i vote democratic 85% of the time.) i ‘m a long time resident of Clayton County, and i voted for the amendment, against the incoming sheriff and against the former board member who’s a state representative. I live my life by principles, work hard and am accountable. I expect the same and will VOTE for CHANGE 100% of the time if i feel the current options ARE NOT accountable.

Conservatives have some great ideas on reform and innovation. I like the debates , the ideas generated. We have to have a balance of self-sufficiency, hard work and policy that does not give hand outs but helps the industrious move forward. I’m not a fan of big business and i do believe in carefully constructed regulation and policies. this is a real opportunity for principled, thoughtful conservatives to change the state and national conversation to things of real substance. I look forward to that.

Auntie Christ

November 10th, 2012
12:40 am

The Kübler-Ross model, commonly known as The Five Stages of Grief, includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In no defined sequence, …

I can’t decide whether wingfield’s commentary here shows he’s still in denial about his beloved republican party, or whether he has moved on to bargaining, or some combination thereof, where he says something like, ‘well we lost the election, but in return we got charter schools, so it turned out to be a really good deal for us.’

Either he doesn’t see or doesn’t want to see, that the real reason behind the overwhelming support for Amendment 1 in Fulton, Dekalb and Clayton is the total loss of trust in the local school boards by the constituencies of these counties, each of which has seen school boards beset with scandals over the last 3-4 years.

Mike’s comment at 9:12 describes perfectly what’s next., and it is not going to be a resurgence of red in the aforementioned counties. Instead it is going to be a realization that they have been duped, when they see White segregation academies and christian schools flourishing in Sandy Springs, Dunwoody and around Lake Spivey, posing as ‘charter schools.’

Puck

November 10th, 2012
12:43 am

Sounds like the return of “separate but equal” to me.

Crazy Uncle Joe Biden

November 10th, 2012
12:46 am

Barack needs your help and my help in getting this bus running again. So lets all get behind the President and push this bus off the cliff!

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

November 10th, 2012
5:31 am

So blacks overwhelmingly supported the charter school amendment…seems like Reverend Lowery might have some soul searching to do too, after trying to scare voters into opposing it.

Michael H. Smith

November 10th, 2012
5:55 am

If Georgia Republicans don’t find a way to promote conservative principles with new blocs of voters, the choice won’t be theirs much longer.

Oh can we lie like the other side for just a few moments Kyle by claiming… “We have a MANDATE from the people at our backs !”

Um… at least our numbers on this issue do suggest we actually do have a MANDATE from the people, unlike as obumer’s lying ilk’s claims don’t.

However, rather than be dishonest brokers with what we actually won, which was a chance we gave to ourselves and our children to break free from entrapment by things like geography, bureaucracy, the body of corrupt quid pro quo politics, practiced by corrupt politicians coupled with corrupt government worker unions that hold self-serving self-rewarding tyrannical power over an education monopoly designed to indoctrinate, not educate, or allow for genuine critical thinking outside the of the systemic framework, as meant to or indifferently, rob the individual of possibly their best educational results that they can obtain in life to compete on a global bases with other students who are by far academically exceeding what we in this country have yet to provided for our own: Publicly funding a school choice of their own free choosing.

So in that we have been given an ONUS, not a mandate.

If successful, we will have made one of those adjustments necessary(as I mentioned on the earlier blog) for white conservatives or for Republicans to reach out and connect with our brown and black conservatives(disassociated philosophical partners) on shared values( who may have voted democrat as the voting numbers indicate).

The best way to promote conservative principles with blocs of new and old voters Kyle, is to connect with them by focusing on our shared values of mutual interest and major importance… e.g. jobs, education, healthcare, transportation etc.

Jefferson

November 10th, 2012
6:08 am

Two main character flaws of the GOP — they know it all and they think everyone else is stupid.

Resonable people can come to reasonable conclusions under reasonable circumstances unless you are a republican.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

November 10th, 2012
6:11 am

MarkV: I believe the passage of the amendment had much less to do with what Kyle suggests, and most to do with the language, which was clearly inappropriate.
——————————-

The implication being that black voters who supported the amendment didn’t educate themselves before voting or consider the effect of their vote.

Kinda like when they voted for the most free-enterprise-hating, economically illiterate a-wipe to hold the office of president.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

November 10th, 2012
6:14 am

Jefferson: [Republicans] think everyone else is stupid…people can come to reasonable conclusions under reasonable circumstances unless you are a republican.
————————-

Obviously, Jefferson thinks he’s superior since he only thinks half of all Americans are stupid.

Hypocrite.

Michael H. Smith

November 10th, 2012
6:16 am

There are none so blind as those who believe only those they disagree with cannot see and boldly they walk sightlessly relying upon the mental weakness of their social crutches as a guiding white cane.

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

November 10th, 2012
6:37 am

What amazes me is the inability of people (largely liberals) on this blog who can’t let certain things go and just move on. They live in the past and wallow in it.

The election is OVER.

Get that through your thick heads!

The Charter Amendment passed – move on.

You got your pretty-girl, below average President re-elected – move on.

Bush has been out of office for 4 years – move on.

There is altogether too much spiking the ball and/or complaining about the past in a majority of the posts on here. It’s no wonder there has been no success in solving this nation’s and this state’s problems, because there are too many people who CAN’T LOOK TO THE FUTURE because you’re too busy fighting the battles of the past.

And no matter how hard you try, you can’t change the past.

Thomas Heyward Jr

November 10th, 2012
6:42 am

A more centralized Authority ALWAYS makes for a better system.
.
right?
.
One only has to see the great leaps forward in Education since the creation of the Federal Department of Education.
.
Typical Republicans.
.
Forward Soviet!

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

November 10th, 2012
6:49 am

And my comments especially go to the Paulistas, who continue to dredge up a guy who pretty much never got a single bill passed in his entire tenure in Congress.

Even bills that tried to reduce the size and scope of government.

Thomas Heyward Jr

November 10th, 2012
7:42 am

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

November 10th, 2012
6:49 am

And my comments especially go to the Paulistas, who continue to dredge up a guy who pretty much never got a single bill passed in his entire tenure in Congress.

Even bills that tried to reduce the size and scope of government.
————————————————————————————————–
.
Nor could our founding patriots get anything passed in ole King George’s corrupt parliament neither.
And they too………were outnumber by Romney/Obama type girly men.

Eddie Hall

November 10th, 2012
7:42 am

You may be right in one sense Kyle, the amendment, although cleverly disguised to do so, did garner accross the board support. It also severly damaged support from one of the first areas to embrace the republican movement, the NE portion of the state. What this MAY have done is sow the seeds of third party at the worst, or open the door for a moderate democrat in the next elecection. Time will tell.

Beverly Fraud

November 10th, 2012
7:56 am

Why would people in Atlanta want a choice when they have been afforded a world class school system that has demonstrated a decade’s worth of sustained gains?

Makes no sense.

Disgusted in Dekalb

November 10th, 2012
8:07 am

The future of the Republican party — deceptive and vague. Sounds like the Repubs of old.

Everyone talks about the ‘failed school system’ but no one offers any fixes except creating a virtual shadow system. I wonder if King Deal and his Repub flunkies had put as much time, money and energy into helping fix the ‘failed school system’ as they have the charter amendment and TSPLOST, would it still be a ‘failed school system’.

All this rhetoric and posturing is disgusting. You can spew all the ideology and insults you want here but the main issue is still the KIDS. The charter amendment will only help a limited number of our children, what about all the rest???

The priorites of our state government are so backwards (like Dukes of Hazzard backwards) that it would be comical if it weren’t so tragic for our kids and their futures. Governor Deal and his cronies would sell us all out for a buck.

Beverly Fraud

November 10th, 2012
8:08 am

The voters had a choice:

They could continue to give a monopoly to folks like Clayton, APS, DeKalb, and Fulton (aka The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence) or they could allow privateers in, privateers who would make Somali pirates look benevolent in comparison.

Given that the monolithic ineptitude of The Four Horsemen of the Incompetence would be the envy of North Korean government’s bureaucratic machine, can you really blame voters for wanting to bring Somali pirates into the mix, so that the voters at least have some options?

3d

November 10th, 2012
8:09 am

Millions of Republicans stayed home assuming enough others were upset and fed up to throw Obama Claus out. Laziness.

That won’t happen in 2016.

cc

November 10th, 2012
8:09 am

“One only has to see the great leaps forward in Education since the creation of the Federal Department of Education.”

Uh huh, yeah, right.

carlosgvv

November 10th, 2012
8:29 am

Rockerfeller – 6:04
Bob – 7:03

These are precisely the kinds of posts I would expect from ignorant Christian Academy high schoolers like you.

Heckle and JayKyle

November 10th, 2012
8:34 am

The charter amendment passed for only one reason: the Tea Party came out against it. It’s beginning to look like they were using reverse psychology, and pretending to be against it. You could say that the Tea Party “Kaiser Soze’d” Georgia. They acted rational, and spoke clearly. Their reasoning was sound. They certainly fooled me. So I revisited the video of the spokeswoman and listened to her reasons, and sure enough, bits and pieces of what she said were in plain view on the signs attached to the several Obamas hung in effigy that were scattered around the gathering.

Can’t believe Georgia fell for it. I guess the score is now Tea Party 7, Georgia ZIP!!!!!

carlosgvv

November 10th, 2012
8:42 am

Heckle and JayKyle – “Tea Party 7, Georgia ZIP”

I though you knew by now that Georgia isn’t in last place by accident.

We work at it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

November 10th, 2012
8:45 am

“The charter amendment passed for only one reason: the Tea Party came out against it.”

Oh, Holy crap . . . . :roll:

‘Cause it couldn’t be that Georgians are willing to try anything to improve the educational opportunities for their kids.

Seeing as the alternative has been so dismal thus far.