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Charter School Amendment - Number 1 Reason to Vote "NO"

Let's review - our State School Superintendent, Dr. John Barge, cannot support the charter school amendment. I'm taking him at his word and voting NO.

On Nov. 6th you will be asked to cast your ballot on two proposed Constitutional Amendment questions. Amendment 1 reads:

"Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities"

I started this blog on August 14th - the same day that the highest-ranking elected official in education in Georgia, Dr. John Barge, State School Superintendent, issued an 8-page statement of the facts with 16 attachments.

This document, which was ordered to be removed from the State DOE website, lays out all the facts in the case. Dr. Barge concludes with," I simply cannot support the charter school amendment."

Rather than rehash all my objections to this amendment, it is more appropriate to highlight Dr. Barge's reasons for asking Georgia voters to vote "NO" on Amendment 1. The 8-page document is attached as a pdf - please read it before voting.

To highlight several statements;

"I support the creation of high quality charter schools for Georgia's students...However, I cannot support the creation of a new, costly, and unnecessary state bureaucracy."

"As a conservative, I believe our state needs to be fiscally responsible, support local community control, and limit government...This amendment runs counter to all three of these critical conservative principles."

"As a conservative leader and conservative supporter of public education in Georgia I value innovation with accountability. I do not value siphoning money from our schools to support state charter schools or to create a new and unnecessary state agency."

Dr. Barge was essentially told to "shut up" by the "powers that be" who are pushing this amendment. One would think that Governor Deal and certain legislators would agree with Dr. Barge's statement, "Public education is worth protecting and supporting. My commitment has been, and continues to be, to improve public education in Georgia for all students."

It is very apparent that they don't agree with Dr. Barge. The legislation and budget cuts that we have seen in the past 8 years have not been supportive of ALL Georgia's students. Could it possibly be because there's more money in supporting the privatization of public education? Bingo.

Dr. Barge is my hero - he has a conscience. He gave voters the facts knowing that it would put him in harm's way. I am grateful and it gives me hope to see that there are elected officials that we can still count on to tell the truth.

The # 1 Reason to vote "NO" on Amendment 1 - the highest-ranking education professional in the state of Georgia cannot support this amendment.

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A Local November 05, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Good catch, Monty! Googling the name was revealing.
Monty Brewster November 05, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Dan, you are wrong. The most inclusive, unbiased Stanford CREDO study shows that public schools are much more likely to outperform charter schools. Where's your data proving otherwise? Most students that do not graduate are due to low socioeconomic status, not because of the schools that they attend. Charters have a higher ratio of students that come from affluent families, and have parents with the freedom to volunteer and drive them to and from school. Many public schools students do not have these liberties as they work multiple jobs. Many students will drop out to support their families due to illnesses as well. When a receiving school doesn't report the transfer, the student will also count as a drop out. And I'm sure that charters will kick out any students that are not performing, or at least make their experience one that will cause them to move back to public schools so they are not affected by their failure.
Monty Brewster November 05, 2012 at 02:07 AM
You contradict yourself in less than a paragraph... again, proving my point.
Monty Brewster November 05, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Dan, there is no limit to spending with charters under this amendment. Again, I like charters, but this is not the time to give them free reign.
Athens Mama November 05, 2012 at 02:58 AM
@Monty: Really, customer service is a joke? I'm not talking about giving good grades. I'm talking about treating students with humanity and love. Children learn future behaviors from the role models they have during their childhoods. You need to take a class in child development.
Athens Mama November 05, 2012 at 03:08 AM
@Monty: You are completely correct in your assessment of the hours and dues paid by teachers. I just spent about 6 hours on Sunday planning lessons and writing a readers' theatre for my class. I work at least 6 days a week. In my opinion, teacher pay in Georgia could be better, but I do get 2 months in the summer, as well as a week on spring break, and 2 weeks over the holidays. It's not such a bad deal. There are federal programs to forgive student loans, programs to improve pay, such as advanced degree incentives, and local incentives like in one county in South Florida where teachers make an extra $36,000 per year just for completing 2 years of specific professional development and staying in the district. With merit based pay in Georgia, teachers will get paid if their students consistently test high. I'm not sure what I think about this - it hasn't applied to me yet. I will say that I think that with best practices in place as well as a commitment to each individual student, many teachers can improve test scores and qualify for merit based incentives. I don't read a "hatred for this group of selfless people" in the blog posts. I don't. I think though, that we have to be objective. For instance, I stood out on Broad Street on the day of Officer Christian's funeral, but that doesn't mean I stand behind the behaviors of every police officer everywhere. Childcare workers are often underpaid and unappreciated, but we cannot lump them all into a group of "martyrs."
No More Bullies November 05, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Dan, I can't find those 90% grad rates for charter schools in Georgia.... Especially the state charters. please don't point to Walton high school as your example, it was high performing 30 years ago, decades before it converted.
Stevie Nicks November 05, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Common Sense...you make sense here. The preamble and amendment wording should not hold up in court. The actual amendment has no provisions for parental involvment. Actually, when Jan Jones was asked to put it in 797, she refused!
Stevie Nicks November 05, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Wow! Why does someone from Maryland or ARkansas or Florida care somuch about local control in Cherokee County??
Common Sense November 05, 2012 at 03:54 PM
High SAT scores are a result of a well-educated student population, thanks to dedicated teachers and parents working together. Administrators certainly play a huge part in the day-to-day operations of a well-run school, and school district, so I disagree with you there - they help 'set the stage' for success. Teachers need to teach, not worry about the multiple functions of their school and district - which is why we need a solid Administration as well. I'm not sure where the 'fat cat' references comes from as CCSD has one of the LOWEST Administrative overheads in the state. If you don't like Dr. P, that's a personal problem. The numbers speak for themselves - we certainly don't overspend in Admin. And I wonder how long CCSD teachers will be as dedicated moving forward? If the district continues to spiral down the financial toilet, and furloughs increase, days are continually lengthened, healthcare costs continue to double every year, what kind of morale will that lead to? I believe teachers are already underpaid as is, and this is a several-thousand dollar blow to every teacher, every year. Are we all suffering? Sure. But do we, in the private sector, have mud thrown at our jobs regularly? Get blamed for the woes of society, but are expected to fix it? Perform better in worsening conditions? For most of us - NOPE!
Common Sense November 05, 2012 at 04:01 PM
People, if having someone from MARYLAND blogging on our local Patch, about teacher pay and how wonderful charter schools are, has you a little confused... step back and scratch your head for a moment. They are drooling over YOUR tax dollars should Amendment 1 pass tomorrow. Get the word out TODAY - VOTE NO to profit-seeking goons that see nothing but a price-tag on your kid's head!
Erik Fernald November 06, 2012 at 03:04 AM
This lady is so clearly into the cool aid, she is not coming out dean. Other than the need to oppose her insane viewpoints, arguing back and forth with her is a waste of time. i do not understand how people think this way, but unfortunately they do.
Bonnie olson November 06, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Bob, "If a school performs well, more will go to it, so it will receive more funding, and the opposite for bad schools. Wouldn't it be great if the failing public schools of Atlanta could be replaced by well-performing charter schools. Our drop-out rate is very high. No amount of state and national standards will fix that" But if the failing schools are replaced, where will the troubled kids go?
Jim Beam November 06, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Monty, there's no difference whatsoever. Profit is profit, whether it be by someone admin'ing world-class schools or someone supplying gasoline to CCSD school buses. Your definition of profit far below (accurate, btw) is the same in both cases. PROFIT IS NOT A BAD THING. Though Monty, I don't think you're a Profit-hater like your buddy Frank Jones is.
Jim Beam November 06, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Profit's profit, Monty.
Bonnie olson November 06, 2012 at 03:42 AM
I personally would never want to be a teacher. I have a lot of respect for most of them. My son had 1 kindergarten teacher that really was lazy and pretty much would stay pregnant, in the 4 years my son wast at the APS school, she had 3 kids. She would let the kids watch movies if she didn't feel like teaching. A few of us parents caught her and of course she isn't there anymore. My son is now 12 and I have to say his teachers deserve a lot more money and respect than they get. I totally agree with the type of students the teachers deal with is a lack of parenting. These people that keep having kids to be able to get more welfare so they can supply their drug habit and not really care about what is going on with their kids is really the parents fault. If the school is doing that badly, then the Super. or the BOE needs to take another look at the school and teachers. But opening more schools isn't the answer.
Angelia Collins November 06, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Vote NO on Amendment 1 - our children's futures are not for sale!
Monty Brewster November 06, 2012 at 04:33 AM
I don't know Frank Jones. Wish I did, though. He is extremely bright and factual. Dan, please know that there is a major difference of influence based on one's ability to profit, not that a profit is being made.
Monty Brewster November 06, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Hal, you still looking for those members of the commission that doesn't exist?
Frank Jones November 06, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Vote NO on Amendment 1...Vote No on Amendment 2. Vote No on HOST.
Jim Beam November 06, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Vote YES on Amendment 1 - our children's futures should not be limited to the status quo!
Jim Beam November 06, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Vote YES on Amendment 1 - our children's futures should not be dictated to by corrupt local superintendents!
Monty Brewster November 06, 2012 at 02:24 PM
The corrupt politicians have more of a negative affect. They are also the status quo. Write in! Do not vote for the status quo legislators! Vote NO on Amendment 1. Vote No on Amendment 2! And WRITE IN "Anyone but Chip" for District 21. NO MORE STATUS QUO! I agree, Dan.
Monty Brewster November 06, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I love when people use the "Kool-Aid" line... especially when they are permanently attached to the teat of our politicians and can't see past the "udder" corruption.
Jim Beam November 06, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Monty, believe it or not, I suspect we agree on more than we disagree. Here's the problem with writing-in candidates: It's a complete waste of time. Under GA Election law, a write-in candidate must announce their write-in candidacy within a month after the end of the primaries. Failure to do so results in such a candidate being ineligible for an election. This is to prevent you & me from writing in "Mickey Mouse", "Monty Brewster" , "Steely Dan", "Frank Jones" or some other comical character and having that guy actually win. Also, any candidate who lost the primary is ineligible for election in the general. So a candidate like Danny Dukes cannot lose to Janet Read and then try to run as a write-in or member of the other party. What America really needs is a viable 3rd party that combines the best of the Ds & Rs for the vast majority of America that is in the middle of the political aisle. Unfortunately, the Ds & Rs work actively to shut down any attempts of this nature. PS: Voting NO is a vote for the Status Quo. But you knew that already.
Jim Beam November 06, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Monty, you need to raise your standards for the words 'bright' and 'factual'.
Jim Beam November 06, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Hal: "Frank, everything you just said is nonsense!" I.E - a typical Frank Jones post.
Jim Beam November 07, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Looks like the YES voters are having the last word, Mrs. Hooper. did you ever consider that a majority of Georgians might actually with me? I guess you're finding that out now. Thanks for driving many of the undecideds to the 21st century side of the argument with these blogs of yours. The no-ideas negativity of the NO crowd did more damage than anything I ever typed.
Jim Beam November 07, 2012 at 03:57 AM
You should be looking for NO votes, Monty. You're gonna need about 600,000 more of 'em at this point. What a loud statement the YES crowd has made. Congratulations, children of Georgia - the real winners of this election.
Tuskhog03a November 07, 2012 at 01:50 PM
For all that Voted, Thank-you. For all that Voted YES, Double Thank-you!!! Our Children and Education come first. Instead of arguing against giving our parents and children choices in Education, focus on the real problem and make Education the true priority. Support your local schools and support the charter schools.. Retired Army

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