Despite the rhetoric, state Amendment 1 in the November election, regarding charter schools, does not authorize parental involvement, choice, certified teachers, better academic performance or a beautiful school with preppy uniforms. Those same parents frustrated with currently underfunded public schools will find themselves facing charter schools that locate where they can make money, and staff them with personnel who may or may not be trained to teach, nor required to teach any specific curriculum.
Charter schools do not have to follow mandates for qualified teachers or a required curriculum. A charter school graduate may be forced to start at a junior college, taking lower-level classes, because the charter school did not give a child his foreign language, his third-year math or his fourth-year science.
Amendment 1 is phrased so that a “yes” vote sounds like a great thing for children. It is not. Unless you vote “no,” you are diverting currently stretched-thin public school funds for our students to go to a school that a small, Atlanta-based, appointed group sees fit to approve with no local say-so. Unless you vote “no,” the governor can appoint people to decide which schools get approved, and where these schools get approved. Communities and parents get no rebuttal.
There already is a procedure in place that allows charter schools with legitimate ideals, goals, governance and funding to apply to the local boards for approval. There already is an appeals procedure in place for those same charter schools to seek higher approval.
The funding needed for these new schools comes from our taxes. The needed state funding will come out of the taxes you pay for public schools, cutting our public school money even more. If there isn’t enough state money, (public school funding already has been cut drastically), our property taxes will certainly go up. This affects all of us.