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.