Feeling Manipulated About Charter Schools? There's a Reason for That

Don't be fooled by outside interests looking to hijack the Charter school amendment. You will get upset, and then apply that anger towards other important issues. And that's exactly what they want.

Up for grabs is one constitutional amendment which basically brings two bills into action:

  1. Authorize the state to approve new charter school charters (and not just appeals).
  2. Specify alternate (non QBE) funding levels for state charter schools.


That's it.  

What is not up for grabs…

  1. Vouchers (using county tax $ to fund state charters & private schools)
    • Lots of $$ and forces well trenched on both sides of this argument.
  2. A specified increase or decrease in charter school funding and approval.
    • Sometimes billed as a "blank check for new charters", but the reality is that here is only so much $$ to go around – and Gov. Deal has other priorities he must fund, like healthcare & transportation).. (But not ethics – let’s be clear)
  3. Increase school performance measures, parental involvement, technical alternatives to college, or other meaningful changes.


Now, most of the vitriol and baggage comes from two events:

  1. A Supreme Court ruling saying the State doesn't have the authority to approve new charter school applications.  (They can only weigh in on appeals.)  That should be left to the "level of government closest and most responsive to the taxpayers"
  2. A cut of 12.5 percent in state funding of K-12 Schools between FY09 and FY12. 


So, to me, I do not consider the charter school amendment an election issue, because then you lose sight of how the BOE spends its money on such items as lobbying, technology, business development, central office expenses, all of which lead to more furlough days, shorter school years, and group think.

This amendment would give the DOE the authority to evaluate new charter school charters, and it would put pressure on the local school boards to incorporate charter schools into their capacity planning, curriculum planning, discipline measures, and data to measure their performance against. Also, there are already protections for only Georgia based not for profit management companies, so the bigger conspiracy is still only with those manipulating the issue.

We really need to be focusing on the BOE races, rather be distracted by this issue which has been perverted by non-Georgian interests.

On a side note, I wouldn't have had the point of view that I have if there weren't people like Elizabeth Hooper championing the voice of the "little guy" and trying to cut through the spin, hype, and agendas.  Although I think we've reached different conclusions, my hat is off to you.

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R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew September 20, 2012 at 03:53 AM
I too wonder why our school system had to be party to a lawsuit to stop the state leaders from overstepping their station in creating a program that violated the State Constitution... Now those same state leaders are back, telling us that this amendment will result in or restore freedom of choice. But I can't quite trust their statements as much as I might care to because they define real life tax increases as "tax cuts" as late as 2012. These same folks haven't had a great record funding education as it stands now but found funds for the Go Fish! center and many other items from somewhere ... You can be for school choice, you can even be for privatization of the system, but this amendment may not be best vehicle to achieve that goal. The fiscal controls to ensure counties/cities get what they are forced to pay for aren't there yet (call it taxpayer protection plan after the sale). We are told they will come AFTER the amendment passes... We always hear a little is better than none, but that thinking has put us where we are now. We have a hard enough time getting county school leaders to explain funding to the chamber with county tax dollars. Just imagine getting that information from a state board with NO elected officials involved, a quote from the movie Taken comes to mind, "GOOD LUCK" click, static, nothing...
Marne M September 20, 2012 at 11:09 AM
This was a really difficult issue for me. On the one hand, I strongly support school choice. I want all parents and children to be able to have a range of options, so that they can decide (in conjunction with teachers and administrators) what is the best learning environment and style for their child. If that means that Charter schools are competing for funds, so be it. On the other hand, I also believe very adamantly in keeping local decisions local. If Charter schools are the best option for Barrow County, then we empower our school board to make that decision. If we don't like the decisions the local school board is making, then we replace the members of the board. In this case, I'm favoring local control. I think that it is up to me and the other parents in Barrow County to decide what is best for our children, and for our school board to decide how to allocate the funds, as they are elected to do. If I think they aren't doing their job, then I'll advocate against them in the next election. I don't believe that any state-level official is going to have the same understanding and grasp of those issues unique to Barrow County (or whatever County in which you happen to live) that a local official would have, and there is a better chance of my voice being heard at the smaller level of government.
Larry Reid September 20, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Cha Ching! Shake it up!
Athens Mama September 21, 2012 at 01:18 AM
@John B - I went back and read through those posts listed under your moniker. ?? I couldn't find that to which you refer, unless it was about Monica Lewinsky. We disagreed about Herman Cain and Clinton, but I didn't see any malice from me. I can get very opinionated about education, but that's because I need people to listen to my perspective, not always believe or embrace it.


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