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Charter School Amendment - Planet Parent to Glenn Delk - We Object!

Planet Parent on Mr. Delk's lawsuit against 180 Georgia school districts - the "Education Empire" - filed as a class action suit by five plaintiffs and "all taxpayers of Georgia." Really Mr. Delk?

Dear Mr. Delk,

I am a member of Planet Parent - we support public education vs. the privatization of public education. It was just beamed up to me that you have filed a lawsuit on behalf of five parents and "all taxpayers of a Georgia" against 180 Georgia school districts, deemed in the lawsuit to be part of a conspiratorial coalition with "tentacles" around the state - you have named the coalition, the "Education Empire." See Jim Galloway's column on 10/8/ 2012 http://bit.ly/PQRWKk.

The lawsuit is filed as a class action lawsuit on behalf of five parents and "all taxpayers of Georgia” who apparently live on a different planet than mine. Those of us Planet Parent have really had it with lawmaker clones who have not been telling us the entire truth about this Amendment. On my planet, parents are concerned about alien investors and EMOS's, circling our children and tax dollars. Your opening statement is misleading, "This case is not about whether or not the voters of Georgia should approve the Amendment, which would allow charter schools to be authorized by someone other than a local school board."

We on Planet Parent have conducted research, independent of the "Education Empire," related to this statement, which has appeared in virus like replication in many verbal and printed statements. We have concluded that this is an incorrect statement. Perhaps you didn't know, but the State of Georgia has a law on the books, which allows charter petitioners who have been denied at the local level to appeal to the State BOE. This constitutional body appears to be quite competent, helpful, and efficient. What more could the "Privatization Patrol" - you and your followers advocating for vouchers and tax credits for private school tuition - want for charter schools?  

Furthermore, you continue to disappoint - concluding; "Instead, this case is about whether the voters of Georgia are entitled to a fair and free election on this issue." A member of my planet happened to have unearthed the hidden preamble on September 12th deep within the Attorney General's office. Fair Mr. Delk?  Where were you? Members from Planet Parent are deeply offended by the deceptive language of the preamble and the fact that it was hidden from everyone including members of the "Education Empire."

Finally Mr. Delk, members of Planet Parent find your "relief" solutions unacceptable - specifically; " distribute factual material prepared by plaintiffs." Hopefully the judge in this case will consider current law and what the legislation actually says in order to determine what the facts are in this case. There are limits on my planet as to how the written word can be interpreted by lawyers.

We would have hoped, Mr. Delk that the Privatization Patrol would have appealed to the Cooperation Council first rather than going to battle stations. War is not good for our children and the taxpayers always end up paying for it. Perhaps your backers could provide a sound track for this screenplay. Have you contacted John Williams? Good music may help all of us get through the next 29 days. 

Over and Out,

Elizabeth Hooper

P.S. Georgia does not have teacher unions. You must have confused Georgia with a blue planet.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Monty Brewster October 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Mike, money is the main issue standing between your choice of getting out of public schools. So yes, it is all about money. How about you "step it up" and pay for your own private education instead of leaning on the tax payers. Wow. You harp on parents that can't afford to feed their children, but then think its nice to have options. You seriously amaze me by how self centered you really are.
Jim Beam October 17, 2012 at 02:26 AM
It's all about Funding for Frank. At least he's consistent. Meanwhile, the traditional public school system the NO crowd so blindly endorses has made us a national laughingstock. No matter how much the NOs try to spin it, our national rankings in all categories are laughable. But the NOs don't care about Quality - only Quantity...as in the Quantity of tax $$ they can spend. Not once in any NO argument do you see any interest in the Quality of education - only lies and misinformation about effects on their incessant desire for More Funding. This spend,spend,spend mentality has helped lead to the corruption we saw in APS and the numerous accreditation issues seen in many GA counties(too many to list. Google 'GA School Board SACS loss'). It's led to corruption in places like DeKalb, where no vehicle is expensive enough for the superintendent even as they claim they can't pay their teachers. If any of these examples were Charter schools, they'd be closed. Instead, their superintendents and BOEs actually have the nerve to stick their hands out for More Funding while insisting on Zero Accountability. It's time for this failed system to change. We've given this liberal experiment some 3 decades of doubling per-child spending and we've got APS to show for it. Vote YES to better educational Quality. Vote YES to less corruption. Vote YES to more accountability. Vote YES to 1162.
Monty Brewster October 17, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Echo... echo.... echo.... You say the same thing every time. You ignore the fact that charter schools will increase spending. You ignore the fact that more than $1,000,000 per school of taxpayer dollars is going to a corporation as profit instead of toward our children. You ignore these simple facts. You say spending is bad, then ask for more spending. Have you ever been in a public school? 26+ five and six year olds in a classroom, 32+ high school students in math and science classes... how do you get these classroom numbers lower? Hire more teachers. What do you need to hire more teachers? The wrong answer would be decreased funding... again... we are not asking for more funding, we are asking for APPROPRIATE funding. QBE has not been followed for several years. Public schools are underfunded for what the legislators putting in mandates want the schools to achieve. Speaking of accountability... has CCA posted their financials yet? The only way to get LESS CORRUPTION will not be by voting at this point... it will only be achieved through a recall of one of the most corrupt politicians in America. If the legislators that got us in this mess are the ones supporting and writing Amendment 1, there is absolutely no way I'm voting for it. Vote NO in NOvember.
Jen October 17, 2012 at 04:50 AM
Mike, free and reduced lunch program is federally funded and is available at all public, non-profit private schools and child development centers. Everyone pays for it. The economic status of the kids in Calhoun County plays into PCA's "success" . They take kids from 5 counties and when you account for the differences in demographics you would expect that they would have a higher outcome. I'm afraid if you want to do away with free/reduced lunch you better get much busier than posting on a local news blog. You really think state charters are the answer to dysfunctional districts? How about looking at Ivy Prep's expenses, which in 2010-2011 spent a measly 39% of their income on instruction.
Drowning the voice of reason? October 17, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Steely Dan, you say that Florida's educational system outranks Georgia's. Our politicians say they want to emulate Florida. After a decade, as the Miami Herald continues to report in an investigative series titled “Cashing in on kids” (www.miamiherald.com/charterschools), among the findings are: “During the past 15 years, Florida has embarked on a dramatic shift in public education, steering billions in taxpayer dollars from traditional school districts to independently run charter schools. What started as an educational movement has turned into one of the region’s fastest-growing industries, backed by real-estate developers and promoted by politicians. “But while charter schools have grown into a $400-million-a-year business in South Florida, receiving about $6,000 in taxpayer dollars for every student enrolled, they continue to operate with little public oversight. Even when charter schools have been caught violating state laws, school districts have few tools to demand compliance. “Charter schools have become a parallel school system unto themselves, a system controlled largely by for-profit management companies and private landlords — one and the same, in many cases — and rife with insider deals and potential conflicts of interest.”
Mike payne October 17, 2012 at 01:33 PM
The great thing about Charter Schools is if they do not meet my kids needs I can pull them out, that is why it is called choice. Monty, I will gladly put my kids in a private school if I feel my local public school is not doing the job. I can afford it, what is your solution to the parents who can't? Oh yeah you do not have one. Instead you get on here and call me self centered because I am willing to fight for a school my kids love and I believe in.
Mike payne October 17, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I find 92% a disturbingly high number and your response is I "want to do away with free/reduced lunch". Jen, do you want to try and reduce that number or are you good with 9 out of 10 parents needing help to pay for a lunch that is less than two dollars?
Have a heart October 17, 2012 at 01:46 PM
You sound upset that tax dollars help feed hungry children. I hope I'm not reading that correctly!
Jim Beam October 17, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Monty, why not cut some of the Admin fat to help out with funding? How can you whine about a lack of funding yet support monthly vehicle stipends for the superintendent? How can you support paying for the super's gasoline bill but then complain about a lack of $$ for teachers? You're the same echo chamber - it's always more funding, no increase in quality, no accountability with you. Cherokee county cut spending and SAT scores rose...this, after years of over-spending and stagnant scores. It's not 2006 anymore for anyone. This includes education. Charters do a better job across the board since their existence depends on it. They graduate a higher % of students than the TPS model, and close if they don't. Conversely, last I checked, no APS schools have been closed. Speaking of accountability, I'm still unable to get a copy of the 1000+ page CCSD budget unless I pay tons of $$$ myself for a copy. Charter schools cost less than the traditional public school model and every company involved with the TPS model is making a profit off your tax dollars. Where's your outrage at the for-profit companies supplying books, food, gas, etc? You're only angry because the charter admin $$$ isn't going into the pockets of already-overpaid TPS supers and admins...the very people you advocate for, the children's education be damned. Vote YES.
Elizabeth Hooper October 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Keep looking MP - you must spend too much time hanging around people who are paid to express their opinion. Guess what - there are 1,000's of moms like me and taxpayers without kids who really care about this issue and have had it up to their eyeballs with hired hands and politicians who are dishonest. I just happen to like writing. It's kind of a stress reliever - gets all the angst out you know.
Monty Brewster October 18, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Well Mike... I can tell you what is not a solution... pulling funding from where 95% of students are attending school and putting it in a parallel system (that research shows performs worse more often then better - http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/National_Release.pdf) while creating an additional layer of bureaucracy and government that does not answer to the voters. I have seen and heard many solutions, but the educrats under the Gold Dome (that think they know more about education than people that actually work in education and come up with viable, real solutions) just ignore those peon teachers that work with our children on a daily basis because politicians obviously know better than all of us parents and those pesky teachers. How about lower class size for starters? How about attracting the best people into the field of education by offering better pay for teachers? How about we not abandon those children that would otherwise go unfed without free/reduced breakfasts and lunches? It's elitists like you, that are only looking out for themselves, that got us into this mess in the first place. Can you please tell us some more stories about how privileged you are and what you can afford while we have so many others that can't afford to feed their children?
Monty Brewster October 18, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Dan, so we should cut "administrative fat" in a county that spends about half on administration per child than what our local charter school does? How about Jon Hage's jet? You seem like paying for his jet fuel is okay. How can you complain about a Superintendent that has brought this county from the brink of losing accreditation to being one of the top 5 performing districts annually? He isn't even the top paid Super in the state of Georgia. Please do your homework and see how irrelevant your argument is here. He is paid accordingly. He's not getting the $1M bonus that Hage gets though. No accountability? You can look up any real public school's financials online. Where's the accountability in charter schools? How's that financial cook book coming along at CCA? CCSD scores can be attributed to all the work put in when the funding was still there. Those kids benefited from times past. If you want less funding, how about we do the same at your charter school? Lets cut funding and see what happens. I haven't seen any stats on charter grad rate, but I'll bet they kick out those that will not graduate before that time comes so it affects the TPS grad rate and not their own. Charter schools don't cost less, they just provide fewer services. Do charters not use books now? I am advocating for the children that are most affected by this change. I'm angry because of the misguidance of legislators, taking advantage of parents looking for change. Vote NO.
Mike payne October 18, 2012 at 06:45 PM
There you go again "abandon those children that would otherwise go unfed without free/reduced breakfasts and lunches" my point is, it is sad the number is that high. How you go from that to abandonment is sick. True compassion is getting as many people as possible to be self sufficient. So you admit we are in a mess now, how bold of you, too bad this mess was created long before Charter Schools came along. So what is your excuse for the mess? You calling me an elitist is a joke, I grew up with a single mother from the age of 1 and graduated from a Clayton County School High School with no further education. I welcome the day you are ready to man up and post your tax returns against mine and verify that I double you up in charitable contributions not to mention volunteering time to help those less fortunate. You want to reduce class size but then complain that the charter schools are taking kids, huh? Oh no my bad you are fine with the kids leaving you are upset because you will not get to keep state money going to a school he does not attend. The fact you get to keep the local money is not enough (it never is for the government) even though my kid will not be at the local school. Talk about wanting it both ways.
Jim Beam October 18, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Monte, I'm not paying anyone's air fare. Not sure what you're referring to. CCSD outspends any charter school in every category. OTOH, you & I are both paying the super's gas bills. It's comical to hear you NO folks whine about lack of funding as you rush to defend the bloated salary and perks of various supers. We don't have to pay the super's gas bills in order for our teachers to succeed. No offense but you're ignorant of the CCSD budget. The online version doesn't get into the line x line detail I'd like to see. To get that costs me, the taxpayer funding it, $100s to get a copy. Don't believe me? Call the CCSD and ask for the actual budget, not the edited PDF that gets published that doesn't list the various admin perks, interior decorating costs, etc that you rush to defend. Charters cost less and provide more. Charters teach foreign language - TP schools do not. Charters graduate over 90% of students compared to the laughably-dismal 66% rate your TPS model does. Look, I understand that you TPS lovers fear competition, since it exposes the numerous weaknesses of the TPS model but change is coming whether or not 1162 passes. People across America are tired of the TPS model and the multiple-choice-test mentality it teaches to. We're tired of a mere 1 in 4 college-bound students being prepared for that, thanks to the mediocre TPS model. Vote YES for more competition and less mediocrity.
Jim Beam October 18, 2012 at 08:46 PM
The problem with your ideas, Monty, is that we've been doing that for years now. GA's teacher pay ranking is much higher than the state's ed. rankings (http://www.teacherportal.com/teacher-salaries-by-state/) and is the best avg. salary of any SE state. In Cherokee County, we voted ourselves a tax-increase (you libs love those!!) called ESPLOST that will help build schools and other projects that should be used to help decrease class size. The only people abandoning children is the TPS model that lets 33% of its students not graduate on time, which increases costs across the board. It's liberals like you and your incessant need for infinite spending increases with no accountability that have gotten us into this mess...and have gotten so many parents wanting to opt out of this failed TPS model you so blindly support. GA has doubled per-child spending the past 20+ years. We've got bottom-USA rankings to show for it. It's time to give parents another choice with all these billions of $$$ the TPS model has been squandering over the years. Vote YES.
MP October 21, 2012 at 05:16 PM
@ Monty Brewster - You sound like one of those little dolls where you pull the string and it repeats the same GSBA, GSSA, PAGE, GAE, and PTA lines, "It's a parallel system." "It siphons money." Let's look at the FACTS rather than the rhetoric that you repeat without verifying: HR 1162, lines 50-54. http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/display/20112012/HR/1162 HB 797, starting with line 317: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/display/20112012/HB/797 The laws (2 of them) PROHIBIT money from being taken from districts. Break off the pull string and get your own lines to share - hopefully ones that are based in truth and hold with logic.
MP October 21, 2012 at 05:20 PM
@ Monty - and how about you also stop looking at a study that has gotten criticized from other researchers...and, if you MUST use it, at least show what it really says (that charters over time out perform in reading and math). To counter it, read Caroline Hoxby. Even better, why don't you use some common sense and compare Georgia performance - charters versus traditional schools. The charters out perform - call the Governor's Office of Student achievement yourself and ask for the data.
MP October 21, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Frank - Read the whole study, friend. And read Hoxby, too. Let's talk about PCA and its districts. First of all - PCA transports kids. PCA is an LEA and spends $0 on central administration with its over 300 kids. Baker County, with its 350 kids spends over half a million in central administration. They have comparable numbers of kids and comparable duties - and Baker County takes money OUT of the classroom to fund the bureaucrats. You fail to mention that when QBE leaves, so does the associated expense. Class sizes go down, and variable costs, which are considerable, decrease. You folks always talk about money going away, but you always forget to mention that so does the expense. Let's talk about the state funds. Again, you like to omit key facts. Let's line it up side by side so the public isn't misled with more omissions: Traditional School Avg. State Charter School Avg. State Revenue $4290 $5230 Local Revenue $3686 $0 Facility Funding $1071 $316 TOTAL FUNDING $8993 $5546 Tell the truth.
MP October 21, 2012 at 05:41 PM
@ Monty - no, CCA has not posted their financials because: * Fiscal year didn't end until 6/30 * They had to have the audit conducted * The audit wasn't due to the state until October 1. Has Cherokee County published THEIR financial data? Nope. For the same reasons - and you won't see theirs until after the first of the year if not later.
MP October 21, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Mike - here is a bigger issue... Calhoun County's CENSUS data does not show that high of poverty...or minority numbers. The COMMUNITY numbers are about 60/40 minority/white) and less than 40% under the poverty line. The districts down there serve nearly 100% minority and in the high 90s for economically disadvantaged students. They PERPETUATE the poverty cycle AND segregation. What, in the last 30 years, have these districts done to mirror their community? Does the administrative staff and school board mirror even their community? Nope - bunch of caucasian folks.
Monty Brewster October 24, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Dan - we finally agree on something. Education is messed up. Standardized testing is not what we should be doing. However, just like with charter schools, this is a billion dollar industry. There isn't a politician out there there will say standardized testing is failing our children. It's not the teachers, its not the schools.... its the legislators. They are the policy makers. Do you understand that? Yet we continue to vote again and again for the same idiots in our state Capitol. We do need change, but Amendment 1 is not the change we need. VOTE NO. Amendment 1 is the T-SPLOST of November. Very few will benefit while most will suffer even more. Know NO in NOvember.
Monty Brewster October 24, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Dan - Do you understand how good schools affect local economy? Do you understand how increased population affects the number of schools needed? MP - if you are blind, dumb, or just plain ignorant, your points could possibly make sense. However, for people that can perform simple arithmetic and can read, we can see between the lines of the politicking you have going on here. Are the school districts experiencing more austerity cuts each year? YES. Are charter schools getting increased funding? YES. Where is that money coming from? The state. Where do the austerity cuts to school districts go? The state. I'm just saying... even if you say that money is not coming from the local schools to the charter schools directly, it is being withheld from the school districts and given to the charter schools. It's nothing less than money laundering at the state level. Money will continue to be cut from the school districts and given to charter schools which will then go to fuel "Big Education" corporations. They'll get their millions in profits while the children in the school districts will have even more crowded classes, possibly 40 or 50 students in a class with little or no resources. These corporations care about the students about as much as "Big Oil" cares about you being able to get to work.
Monty Brewster October 24, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Charters will cost the state more money - this would be what you refer to as increased spending. Where is this money coming from if it isn't from the school districts? China? No wonder CCA is offering Mandarin. We may all need to learn Mandarin if this Amendment passes. VOTE NO!
Monty Brewster October 24, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Is this like when Lyn Carden tried to compare CCA's retakes to CCSD's original tests? You can pay researchers enough to have them change the numbers to say whatever you want them to say, but a study of this size can't be ignored. This is the most inclusive study to date (and bias free). This is kind of like you guys saying GA is 47th in the nation in education. It is.... when you compare 80% of the student population scores in GA to only the top 5-20% of other states. That's just ridiculous. Caroline Hoxby (for anyone reading this) is a long time proponent of privatization and a senior fellow at the anti-public education think tank, Hoover Institution. Of course she is going to try and knock down anything that doesn't prove charters are superior. VOTE NO!
Ava Chun October 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Elizabeth Cooper your humor is INeffective. Apparently, you do not live the day to day realities of what public school is all about for students who DO NOT fit into the public school model. I will tell you first hand by actual observations of public school classroom education that it is NOT working for some students. PUBLIC school is NOT working for everyone and FOR THAT, you NEED TO YOU NEED TO ALLOW ALTERNATIVES, such as charter school Inflexibility or lack of understanding that public school is NOT for everyone makes you RIGID, INflexible and UNreasonable.
Ava Chun October 24, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Frank, you are sorely mistaken. Please look outside the world you look at. You HAVE NO IDEA. Do you know that there are quite several students with special needs or failing in the PUBLIC school system? Do you know that the public school system is IMpersonal, ran like a factory and your child is like a paper being processed through a machine / system ? You need to go to a public school and see what every day is like from a student's perspective.
Ava Chun October 24, 2012 at 01:01 PM
YES for QUALITY EDUCATION tailored to each child. Our child is not a paper being processed thru the system. Every child is DIFFERENT. Until education is changed to show that each child is being cared for...... we need to PROTEST. Education IN FACT is the 1 single factor that will determine the future of the human speciies and earth. It is a daunting task. Education is something we all need to take seriously. We can have fun all we want but in the end we need to face what is truly important.
Ava Chun October 24, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Julia the fact that you use the word "system" tells me you are lost. Education is NOT a system. It is not. You child is not being processed thru a "system". Every child is different. Every child/human learns differently. We need to acknowledge that.
Jim Beam October 24, 2012 at 04:08 PM
To sum up all of Monty's (& the rest of the NO crowd's) arguments: "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!" To sum up the "YES" arguments: "We need to do a better job educating our children and Charters are a step in that direction." The predictable "NO" rebuttal: "But $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!!!!!!" Vote YES.
Monty Brewster October 25, 2012 at 03:20 AM
You keep trying to say it isn't about money. If that is what you believe, you are completely ignorant to this matter. How will charter schools manage without money? Oh, that's right, they are getting MORE money. Why do charters stop enrolling after FTE count? Because the don't get anymore money - it doesn't benefit them. Go tell CSUSA that they won't make that million dollar profit margin next year as well. CSUSA will bail on CCA faster than Will "The Winner" can ramble off Saturday afternoon's spreads. Say NO to larger class sizes. Say NO to more furlough days. Say NO to more government. Say NO to Amendment 1.

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