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.
“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