Archive for the ‘charter schools’ Category

A woodshed season for John Barge

State Superintendent John Barge consults with a staffer following a hearing before a joint meeting of the House and Senate budget committees. Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com

State Superintendent John Barge consults with a staffer following a hearing before a joint meeting of the House and Senate budget committees. Jason Getz/jgetz@ajc.com

A season of punishment has begun for state School Superintendent John Barge – payback for his opposition to last year’s ballot measure restoring the state’s power to create charter schools throughout Georgia.

But at the state Capitol, the first rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club. Those throwing the punches don’t want to appear vindictive. Those on the receiving end know that things could get ever so much worse.

This week, it was Barge’s duty to go before state lawmakers to explain educational spending in Gov. Nathan Deal’s $19.8 billion proposed budget for next year. Unless you had the document in front of you, you would never have known that Deal had shrunk Barge’s central office budget from $87 million to $27 million.

The governor had really, really liked that charter school measure.

But …

Continue reading A woodshed season for John Barge »

Your daily jolt: How Obama pushed Georgia’s charter school measure to victory

I need to listen to more V-103.

This is in the way of a small confession. One of the few surprises in Georgia ballot tallies on Tuesday was the startling support given by African-American voters to Amendment One, the measure to permit the state to create a commission that will directly license charter schools.

This despite a very loud continent of black lawmakers, not to mention the state Democratic party and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who declared the proposed constitutional amendment would result in the resegregation of public schools.

What I didn’t know – and neglected to discover until Wednesday — was that these voices were being drowned out by the biggest name in black politics: President Barack Obama.

Two Democratic strategists – one of them Cabral Franklin, son of the former mayor of Atlanta – created this 60-second radio spot that aired exclusively on radio stations with African-American audiences:

The script:

Obama: “I call on states to reform their charter rules…When I …

Continue reading Your daily jolt: How Obama pushed Georgia’s charter school measure to victory »

Your daily jolt: Republicans absorb Tuesday’s lessons

The message from last night: The dynamics of Georgia politics haven’t changed much in four years. Republican Mitt Romney on Tuesday won this state (53.4 percent) by nearly the same margin as John McCain (52 percent) in 2008.

Here’s the county-by-county map of last night’s returns.

In fact, with the exception of D.C.-infected Virginia, Republicans won every state in the Old Confederacy, and a few border concerns besides. But 206 electoral votes won’t win you a presidency. Elsewhere, the GOP clearly needs to recalculate its audience and its message.

Republicans had bet the demographic changes measured in countless surveys and the 2010 census wouldn’t show up at the polls. They were wrong. The quick and simple from the Associated Press:

In exit polling Tuesday, voters mirrored the voting public’s makeup of four years ago, when Obama shattered minority voting barriers and drove young voters to the polls unlike any candidate in generations.

White voters made up 72 percent of the …

Continue reading Your daily jolt: Republicans absorb Tuesday’s lessons »

Charter school measure wins, but the fight has just begun

Perhaps you thought that trip to the polls would settle the struggle for control over your kid’s education – the one waged between the public school establishment and the ladies and gentlemen who inhabit the state Capitol.

Not a chance.

The ballot issue to reaffirm the state’s authority to license charter schools, even over the objection of local school systems, enjoyed easy passage on Tuesday, confirming a new path for privatized education in Georgia.

But consider that vote a mere first volley. The next chapter, already being written, will be a vast melodrama with elements of revenge, naked assertions of power and – perhaps – some consideration of what’s best for more than 1.6 million kids who answer the bell each day.

Legislation is now being crafted to reduce the clout of Georgia’s 180 local school boards by making it easier for parents to seize control of individual schools.

And there’s the question of whether state School Superintendent John Barge, who bucked much of the …

Continue reading Charter school measure wins, but the fight has just begun »

Your daily jolt: Signs that John Barrow might survive

If U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, has a little bounce to his step this morning, it could be that some number-crunchers have given him some hope that today may not mark the end of his congressional career.

As newly redrawn, the 12th District in east-by-southeast Georgia has an overall African-American population of perhaps 32 percent. Republicans have been calculating that a slightly depressed black vote, 30 percent or lower, might spell doom for the last white Democrat from the Deep South – and send GOP state lawmaker Lee Anderson to Washington.

Advance ballot stats place African-American participation in the 12 District contest at 36 percent, thanks to President Barack Obama’s name at the topic of the ticket, and a Richmond County sheriff’s race.

Statewide, African-Americans cast 34 percent of Georgia’s early ballots.

***
Never mind that joke that caused such a fuss last week. We’ve gotten word that the Rev. Joseph Lowery, one of Barack Obama’s frontier supporters in 2008, …

Continue reading Your daily jolt: Signs that John Barrow might survive »

Tea party rift shows up in charter school fight

The tea party rift over Amendment One, the ballot issue on charter schools, has broken into the open.

To counter an appearance last week at an opposition rally by a member of Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, a top leader in FreedomWorks – a financier of the tea party movement – over the weekend endorsed the measure, which would reaffirm the state’s authority to create a charter schools over local opposition.

From Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns for the organization:

Continue reading Tea party rift shows up in charter school fight »

Joe Lowery and the history of a joke that failed

We are in a strange place when, days from a vote to pick an American president and – in Georgia – settle a statewide dispute over charter schools, political discourse is focused on a 91-year-old man attempting to explain a 50-year-old joke.

But that’s where a host of journalists and the Rev. Joseph Lowery had gathered on Friday, in a downtown Atlanta office building at the corner of Auburn Avenue and Absurd Street.

By definition, a dissected joke is a failed joke– no matter how reliable its service might have been in the past. The elder of the Civil Rights era knows this. Throughout his long life, he’s been something of a cut-up.

“I’ll say something at the beginning to relax people and cut through whatever hostility or apprehension there might be,” said Lowery, whose middle years at the height of the movement were fraught with hostility and apprehension.

This was the fellow who helped lead the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott in the ‘50s. He and Martin Luther King founded the …

Continue reading Joe Lowery and the history of a joke that failed »

What a sharp-tongued Joe Lowery said over the weekend

Updated with new video at 2:55 p.m.: We told you last night about the radio ads put out by an anti-Amendment One group, declaring that Tuesday’s ballot issue on charter schools was an effort to recreate an educational system that separates black and white students.

Several of the 60-second spots featured the Rev. Joseph Lowery, the 91-year-old civil rights figure. “Don’t let them resegregate our schools,” Lowery says in the ads.

As it turns out, the sharp-tongued Lowery was already an Internet topic on Wednesday – but not for dipping into the charter school debate. Rather, it was for comments made over the weekend in Monroe County, as part of a Southern Christian Leadership Conference trek across the state to encourage support for President Barack Obama.

Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young was there, too. But it was Lowery — the same fellow who gave the benediction at Obama’s 2009 inauguration — who raised eyebrows. Lowery says he’s being pilloried for a joke about white folk …

Continue reading What a sharp-tongued Joe Lowery said over the weekend »

Joseph Lowery in radio ads: ‘Don’t let them resegregate our schools’

Opponents of Tuesday’s charter school ballot question this afternoon unveiled a series of four racially provocative, 60-second radio spots aimed at African-American audiences across the state.

Three of the radio ads include this plea from the 91-year-old Rev. Joseph Lowery, the legendary civil rights figure: “Don’t let them resegregate our schools.”

In case that message didn’t penetrate, the opposition group — Vote Smart! No to State-Controlled Schools — labeled one of the spots “Plessy” and another “Ferguson.” Plessy v. Ferguson was the 1896 U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized segregated public facilities in the South and ushered in the Jim Crow era.

It’s important to note that the charter school measure, which would reaffirm state authority to create charter schools over the objections of local systems, has significant support among African-Americans, according to polls – who figure heavily in pro-Amendment One advertising.

Listen to “Plessy” here:

The script:

Female …

Continue reading Joseph Lowery in radio ads: ‘Don’t let them resegregate our schools’ »

Your daily jolt: Amendment One opponents scrape together cash for a TV ad

Opponents of Amendment One, the ballot issue to reinforce the state’s power to establish charter schools, have scraped up enough cash — $40,000, they say – to launch a low-budget TV campaign:

The ad features Donna Kosicki, president of the Georgia Parent Teachers Association, state School Superintendent John Barge (indirectly), and Valarie Wilson, president of the Georgia School Board Association.

The spot is seeing limited air-time in metro Atlanta and Columbus, said state Sen. Emanuel Jones, D-Decatur. “We’re hoping we can raise some more funds so we can really put it out over the state.”

Last week, the lead proponent organization for the charter school measure, Families for Better Public Schools, reported raising $1.2 million, much of it in high-dollar contributions. Vote Smart! No to State-Controlled Schools reported raising $18,164.

Jones, who is currently chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, has emerged as the political leader of Amendment One opponents. “Because …

Continue reading Your daily jolt: Amendment One opponents scrape together cash for a TV ad »