APS scandal as an argument for charter schools

Bob Bowdon, a filmmaker dedicated to charter school reform, has turned a six-minute video on the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal:

The clip appears on Choice Media, which defines itself thusly:

Choice Media is a non-profit education news service, devoted to covering all facets of K-12 education quality and reform. Our mission is to expose the scandal of America’s high-cost, low-performing schools, while highlighting successes where they occur and pointing the way to a more hopeful tomorrow.

The video makes the argument that charter schools, though not immune to cheating scandals, can respond more quickly when they occur. Kelly McCutchen of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation makes an appearance.

One suggestion: There were many African-Americans who were appalled by the APS scandal, and were essential in pushing an investigation through to the conclusion. We can provide e-mails and phone numbers if Bowdon intends to expand his piece.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

40 comments Add your comment

SpaceyG on Twitter

September 26th, 2011
10:54 am

*Non-profit* and anything related to *charter schools*? Warning, warning, warning!!!!

Politically Tone Deaf

September 26th, 2011
11:07 am

Hey it closes with a close up of a young black girl that should count for something. Right?

Centrist

September 26th, 2011
11:12 am

Move to good OTP public school districts if you research them, or use (pay again for) private or charter schools if you live in an area with poor public education.

Or, suffer the consequences.

Raquel Morris

September 26th, 2011
11:18 am

Charter schools ARE public schools. So, what’s the problem?

Centrist

September 26th, 2011
11:22 am

@ Raquel Morris – the problem is getting them chartered, and the long distances for attendees. There is institutional and political resistance since motivated families leave marginal/failing schools making them even more “at risk”.

Ban Teachers Unions

September 26th, 2011
11:42 am

The traditional public school system is crippled by teacher’s unions, retaining horrible teachers year over year and pumping out undereducated children into a non-competitive economy. Teacher’s unions originally were formed to assist female teachers without a political voice (voting) and to bring wages to living levels. Now the unions are far too moneyed and scare principals from removing lazy and selfish teachers from stagnant classrooms. Charter schools are not subject to the union dictates and are able to provide real instruction to help our children blossom and grow.

Watch the documentary “Waiting for Superman”

Charters Schools are PUBLIC Schools

September 26th, 2011
11:45 am

Posting the Georgia Department of Ed General FAQ on Charter schools before all the erroneous statements about charter schools start.

http://www.gadoe.org/pea_charter.aspx?PageReq=PEACSGENFAQ

It’s an informative read if you are unfamiliar with charter schools or if you are choosing to expound on charters without actually learning how they are approved or operate.

D Davis

September 26th, 2011
11:54 am

The problem some educarats have with Charter Schools is that they tend to be more transparent, set clear standards, are accountable and welcome parental involvement. The ones in Fulton County I am most familiar with are probably more “public” than “charter” but if you look at the exponential improvements in Sandy Springs public schools since parents got behind the charter school movement and the return to the public schools that have followed, it is hard to argue against them. At Riverwood Charter International nearly half the students who matriculated there in the 9th grade class of 2010 had attended private schools the year before. One of the single biggest reasons for Riverwood’s success is the fact that the administration has encouraged the active participation of parents. You can do that without a charter, but having a charter helps to encourage the kind of community ownership that was once the standard for public education.

Typical Democrat

September 26th, 2011
11:59 am

NOOOOOOOOOOOO! We must allow government teachers’ unions to grow!

td

September 26th, 2011
12:02 pm

I will agree with Centrist on this issue and disagree with my conservative friends. Charter schools are not a good idea unless all the schools in the district become charter schools and the parents can choose which is the best one to send their children too. I believe that if the people do not think their local schools are working then get into the battle and change it, or pay the money and send your children to private school. Charter schools are nothing more than the lazy way out of true change.

td

September 26th, 2011
12:04 pm

Typical Democrat

September 26th, 2011
11:59 am

There are no teachers unions in Georgia. Teachers have civil service protection (which they should have) but can be fired for cause (which should happen).

Wondering

September 26th, 2011
12:08 pm

Why interject race into this?
Obviously, Beverly Hall is Black.
Most of the students in APS are Black; nevertheless, there are many White students in APS.

Perhaps charters schools are not the only answer…but, parents should have a choice.

Bob Bowdon

September 26th, 2011
12:09 pm

Dear Mr. Galloway –

Thanks for the coverage.

Regarding your remark about race, I suggest you:

– See my film “The Cartel,” (http://www.TheCartelMovie.com),

– See its endorsements from a wide array of African-American civil rights leaders, (such as Virginia Walden-Ford shown here in video: http://www.societyforqualityeducation.org/index.php/blog/read/measuring-up-is-online/)

– Or even watch LAST WEEK’s feature story on ChoiceMedia.TV:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa_Lj-la_WM

Insinuations about racism not only cheapen the public policy dialogue, they do an enormous disservice to actual instances of racial bias by diffusing the impact of the claim.

Most people withhold these kinds of incendiary statements until a some kind of pattern of racial bias is observed. If, instead of a pattern, you believe that *every single news story* must include representations of every race — please say so. It’s a position that will be hard to defend.

And if that’s your standard, why on earth would you have omitted Hispanics from mention in your blog post above? Your bias against Hispanics, if endorsing such a standard, is simply appalling.

– Bob Bowdon

Centrist

September 26th, 2011
12:14 pm

@ td – in addition to the civil service protection and tenure Under the NEA union is the GAE affiliate which is certainly a union:

“The Georgia Association of Educators is the pre-eminent professional organization for teachers, administrators, college education majors and educational support personnel in the state of Georgia.

Through our monitoring of the State Board of Education, the Georgia Department of Education, the Professional Standards Commission, and the Teachers Retirement System, GAE keeps up-to-date on the rules and regulations affecting education and teaching.

GAE deploys a team of lobbyists who work before, during, and after the annual 40-day legislative session to provide information and guidance to legislators and politicians about GAE’s legislative priorities.”

Check your sources

September 26th, 2011
12:15 pm

td-Teachers unions do exist in Georgia. Not only do national teachers unions impact legislation that affects our state, there are local teachers unions in Georgia. I’m not conservative, registered democrat. Just aware that teachers unions do much more harm than good.

http://www.teachersunionexposed.com/state.cfm?state=GA

CP

September 26th, 2011
12:19 pm

All these charter schools are, are hedge funds trying to grab a very large slice of our property taxes. Check it out, most of them are funded by hedge funds.

All fear the mighty GAE

September 26th, 2011
12:20 pm

An organization run by school administrators that advocates for teachers?

Makes about as much sense as Bambi joining the National Rifle Association.

Teachers don’t seem to get that, and then they wonder why teaching conditions continue to inhale.

Hall Native

September 26th, 2011
12:28 pm

What a bunch of freaking hypocrites!!

The same reporters that found the APS cheating uncovered cheating in Hall County schools ( you know, Nathan Deal’s home) and what has been investigated or done?

NOT A THING!!

Involved a charter school too!

Here are the links:

First AJC article and Get Schooled blog post:

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/the-transfer-track-on-945991.html

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/05/15/hall-county-are-students-being-routed-to-alternative-school-to-improve-grad-rates/
 
TV report by Richard Belcher at Channel 2 News:

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/27890457/index.html
 
Second AJC article and Get Schooled Blog:

http://www.ajc.com/news/hall-county-students-pushed-960650.html

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/05/31/last-minute-transfers-to-alternative-school-helping-students-or-helping-system/

Alabama Communist

September 26th, 2011
12:36 pm

More Breaking News On Racist Republican Video.. A unknown source deep within the Republican Tea Party said today.. “This proves once more that the Atlanta School System should be seize and converted into a State Dentention Center for wayward youths who appear to be Black”

Nice tactic

September 26th, 2011
12:40 pm

“A unknown source said”

Sounds reliable

td

September 26th, 2011
12:41 pm

Centrist

September 26th, 2011
12:14 pm

I understand about Tenure but would submit to you that tenure in GA is not the same as tenure in other states or at the college level. Teachers can and are fired every year in Georgia with tenure.

GEA is a lobbying arm of Teachers and an the main reason teachers join in due to liability insurance. I will submit that they have some power but no more power then the Chamber or other groups. I will also submit that there power is less today then it was when the Dems controlled Georgia. The Dems needed a large % of teachers to hold power Republicans do not.

findog

September 26th, 2011
12:47 pm

Centrist @ 11:21
Exactly when did American’s become whiny cowards? White flight in the 60’s and 70’s because radicalized freed slaves were moving into their neighborhoods; or now with my kids might catch stupid from yours?
Some of Georgia’s best schools are ITP while most of the worst are OTP…

findog

September 26th, 2011
12:50 pm

Ban @ 11:42
Take that Canard to a state that has a union and merit protection

Road Scholar

September 26th, 2011
12:51 pm

Good post findog!

Hall Native

September 26th, 2011
12:55 pm

Awaiting moderation? Really?

Barry

September 26th, 2011
12:59 pm

Exactly, findog @ 12:50. Georgia public school teachers are not members of teachers unions with collective bargaining rights in this state, period. No one, including conservatives, opposes allowing lobbying efforts from such organizations as PAGE and GAE, any more than they oppose lobbying from Georgia Power or the NRA. And, yes, GAE dues paid by teachers do, in fact, support teachers’ unions elsewhere, but teachers in Georgia cannot collectively bargain, which is the primary power of any union. Anyone who continues to blame Georgia’s education problems on “teachers unions” is a simpleton incapable of framing a substantive argument.

findog

September 26th, 2011
1:00 pm

Hall, but the superintendent is proposing $400k for a new weight room at Chestatee High and blended learning for the home schooled

TeacherUnionsInGeorgia

September 26th, 2011
1:11 pm

Ok, for all you completely lost individuals out there….a la td –
Teachers that are members of PAGE and/or GAE are NOT afforded collective bargaining rights – one of the MAJOR benefits of being involved in a union. Our salary/benefits are set by the state and local supplements are set by local boards of education.

Teachers that are members of PAGE/GAE are afforded tort liability insurance and (in some cases) legal support if/when they are terminated or RiF’d. PAGE/GAE are basically being paid as lawyers on retainer by teachers….would be interesting to know what percentage of members ACTUALLY use their legal services for which they pay…

PAGE/GAE also supply (HA HA) lobbying support – although it could be argued based on current reforms that teachers (education in general) have not had much lobbying support in this state in a few years…

Also, on the Charter School front – it would be interesting to note that charter schools, on average, do no better (and actually worse in some areas) than “regular” public schools on the same measures (standardized tests, etc.).

Hall Native

September 26th, 2011
1:12 pm

@findog. Yes and he can do all this without repercussions because he lives next door to Nathan Deal and Johnny Barge used to be the principal at Chestatee High.

Have to wonder if Bev Hall lived there
if APS would be swept under the rug too.

Ben

September 26th, 2011
1:37 pm

Okay…listen carefully: THERE ARE NO TEACHERS UNIONS IN GA. None. Zero. Zilch. Say what you want about tenure, teacher protections, or iron triangles in the public education bureaucracy, but please use facts. NO UNIONS IN GA PUBLIC SERVICE. Cities and counties are–obviously–different. However, if you work for the state, you ain’t in a union. Period.

honested

September 26th, 2011
1:41 pm

Hall Native

You have identified the fundamental problem with current GA ‘political leadership’.

td

September 26th, 2011
1:42 pm

TeacherUnionsInGeorgia

September 26th, 2011
1:11 pm
Ok, for all you completely lost individuals out there….a la td –

If you go and read my post I stated clearly that Teachers in Georgia do not have union rights.

@TeacherUnionsinGeorgia

September 26th, 2011
1:46 pm

You are correct about teacher unions in this state but wrong about charter schools.

There are some national studies that charter schools do as well or better than traditional public schools, and there are some that suggest the opposite. However, the latest data in Georgia indicates that here, charter schools do as well as if not better than traditional public schools. It’s documented in the Georgia DOE’s annual report from last year. You can find it on the DOE website.

LOL

September 26th, 2011
1:47 pm

@Hall Native

Sure ain’t no black folks up in North Hall!

findog

September 26th, 2011
2:09 pm

LOL, there are plenty of blacks in Hall County
nearly half of every HS football team
Large contingent in Gainesville proper with well defined, church centered, local leadership
and an uncle tom on the County Board of Commissioners

TeacherUnionsInGeorgia

September 26th, 2011
2:21 pm

no – they do NOT perform better than public schools. Look at the testing data. There is no SIGNIFICANT difference between regular public schools and charter schools. The data is not there. 1-2% is NOT significantly better than the “norm”.

Nationally, if you look at the NAEP data, charter schools aren’t outperforming public schools and, as I said, in some areas, regular public schools out perform charters…

LOL

September 26th, 2011
2:31 pm

@findog

Very true, but not in NORTH HALL — just a very few in that area, not even on the NH football team. this is where Deal lives

sad but true

September 26th, 2011
4:53 pm

The truly innovative charter movement has been hijacked by politicians and corporations. The charters opening in Georgia now with private management companies are not “waiting for superman” charters– they are template schools opening in suburbs that have no failing schools, using public tax dollars to acquire real estate, and luring parents to a private school setting (uniforms, and few low income, English as a Second Language or special needs kids) with the cheapest pseudo-innovation they can pedal. Georgia politicians are pocketing the campaign contributions from these companies and greasing the skids just as fast as they can to sell out their state, while making sure the true public schools are hamstrung by mandates and rules (and keep the harder and more expensive to educate kids in the process).

MrLiberty

September 26th, 2011
9:06 pm

No, APS scandal shows why all government involvement should be ended IMMEDIATELY. Charters are just the immoral theft scheme transferred to private management with far too many of the government rules and regulations. You cannot build a sustainable and functional business on a premise of the immorality of theft (taxation). Parents must be responsible for their own children’s education, every last shred of government involvement and restriction must be removed from education (including teacher certification requirements, etc.) and the free market must be opened to provide the innovation that the market demands. Charity schools, scholarships and the like will fill the void for the needy, but it is high time that parents be required to raise and provide for the education of their own children. They don’t care because they don’t pay. Period.

honested

September 26th, 2011
11:51 pm

ANY ‘charter school’ in Georgia should be under the control of the local School Board and hire only Qualified, Licensed Georgia Teachers.

No homeschool nutcases need apply.