Don't deny school choice

Amendment gives parents more control over their kids' schools

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It is appalling, and quite possibly illegal, how the public education establishment has fought to prevent Georgians from having more educational choices for their children.

The Nov. 6 election includes a constitutional amendment allowing the state to approve charter schools – which are public schools that are given special freedoms from the public education bureaucracy, including an ability to offer specialized curricula.

Charter schools are a beautiful public-private partnership that drives the public education bureaucracy crazy. In fact, that’s precisely why the amendment is needed: When parents and educators want to form charter schools, local school boards often block them. They simply don’t want to lose control over your child’s education.

As a result, it’s alleged that local school boards, their state association, teachers and even Parent-Teacher Associations have campaigned against the amendment. They don’t want parents and students freed from the public education monopoly.

Indeed, the Richmond County Board of Education approved an anti-charter resolution last February, and might have again this week – except that Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens last week warned school officials statewide not to use public resources to campaign for or against the amendment.

“Local school boards do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters,” Olens wrote them in a letter. “They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong ...”

How sad that educators would be so virulently anti-school choice, particularly since it’s mostly middle- and lower-income citizens who are denied such freedom. Rich folks already have school choice. We’re just trying to free the rest.

Don’t believe the scare tactics. School choice is a good thing, increasingly called America’s “civil rights movement of the 21st century.”

Moreover, the Richmond County board’s resolution of February was wholly disingenuous when it referred to “the lack of support for public education” by those in favor of state-run charters. Charter schools are public schools!

We urge you to vote for freedom by voting “yes” on the amendment, listed as Amendment 1 on your ballot.

In the meantime, it’s illegal for school officials to be using taxpayer resources to oppose the amendment.

We think it’s unconscionable that the educational bureaucracy would try to deny Georgians school choice – or use your tax money to do it.

It should tell you all you need to know about how to vote on the amendment.

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willie7
1000
Points
willie7 10/11/12 - 10:23 pm
4
6
The research shows that that
Unpublished

The research shows that that there are some good charter scools and some poor ones. Also ,there has been a lot of fraud with some . I am for charter schools operated by the local school board but against those operated by for- profit companies.
I am voting a big ole NO!

Young Fred
18262
Points
Young Fred 10/11/12 - 11:32 pm
7
4
The research shows that there

The research shows that there are good public schools, and many poor ones. And many, many, barely adequate ones. Also, there's been a lot of fraud with some. I am for charter schools operated by, (get ready for this) an orientation towards results and input by parents, but against those operated by the same old status quo bureaucrats.
I am voting a big ole YES!

Little Lamb
47288
Points
Little Lamb 10/12/12 - 12:43 am
8
3
Research

Willie7 posted:

The research shows that that there are some good charter scools and some poor ones.

Well, the same can be said for zoned public schools — some good, some poor. But the notion behind charter schools is that parents might have some sliver of hope in choosing to select a school better than their zoned school. If it doesn't turn out to be better, they can withdraw. Choice is better than no choice. Give these parents and students a chance. Vote yes.

Riverman1
87593
Points
Riverman1 10/12/12 - 06:15 am
9
3
In some school systems, something else has to be tried

In some school systems, something else has to be tried.

I completely agree with the Georgia Attorney General that school boards have no business politicking in this matter of a vote for a constitutional amendment. I can't believe Columbia and Richmond Counties BOEs so stupidly involved themselves in opposing the amendment. If anyone didn't realize those actions were out of line they have no business being on a BOE.

seenitB4
91146
Points
seenitB4 10/12/12 - 07:33 am
8
4
Give the parents a choice

We lost control of local schools years ago....how is that working folks...put the control back in the hands of the parents.....they need a choice....vote yes..

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 10/12/12 - 08:24 am
4
5
Like many amendments to the

Like many amendments to the Ga Constitution (remember the no taxes for tree farmers and blueberry farmers), this is a giveaway of taxpayer funds to private companies. Why do you think that 96% of the funding for the "yes" vote came from out of state, and much from companies that run for profit schools? Private companies just love to suck up tax dollars. Be it the TEE center, the proposed baseball stadium, private schools, or the military industrial complex. Don't complain about taxes and then elect people and vote for plans that give them away to private companies.

harley_52
24053
Points
harley_52 10/12/12 - 08:36 am
8
4
This Issue Is...

....a perfect example of why today's democrat party is NOT the democrat party your grandfather knew. Time was when the democrat party was in favor of national defense, the family, believing in God, and a good education for children. Those days have long since past.

Teachers' Unions run the public school system these days and trillions of federal dollars have been spent dumbing down our public schools system in order to pay ludicrous salaries to union officials and school administrators along with benefits and a retirement system designed for royalty. Meanwhile, students who graduate from our public schools cannot compete with many other nations' graduates including those from some third world countries. American businesses cannot hire a trained and skilled work force here at home, so they're forced to hire foreign workers either here at home, or outside our borders.

The democrat party has RUINED our public education system and driven us near bankrupt in so doing. Charter schools are a good idea and a voucher system allowing parents to decide whether or not to send their schools to a union run, failed school is too.

Vote a big ol' "YES" on this issue and vote for a better future for your children and grandchildren.

Or, vote "no" to support the status quo, the unions, and a demonstrably failed system.

seenitB4
91146
Points
seenitB4 10/12/12 - 08:49 am
6
3
How

How can anyone look at our school system & say it is working...& this has nothing to do with the T center....
Check clayton county & their out of control school board.....crazy & mind bending decisions.....people are leaving the county because of the crazy antics.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 10/12/12 - 09:11 am
4
7
I am voting no.State ran
Unpublished

I am voting no.

Fiat_Lux
15994
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/12/12 - 11:48 am
4
1
It is so discouraging

that all the gains supposedly made from the federal intervention or intrusion (depending on one's perspective) into public education mainly in the 60s and 70s essentially were for naught regarding huge swaths of the very population being targeted for educational assistance and elevation by all that intervention/intrusion. I, personally, applaud the advances that resulted -- if not necessarily the methods used. I especially esteem the people who saw their chance and took advantage of it to improve their lot and, especially, to radically improve the future for their children and grandchildren. That was something quite remarkable for the good, in the history of the world--despite the anger on either side of that issue back then or continuing to this day.

Nevertheless, that system ended up putting people into positions of power and authority who have no business being there. They do not have the greater good of all students at heart, but rather an agenda for transforming the values and morals of our nation through the brainwashing of our most impressionable citizens, and it is a captive audience.

If we hope to change our nation's direction with regard to level of civilization, ie, our values, morals and work ethic, we must wrest control of our children's education away from the people who do not share the values, morals and work ethic or a shrinking majority of Americans.

We must begin again to instill those traditional values and morals in ALL our children, to included especially the spirit of self-sacrifice that was the foundation of our nation and is its only protection today.

harley_52
24053
Points
harley_52 10/12/12 - 10:02 am
4
1
Not Only "Discouraging"..........

....the entirety of what was once called "the great society" has been an abject failure, in terms of its stated goals. Worse, the various programs billed as being a way to "help" the poor and disadvantaged have, in practice, been used as political tools to create, maintain, and broaden an underclass of uneducated, substance addicted, ignorant, unmotivated, unskilled people who are convinced the government owes them a livelihood and that successful people have become successful not by their own hard work, but rather by taking advantage of the poor and downtrodden.

Why does the democrat party put more and more people on food stamps? Why do they pay single mothers to remain single and produce more and more illegitimate children? Why do they pay to keep fathers away from their families? Why do they pay people to NOT work? Why do they stir up all the racial animosity and economic class rhetoric and hatred?

As someone in here has reminded us several times lately.....when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be sure you'll get Paul's vote. The democrats seek a society where most of the voting citizens are named "Paul" and all their programs are designed to make that happen.

dichotomy
34795
Points
dichotomy 10/12/12 - 10:30 am
5
3
This is pretty simple folks.

This is pretty simple folks. Our public schools have been failing for about 30 years now. Their only plan is to keep doing the same things and raise your taxes to pay themselves more. They DO NOT and have NEVER had a plan to better.

Maybe charter schools are not the salvation...but then again maybe they ARE. But they are the ONLY chance you have to get any choice in the education of your children and you will never know if you don't try. If they don't do any better you can put your kids back in public schools at any time.

THEY CANNOT POSSIBLY DO ANY WORSE THAN WHAT WE HAVE NOW.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 10/12/12 - 10:40 am
5
0
"Our public schools have been
Unpublished

"Our public schools have been failing for about 30 years now."

Society's morals has been on the decline for about 30+ years now.
A school system can only do but so much, considering the ills of modern society.

State ran facilities ARE NOT THE ANSWER.

We need to get back to the "family unit".

willie7
1000
Points
willie7 10/12/12 - 11:28 am
5
0
All public schools aren't
Unpublished

All public schools aren't failing. Some of the best schools in the state are public l.Many of the failing schools are in the inner cities where there are a lot of people in poverty.

Fiat_Lux
15994
Points
Fiat_Lux 10/12/12 - 12:01 pm
4
1
Poverty is NOT the problem

Fatherless families, rampant and celebrated illegitimacy, and an absence of moral formation is the problem. Young males are not being assimilated into society anymore, and they are forming gangs as a result. They are allowed access to the virtually all the privileges of marriage without ever having to step up to the plate as mature, committed providers.

Who is there to teach them what it means to be a good, strong man these days? Thirty years ago, boys often had grandfathers who were married to their grandmothers, but with so many generations of "The Great Society" under our belts, so to speak, there isn't even a cultural memory of married family life for several generations of untold numbers of America families.

This is an absolute abomination. As a nation, we have spit in the faces of every person who struggled, sacrificed and often enough, even died so that our nation could be free of despots who took our livelihoods and told us what we had to believe.

There is a day of reckoning coming for all this decay. Charter schools may be among of the relatively few decent, safe places when it arrives.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 10/12/12 - 12:57 pm
4
0
For goodness sakes GEORGIA DOES NOT HAVE TEACHER UNIONS!!!!

"Teachers' Unions run the public school system these days and trillions of federal dollars have been spent dumbing down our public schools system in order to pay ludicrous salaries to union officials and school administrators along with benefits and a retirement system designed for royalty."

Here are the facts:

As stated over and over on these boards GEORGIA DOES NOT HAVE TEACHER UNIONS.

Teacher salaries do not compare to someone in the private sector who has the same level of education in some cases less.

Administrators are making more money and doing less work.

"This is pretty simple folks. Our public schools have been failing for about 30 years now. Their only plan is to keep doing the same things and raise your taxes to pay themselves more. They DO NOT and have NEVER had a plan to better. "

"Society's morals has been on the decline for about 30+ years now.
A school system can only do but so much, considering the ills of modern society."

Amen Henry!

wordwright
134
Points
wordwright 10/12/12 - 01:09 pm
5
0
Vote No to Retain Local Control of your Schools

For those of you who say you want less government and more local control, you should vote No. This bill removes local control and places the it in the hands of a board of unelected officials, similar to the Board of Regents, who know nothing about the concerns of the local people. Now, we all know how the BOR has screwed Augusta, right?

Plus, this is duplication of policy that is ALREADY IN PLACE! Small government aficionados should not be in favor of this waste.

Public schools may not be the best, but they certainly won't get any better when the funds are cut from their budgets to fund these other for-profit schools. Everyone won't be able to go to the charter school. What if it's your kid or grandkid that has to stay in the public school?

Ask yourself--does it make any sense for a private for-profit business to run a school? They are not in business to lose money--so where does this profit come from? Out of your pocket, my friend. Out of the pockets of all the taxpayers. No business wants to underwrite a losing venture--what are they cutting to make a profit?

Not all charter schools are better. I have experience with graduates from some charter schools that weren't--you have been cautioned--think about this seriously. If the recent fiasco by the BOR and the advice of a person with experience with some of these students won't convince you of the folly of this venture, you deserve what you get.

Angie H
4300
Points
Angie H 10/12/12 - 01:32 pm
5
2
Techfan is right. We

Techfan is right. We shouldn't give taxpayer money to private companies in order to educated children, when it can be put toward a more nobel purpose like giving free cell phones to the poor.

Little Lamb
47288
Points
Little Lamb 10/12/12 - 02:53 pm
2
2
A Joe Biden Moment

wordwright posted:

This bill removes local control and places the it in the hands of a board of unelected officials, similar to the Board of Regents, who know nothing about the concerns of the local people.

Wrong. The state board that will be set up is merely to approve or disapprove the application for charter schools. Once the school is approved, it will be run by a local board of trustees, whose duty is to have the school follow the charter. In most cases, it will be parents of students in the charter school that are on the board of trustees. Charter schools are the most local-control you can get.

And don't forget, if the charter schools fails to live up to the expectations of a parent, all the parent has to do is withdraw the child from the charter school and go back to the zoned public school.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 10/12/12 - 02:58 pm
1
1
Fiat - There is a correlation
Unpublished

Fiat - There is a correlation between poverty and academic achievement.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 10/12/12 - 04:05 pm
3
1
Thumbs Up

..to Harley, dichotomy, and Fiat. I could not agree more!

dichotomy
34795
Points
dichotomy 10/12/12 - 04:29 pm
3
1
Saying there is a correlation

Saying there is a correlation between poverty and academic achievement is like saying there is a correlation between hospitals and sick people. It's technically true but hospitals do not cause sick people and poverty does not cause poor academic achievement. I've known way too many kids from poor families that did very well in school. You can blame it on bad parent(s), or environmental peer group, or bad genes, or bad schools..... but being poor is not causal.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 10/12/12 - 04:23 pm
1
1
Not blaming, just stating. It
Unpublished

Not blaming, just stating.

It is more challenging to "achieve" when you live in poverty nd are subject to all of the evils that some areas in poverty represent...drugs, violence, missing parents, etc.

notme
40
Points
notme 10/12/12 - 04:30 pm
4
0
VOTE NO! It will be a dual

VOTE NO! It will be a dual system. The state will run it. The state can already step in if the local board turns a charter down. Name one system that has been sued for a resolution about the charter amendment? Waiting???? The editorial is out for recess.

bertisdowns
13
Points
bertisdowns 10/12/12 - 05:03 pm
2
0
If something sounds to good to be true, it probably is!

Funny editorial-- the line about y'all just looking out for the average person really had me, and I bet a few others, laughing outloud-- really maybe your editorialist should apply for a job at Saturday Night Live-- it hasd that kind of whacky, absurdist sense of humor-- haha! But seriously now, our state's leaders seem determined to establish a parallel system of charters and so-called “special” schools at the direct expense of the traditional schools -- costs be damned! How about a shift in thinking -- one that recognizes and strives to meet the challenge of improving opportunities for all of Georgia's children, not just a select few? Now is not the time to give up on public education in this state but to redouble all of our efforts to build on its strengths and improve its effectiveness. For some reason, and I think I can figure out a couple of the reasons, Morris's News Empire and some of our elected leaders don't seem to want what most Georgians want: a public education system that serves all students and works to improve and build on the significant strengths it possesses.

So-called “school choice” initiatives are embraced by many as a rallying cry for policies that undermine funding and support that allow schools to provide a quality education for all children. That means a safe and healthy learning environment, skilled and experienced teachers, adequate facilities, involved parents and a school community as a center of learning. While, of course, people have a right to choose where their children attend school, these choices should not be subsidized by taxpayer funding with voucher programs, charters that re-segregate, and tax credit scholarships. Each one is an idea straight from the privateer’s playbook (see, e.g., American Legislative Exchange Council - ALEC) and each one diminishes, distracts and diverts from the goal of providing a quality education to all children. Meanwhile, resources and support for public schools are diminished year after year -- the drip, drip, drip of Death By A Thousand Cuts. Witness the process playing out in every district in Georgia this past summer as administrators and community leaders coped with yet another round of austerity cuts, reduced opportunities for students and a declining educational future for Georgia's schoolchildren. Indeed, much of Georgia's political leadership is setting up a not-too-distant future of charters, vouchers and primary schools (taxpayer subsidized, of course) for one kind of kid, and for-profit, privately-managed charters and underfunded traditional public schools for the “other kids,” the unlucky and disadvantaged kids left behind.

Oh and one more thing-- for Georgia schools? Vote NO on Amendment 1-- Go Dawgs!

Little Lamb
47288
Points
Little Lamb 10/12/12 - 05:15 pm
2
0
Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

notme posted:

The state will run it. The state can already step in if the local board turns a charter down.

notme is wrong on two counts. In the first place, the state will not run a single charter school under this proposed constitutional amendment. The state is authorized by this amendment to approve or reject charter school applications. In the second place, the state cannot presently step in if a local BOE rejects a charter school application because a Georgia State Supreme Court ruling tossed out that power. That supreme court ruling is the reason this constitutional amendment was put on the ballot.

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 10/12/12 - 06:38 pm
2
1
Wordwright is RIGHT!

What are you going to do when your child or grandchild is not picked? Also don't forget that what the school takes in it can also kick out whenever it feels the need. Think before you vote!

harley_52
24053
Points
harley_52 10/12/12 - 08:08 pm
1
0
Scoobynews....

I have no doubt my grandchildren will be accepted. On the off chance they don't get in, we'll be as selective as the law allows about finding the best school possible.

Schools should have the prerogative of expelling (temporarily, or permanently) disruptive, ill behaved, trouble making students. They should not be allowed to negatively impact the education of other students nor to monopolize the time of their teachers.

Wise people will indeed "think" before they vote. If they understand the facts, they'll vote "yes."

I see you're a defender of the status quo, which probably means you are a teacher who embraces the failed public school system currently inflicted upon the citizens of the U.S.A. I also notice you go out of your way to deny the negative impact of teachers' unions. While it's true teachers in Georgia cannot avail themselves of collective bargaining for wages, if you were honest you'd admit Georgia's teachers have several organizations such as AFT, GFT, MACE, and others which look a lot like unions and share the goals and tactics of states where collective bargaining is (unfortunately) legal.

KSL
135713
Points
KSL 10/12/12 - 08:25 pm
0
1
So we don't challenge the

So we don't challenge the zoned public schools and their principals to be better and keep the students from going to charter schools in the name of lost moneies.

My experience with private school teachers is that they are dedicated to teaching, while making less and with fewer benefits.

KSL
135713
Points
KSL 10/12/12 - 08:31 pm
0
1
Harley

You are so correct. As a Realtor, I am essentially a member of a "union." Like it or not. They lobby. They collect dues, although the part of the dues used for political purposes are voluntary.

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