Bill would offer choice of school

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ATLANTA --- Georgia public school students would be allowed to transfer to any private or public school in the state under a proposal by state Sen. Eric Johnson.

Mr. Johnson, a staunch supporter of school vouchers, outlined details Friday of legislation that would create the state's first universal school choice program. The bill has not been filed.

Unlike the existing voucher program for special needs students, the universal vouchers would allow any student to transfer to any school, the Savannah Republican said at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Media Symposium.

"I anticipate having a vigorous debate" in the Legislature, he said. "That's not a bad thing."

He also "fully expects legal challenges," but he said the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of school vouchers.

Mr. Johnson, the Senate's president pro tem, said the program is as much about improving public education as it is increasing options for parents.

State funding would follow the student, though local funding would not, Mr. Johnson said. The state would decrease its per-pupil funding for the school system losing the student and provide more funding to the new school system. As with the Special Needs Scholarship Program, schools must sign up to receive students, Mr. Johnson said. Schools won't be required to accept transfers.

Each school's council will determine what students it accepts based on its capacity, the student's grades or other criteria, Mr. Johnson said.

The proposal would require parents to provide transportation to the new school, he said.

"The notion of giving parents and students options is attractive in general," said Andrew Broy, Georgia's associate superintendent. "We've got to think about how we ensure these programs are accountable because right now we have no real way to measure." The problem with the state's existing voucher program is that there is little accountability, Mr. Broy said. Two considerations must be given to any new program: ensuring it is available to all students and holding the receiving school accountable for student achievement and properly using public funds, he said.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

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GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 01/17/09 - 04:29 am
1
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Say what you may about this

Say what you may about this issue, pro or con; but, if this proposal should be accepted (which I do not expect that it will), the message sent would NOT be "clean up your act and begin to EDUCATE the kids." The subliminal message, probably the "unrecognizable" message to all urban school districts would be to for them to begin to strictly ENFORCE discipline in the classroom, on the campus, and on the school bus that brings the malcontents to the school in the first place. Education cannot take place until those wishing to be educated have a suitable environment in which learning is possible. And, to the parents, if you wish to have your kids continue to be given the opportunity to attend an area school that provides an education worthy of the term, clean up your act and begin to exert parental discipline in the home. I hope that this proposal goes forward; but, hope is weak without strong support from the trenches. GGpap

As It Is
2
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As It Is 01/17/09 - 06:31 am
0
1
Excellent proposal. Private

Excellent proposal. Private schools far surpass public schools at 1/2 the expense. This would allow everyone, especially low income families opportunities not currently afforded them. Those in lousy school districts such as Richmond County will be doing everything they can to get out of the district and into any other school since Davidson is always full. This has been needed for quite some time. As for GGap's comments, they are right on target. Discipline and School Safety are paramount as until these two areas are under control, the learning environemnt is not condusive to learning anything.

Riverman1
86854
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Riverman1 01/17/09 - 06:51 am
0
0
It would result in total

It would result in total chaos. The million dollar stadiums recently built for the Richmond County schools would look like ancient Roman ruins soon enough. The fact is that this plan is mainly one to fund those who are already paying to have their kids in private schools

HYPOCRITES 08
7
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HYPOCRITES 08 01/17/09 - 08:19 am
1
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If you want a private school

If you want a private school education, then pay for it yourself. No taxpayer money should go toward private school. Are there enough funds to send every student in Georgia to a private school?

teacher02
3
Points
teacher02 01/17/09 - 09:40 am
1
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As I mentioned under the

As I mentioned under the other article (about funding), there is nothing magical about private school education. Parental involvement, small classes, student selection, and a no nonsense approach towards misbehavior are the primary factors that lead to success in these schools. The teaching strategies, technology, and certification requirements are on a lower level than the public schools. Vouchers will ruin most of the very advantages that people seek from private schools.
I am all for cleaning up the public schools by getting rid of the trouble makers and those subverting the education process. Unfortunately, NCLB currently makes this impossible. The real solution to education is to branch into technical or further academic training after middle school. This will raise the level of academic standard in the classroom while providing productive career training for the many who are not interested in the college route.

aaa
2
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aaa 01/17/09 - 09:49 am
0
1
Yes! This is about time!

Yes! This is about time! Private schools are far better than the current government sponsored school system!! Far better! As I stated in my post under the other article, teacher02, you got it all backwards. It's not the lack of "teaching strategies, technology, and certification requirements" nor the presence of outdated facilities that hinder the private system - your suppossition is wrong - they are not hindered. The private system is freed from the micromanagement of the government and freed from the meddling of the teacher unions. The private school students outperform the government students on the same standardized exams year after year!!! Throwing more money at the public school system is not the answer. Government is the problem.

teacher02
3
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teacher02 01/17/09 - 10:01 am
1
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Standing Tall, you are right

Standing Tall, you are right in that throwing more money at the public school isn't the answer. But public and private school test scores are not comparable. Private schools select who gets in, kick the misfits out, and maintain small class sizes. THey also have an actively involved parent, as demonstrated by the fact that they are willing to pay thousands of dollars on top of the taxes they already pay. How can you not recognize the monumental difference this makes? If you took that same group of private school students and put them together in a public school, they would also succeed at the highest level. The parent, not the school, is the primary determinant in a student's success.

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 01/17/09 - 10:52 am
0
1
Hey Teacher02.... What is it

Hey Teacher02....

What is it that requires public schools to keep "misfits" and troublemakers in school?

As a teacher, do you have the ability to kick students out of your class when they are disruptive?

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 01/17/09 - 10:54 am
0
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Private prep schools are

Private prep schools are designed for students that intend to go to college. The curriculum is agressive and challenging getting students ready for the reality of studying and work. Unfortunately, the public school machine is unable to deliver the same expectations because at most only 40% even try college. If I was a school superintendent, I would change the emphasis on liberal arts basics and get the students prepared for Augusta Tech. That is where every student should plan to go as soon as they graduate from high school. If they had someone leading them there and preparing them for a technical education which gets them ready for jobs, you could reduce the dropout rates substantially. Of course, those of us with jobs probably don't really want a bunch of prepared young people to have to prove ourselves against. But it's a thought.

teacher02
3
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teacher02 01/17/09 - 11:09 am
1
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harley 52, NCLB punishes

harley 52, NCLB punishes schools that do not reach a certain graduation rate (defined as the percent of students that complete high school in 4 years). Expulsions and suspensions cause students to fall behind the 4 year rate and so administrators are now more hesistant to hand out such punishments (even though these perpetual trouble makers will likely fall behind anyway). Of course, this leads to disruptive students remaining in the classroom and ruining the education process for all. While I might be able to temporarily remove an unruly student, they are usually sent back to the classroom within the period. And at some schools, even that (removing a student) is not allowed.

DuhJudge, I am in complete agreement with your plan. Currently, the message is that students will either be an academic scholar or failure. This devalues the very productive trade fields that many students (who struggle with traditional academics) could excel at. A branching system after middle school would dramatically improve education for everyone.

Teachercommentary
1
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Teachercommentary 01/17/09 - 12:37 pm
1
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What we all have to be

What we all have to be concerned about is how the voucher money is traced. We all know that when the government gives you money there are always strings attached. Once private schools begin accepting vouchers from the government, then the government will want to have some control over the once private school. This is not a good idea. What we need are administrators with some balls that are not afraid to enforce the rules. Did you know that paddling is lawful in GA public schools, but nobody will dare do it. The voucher system is another attempt to dumb down the public. It will destroy the private school system and then everyone will once again be playing in the same pool.

harley_52
23959
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harley_52 01/17/09 - 12:37 pm
0
1
Teacher02, I understand your

Teacher02, I understand your answer to mean there's no legal reason troublemakers are kept in school, but it's rather a conscious decision made by Administrators because they believe it will help their rating? Further, that even when a teacher kicks a troublemaker out of class, they are just sent back by the Administrators? Sounds like the Administrators are the problem.

I agree with your premise that much of the problem lies with the parents, but I think schools that accept unruly, disruptive students should share at least half the blame.

I suggest kicking kids out of school would necessitate more parental involvement and I think teachers refusing to accept disruptive students back into their classrooms would send the appropriate message to school Administrators and parents alike..

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 01/17/09 - 01:05 pm
0
1
private schools have

private schools have enforceable discipline guidelines. A lack of political correctness is a HUGE improvement over the government attitude. The one size fits all of the government schools is anti-competition and often times anti-incentive.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 01/17/09 - 01:08 pm
0
1
I disagree. Why focus on

I disagree. Why focus on negative reinforcement when maybe not everyone needs to learn Chauser and Dicken's? The reality is this. There will always be a need for ditch diggers, forklift operators, and welders as well as doctors, engineers, and CEOs. Prepare them.

Motorman5039
0
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Motorman5039 01/17/09 - 02:15 pm
0
1
I am all for private schools

I am all for private schools having the final say as to whom they will admit...As long as private schools aren't forced to admit students I see no problem with this proposal...The problem students won't come over in mass anyhows because the parental involvement to recognize the problem and seek a solution (ie sending bad billy to a private school) isn't there...

bone
23
Points
bone 01/17/09 - 04:31 pm
0
1
you mean when a student

you mean when a student disrupts class i can send him to the office? fat chance of that standing up to admin scrutiny: if i don't show the number of times i've contacted parents; counseled the student; assigned lunch detention (harhar); and provided feedback to the student on "good behavior days," i'm just as likely to find myself explaining why i couldn't control the student. better just to let the nitwits be disruptive and continue following the curriculum than try and disrupt the admin's coffee break. sorry, that's just the way it is these days. sure, feel free to send those "unfortunates" over to the currently "excellent" private and public schools and see how that goes for ya.

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 01/17/09 - 06:05 pm
0
1
What are you teaching though?

What are you teaching though? Give them a future to focus on that is technical, not the liberal arts. Teach them what an engineer does for a living. Show them a better way to be productive. Give them a reasonable chance to excel at SOMETHING. Believe that they are capable. Direct them down a pathway besides college. Provide them with the tools that will allow them to provide for themselves. Get out of their way.

Riverman1
86854
Points
Riverman1 01/17/09 - 06:30 pm
0
0
If they learn liberal arts

If they learn liberal arts well and how to drink well, they will learn how to socialize and get ahead. Anyone can learn to cheat, steal and plagiarize with time to be a success in any technical field. I did.

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 01/17/09 - 06:52 pm
0
1
Good for you. Would you feel

Good for you. Would you feel threatened if the population was actually trained for the job you have? The sytem is designed now so that students that can write three paragraphs to prove they read a book will pass and everyone else fails. Answering 20 multiple choice questions in history class and defining the word "circumspect" makes the difference between passing and failing. Think about this. What a misguided solution to preparing people for jobs. Maybe the teachers are at the edge of their own relativity. Change the system so that it isn't a welfare machine for teachers. Expect everyone to get something out of school and the millions of tax dollars it requires. Fix it then get out of their way. All that anyone of these students want is direction with a destination. They can do their own walking if they don't have to deal with dead ends.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 01/17/09 - 06:54 pm
0
1
The public school system is a

The public school system is a complete and total failure in the CSRA area.At present their only service is offering a glorified baby sitting service with "ball" programs under the illusion they are teaching "competitiveness". Taxpayer money that is rarely,if ever at all, accounted for needs to be better spent and this plan is a start.There is nowhere to go but up!

Riverman1
86854
Points
Riverman1 01/17/09 - 07:11 pm
0
0
DJudge, I think the cream

DJudge, I think the cream rises to the top. I'd feel comfortable with the ones who rose to the top in any field. In my profession, I've seen people from better schools end up working in Ludowici for peanuts....Not to be too negative because if you could get into the technical education curriculum the students receive and let the actual supervisors on the job determine the ones who would make it...great. Say a guy was training to be an oil changer, and on the learning job, and the employees told him he couldn't hack it, maybe he could recoup and get into something else. No argument from me.

TechLover
15
Points
TechLover 01/18/09 - 03:35 am
1
0
So the school won't have to

So the school won't have to admit a student they don't want. I guess that gets all the segregation academies like Briarwood, Thomas Jefferson, Brentwood,etc(all schools that opened in 1969-1970 coincidentally when Ga desegregated-look them up, the number of "academies" that opened those 2 years is amazing) won't have to admit those pesky black folks. They may admit a token to avoid a lawsuit but will reamain predominately lilly white. Of course all they have to do is raise the tuition so the money the state gives won't cover it and that will eliminate the lower classes from being able to attend. Don't worry though, I'm sure there will be all kinds of new schools opening to take advantage of the tax dollars just like all the pre-Ks did for the lottery money(Welcome to Bob's Academy-Our mascot-the Nads-Go Nads!). Since using state money for religious schools is prohibitted in the Ga Constitution (a holdover from the good old Klan days so money couldn't go to Catholic schools), they'll have to amend it. What a crock.

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 01/18/09 - 04:07 am
1
0
Back door public money

Back door public money funding religious schools. A capital no-no. Vouchers between other public schools as a "carrot", so teachers stop politicking on public funds, yes. Funding private schools, no. Private schools exist because folks can afford the tuition anyway.

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 01/18/09 - 04:17 am
0
1
"NCLB punishes schools that

"NCLB punishes schools that do not reach a certain graduation rate" ---- Which also means that they're educating rote style. Turning schools into robot factories, and programming students to be "good team players" and regard team work more important than INNOVATION and THINKING BEYOND THE STATUS QUO. In other words, turn us into another China or Japan --- smart kids that are great at copying other technology and maybe improving it, but innovations are rare as it'll buck "team work" that those societies depends on. Problem kids need to be sent to alternative schools, where better assessments will help the school system FIND THEM SOMETHING THEY'RE INTERESTED IN DOING. Johnny Gangbanger can be an budding artist, or even an inventor. Promote that innovative thought, not try to pigeon hole him into a society that says "gangbangers are jail food anyway". The system is broke as it's trying to force a one-size-fits-all instruction scheme, when no 2 humans are alike. If the RCBoE had such a system today, I'd been an Astronomer today. Johnny Gangbanger may have been a visual artist, and could've launched another art movement, not yet another "failed" person that fell through the "cracks".

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 01/19/09 - 01:06 am
0
1
Paying tuition is a struggle

Paying tuition is a struggle for MOST of the families that CHOOSE a private education for their kids. What many people want to believe is vastly different from what is actually going on. And fortunately, many of those families that do not have to struggle, voluntarily pay more to enable others to attend. Education for some is more important than it is to others, but that should be rewarded not punished.

2tired2argueanymore
1
Points
2tired2argueanymore 01/19/09 - 10:07 am
1
0
Great. Let's just close the

Great. Let's just close the public schools and give everyone vouchers for private schools and then they will in turn look like the public schools. We can raise the school taxes on everyone's property so it equals about 50% of the property value and then everyone can have an ivey league education whether they deserve it or not.

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