Your morning jolt: Metro Atlanta voters support school takeovers

A majority of voters in metro Atlanta would approve of giving mayors or county commissions the power to take control of dysfunctional school systems, according to poll results posted at Blogging While Blue, the new Democratic blog started by former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin.

Fifty-four percent of voters in the 10-county area would support the measure, while 30 percent would oppose it.

In Fulton County, which includes most of Atlanta and a school system that has been placed on probation by its accrediting agency, the margin for approval of school system takeovers rises to 60 percent.

While just posted, the survey is nearly two months old – conducted Feb. 2-4 by 20/20 Insight. That’s before Mayor Kasim Reed publicly raised the topic of a City Hall takeover, should the school system lose its accreditation this summer – and before legislation began moving that would extend such power to the governor.

But it was conducted after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools gave its warning to the Atlanta school system, and so should still be valid.

The poll sampled the opinions of 595 voters, and has a margin of error of 4 percent. See the crosstabs here.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was at the state Capitol on Wednesday, and said he was satisfied with the amendment to SB 79, approved by the House Education Committee this week, which would give Gov. Nathan Deal the authority to replace members of the Atlanta school board should accreditation be lost. From the Associated Press:

[Reed] said the measure is the right step to protect the students and families in the school district, saying he believes the school board is moving at a “glacial” pace when it should be acting much more quickly. Reed explored taking over the school district but said it would take an amendment to the state’s constitution to allow that.

“There has to be some remedy for a lack of action on the part of the Atlanta school board,” Reed said.

You cannot stack irony more effectively than this. From my AJC colleague Kristina Torres:

Atlanta school board members will begin in early April to hold one-on-one meetings with professional mediators, as they try to mend internal disputes as cited by the system’s accrediting agency.

On a related note, members could not agree Wednesday about how to respond to a request by House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams of Atlanta for a written update on their progress.

That inaugural gala for Gov. Nathan Deal – iced out in January – has been rescheduled for May 2 at the Cobb Galleria. It’ll be a free event. Who foots the bill will be revealed only afterwards.

Sigh. Another revolution in Georgia’s indigent defense system is bubbling. From Errin Haines and the Associated Press:

Senate lawmakers are considering legislation that would replace the members of the council overseeing Georgia’s public defender system.

In a measure unveiled Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the 15 members who currently serve on the council would be ousted and replaced with nine people who either have experience in the criminal justice system or a commitment to providing adequate and effective counsel for indigent defendants. Five of the members would be appointed by the governor, and three of those appointments are required to be county commissioners.

The House Speaker and the lieutenant governor would each tap two members.

Supporters also attempted to attach an amendment to the bill that would give Fulton County the option of leaving the network. The amendment allows single judicial circuits or counties such as Fulton to create an alternate system under certain circumstances.

The committee approved the underlying bill, but did not act on the amendment.

If you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, here’s U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., on President Barack Obama and Libya, via PBS last night:

Just in case you wonder where she’d gotten to, 11Alive is reporting that former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney will be protesting U.S. action in Libya “in front of the Newseum, not far from the White House.” Muammar Qaddafi, she says, is a fine fellow who has given his people free health care.

AJC Politifact offers a twofer today – judging whether Newt Gingrich flipped on Libya, and whether President Barack Obama flopped.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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24 comments Add your comment


March 31st, 2011
10:38 am

“”Muammar Qaddafi, she says, is a fine fellow who has given his people free health care.”"

LOL! The Republicans around here needed a good cheering up. Things have been embarrassingly bad for Georgia Republicans lately. This should cheer them up.

Cynthia and Muammar!


March 31st, 2011
10:53 am

Too bad it takes the loss of accreditation before a Governor (or maybe someday Mayor/ BOC) before fixes can be made to correct incompetent school boards. Of course “incompetent” is in the eye of the beholder – maybe it should be triggered by an independent review such as SACS prior to an actual loss of accreditation (like a couple months ago for APS).

No dog in this hunt

March 31st, 2011
11:11 am

The alternative is to investigate the background and motives of school board candidates before voting. Often these ‘minor’ officials are elected because of their ties to some organization with their own agenda such as Charter Schools or PAGE. In effect, they don’t really care about the core mission of educating children.

Since people won’t do that homework, maybe cities and counties should appoint their own boards and gove the cities and counties the power to kick out non-functional members. Most Georgians don’t understand the separation of their schools anyway.


March 31st, 2011
11:12 am

I repeat. The Atlanta City Government admitted it couldn’t handle something as straightforward as parking when it hired PARKAtlanta, an out-of-state company, which is now committing predatory parking enforcement. The Water Department is having to inspect every single one of the meters they installed – many of the UPSIDE DOWN. How can the Atlanta City Government say that it is competent to do something a complex as educate as human being, when they can’t handle a meter?

Last Man Standing

March 31st, 2011
11:16 am


“Cynthia and Muammar!”

Birds of a feather . . .

Last Man Standing

March 31st, 2011
11:24 am

Hussein in 2007:

“Obama said, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

“He added, “As commander-in-chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”

What a difference four years and his coronation made!


March 31st, 2011
11:41 am

“experience in the justice system”–does that mean already indicted or already convicted? LOL, but given our current “leaders”….


March 31st, 2011
11:44 am


I too am frequently appalled at how much President Obama does, at times, seem like “Bush Lite.” What change? Here’s my theory: The same domiant world powers (whose true identities and motive are forever hidden from us common folk) who OWNED and pulled the puppet strings of former President Bush also now own our current President. I don’t believe they owned him on the day he was elected, but owned him lock, stock, and barrel w/in five minutes of his inauguration. (How does that go down? “Do what we say or we’ll kill your kids?” Hmmm…)

Then they instruct the media they own to screeeeeeeech about how he’s ramming his socialist stuff down our throats (though no such thing has occurred), just to keep the division going. When he capitulated most of what would have made HC reform great, then rolled over on the tax cuts for the wealthiest among us that were supposed to expire (as designed and voted on by Republicans), I was convinced. Do any of our Presidents actually serve the people? It seems they’re all in the pocket of those (same people) whose agenda is not our best interest.

Do you have a theory?

Freedom lover

March 31st, 2011
11:57 am

Yes, Atlanta voters are always willing to allow government to step in and handle what THEY should be handling themselves. You won’t see support for parents paying for their own kids education. You won’t see support for ending government control and operation of monopoly schools funded by stolen tax dollars. You won’t see parents pulling their children out of the failed government schools and actually doing the right thing for them by either homeschooling them or putting them in quality private schools. The one thing you will never get from the citizens of atlanta is an endorcement of personal responsibility. That is why Atlanta and most of america is as messed up as it is.

Last Man Standing

March 31st, 2011
12:05 pm


“Do you have a theory?”

I don’t really have a theory, but I do believe that the presidency has become so complex and so pervasive that whoever holds the office must rely on competent advisors. The presidency, as envisioned by the framers was not nearly so important as it has become. The emphasis was on the legislative branch of government.

Having said that, I will tell you that nothing Obama has done has surprised me. I did a lot of reading (his ghost-written books included) even prior to the conventions. I learned who his associates and friends were and was able to pretty much tell what his aims would be if elected.

I’m certain that there are things that a new president learns when he enters office that he didn’t know before being elected. In most cases, sitting presidents have utilized the knowledge and wisdom of prior presidents. That has not been the case here, and I don’t see that happening in the future for Obama.

The people who voted for Obama, in most cases, had no concept of his intentions and knew barely anything about him.

This is definitely a case of getting that for which you voted.


March 31st, 2011
12:17 pm

Proposed deal of the day: we stop bombing Gaddhafi, he takes Cindy McKinney off our hands. I’m not sure he’d take it. After all, the man is insane, not stupid.


March 31st, 2011
12:19 pm


I cringe at the thought of having McCrusty and McGidget represent or “lead” us! ACK! We could only vote from the choices we had. (My first choice is always gone in the first round.) I wanted more change than we’re getting. You probably wanted something else entirely, and I can’t say I’m unhappy that you didn’t get your way. However — and I emphasize again — the people who actually RUN the world, the money, and hence our nation, do not actually change with our silly little elections. Our political climate is merely theater, designed to keep us occupied with the notion that we matter. The REAL power never was, is, nor will belong to “we the people.” It’s wankage, and our opinions and votes mean very little, if that. NONE of them are on our side. I do note, however, the humor in your remark “wisdom of prior presidents.” Haha! The entire body of GWB’s “wisdom” comprised doing and saying exactly what his puppet masters directed. Period. End of “wisdom.” Heh heh.. wisdom. Funny stuff!


March 31st, 2011
12:37 pm


Can we throw in Hank Johnson, John Kerry, Cindy Sheehan, all of Code Pink, and Westboro Baptist Church also.

Buckhead Bum

March 31st, 2011
12:38 pm

Nobody was proposing this after Clayton went under. Figures. Of course the North Atlanta elite wouldn’t dare have their precious schools meet the same fate. *pfft*


March 31st, 2011
1:04 pm

LMS @11:24
I think President Reagan with Libya in 1986 set the standard where he acted, then notified congress, and was done before the 60 day window closed
Same with Grenada and Panama
There is good reason to act without notifying congress, after the failed attempt on Osama by President Clinton Senator Shelby went on cable to explain that we are targeting OBL through his satellite phone

J Throckmorton Malcontent

March 31st, 2011
1:20 pm

Just let Jesus pick the school boards, it’s cool, He’s a Methodist I’ve been told. I have a Ouija board right here that could be used.

Last Man Standing

March 31st, 2011
1:32 pm


I was only contrasting Hussein’s statements of 2007 and his actions of 2011. It is almost humerous to consider the one-jet attack on Muammar Qaddafi’s residence as an attack on Libya, but that shut him up for twenty years!

Of course, there are times when a president has to act without notifying anyone except the tactical people involved in the operation. I don’t think that this attack on Libya is one of those times. After all, how much of a secret could it have been with the major cab;e news networks announcing it?

Last Man Standing

March 31st, 2011
1:34 pm


As long as he doesn’t tell Biden, any secrets should be safe!

Question Man

March 31st, 2011
1:58 pm

While she’s there, why doesn’t Cynthia McKinney move into Ted Kaczynski’s Unabomber cabin at the Newseum? Wouldn’t she be right at home in it?

Glenn Beck

March 31st, 2011
2:21 pm

Cynthia can sit on my lap any day.

You People Are Suckers

March 31st, 2011
2:39 pm

Hey “Freedom Lover” about your 11:57 am comment:

If you think being against public education in America means you are somehow a “constitutionalist” or truer to the ideals of the Founding Fathers, you couldn’t be more wrong. The U.S. basically invented public education, and it’s been a fundamental part of maintaining our democracy and rights. By the late 19th Century, the U.S. had the world’s highest literacy rate, and that meant people understood enough to be full participants in the civic life of the country.

The world you appear to long for used to exist – in Europe where there was an educated aristocracy and a huge number of serfs who had no education and knew little about the world. That’s why they were satisfied for centuries sitting around, doing whatever their masters told them to do.

That old world is what drove our ancestors to get on ships and cross the Atlantic to get here. And when they did, they established public schools, knowing that an educated population is critical to maintaining a democratic, free nation.

Question Man

March 31st, 2011
10:10 pm

By the way, about that APS school legislation, why would Deal want to wait until after Atlanta’s schools lose accreditation? Isn’t that closing the gate after the horses have left the barn? There clearly is a big problem within the APS Board, so why not fix it now?


March 31st, 2011
10:32 pm

You People Are Suckers – If you honestly believe that public education as we know it today was set up to actually educate children to be independent thinkers who care about freedom, democracy, and all the other american ideals, then you seriously need to read John Taylor Gatto’s “The Underground History of Public Education”. Or go to his web site and see what his extensive research has revealed. By the way, he is a former N.Y State Teacher of the Year.

How ironic it is that you title yourself “You people are suckers”. Wow, irony doesn’t begin to cover it.