'The civil rights issue of our day'

Why are state, local PTAs so sour on charter schools?

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This is not your parents’ PTA.

It used to be that the Parent-Teacher Association would advocate for kids and their schools, often helping fill various needs where possible.

Today, at least in Augusta and Georgia, the PTA appears to have become co-opted by the public school bureaucracy.

The state and local PTA chapters have come out foursquare against a proposed constitutional amendment on Georgia’s ballot this November that would allow the state to approve new charter schools that local school districts reject.

You would think the state would already have that ability, since education is a state responsibility. But the Georgia Supreme Court ruled otherwise. So the legislature put the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

Those of us who believe school choice is about basic freedom and equal opportunity – rich people already have it; it’s time to provide it to the disadvantaged – were cheering wildly when former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in her speech at the Republican National Convention:

“We need to give parents greater choice, particularly poor parents whose kids, very often minorities, are trapped in failing neighborhood schools. This is the civil rights issue of our day.”

Absolutely!

Yet, the Augusta and Georgia PTA organizations think it’s more important to protect the public school bureaucracy than to advocate for children and parents – even to advocate for freedom and opportunity.

Interestingly, their odd political ploy has gotten them in hot water with the national PTA organization, and for good reason: The national PTA recently made clear, according to a recent Education Week article, that it “supports giving entities other than local school boards the right to approve charter schools.”

The local and state chapters’ opposition to the Georgia charter plan is disingenuous, at best. They claim to lament the loss of local control. But the fact is, there isn’t anything much more local than a charter school – which is nothing more than a public school that is allowed to deviate in many ways from government mandate. It gives parents and teachers more control.

You’d think an organization with “Parent-Teacher” in its name would go for that. And, indeed, the national organization does.

Writes Education Week:

“Adam Emerson, the director of the program on parental choice at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a pro-charter organization in Washington, said the National PTA’s change in policy is significant and could help dispel the long-standing criticism that the organization’s positions are too closely aligned with teachers’ unions – or that they ‘focus a lot more on the ‘T’ than on the ‘P’ in the name,’ as he put it.”

Liberal commentator Juan Williams has joined the conservative Condoleezza Rice in calling school choice the civil rights issue of our time.

But fighting for civil rights is never easy.

Especially when people who should be fighting beside you are on the other side.

Comments (21) Add comment
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Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/14/12 - 10:37 pm
9
1
PTAs are good for one thing:

PTAs are good for one thing: Bake sales.

Take away the bake sales and today's PTAs are nothing more than pawns of the school system.

Little Lamb
48027
Points
Little Lamb 09/14/12 - 10:44 pm
7
1
Bake Sales

I think Insider Information is correct.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/15/12 - 03:20 am
2
6
96% of the funds for the

96% of the funds for the group pushing the amendment have come from out of state. It's interesting that so many peope from out of state care what's in Georgia's Constitution. There couldn't be a profit motive there could it? Since most of the recent amendments have been for giveaways to special interests, there just might be.

Riverman1
90823
Points
Riverman1 09/15/12 - 03:26 am
8
0
Runaway PTA

Wouldn't it be great if a school had a runaway PTA that demanded actions, results and more control of the school? That would shock educrats like they had mistakenly walked in the kids' bathroom.

shrimp for breakfast
5503
Points
shrimp for breakfast 09/15/12 - 03:41 am
6
1
Testing

We spend so much time trying to see how much the kids are learning that there's no time left to teach the children.
No child left behind?
Sorry but some children need to be left behind!

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/15/12 - 04:21 am
4
5
$25,000 from J.C. Huizenga

$25,000 from J.C. Huizenga from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Executive of the Huizenga Group. Now why would a guy who runs a tool and die manufacturing corporation from Michigan care about this amendment? Oh, he also owns National Heritage Academies, a for profit charter school corporation, from which he gave another $25,000. No special interests there.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/15/12 - 04:23 am
4
5
$100,000 from K12, Inc., a

$100,000 from K12, Inc., a for profit provider of online schools. No special interests there.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/15/12 - 04:25 am
4
4
$50,000 from Charter Schools

$50,000 from Charter Schools USA, a for profit charter school management company. No special interests there.

Riverman1
90823
Points
Riverman1 09/15/12 - 04:59 am
4
3
Profit is a bad thing? I

Profit is a bad thing? I suggest it creates a better product.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/15/12 - 05:24 am
3
4
Since research shows that

Since research shows that charter schools do no better than public schools, that doesn't seem to be the case. What it does show is that private corporations are dying to get their hands on taxpayer funds, with the added benefit of defunding public schools. It insures a never ending supply of minimum wage no benefit workers. That way the CEO get to have a $100 million dollar paycheck instead of only $90 million. That why Alice Walton dropped a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS to be sure it passes. They need poorly paid cashiers and stockers at WalMart.

Riverman1
90823
Points
Riverman1 09/15/12 - 06:12 am
3
2
If Obama likes them, maybe I'm wrong...ha

"President Obama has declared his strong support for charter school investments. In fact, President Obama has even allocated a large sum of stimulus money towards the enhancement of charter schools across the country."

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/15/12 - 06:43 am
2
3
Maybe magnet schools withing

Maybe magnet schools withing the public school system. Not for profit schools.

americafirst
966
Points
americafirst 09/15/12 - 07:53 am
5
2
minimum wage no benefit workers

Hey Techfan, isn't that mostly what our wonderful public schools create now?

allhans
24550
Points
allhans 09/15/12 - 08:08 am
2
1
Not for profit institutions

Not for profit institutions have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. Does that mean a so-so educational system? Perhaps.

dichotomy
36340
Points
dichotomy 09/15/12 - 08:33 am
2
3
Techfan

Geez Techfan.....maybe you should have another swig of Kool Aid. You are apparently "off message" this morning.

"While the debate between charter and public school programs continues to gain controversial attention, President Obama has declared his strong support for charter school investments. In fact, President Obama has even allocated a large sum of stimulus money towards the enhancement of charter schools across the country."

I think the benefit of charter schools, or lack thereof, is still open for debate. Some do very well while others seem to do about the same as public schools. I think the advantage of having charter schools available is that they AT LEAST PROVIDE SOME CHOICE, SOME ALTERNATIVE, SOME COMPETITION to poor performing public shcools.

"While recent reports seem to support the triumphs of public schools, a deeper assessment of various studies and statistics reveals that students who come from lower-income families and / or students who are English language learners revealed higher success and performance rates in charter schools than their public school counterparts."

http://tinyurl.com/73ucf3g

Riverman1
90823
Points
Riverman1 09/15/12 - 09:34 am
4
1
Bottom Line: Richmond Cty HAS to Try Something

That's how I look at it. Richmond Cty School System is the pits now and trying new things is not going to hurt a doggone thing. Maybe it will help.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/15/12 - 11:02 am
3
1
@ techfan

Hmmm..... So these for-profit charter schools are making money? That is a good thing.

Parents choose to send their kids there, so the schools must be doing something right. If parents weren't happy, the for-profit schools would go out of business.

Compare that with our traditional public schools. Parents aren't happy? Too bad. Your kids aren't learning? Too bad. Want to switch schools? Too bad.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 09/15/12 - 02:17 pm
1
0
Even advocates acknowledge a

Even advocates acknowledge a "yes" vote on the proposed amendment is "no silver bullet" guaranteeing more effective schools. In some cases, though, it will give students and parents more choice in their educations and could even add a little bit of competition in the current monopolistic system. Effective schools needn't fear such a thing; the "panic" seen in various bureaucracies is probably a good indicator of "problem schools."

Little Lamb
48027
Points
Little Lamb 09/15/12 - 03:05 pm
2
0
No Guarantees

This amendment is no sure thing. We don't know where it will lead. But in the end, I think I'll vote yes because more freedom of choice is better than no choice but bureaucratic public school systems.

CobaltGeorge
170656
Points
CobaltGeorge 09/15/12 - 06:20 pm
1
2
No Brainier,

Send your Loved Ones to a Private school!

and nobody better say they can't afford it.....it may take away some of the unnecessary goodies that you have now, but in the long run, having a child you can be proud of will make up for the lost.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 09/17/12 - 02:31 pm
0
0
None of the Above

Charter schools are a logical response to the absolute failure of the public schools over the last 40 years. The rich have always had a choice; private schools. Charter schools as currently defined may not be the very best solution, but they are an option. An alternative to a system of utterly failed, buracratically strangled, incompetent public schools. Caring parents, who cannot afford private schools, are desperate for a way to help their children. Charter schools are the only alternative they have. All you whining nay sayers, need to stop bitching and come up with a better solution or get out of the way.

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