Supporters misinformed

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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.

Alecia Dressel

Stapleton

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Young Fred
13778
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Young Fred 10/11/12 - 12:53 am
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I'm no education expert, just

I'm no education expert, just a concerned citizen with a child in public schools, several that have been through the system, and one that went the private school route. A few observations about this letter...

“Those same parents frustrated with currently underfunded public schools...”

According to some, public schools are always underfunded. Trying to remember, thinking back, nope, can't remember a time when everyone agreed public schools had enough money to get the job done.

“...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”

Trained in what way? Trained by whom? Whose mandates? We've all seen the overall lackluster results of public schools, maybe their “staff and personnel”, training isn't up to snuff. I know they have great credentials for indoctrination, not too sure about their credentials when it comes to the three R's. I've seen great (and boy, when your child has a good teacher, you'd better thank your lucky stars and support her/him as much as possible), and I've seen dismal when it comes to public school teachers, all had “THE certifications” required.

“A charter school graduate may be forced to start at a junior college, taking lower-level classes...”

Sounds much like public schools. I've heard the complaints for decades that public school graduates have had to take lower-level, non “points” classes.

“...a small, Atlanta-based, appointed group sees fit to approve with no local say-so.”...”Communities and parents get no rebuttal”

Again, this sounds just like public schools. I've attended school functions, PTO meetings, and school board meetings for some time, when parents have a concern about the curriculum, or books, or discipline procedures, or even recess guidelines they get a “we'll check into it”, or a smirk amongst the board members that looks something like “can you believe this yokel?” Invariably the answer is “sorry, we're just following state guidelines”. Followed by a smug civics lesson in changing things at the state level. A “level” that's even more ingrained in the status quo. (As if the common citizen has a posse of attorney's at his disposal).

“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.”

Ya, right. Please don't insult our intelligence. Whose definition of “legitimate ideals”, whose “governance” (the whole reason of charter schools is to “break the mold”), and FUNDING, that's the kicker.

The last paragraph of the letter is the same old tired out argument that's always raised. Let me interpret in a more succinct manner. “We don't have enough money to do anything but coast along with the status quo”.

I'm no expert on education, I'm sure many will correct my misconceptions.

I long for a competition amongst schools, that fight to be the best. A group of schools that actually teach critical thinking skills, instead of acceptance. Seems to me our public school system has a failing grade. Rather than give them an automatic pass, why not try something else? If charter schools fail, they eventually are “out of business”, if public schools fail, it's “business as usual”. What's the worse that can happen, the new charter schools may end up with equally dismal results?

avidreader
2613
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avidreader 10/11/12 - 06:13 am
1
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Questions?

Are charter schools going to operate as publicly-funded private schools? If they are, will our current transportation system be accountable for transporting the students? Will our federal tax dollars pay for free/reduced breakfast and lunch? What about text books and other resource materials? Will these schools search for high-energy, experienced teachers, or delve into the vocabulary-deficient crowd?

I am NOT against the concept of charter schools; however, I foresee a big old mess on the horizon -- "for profit" managers and suspicious state administrators. Not a good combination! Maybe Linda Schrenko can now get a job in education.

Gary Ross
3346
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Gary Ross 10/11/12 - 08:18 am
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Help did arrive...

...in the form of the lottery, remember? Wasn't that suppose to give our schools an economic boost in addition to our taxes? By now we should have the best school system in the universe! So what happened? It's the same problem our federal government is facing. Throwing money at a problem does not solve a thing. It only makes things worse. It really boils down to poor management. Two examples come to mind. (1) The principal and staff at North Atlanta High recently being escorted out by armed law enforcement officers. Reminds me of what happened under the Hitler ragime. What does that TEACH our kids, really? (2) Last spring an irate teacher argued with a student because the student disagreed with her extreme biased views on obama. Again, what does that TEACH our kids, really?

The solution: Moral values and accountability. Two things that seem to be absent in our upside-down society these days.

dichotomy
26633
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dichotomy 10/11/12 - 10:52 am
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Charter schools are the ONLY

Charter schools are the ONLY chance parents will ever get to have a choice in the education of their children and force competition with the public schools. Public schools have a dismal record and they do not have any incentive to change. They are a monopoly and a monopoly that is doing a very poor job.

Charter schools may not be the utopia but they cannot possibly do any worse than what we have now. Approving the charter school proposal WILL put public schools on notice that we are tired of the status quo and demand the opportunity to try something different. It's your ONLY chance to break the ingrained cycle of failure of our public education system.

This is your ONE AND ONLY CHANCE to try to improve the educational opportunities for your children. All of the studies I have read indicate the many charter schools perform better than public schools, some perform about the same, and I did not see ANY reports that charter schools did worse. You have nothing to loose. Vote YES on the charter school proposal. If you vote against this proposal you are saying that you are happy with the way things are and you are giving up on any chance for improvement.

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