Arguments against charter amendment rebutted
November 01, 2012 12:00 AM | 1320 views | 3 3 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

In your Sunday editorial against the Charter School Amendment you told us: “But amendment opponents ... say the amendment takes power from local school boards that usually listen to parental desires and gives it to unelected political appointees in Atlanta that have no accountability to voters.”

Of course it takes power away from the education establishment. It is a “court of appeals” from decisions made by those who are threatened by charter schools.

You said “They note while the appeals process to the state has been ruled unconstitutional, dissatisfied parents still have a remedy at the ballot box for school board members that deny a local charter application.”

Cobb voters know how well this has worked for getting the calendar set to a reasonable schedule. How long does it take to turn over the majority of a school board?

You said “As for pro-amendment arguments that charters are better academically and that public schools are failing, they respond that in 2010-11 more Georgia public schools than charters met AYP. Public school supporters also are quick to note that charter schools do not have the same restrictions on maximum class sizes and that they are not even required to hire certified teachers.”

Of the charter schools set up by the state, a higher percentage has met adequate yearly progress than the state’s public schools. A higher percentage of Charter students graduate.

You said “State school Superintendent John Barge has said the new state charter school agency that would be set up if this passes would cost taxpayers at least $1 million a year, and against a backdrop of school systems across the state — including Cobb — beset by severe budget problems thanks to deep cutbacks in state funding in recent years. Those cutbacks have resulted in layoffs, furloughs, larger class sizes and shorter school years”

Yes Barge did misuse his office and take a political stand on this issue, but to his points — did the state reduce bureaucracy by a million dollars when the court found the procedure of creating charter schools on a state level unconstitutional? Of course not. So why should restoring the procedure previously in place cost $1 million?

You said “Amendment advocates like to say the new state charter schools would not cost local taxpayers because they would be funded primarily by the state, unlike local school systems, which are funded primarily by property tax dollars. But unless the state is sitting on a huge new source of income that it has yet to tell the public about, it would be funding those new charters out of its existing education budget. There’s no way to do that without cutting spending elsewhere — most likely from the amount being spent on traditional public schools.”

Since charter schools educate children for much less, just the state portion of current per pupil expenses, there is more money available per pupil for the public schools that the charter students left.

The truth is the educational establishment is threatened by the idea of competition not under their control. Charter schools give us a laboratory where we can learn what works to improving education. Doing the same things in the same way with the same people with increasingly more money has not improved education. We need to find better, less costly ways. That is what charters CAN do. Vote yes on the Charter School Amendment.

Thomas Sukalac

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Ask yourself
November 01, 2012
Where do you think the students from these high performing Charter schools came from? Look where the students came from before entering the highly touted Ivy Prep Middle Charter School; from surrounding traditional public schools.
Cherry picker
November 01, 2012
Charter schools can cherry pick the top students and, sure, they will have great results! Meanwhile, the public system will deal with the remaining students........only with less money available. This amendment is a back-door way to fund private schools for those who consider themselves too good for the public school system.
November 01, 2012
John Barge misused his office? Hardly! Who better than to talk about what this amendment will do to Georgia Schools? The man showed tremendous courage to go up against the Republican establishment. Barge will have my vote for the rest of his political career. Very few politicians follow the tradition of Zell Millner and call it as they see it.

The Fact is that under this amendment, Charter Schools will receive a higher percentage of state funding per pupil than public schools.

Fact: The most money contributions to this movement is from out of state for profit corporations. That's pretty obvious they have something to gain.

I am not against charter schools. I am against outside groups with limited oversight taking money from public education, and approved by some unknown panel appointed by the Governor, who let's face it, doesn't have a sterling record for ethics.

I agree with the MDJ editorial. I am a registered Republican. I will vote NO on amendment one. It is not necessary to amend the Constitution of the State of Georgia.

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