Gov. Nathan Deal put in a plug for November’s charter school amendment Thursday, saying state-approved charter schools “have their place.”
“In many parts of our state, students are stuck in schools that are failing … in schools that are not making adequate yearly progress,” Deal told members of the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce.
The success of the all-girls Ivy Prep is proving “that even in high performing systems such as Gwinnett, these state-approved charter schools have their place,” Deal said.
Now, a governor speaking up for his own cause is nothing unusual. But the venue was important. Earlier this month, Jim Maran, president and CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, sent out invitations for a Sept. 5 fund-raiser – to build cash for a campaign in opposition to the charter school amendment.
From the invitation:
The Gwinnett Chamber holds the fundamental view that decisions about education should be made at the local level where there is direct accountability for funding and governance. The proposed Constitutional amendment, called for in HR 1162, would significantly erode local taxpayers’ control over decisions that impact our students, our schools, and our community. The amendment has the potential to severely harm Gwinnett’s and Georgia’s locally managed public school systems. It is vital that we understand what the proposed amendment could really mean to our community.
I understand that the Gwinnett County Board of Education, which also opposes the governor’s measure, makes annual (and relatively large) contributions to the Gwinnett Chamber.
But remember also that Brandon Beach, who unsuccessfully challenged Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers in the July primary, is also against the charter amendment – and is president and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce. I would expect his organization stands in opposition as well.
So what we have here is an interesting split in the business community. Because the larger Georgia Chamber of Commerce is backing the governor on this.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider