A victory for choice

Voters OK charter schools amendment, educational empowerment

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Sometimes voters send mixed messages. On Tuesday, for instance, they told pollsters the country was on the wrong track – and then voted to stay the course.

But the message on Georgia’s Amendment 1 was unequivocal: Georgians want more school choice.

By a vote of nearly 60 percent, the state’s voters approved the amendment allowing the state to once again create a commission to approve applications for charter schools that local school boards reject.

The legislature had previously set up such a commission in 2008, but the Georgia Supreme Court said it didn’t have that authority. Voters Tuesday gave the state the authority explicitly.

It’s noteworthy that voters did that – and by such a wide margin – in the face of a bitter, disingenuous and sometimes legally questionable campaign to scare voters into defeating the amendment.

The public school bureaucracy mobilized across the state to shrilly oppose the amendment – somehow even roping in the state PTAs, which we thought existed to advocate for kids and parents and teachers, not bureaucracies.

Indeed, even the national PTA approves of charter school commissions.

Opponents – including, sadly enough, several Augusta-area school officials who know better – tried to convince voters that the amendment was somehow in opposition to “public education.” They know doggone good and well that charter schools are public education.

Shame on them for trying to mislead the public.

The Georgia attorney general even had to warn public school officials that it’s illegal for them to use public resources to oppose ballot questions, which some may have done.

They also tried to portray the amendment as pushing local decisions to Atlanta. In truth, it gives local parents, students and teachers the right to seek charter school approval from the state when the local school board won’t allow it – and school boards have routinely disallowed the applications. Not because the schools would be bad for kids, but because they reduce the bureaucracy’s power over parents and students. Charter schools are granted unique freedom over rules and curricula in order
to bring more innovation to education.

We believe if everyone in Georgia understood that, the vote would have been closer to 80 or 90 percent in favor.

We also think it’s high time that the public education bureaucracy stopped fighting educational reform, choice and competition.

Americans are crying out for it – and, increasingly, are demanding it.

Says the pro-school-choice American Federation for Children: “Supporters of educational choice were victorious in hundreds of races across the country on Tuesday night, as voters in a diverse set of states cast ballots in large majorities in favor of pro-educational choice candidates, as well as to expand the number of quality options available in their states.”

The organization had endorsed 32 Georgia legislative candidates who won election Tuesday.

Opponents of educational choice made much of out-of-state money that fueled the amendment’s campaign. But they cannot argue with nearly six in 10 Georgians who voted for it.

And besides, if folks could be so easily swayed by out-of-state money, then surely they would have buckled to the amendment opponents’ ham-handed attempt to scare voters into voting no.

Again, it’s time for the public education bureaucracy to stop attacking and blocking parents, students and teachers who are clamoring for the right to offer more educational choices for our young. Stop blindly protecting your turf at the expense of our freedom and our future.

Parents should be compelled to send their kids to particular schools not by the heavy hand of the government, but by the enlightened choices of consumers looking for the best quality for their kids.

Comments (20) Add comment
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jeff scott
151
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jeff scott 11/11/12 - 01:41 am
6
2
Maybe

Maybe this will work in the end. I'm doubtful. Nice thought but....it is more gov, more taxpayer funded management, and that type of management rarely works out as planned. I am almost certain that the commissioners will be highly paid, highly educated, highly diverse, and highly dysfunctional....this is GA after all.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 11/11/12 - 07:34 am
2
6
We'd like to thank all of the

We'd like to thank all of the for profit charter school corporations for their selfless act of donating the majority of the funding for the "yes" vote and to the American Legislative Exchange Council for the millions of dollars they provided for lobbying politicians and writing the model legislation used around the country without any concern for their own gain or profit.

Lee Benedict
1516
Points
Lee Benedict 11/11/12 - 08:50 am
6
3
...and the vote no signs

Who paid for all of the VOTE NO signs that lined roadways?

Riverman1
78407
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Riverman1 11/11/12 - 08:52 am
10
0
Something has to be tried in some counties

Something has to be tried in some counties. The BOE in some of the worst performing counties scream the loudest about charter schools and deny all attempts to establish these schools. Easier ways for the parents and private interests to open a school trying new methods is a plus.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 11/11/12 - 09:39 am
2
4
effete elitist liberal
2978
Points
effete elitist liberal 11/11/12 - 10:02 am
4
4
highly paid

Jeff, You forgot to mention that a lot of that "high pay" will be under the table money from the same out-of-state, for-profit educational corporations who funded the ballot proposal. The new commissioners will be bought and paid for, for sure.

loblolly
469
Points
loblolly 11/11/12 - 10:47 am
0
1
Obama
Unpublished

made this happen in Georgia. Is that not correct ACES? Come now, whe ntraditional liberals Joseph Lowry and others asked their folks to vote against, it carried by huge margins in Dealb and Clayton, and other high African American Pop centers. All because of Obama's support for Charter Schools, and his message of such.

Bizkit
28155
Points
Bizkit 11/11/12 - 11:24 am
4
3
Well throwing money at

Well throwing money at education isn't the answer-we spend more than any nation and we fall behind some third world countries. Govt intrusion is so misguided its just ridiculous. Seems obvious that many posters are the by-product of public education. Seems charter schools are a good idea. hee,hee,hee. I would say that diversity is good.

Bantana
2071
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Bantana 11/11/12 - 11:46 am
2
6
BizKit

Has once again provided a bogus statistic in regards to educational spending. As a percentage of GDP, sadly, the United states ranks 37th!
and not 1st. Where do you people get this stuff? NewsMax?

Bizkit
28155
Points
Bizkit 11/11/12 - 11:52 am
5
1
Well y'all know I was just

Well y'all know I was just funnin' ya. I'm sure most of yall were educated in public schools pre-70s where you actually received an education. That is when things started going downhill-with ill-conceived changes based on preliminary data from the sciences (turned out to be falsified). Since it's like throwing pasta at the wall and see what sticks. I worry about the rigors of colleges in georgia declining too.

Bizkit
28155
Points
Bizkit 11/11/12 - 12:00 pm
5
1
I didn't state as percentage

I didn't state as percentage of GDP-I stated we spend megabucks on education will little return. The whole enchilada in spending. Our education is so weak that we are spending huge amounts in stimulus in the STEM fields as american youth show little interest in this area-which is where jobs are goin'. The technology that my generation used as tools for their ideas (got us to the moon) has a new generation who are slaves to the technology. Many students don't bother to long term memorize or learn because they can google it-they will memorize for an exam and then brain dump. Take that cell phone away and they would have an epileptic fit.

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 11/11/12 - 12:56 pm
6
2
How

do we improve public education?

private corporations raiding the u.s. treasury isn't the way. we should have learned that leason from the blackwatter/halliburton robbery. it's a shame that some schools are like youth detention centers, and i don't have the solution. you're not going to bring some kids up even with one on one, eight hours a day contact and cash incentives. there are the lost of every generation, aimless, perhaps angry, maybe lazy, certainly illequiped to face the responsibilities of life and that makes for a very unstable society. it also makes me sad, as Christ asked us to help those people that are not loved, homeless, unclothed, lonely, infirm, or in prison. i wish i could make life better for those souls.

soapy_725
43527
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soapy_725 11/11/12 - 12:48 pm
1
0
Giving the STATE
Unpublished

another choke hold on your child in the name of "higher education" is a shameful joke. Not to mention your taxes, which you constantly bemoan, will increase. Of course you will not be around to see the folly of your ways. Just another "social experiment". Just another dose of smoke and mirrors. Another dog and pony show. Another warming over of the same hash. All fostered by GREED. No care about children. Some parents care about prestige. Some live a vicarious life through their children with no respect for their individuality. Some parent think that education is a "salvation". Look at the college graduates around you? Education is a tool, to teach you "how to learn". The process by which you will process data the rest of your life. Reason, logic, literal interpretation. Junk in junk out. How civilized humans relate to each other. That curriculum has been deleted.

All of the "A" students and all of the "B" students together. We dealt with that about sixty years ago. That was another social experiment, remember. We can mix and match all we want. The A's and B's have a much deeper meaning that a GPA. Think about it. Woodrow Wilson thought a lot about public education and its curriculum. Free Public Education provided by the STATE, guided and cultured by the STATE.

itsanotherday1
39268
Points
itsanotherday1 11/11/12 - 12:58 pm
7
0
I do too Bantana

"i wish i could make life better for those souls."

We would all be the better for it, but some people you just cannot help. The first good step would be to FORCE people to sink or swim by not subsidizing their sorry behavior with welfare or other social prop-ups. You can bet there would be a lot fewer feral youths on the streets and in our schools if would be mama's knew they had to feed them on their own or starve. In that respect, I support free family planning for low income people.

The $64,000 question though, is how do you maintain that safety net for the elderly, infirm, people needing temporary assistance, etc.; while culling out those who refuse to help themselves?

Spectsa asserts that conservatives hate poor people. Nothing is further from the truth. I, and the 95% of my fellow travelers don't want to see people truly in need kicked to the curb. What we do want however, is for those who are capable of doing for themselves to do it, and quit being parasites on the taxpayers.

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 11/11/12 - 01:08 pm
1
2
TechFan

...did remind us today of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prime mover for public to private and among the most seedy and cynical gangs to haunt the halls of power in quite some time. all of us should be incensed at this transparent, in your face manipulation of public policy with the target being taxpayers funds and not better, fairer social order and justice.

Bizkit
28155
Points
Bizkit 11/11/12 - 01:58 pm
2
0
Once anything becomes

Once anything becomes "politicized" is goes down-even the good ideas suffer.

gargoyle
12567
Points
gargoyle 11/11/12 - 02:48 pm
0
1
Bizkit ; once politicized

Bizkit ; once politicized even good ideas become "one size fits none".The cream can't rise to the top after the one answer special intrest groups become entrenched.

Conservative Man
5233
Points
Conservative Man 11/11/12 - 04:10 pm
2
1
as a conservative..

....I voted against this....All I came away with during the run up to the vote was another beuracracy administered by a system that doesn't work very well as it is now.....

Bizkit
28155
Points
Bizkit 11/11/12 - 04:23 pm
2
0
Bantana you and I agree more

Bantana you and I agree more than you think.I agree our penal system just throws people away-we need to nurture those who can be "saved" back into productive citizens. Many biblical characters were extremely flawed and likely would be in our prisons-yet they are patriarchs of a faith because of a loving God who shows grace. You give up on people you know what you will get in return. I always say "only through God's grace go I". Likely most of us have done something worthy of punishment or lucky enough not to be homeless.

KSL
118664
Points
KSL 11/12/12 - 12:26 am
1
0
My experience with private

My experience with private education was perfect. But then my experience with publlc education was good enough to allow me the private college experience. But that was then. In Georgia that was before Jimmy Carter's Department of Education as pres.was law of the land.

Ask him why he sent son number 3 went to school in Atlanta to a private boarding school rather than to public high school in his hometown where the other two boys went befoe desegregation was going into effect.

I don't know that I have ever met a bigger hypocrite. And yes, I have met him on numerous occasions.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 11/12/12 - 12:25 pm
1
0
Spending per K-12 pupil

With the exception of Switzerland, the United States spends more than any other country on education, an average of $91,700 per student between the ages of six and fifteen

http://mercatus.org/publication/k-12-spending-student-oecd

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