Just when you think our "it's for the kids" legislature and Governor couldn't pull any more fast ones - they do! Honestly, the "whack a lie" mallet is going to disintegrate long before Nov. 6th at this rate.
Here's what happened today. My friend and committed advocate for public education vs. privatizing education, Jeanette Knazek, started asking questions about the preamble for the Constitutional Amendment - HR 1162 - which will be on the Nov. 6th ballot. There were odd clues showing up on Google searches. She couldn't get a response from the Secretary of State's office so she called 11 Alive News. They thought it was worth a call. Turns out a preamble or short title was written and signed by Nathan Deal on August 15th. Here's what it says:
1. Provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public charter school options (House Resolution 1162.)
Who could argue with that - right? Makes you want to vote "yes" right? Here's the problem. The words "improve," "improving," or "achievement" aren't mentioned once in HR 1162 or the enacting legislation, HB 797. In addition, here's what Dr. Barge states in his statement on this amendment, "Charter schools in Georgia do not consistently outperform traditional public schools." See page 3 of 8 http://bit.ly/Or1Bwb .
"Parental involvement" cannot be found either and is certainly not encouraged. In fact parents are not required to be included on the non-profits governing board at a state charter school. Lines 205 - 209, HB 797, the members of the governing board for the state charter school shall meet the following qualifications:
A. Must be a United States citizen;
B. Must be resident of Georgia; and
C. Must not be an employee of the state charter school.
So where's the improved parental involvement? Perhaps parental involvement on the governing board would just be an inconvenience for a "for profit" operator? They can ask a lot of pesky questions about money and perhaps slow down decision-making.
Finally, parents under current Georgia law can start a charter school by petitioning their local board. If denied, they can appeal to the State BOE. HR 1162 establishes an appointed commission, which can approve state charter schools with a "state-wide" attendance zone. The petitioners do not have to apply to a local board first (information only to the board where the school will be located). They could apply directly to the state commission, thereby removing any elected officials or local taxpayers from the decision. We have charter school options. HR1162 is taxation without representation.
This preamble has been hidden from folks that think this amendment is a rotten deal for all taxpayers. Now the rotten elected officials who hid it have lost any shred of integrity they may have been clinging to.
Stick up for the kids not our lying leaders. The ballot and the preamble are deceptive. Vote "NO" on HR 1162 - it's rotten to the peach core!