Reading other people’s mail: A postal debate over charter schools

State School Superintendent John Barge has found himself in a running email debate with state Rep. Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta, the House majority whip – over Barge’s decision last week to come out against the November referendum to re-establish the state’s authority to create charter schools.

Postal confrontations have a long and storied history in American politics. In part because, regardless of the topic, there’s always the thrill of reading someone else’s mail. To wit:

At 6:57 p.m. Tuesday, from Lindsey to Barge:

John:

I read with interest – and surprise — your statement today opposing the Charter School Amendment. I also went back and reviewed your responses to the questionnaire you filled out when you ran for office in 2010, which can be found here, in which you stated that you “strongly” supported the State Charter School Commission and the creation of state charter schools.

If you were in court on cross examination the people of Georgia might enjoy watching you answer one of my favorite questions when someone impeaches themselves by testifying two entirely different ways to the same question: “Were you lying then or are you lying now?”

But we are not in court. Therefore, let me simply say that as one public official to another that the most important attribute one person can have is personal trust in the public arena. You have squandered that today – as well as selling out the children of Georgia who need a State School Superintendent who does more than simply cower before the entrenched forces of the status quo.

State Representative Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta)

Georgia House Majority Whip

At 4:21 p.m. Thursday, from Barge to Lindsey:

Dear Rep. Lindsey,

Thank you for your comments on my position on the charter schools amendment. As the state’s top education official, I felt it was important stand up for the 1.6 million students and 111,000 teachers in Georgia’s public schools.

I fully support creating high quality charter schools, but I cannot support the constitutional amendment. It would be harmful to the 2,300 public schools in the state that have been cut more than $4 billion since 2008. I am a true conservative who believes in limited government and fiscal responsibility. Establishing a charter school commission would go against both of those principles. First and foremost, we must work to restore school calendars to 180 days and make sure teachers are getting their full annual pay.

A new state agency that duplicates the existing work of the state Department of Education and the powers of the State Board of Education – while taking away local control and costing taxpayers millions of dollars – is just plain wrong. If the amendment passes, I will honor the wishes of Georgia voters, but I could not stay silent on an issue so critical to our public schools. I look forward to continuing to work with you on issues relating to education in Georgia.

Sincerely,

John Barge

State School Superintendent

Georgia Department of Education

At 6:04 p.m. Thursday, from Lindsey to Barge:

Superintendent Barge:

I appreciate your response email and I am copying my GOP caucus and others since they also received my first sharp rebuke to you earlier this week. Quite frankly, however, despite your protestations, you simply cannot match up your present stated position in your e mail today with your past conduct in this area. I also sharply disagree with the merits of your arguments.

You were not an education novice who campaigned in 2010 by actively seeking out support from charter school advocates and indicated “strong” support for state created charter schools. You are an experienced educator who was well versed on the history of the state supported charter school issue and fully understood at that time the arguments for and against — most of which being the same arguments we are hearing today.

Furthermore, this issue returned to a boil again shortly after you took office with the Supreme Court decision in the spring of 2011 striking down much of HB 881. In response, those of us in the Legislature and the executive branch worked closely with both advocates and critics of state-funded charter schools for a year to answer concerns and fashion a coalition to pass the constitutional amendment in the Legislature. We also worked to maintain funding of existing state created charter schools with the help of your department.

As part of that effort, we also worked extensively throughout the process with representatives from your Department of Education for information and guidance. Throughout this long drawn out process, you never raised opposition to the proposals, voiced fiscal concerns, opposed the continued funding of existing state funded charter schools, or otherwise indicated a change of heart.

This history is what led to my blunt rebuke of your actions earlier this week.

Turning to the merits of your newly minted position, I share your stated concerns for the 1.6 million public school students in this state and the 111,000 public school teachers. Let me start of by reminding you that charter schools are public schools, charter school students are public school students, and charter school teachers are public school teachers.

Regrettably, there have been cuts in state spending on education since the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008 – as with every other state in this country. Nevertheless, education has seen some of the smallest cuts of any area in our state budget. Our teachers are still the highest paid in the Southeast and after adjusting for cost of living among the highest paid in the nation. Overall funding per pupil in Georgia is also the second highest in the southeast.

The status quo on education in Georgia is unacceptable. The overall graduation rate in Georgia hovers in the mid 60% range and half of the students who come from low income households drop out before graduating high school. In my household, if my children brought home success records like this from school it would be time for serious changes. It should be same for the Georgia’s education system.

Charter schools are not a silver bullet – there is no one silver bullet – but they are a critically needed tool in the tool box for education reform. Confining children to low performing traditional schools with no hope of an alternative or choice is morally wrong in the 21st century, and under Georgia’s existing state constitution we already have a duty to provide a quality education for every child in Georgia.

I chaired the Charter School Study Committee in 2007 and studied charter schools in Georgia and around the country. Georgia’s present system has left us far behind other states in progress toward true education reform by virtue of many systems’ refusal to even consider charter schools or by other systems literally fiscally starving them to death.

Our charter school proposal provides a simple pressure relief valve – not a fire hose – by giving parents an alternative path for consideration of a charter school application. They must still meet rigorous standards for consideration and if they fail to perform as promised they can be shut down. (Let me know the last time a traditional public school was shut down for poor performance.)

You speak of local control. I believe the ultimate local control should rest with the parents and the students. Therefore, I will let you stand with the status quo education bureaucracy. I stand with the students and their parents who deserve better.

In closing, let me also add that I will work with you on other education issues in the future despite my deep disappointment in your reversal on this matter.

State Representative Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta)

Georgia House Majority Whip

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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57 comments Add your comment

Proud Voter

August 17th, 2012
12:13 pm

And who is the loser in all of this? The students who cannot quality for admission into a charter school. We don’t need to walk away from the public school to let it fester and die. We need to act like adults and use common sense to restore the integrity of the public school. Creating charter schools for a select enrollment is just another segregation with another name. If the citizens and legislature really care about Georgia’s public schools, they will stop “he said, she said” arguing, and get on with the problem at hand: improving Georgia’s public schools.

Ga Values

August 17th, 2012
12:24 pm

I am for Vouchers but not Charter schools. I don’t understand why people have children when they can’t afford to educate them.

I hate to vote for the status quo but in this case it is the less bad choice.

Mild Mannered Moderate

August 17th, 2012
12:29 pm

Both sides have points. I can’t decide. More government is bad but not having charter schools is bad. Lindsey seems like a very angry scary person though. It took me five minutes to read his letter. I am sad for such a mean person.

KID

August 17th, 2012
12:33 pm

Whether it is a charter school or public school, the only way our systems will succeed is if we demand parental involvement. No parental involvement = failure.

Danny O

August 17th, 2012
12:34 pm

@ Ga Values:
I don’t understand why you would state your support vouchers for private schools in one sentence, and in the next assert that family planning should be based on the household financial resources available for education. So people shouldn’t have kids if they can’t afford to pay for them, but people who want to send their kids to private school should be given taxpayer money to pay for it? This makes no sense at all.

Tom McMahan

August 17th, 2012
12:36 pm

Nice to know that Rep. Lindsey is firmly under the sway of for-profit education management firms. He’s also not quite telling the truth when it comes to austerity cuts (which have been going on for 10 years vs. the 4 he claims) and his glossing over the fact that Georgia’s graduation rate has long (and I mean long) been among the lowest in the country for a variety of CULTURAL reasons having nothing to do with how school’s are structured. And still no honest answer as to how this parallel school system he and others want to create will be paid for.

Tired

August 17th, 2012
12:38 pm

“No parental involvement = failure.”

I’ll be sure to let my parents know. They both worked a good 12 hours/day (Mom FT and PT, Dad frequently worked overtime). My sibling and I are college-educated and self-reliant, but our parents couldn’t take time off to be sick, let alone come to school and read aloud to a group of first-graders.

Now if by parental involvement you mean “valuing education in the home and setting rules around homework and test preparation”, then I agree with you.

KID

August 17th, 2012
12:42 pm

Tired

Yes I do mean valuing education in the home….but if your parents never showed up for anything during your years of schooling and you are college educated/self-reliant, your household is truly an exception to the rule.

Kris

August 17th, 2012
12:53 pm

Now more than ever Parental involvement is needed, since the people and politicians are in for the MONEY.

Georgia needs to fix the current system .

This charter education boondoggle needs to be STOPPED.

Lisa

August 17th, 2012
12:59 pm

Thank God for common sense of Superintendent Barge. Lindsey’s long winded response just demonstrates that he is a talker and not a doer. We need term limits for politicians like lindsey who are not interested in what’s best for the State of Georgia but more interested in how he can further help his campaign contributors receive a private education on the government’s dime. Talk about entitlements!

Rob

August 17th, 2012
1:46 pm

@Proud Voter – the only requirement to apply for a charter school is to live in the county it is in, the kid doesn’t have to meet any other requirement. The charter school I am involved in is required to take any child, rich or poor, black or white. If their parents want them to get a better education they get in as long as there are open spots.

Charter schools are not private schools. They must still take the CRCT and do well. How any public schools have ever been shut down for underachieving? Charter schools have less than 5 years to meet there goals or they are shut down. Then they must continue to maintain there achievements and are regularly evaluated on student performance all the while receiving less funds per student than regular public schools. All of you need to do yourselves a favor and read both sides of the story and stop being so ignorant. If you want local choice give it to the parents!

Mitch

August 17th, 2012
1:46 pm

Barge ran for office saying he supported charters and has now turned his back on the entire charter community and those stuck in underperforming schools. Just another politician saying one thing to get our vote and then acting different once they are in office.

Georgia, The " New Mississippi "

August 17th, 2012
1:53 pm

Maybe they should challenge each other to a duel ? Zell Miller could be the official………Georgia continues to lead.

Tom McMahan

August 17th, 2012
1:56 pm

There are good charter schools and bad ones. But once again, the existing charter schools have NOTHING to do with this amendment. This is about creating an entirely new animal…and one in which the state, while starving local school systems on the one hand, can gain control of a new parallel school system with the other.

Danny O

August 17th, 2012
2:07 pm

@ Mitch:
It’s completely accurate to say that Barge contradicted himself on the state charter schools commission issue. But he is still in favor of charter schools that receive a charter from the local school board. To say that he “has now turned his back on the entire charter community” is hyperbole. We’ve got plenty of exaggeration coming from political ads; no need for it here.

Ga Values

August 17th, 2012
2:19 pm

Danny O

August 17th, 2012
12:34 pm

you are correct..

R U Kidding Me?

August 17th, 2012
2:21 pm

Tom McMahan:

You are correct, sir.

However, there are two factions at work here. The first is the for-profit charter school companies who are pumping millions of dollars into this campaign and into republican politicians like Ed Lindsey and Chip Rogers. The other faction is the ultra right-wing republicans like Barry Loudermilk who want to privatize public schools so they can teach religion in school again. Loudermilk, who’s degree is from a bible college, is a self professed constitutional expert. And it strikes me as odd that the Loudermilk types love the constitution, except when it conflicts with their ultra right-wing agenda. The agenda of the Loudermilk/Rogers/Lindsey crowd is the destroy the public education system, create all privately run schools where religion(their religion) can be taught in the classroom. And since private schools can pick and chose who they accept, you can expect to see a lot of christian schools popping with white only republican kids sitting in the desks. Their mission is the create a seperate, but unequal school system and the poor kids and the minority kids can have what’s left of the cannilablzed public school system. And they have the TEA Party tin-foil hat crowd marching to their tune. Scary stuff!

True Conservative

August 17th, 2012
2:27 pm

Charter schools are good, when properly done, no one is debating that. Georgia School systems have charter schools in them, that is not at issue. What is at issue here is that the State Legislators are trying to end around the local elected school boards with another layer of state government and backdoor fund these state-chartered schools, giving local systems and local taxpayers little to no say about it. Do we really need another level of state government? Where will the money come from to fund these schools? Will they raise our taxes to pay for them or will they syphon the money from the existing schools? Lots of questions here and with public trust of elected officials at an all time high, why should we be concerned that this will actually achieve results and not have detrimental impact on existing schools. Barge nails it, this is not necessary. If a local school system through their elected school board will not allow charter schools and they are not in synch with the local community whom they serve, the local communtiy can vote them out of office an replace them with individuals who support charter schools. This is an overreach of state government authority and we should be concerned.

sheepdawg

August 17th, 2012
2:51 pm

edward lindsey is an idiot, to hell with charter schools, trickle down economics, and all the other GOP initiatives to divide the classes in our nation

GaBlue

August 17th, 2012
3:08 pm

This amendment is a RUSE. When you read it on your ballot in November, the wording will be intentionally contrived, confusing, and convoluted. If passed, this amendment will REMOVE both local control and local accountability. That means the citizens of a community will have zero power or recourse over when the folks a private, for-profit school mismanage their responsibilities.

Kudos to Superintendent Barge for standing up to the BULLIES that are the status quo of our current state government. He stated quite clearly that he is not opposed to charter schools, but is opposed to this particular amendment. Watch as the powers that be (be linin’ their own pockets that is) sink their teeth into the current wording and hang on with the ferocity of a hungry dog holding his last pig’s ear.

This isn’t about the children of Georgia. It’s not about improving education in Georgia. It’s about private profits and tax breaks for the wealthy, and giving them new ways to subsidize themselves by creating schools without accountability.

So now YOU have to decide. Are you going to roll over like you always do and vote for whatever they want you to, because they have Rs by their names and you “just trust” them no matter how far down the drain they drag our state? Or will you decide that these guys should not be taking control away from local jurisdictions? You still have a choice… until 2013, that is. Then, guess what? (Heh… we’ll let Mr. Galloway explain that to you another day.)

Retired Georgia teacher

August 17th, 2012
3:17 pm

The only great charter schools have been the ones supported by wealthy donors or corporations to provide the extra funding needed for a quality school. I taught in a north Atlanta suburb and saw a charter school send back students to regular public schools because they were not going to help the charter school’s testing data. Public schools must take all students under the law. Charter and private schools can often be choosy over who they will allow to attend their school.

Some charter school operators have given themselves good salaries and taken junkets from the school’s funds. The charter school hires young, recent college graduates at low salaries and often these teachers move to public schools for higher salaries once they gain experience. The charter grants were basically stolen from taxpayers for the benefits of the operators and shut down after a few years.

Republicans want to destroy public schools and widen income inequality. Only the children of the wealthy will receive a quality education as only they will be able to afford a prestigious private school. Private schools often will not take special education students, while federal law requires local school systems to provide a variety of costly educational services to disabled students.

Beverly Fraud

August 17th, 2012
3:29 pm

Look who’s against this amendment.

Herb Garrett and the Georgia School Superintendents Association. Defenders of the status quo. Well what would you call an organization that named none other than Beverly Hall the Superintendent of the Year, yet to this day REFUSES to rescind the award?

And as fraught with peril this amendment may be, you can’t understand why people are hesitant to believe those that oppose it?

Do you really think you can let Beverly Hall REMAIN your Superintendent of the Year and NOT have your credibility questioned?

Rockerbabe

August 17th, 2012
3:29 pm

Enter your comments hereThis diatribe against a professional educator is the main reason I have said in the past, if you want a good education system, get the politicans out of the show, because all they do is huff and puff and attempt to blow down anything good about our public schools. Charter schools are not a solution to our problems.

Commondreams.org August 8, 2012, David Morris, After 20 Years, Charter Schools Stray From Their Original Mission: Instead of laboratories to improve all schools, many are now for-profit enterprises with poor report cards

Dalton Whitfield

August 17th, 2012
3:32 pm

The constitutional admendment that will be on November’s ballot allows for private educational corporations to use lobbist to lobby the charter commission for public funds for their privately operated “public charter schools”. To wit: A private educational corporation could get permission from the state charter commission to start and operate a privately operated public charter school in your community using public funds. This privately operated school would then usurp students from the locally controlled schools. This usurption would actually be a sub rosa method for the state to take over a local community’s schools with privately controlled schools beholden only to the authority of the state charter commission.

Decatur Joe

August 17th, 2012
4:07 pm

Who stands on the side of children and families having options in public K – 12 education? The Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Charter Schools Association, Democrats for Education Reform, Governor Deal, the Republican Caucus of Georgia, the Georgia Tea Party, 100 Dads, StudentsFirst, Black Alliance for Education Options, Georgia Public Policy Foundation, many members of local boards of education in Georgia, and all reasonable people who want and desire a strong public school system which has options for parents and quality schools for students.

Who is against this referendum? Georgia school boards Association, Georgia State Superintendents Association, Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), Georgia Association of Educators (GAE, the state chapter of the national teacher’s union), and the flip flopper himself State Superintendent John Barge. You can name all of these groups as the status quo of public education in Georgia.

Every person who cares about doing better for our children, who have suffered through the world’s largest cheating scandal (APS), imprisoned superintendents (DeKalb), School board scandals (Clayton, Bibb, Richmond, Warren, Gwinnett) and a 40% statewide dropout rate will be voting “YES” in November. Anyone who really cares will be encouraging family, friends, and neighbors to vote “YES” as well.

More people should be as angry as Representative Lindsey.

td

August 17th, 2012
4:20 pm

For Ed Lindsey to try to say that this amendment fits any type of conservative philosophy is total BS. How can setting up a third bureaucracy with no accountability to the voter at a local or state level be considered a conservative value?

I smell a rat and think Dr. Barge made the correct decision.

Wolfgang and Friend

August 17th, 2012
4:32 pm

Very interesting…

Decatur Joe

August 17th, 2012
4:40 pm

@TD, funny how Mitt Romney and Obama both support the increased growth of charter schools across the United States but you oppose this because of your “conservative values”. I think your values are more “Stalin” like with your support of a communist “one size fits all” view of public education.

The Snark

August 17th, 2012
4:45 pm

After reading that exchange, it’s clear that neither man belongs in government.

Lindsey is Right! Vote for Charters!

August 17th, 2012
5:05 pm

I’m supporting the Charter Schools Amendment. Just review Decatur Joe’s comments to see who is behind what. The status quo is unacceptable. The problems and inadequacies of local school boards are evident. It is time for change and improvement. It is time to do as Rep. Lindsey says and get the control down to the local level. The state has to fund the schools anyway. Why not fund schools that are going to make a difference for the students and the future.

Every time this state tries to change all its history and lackluster performance we get these folks who want to just keep things as they are – as dismal as they are. No, it’s time to take on new plans and adopt new programs that have the potential to move our state forward. It’s time to vote yes for charter schools and approve this constitutional amendment in November.

Buzzy

August 17th, 2012
5:12 pm

I applaud Barge. It took some backbone to look at the facts and change his mind.

Lindsey figures that he could control this Charter School commission and probably use it to funnel money to corporate friends who wish to sell items (such as online classes) to the charter schools. It’s about money and control, it has nothing to do with kids and education.

I think Barge is showing strong leadership and he is trying to do the best thing for all Georgians.

Bernie

August 17th, 2012
5:24 pm

What ever happened to the much raged about Republican mantra of Smaller Government, Less government intrusion into the lives of its citizens, Insuring Local Control of education matters, and the belief that the community knows its needs better than any Bureaucratic Bloated Plan?

The Republicans have Either been Lying to All of US or they are Lying NOW!

This is so confusing to me…….but in reality, We all should know or be aware this entire Charter School Plan is really a STRAW MAN! Its real goal is to destroy the State of Georgia Public Educational System from the inside, reduce, starve and demoralize its financial commitment. This plan will set the stage for what is to come, which has been the all along ultimate goal of The implementation of A State wide school Voucher plan. This Sinister and Dastardly Act has been the Goal for years!

The success of such plan, initially requires a meager public interest to an acceptable concept of a unproven and untested State wide Charter School system.
Most of US who are informed, already know that the Charter School concept success rate is marginal at Best. At its worst, its outcome, only serves a very small group of students and altogether overlooking the needs of the majority remaining students whose educational outcome of success, would be further put into jeopardy.

The other underlying motive is RACISM, at its core! This plan will bring back the good ole days of “SEGREGATION” without all of the lawsuits and Federal intervention!

We all must keep in mind and Remember foremost, this is GEORGIA! Old habits and beliefs die hard here! Georgia’s long history and current methods in the arena of insuring fair and equal education for ALL of its citizens is clearly one of intentional and purposely driven to the benefit only for one segment of the population.

We ALL know which segment of the student population that designated description belongs too! The good ole Boys at DOME along with the help of today’s intelligentsia of the political consultants and think tanks have developed a more political correct working model without the STIGMA of the past methods attempted. The end result of the GOAL still remains the same. Which is Separate and UNEQUAL!

However, this more updated politically correct model does have some casualties that
must be accepted. Those casualties are considered to be at an acceptable level and must be sacrificed in order to achieve the overriding GOAL!

The idea of having the children of Georgia “All mixed” up together and sharing classrooms across Georgia. is just, unacceptable on All levels! !! That kind of thinking Has always been the working mindset.

A State Wide Charter school plan will ONLY benefit the children of the LUCKY GENE POOL Club. They will ultimately be the beneficiaries of this ill conceived plan. All of the others..well, they can just go and work for Chick-Fil-A!

friday night dumps

August 17th, 2012
6:10 pm

Nice, tax dump on Friday, Ryan…

Long Time Teacher

August 17th, 2012
6:20 pm

When I first moved to Georgia, a wise friend told me, “It’s always about race.” How right she is. Georgians have separation and prejudice in their blood. The public schools make all races, religions, and economic standings intermingle. Some Southerners cannot stand this.

The United States of America has this great process called “voting”. All of us need to get out and vote for every election. If we don’t like the governor or legislators, we need to vote them out of office. It is okay to not vote Republican. It is not a sin as some would have you believe. Vote to get the results that you are looking for. The power is in the vote.

Trip

August 17th, 2012
6:28 pm

The anti-corporate types seem to not understand that Charter does not equal for profit school under this plan. If a group of parents want to start a charter school and have it focus on art, for instance, they could do this without having to go before the local school board. Especially if the local school board had philosophical problems with charter schools.

Attack Dog

August 17th, 2012
6:30 pm

Charter school, vouchers, and tax credits for private schools are nothing but a con game. It really doesn’t matter what kind of school you have in White County, the students will still score low on any standardized exam. Besides, the State didn’t lower the bar for school ratings just because of APS and DPS.

Beverly Fraud

August 17th, 2012
6:32 pm

“Who is against this referendum? Georgia school boards Association, Georgia State Superintendents Association,

Yes the people who named Beverly Hall the Superintendent of the Year, and to this day STILL honor her as the Superintendent of the Year (have you rescinded the award Herb Garrett and co?) want us to trust them.

FSO. Failed Status Quo.

Trip

August 17th, 2012
6:33 pm

We need to set up a system like they have in some European countries where the money follows the child. Each child gets a set amount from the government for each school year. If you want to go to the local public school, so be it. If you want to go to a more expensive private school the parents would be responsible for making up the difference or applying for a scholarship. We need competition not local school board monopolies.

td

August 17th, 2012
6:37 pm

Decatur Joe

August 17th, 2012
4:40 pm

You missed the whole point. I am in agreement with Dr. Barge and neither of us do not support Charter schools. This Constitutional amendment is opposite of traditional conservative values. It advocates establishing a third level of bureaucracy that is unaccountable to the voters. It wants to override the wishes of the local elected representatives and override the authority of the statewide elected education chief and the State Board of education appointed by the governor from each of the congressional districts.

Now tell me again which sounds more like the Political Bureau of the Central Committee.

Bernie

August 17th, 2012
7:27 pm

This is bad legislation. No doubt Representative Lindsey is a fan of American’s For Prosperity’s educational reform arm called “Making The Grade – Georgia” which promotes corporate takeover of the public school system in this country – one school district at a time. For those who don’t know AFP – it is funded by the Koch Brothers and is a faux “grassroots” organization. Tea Party anyone?
This is part of a multipronged and well funded attack on public schools from the right. If you need proof, look at the legislation that Mr. Barge disagrees with – it is ALEC penned policy – and is almost identical to what is being passed or proposed in states across the country. For those not paying attention – this is well coordinated and well funded. The motivation? There is BIG money to be made in privatizing education – another way to drain taxpayer money into the hands of the uber-wealthy who are constantly looking for a way to ream the government. They are addicted to the government teat – and they have a huge appetite (Want to compare poor people relying on the government? What a laughable comparison!) which is why they pay such big money to elect their cronies who allow them the best access to said teat.
I for one am absolutely sick of the attempt to privatize our government at every turn. For those in favor of privatization (corporatocracy) I say open your eyes. Whenever you privatize you lose the ability of the governmental oversight – leaving the fox in charge of the henhouse.
Don’t trust your government? Think private companies can do better? You’d better be even more wary of those whose motive is profit. That rarely benefits the masses. Welcome to the new age of the robber barons – brought to the American people by those who support Republicans like Representative Lindsey.

Bernie

August 17th, 2012
7:31 pm

Bernie @7:27 pm – This comment is not from the ” ORIGINAL BERNIE” prior to time stamp 7:27 pm pm…seems that a Nerve has BEEN TOUCHED from someone very POWERFUL!………..OUCH!

Bernie

August 17th, 2012
7:39 pm

Bernie @ 7:27 pm – The original Bernie would never , ever, ever, ever use the following terms FAUX, grassroots, multipronged, penned, Big Money,ream,Teat, henhouse,privatization, masses, and certainly not corporatoracy, and especially robber barons and never mentioning of the KOCH Brothers for they are not worth the effort!……..This Bernie individual surely lives and works NORTH OF ATLANTA and the complexion is very PALE hue! and probably from the TEA PARTY STRAIN! LOL! :)

Bernie

August 17th, 2012
7:53 pm

comment from Bernie @ 5:24pm, In days not too long ago in Georgia History, when a nerve was touched of the Wealthy, POWERFUL and Politically Connected, one would expect a visit from the BOYS in Sheets carrying “HOMEMADE” fireworks.
This “THE REAL GEORGIA , that we ALL know and LOVE!” :)

Bernie

August 17th, 2012
8:06 pm

comment from Bernie @ 5:24pm – All should go and take a gander at Kyles Wingfield’s blog, the subject matter has recently change to defend this topic. You will quickly find that he has a very good pair of KNEE PADS and ELBOW PADS on.

friday night dumps

August 17th, 2012
9:02 pm

me thinks the two bernies’ were separated at birth.

Oldman45

August 17th, 2012
10:14 pm

If you don’t agree completely with the charter school community then they want to throw you away, talk about you bad, and send you nasty emails. Like Superintendent Barge I believe in charter schools, I was actively involved in creating a charter school in my own county…but I absolutely oppose the charter school amendment because it takes away local control…and there is no way I want a bunch of bureaucrats from Atlanta telling us what to do in my hometown…especially when most of these charter schools are run by for-profit companies that are up to their eyeballs in lobbyists who are lining the campaign accounts of those supporting this amendment! Rep. Lindsey, you take care of your folks in Buckhead, we’ll take care of our own.

Tom McMahan

August 17th, 2012
10:25 pm

Funny how when people list organizations who are against this amendment, its all educators, or, in other words, people who actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to education.

And when the list roles around to those who support it, its full of groups who….aren’t….

yuzeyurbrane

August 17th, 2012
11:35 pm

Is there a brave prosecutor willing to convene a grand jury to investigate the wholesale corruption that most certainly looms here? If there was I bet Lindsey, Deal, and this whole corrupt cabal would be sweating serious jail time.

Really we are 49th In Nation?

August 17th, 2012
11:51 pm

Do they really “KNOW” what they are talking about Tom and all of you that are so supportive of our current 49th in the nation education system? The education system in Georgia is in complete failure mode and everyone seems to keep drinking the same kool-aid trusting those in charge of local school districts. I just don’t understand it. Fulton county shut down the top middle school in the state in June. Dr. Avossa and his buddies at AJC will tell you it was merited and try to paint an ugly picture of the school. Fact is #1 Middle School in state, National Blue Ribbon School is no longer open to the public. It now cost $8,500 to attend. Shame on you Fulton county and the bullies on the board of education! Metro area superintendents are getting paid $450,000! Am I the only person that is disgusted by this? This is not a republican/democrat issue people! This is about my children and the children of Georgia. Sorry, but I am done trusting anyone involved with the current school system.

Decatur Joe

August 18th, 2012
12:43 am

@TD, here are reasons why we need education reform, something we will not see from within. I am sorry if your narrow red curtain brain can not absorb these statistics.

http://www.tc.columbia.edu/i/a/3082_socialcostsofinadequateeducation.pdf

U.S. school systems have low expectations for American students.
American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science compared to students in 30 industrialized countries.
America’s top math students rank 25th out of 30 countries when compared with top students elsewhere in the world. [1]
By the end of 8th grade, U.S. students are two years behind in the math being studied by peers in other countries. [2]
Seventy percent of 8th graders can’t read at their grade level, and most will never
catch up.
Too many students drop out.
More than 1.2 million students drop out of school every year. That’s more than
6,000 students every school day and one every 26 seconds. [3]
The national high school graduation rate is only 70 percent, with states ranging
from a high of 84 percent in Utah to a low of 54 percent in South Carolina. [4]
Graduation rates are much lower for minority students. Only about half of the nation’s African-American and Latino students graduate on time from
high school. [5]
Dropping out has dire consequences for the dropout…
The poverty rate for families headed by dropouts is more than twice that of
families headed by high school graduates. [6]
Nearly 44 percent of dropouts under age 24 are jobless, and the unemployment
rate of high school dropouts older than 25 is more than three times that of college graduates. [7]
Over a lifetime, dropouts earn $260,000 less than high school graduates. [8]
The health of an 18-year-old high school dropout is similar to that of a more educated person over two decades older. [9]
…and for society.
Dropouts from the class of 2007 will cost our nation more than $300 billion in lost
wages, lost taxes and lost productivity.
Dropouts contribute about $60,000 less in federal and state income taxes. Each cohort of dropouts costs the U.S. $192 billion in lost income and taxes. [10]
Sixty five percent of U.S. convicts are dropouts and lack of education is one of the strongest predictors of criminal activity.
A dropout is more than eight times as likely to be in jail or prison as a high school graduate and nearly 20 times as likely as a college graduate. [11]
For each additional year of schooling, the odds that a student will someday
commit a crime like murder or assault are reduced by almost one-third. [12]
Each year, the U.S. spends $9,644 per student compared to $22,600 per prison inmate. [13]
Increasing the high school completion rate by just one percent for all men ages
20 to 60 would save the U.S. up to $1.4 billion per year in reduced costs from
crime. [14]