Sam Olens asks state Supreme Court to rethink charter ruling

Attorney General Sam Olens has asked the Georgia Supreme Court to reconsider its recent decision declaring the state creation of charter schools to be unconstitutional.

Sixteen schools serving potentially 15,000 students that had been approved by the state board — the Georgia Charter Schools Commission — are now in limbo.

Said Olens:

“Charter schools offer students the opportunity to receive the excellent education they deserve regardless of socio-economic circumstances. I hope the court will accept the arguments presented in our brief and reconsider their decision.”

Click here to read Olens’ motion, which includes this passage aimed at undermining the sanctity of local control cited by the court:

It is unpleasant but important to note that our state has spent over 100 years since the Civil War concluded trying to eliminate discrimination by local school districts. A significant part of that process was overcoming opposition by some local school systems to state and federally mandated equality.

That will make for some interesting water cooler talk among those old enough to remember when the state Capitol itself was no bastion of desegregation.

The crux of Olens’ argument and the state’s case — addresses the provision in the Georgia Constitution that allows the state to set up “special” schools:

Charter schools teach the same subjects as all other school systems but each in a different manner. They are experimental. That is what makes them special.

Students in a school district have a choice to go to their ordinary public schools, each which teach in a uniform manner not only through the system but in accordance with state policy (until now, at least, since state establishment of policy may now be question), or attend instead the special and experimental charter school.

Yes, charter schools do compete in a sense with local school systems; charter schools also compete with each other. That is neither bad nor unconstitutional.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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50 comments Add your comment

Centrist

May 26th, 2011
4:33 pm

No blog about the Supreme Court upholding Arizona’s ILLEGAL immigration law punishing companies who hire ILLEGALS. Wonder why. (not really)

Aquagirl

May 26th, 2011
4:38 pm

Um, Centrist—look on the side of the page under “recent posts.” It’s not Jim’s fault you were snoozing. :)

Centrist

May 26th, 2011
4:47 pm

Actually I was playing tennis.

Glad to see Jim and so many leftist posters choked on that ruling.

Bet they didn’t like the economic impact of abolishing slavery any better.

Aquagirl

May 26th, 2011
4:58 pm

Glad you came inside. Being struck by lightning offsets any cardiovascular benefits from exercise.

I don’t think Jim choked much, but Bookman may be another story, lol.

Aquagirl

May 26th, 2011
5:03 pm

Oh, and don’t miss Jim’s earlier post on the guy who went after his daughter’s abuser with a baseball bat. Heartwarming family tales are rare nowadays.

Ol' Timer

May 26th, 2011
5:34 pm

If the democrats discovered a means of turning dodo into gold nuggets, some of these goober, uber conservatives would find something to complain about.

And, so it goes. . . .

Centrist

May 26th, 2011
5:41 pm

Ol’ Timer – I’d complain just as much if the issue was right wingers trying to force school prayer, sporting event prayer, 10 Commandment postings in government offices, other theocracy attempts, or Ol’ boy government restrictions of a woman’s right to choose. I am no conservative.

DannyX

May 26th, 2011
5:58 pm

“No blog about the Supreme Court upholding Arizona’s ILLEGAL immigration law punishing companies who hire ILLEGALS.”

LMAO at the “centrist” that can’t see something right under his nose. What a fool.

missmollie

May 26th, 2011
6:09 pm

Recently, I saw a beautiful copy of The Ten Commandments in Chickfila and was impressed.
They hire high caliber students and help them with their education, I understand. I am a conservative, believe in the Holy Bible and the Golden Rule. We didn’t have resource officers in the public schools (police officers); we read the scripture and said the Lord’s prayer; no one ever carried
a pistol/gun on the campus and the Principal’s Office had a “Board of Education.”
I learned the three R’s real well and obtained a Degree and two Masters and never been in trouble with the law. Guess I am too old to be poltically correct. Rhetorical post.

Larry Major

May 26th, 2011
6:40 pm

This is poorly written.

The invented argument about competition is not just irrelevant, but directly contradicts his entire position. If Commission Schools are in competition with other schools, they are clearly not severing any special area as required by the constitution.

Like the majority stated, if “special” is relaxed to where it would encompass merely different, there would have been no point putting it in the constitution.

The Centrist

May 26th, 2011
7:48 pm

Georgia is throwing good money after bad by spending $9,000 per student on public education? So why does it cost $22,000 send a student to a private school like Marist? Charter schools, like $5,000 school vouchers, homeschooling, and backdoor tax credits, does appeal to a State that ranks below many third world countries when it comes to education. But for all the wrong reasons.

Concerned Voter

May 26th, 2011
8:19 pm

The attention should be focused on the public schools. Not all public schools in Georgia are failing. There is a great deal of good being done by some of the poorest school systems in Georgia. The Charter School clients are those who wish to have a private education without paying tuition. There is no level playing field between the charter schools and the public schools. The public schools could never, as the rules of education are written now, get away with the stunts and numbers manipulation that charter schools are allowed to do.

Jus' sayin

May 26th, 2011
8:26 pm

Ol’ Timer

May 26th, 2011
5:34 pm

For Democrat to become a “goober, uber conservative”, the Dem would have to raise his/her IQ at least 100 points.

Last Man Standing

May 26th, 2011
8:26 pm

Ol’ Timer:

“If the democrats discovered a means of turning dodo into gold”

Let me guess . . . you want to be turned into gold. Good luck with that!

Mary Elizabeth

May 26th, 2011
8:37 pm

“It is unpleasant but important to note that our state has spent over 100 years since the Civil War concluded trying to eliminate discrimination by local school districts. A significant part of that process was overcoming opposition by some local school systems to state and federally mandated equality.”
————————————————————
This above statement is total spin. I graduated from a south Georgia high school in 1960 – the last days of Jim Crow in Georgia. My high school was segregated. The whole society in Georgia was segregated, not simply the schools. This is an inherently dishonest statement, IMHO, and it should be pointed out. I would not trust someone who so misrepresents the actual truth by cutting and pasting with Southern history – in a court process no less – that he would make such a statement. That statement, alone, should show the court why it should not uphold Olen’s case regarding charter schools. It tells me that the underlying reason for developing charter schools – which are not first approved by today’s desegregated school systems – is to create another class stratification in schools – but this time by class and by wealth. A kind of segregation again by taking resources from integrated public schools and putting those resources in schools that are again exclusive. Unbelievable!

Serious Robuck

May 26th, 2011
8:56 pm

Last Man, go to bed. You’re tired. Really, really tired. You’re missing O’Reilly.

Taxpayer

May 26th, 2011
9:19 pm

Olens has just established that he knows little of the law ! Sounds like most parents who send their kids to private schools just like Sam did ! How about charters having same state BOE rules, regulations and measurements ? Where is Sammy on that ?

Jennifer

May 26th, 2011
10:02 pm

You big talkers here should learn a little something about charter schools before you start spouting off things like “if they want a private education – they should pay for it” stuff. These charters have more rigorous standards than traditional public schools and are held accountable for review — and charter nullification. And who says just because the kids are getting a good education that equals a private school education. Maybe God forbid – a different environment – more hours- principals that know how to motivate kids are models that more traditional schools should be considering. But now, we will never know because independent charters will never be approved in local districts. The only charters that will be proven now are ones that line adults pockets – for profit, third party and district run charters.

Jimmy carter

May 26th, 2011
10:16 pm

Does no one care about all tax money given to the private corporations that run these charter schools? No tax money should go for private businesses.

td

May 26th, 2011
10:25 pm

Charter schools are not the answer and all the Republicans are doing is to not face the reality of the true causes of poor schools. All one has to do is to take a look at what are the differences in a public schools like Brookwood (in Gwinn), Walton (In East Cobb) or private schools like Marist and Lovett and the poorest preforming schools in Dekalb, Atlanta or south Ga? Let me give you a hint it is not money because there are some outstanding students in some of these schools that learn and go onto the best colleges in the country and excel.

The difference is the attitude of the parents. The vast majority of parents of the highest preforming schools cherish education, they place high expectations on their children and they are relentless in pushing their children to excel. The vast majority of the poor preforming schools do not. Another difference you see is a higher % of two parent households in the highest performing districts. Go take a look at the highest achieving students in the poor schools and I am willing to bet that the vast majority are in two parent households.

Neither party wants to tell the people that it is their own fault and is bad educational consequences for having children out of wedlock, for getting divorced and using their children as pawns in the divorce industry money game, and for not respecting the power of education and not pushing their children to excel in the classroom.

curious

May 26th, 2011
10:57 pm

Why not eliminate all “Government ” schools, give every student, or their parent, a $10,000 voucher? Then the individual can select what’s best for their situation.

Education is too important to leave in the hands of Government.

Problem solved!

Centrist

May 26th, 2011
11:03 pm

Yet another one of these AJC articles:

“Worker shortage hits Georgia farms

Farmers blame immigration crackdown, some harvests in doubt.”

Bet the AJC published the same thing when slavery was abolished. Now, the plantation owners use taxpayer dollars for free health care, food stamps, and welfare to LURE workers instead of capturing them.

Rabbit

May 26th, 2011
11:12 pm

The disappointing subtext of the AG’s argument is “since we want charter schools and the SACS accredited school districts don’t approve them the way we like we need to “interpret” the language of the constitution to fit our wants instead of changing the constitution because we know the public at large will not vote for change. So is the AG asking the court to be activist? … And what happens when the court does it on something the AG Doesn’t like? Come on. This was a no brainer. The idea is fine – let the legislature and voters approve the concept, but don’t ask the Supremes to bend a clear law to your ends.

Ted

May 26th, 2011
11:35 pm

I’m not an attorney, but I think Olens completely missed the point of the court’s ruling. I would agree that charter schools are going to perform better, because inherently they will attract students from families with parents that are more actively involved in their child’s education than the average family with a child in public school. The court ruled that a non-elected commission such as the State Charter Commission cannot reallocate taxpayer money, and I can’t disagree with that. If county tax dollars are being redirected, it needs to be done by officials elected by the county taxpayers. Otherwise, there’s no check and balance if taxpayer money if misused. I do think an alternative would be for the state to allow taxpayers to receive vouchers if they choose to “fire” their local public school and attend elsewhere – nothing unconstitutional about choosing how to spend your own money.

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May 26th, 2011
11:36 pm

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yuzeyurbrane

May 26th, 2011
11:36 pm

Olens is pandering to his base. . . again.

whatdoiknow

May 27th, 2011
12:20 am

What say we just do away with publically funded education.

PAUL

May 27th, 2011
12:39 am

I sure would like to know what revisionist history the AG was reading from in order to say that Georgia has spent the last 100 years trying to convince local jurisdictions to not discriminate. Of course it should be noted that the AG wasnt born or raised in Georgia and only landed here in order to attend law school. I was a senior in high school the first year that Savannah had forced busing and I know about the fights that took place in schools between some whites who didn’t welcome the blacks and some blacks who preferred to stay in their segregated neighborhood school. The AG shouldnt have to search too far to find the real history of Georgia and desegration. The AJC archives would be a good place to start.

Jennifer

May 27th, 2011
1:31 am

If local districts do not discriminate, please tell me why Georgia still has 70+ school districts that have never applied for unitary status and are still under court desegregation orders ?

ANGRY AS HELL

May 27th, 2011
5:07 am

Can anyone produce one objective study which states that charter schools (and their students) out perform their “public school” counterparts? The only recent study of which I am aware was conducted for the City of Milwaukee schools system. That study showed that of all the schools looked at, charter schools performed no better (nor worse) than the public schools with which they were competing (academically speaking). Anybody know of a different study, or do those who support charter schools do so because of all the mythology that’s been generated by those who market charters schools?

Olens needs to get his head out of of Attorney

May 27th, 2011
6:01 am

Brocks posterior. Olens has been sucking up to Brock, Barnes, Moultrie, and all the little Cobb politicians who have taken over Ga education. No one has the right to educate our kids, but the local Board Members. That’s why they keep dumping the elected Board members, they don’t control them.

Education in GA is damn near the worst in the nation and these small people just try to grab all the money. They have ruined education in GA.

WillieRae

May 27th, 2011
6:01 am

The ajc sure gave the progressive student alliance a pass on potentially helping terrorists.

DekalbDad

May 27th, 2011
6:58 am

Mary Elizabeth – Charter schools are not exclusive, they are free and open to anyone in their attendance zone. Just take a walk around the Museum School or International Charter School to see for yourself – you’ll see kids of every color and economic background, it’s beautiful to see. The only difference is that the money is LOCALLY CONTROLLED (in other words, local parents), just not by the Board of Ed monopoloy.

As far as the “I NEED PROOF CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE BETTER” crowd goes – do you really need more demonstration that Dekalb County doesn’t know how to run schools? Wasn’t the past superintendent indicted? Our whole metro area is filled with failing schools. For pete’s sake if a bunch of parents are fed up with a district school that refuses to work with them, and they want to organize and build a good local school and open it to anyone in the area, how can it possibly make sense to stop them??

Danny X

May 27th, 2011
7:05 am

Sorry. I just doon’t get the need for Charter schools or public schools of any kind, for that matter. If people want their kids to educated, they need to fund it. Period. Don’t ask me to pay for some minority child’s education. They won’t amount to much, anyway.

[...] Political Insider has the details. Charter schools teach the same subjects as all other school systems but each in a different manner. They are experimental. That is what makes them special. [...]

Still unanswered...

May 27th, 2011
7:18 am

But what about the issue of the local board of education’s responsibility for local tax funds which are redirected to the charter schools, out of the jurisdiction of the local board?

DekalbDad

May 27th, 2011
7:28 am

Still unanswered….in my view, my property taxes for education should be divvied up among my local schools. Some of that might be district schools, some of that might be charter schools. I have absolutely no problem sending some of my money to schools not controlled by the Board of Ed monopoly, as long as they meet the state education standards and state and federal law.

And unlike racist Danny X, I don’t mind paying for other kids’ education, even if they’re “minority” (whatever that means, these days) – it makes our community and economy better. It’s people like him that make businesses set up shop in other states and keep us in the south poor.

Danny X

May 27th, 2011
7:55 am

DeKalb Dad- Don’t judge me. I dislike minorities for some very legitimate reasons. They steal, they drain our services, they don’t speak english and they stink (at least some do). You need to mind your own business.

Aquagirl

May 27th, 2011
8:11 am

But why should we add another layer of bureaucracy just because local school boards suck? Those people are elected. There is no lawful reason to yank their authority, I am extremely nervous about the State butting in because they don’t like what’s going on locally. I don’t disagree that public school systems are a mess. The whole system, including elected school boards needs to be re-worked from the ground up. That’s drastic but the system will collapse sooner or later, slapping a little duct tape on now is a waste of time and effort.

And unlike racist Danny X, I don’t mind paying for other kids’ education

That’s not Danny X, it’s a namejacker. Remember, school is out and unsupervised kids are rampant.

4-Reel

May 27th, 2011
8:53 am

Has anyone noticed how Galloway and the Political Insider has gone dark on Kasim Reed and his pension grab in Atlanta. If you’re wondering, its because the AJC, WSB and Cox Enterprises are Reed’s puppet master and they don’t want to subject their boy to any criticism or analysis of his dishonesty on the blogosphere. He’s so sensitive to it, in fact, that he hired Stephanie Ramage to shut her up when she stated getting traffic to her blog criticizing Reed.

If you have any doubts as to what I’m saying, just search AJC reporter Ernie Suggs, articles on Reed and you will see that he acts as a defacto PR shill for the mayor’s office, to the point of unquestioningly reprinting whatever lie comes out of the mayor’s office.

Mary Elizabeth

May 27th, 2011
9:01 am

DeKalb Dad @ 6:58 a.m.

Look more closely at the hidden political agendas involved in this issue. If, down the road, private schools are the main way we educate the masses of our children, then those children remaining in the greatly financially depleted public schools will be the poorest children, of any race or ethnic group, because their parents will not be able to afford private schools – even with vouchers. That is the exclusivity that I foresee could happen if public schools are dismantle for private ones.

I am not against charter schools. The issue before Georgia’s Supreme Court is whether charter schools must be approved by public school systems or by the state appointed (in a Republican power based state) Georgia Charter School Commission. It is no secret that the national and state Republican ideological agenda is to dismantle “government run” public schools. I believe that children are better served through public servants in public schools rather than eventually becoming pawns for accruing wealth in privately run private schools. This is wrong. Charter schools should work with public schools not against them – to make them better, not to dismantle them.

concerned momma

May 27th, 2011
9:27 am

How come Jimmy Carter didn’t cry ‘foul’ when Obama was giving public money to huge corporations. And Jimmy, didn’ t you get your education at a tax funded military academy?

Self_Made

May 27th, 2011
10:47 am

Charter schools should be run and funded locally. The state should set the minimum guidelines and have them apply to both publically and privately administered charter schools. Local taxpayers/parents should then force their school systems to allocate a certain percentage of funds to the development and operation of charter schools. That funding should be set and locked. Any increases in the cost or enhancements these schools want to provide should be funded by tuition. I have no problem with public/private partnerships in education as long as the control is local and it does not involve vouchers.

Self_Made

May 27th, 2011
10:51 am

Enter your comments here

BJ Van Gundy

May 27th, 2011
1:14 pm

Well argued Mr. AG (Sam)! You are correct. Charter Schools are MOST CERTAINLY special schools and you have described that well. Thank you.

Rabbit

May 27th, 2011
2:08 pm

Whether state chartered schools are better than local public schools is not the issue and the AG, though not a trial attorney before now, is a lawyer and a smart guy. He’ll probably say he’s an “originalist” meaning he is beholden to the intent of any legislative enactment. His argument conveniently avoids this approach because he knows that no one contemplated or intended that the state could charter any school that would require county money to pay for it. The Georgia school for the deaf is not paid for by the county where it’s situated. The AG is a good guy and I think he’ll be a good AG, but this kind of disingenuous pandering will hurt him in the long run. People want local school control and people vote.

Steven

May 27th, 2011
2:59 pm

The fact that charter schools perform equally as well as (not better or worse) than their local public school counterparts is a testament that competition works. Each school wants to be either better than the other or not get left behind, therefore each improves equally to maintain their enrollment numbers. As a result, each school is better than it was in the past. This benefits all students, not just the ones at one school or the other.

Michael

May 27th, 2011
6:37 pm

Non lawyers discussing the constitutionality of anything really makes my head hurt. Imagine a bunch of us lawyers discussing how you all should shovel the dirt, flip the burger, or the proper way to hold that road sign. We’d be lost.

GTP

May 30th, 2011
7:27 am

Someone needs to ask AG Sam Olens to “rethink” his statements in the Jacksonville Times, Rotary meetings, AJC, et al, as they contradict his actions. Olens “pledges to strengthen Sunshine Laws” and “government transparency,” while at the same time he and his staff are sealing documents from the public’s view – many of them Whistleblower cases with serious details about our higher education system. Why are the cases his office defends exempt from his pledge for “open government?”