Up for grabs is one constitutional amendment which basically brings two bills into action:
- Authorize the state to approve new charter school charters (and not just appeals).
- Specify alternate (non QBE) funding levels for state charter schools.
What is not up for grabs…
- Vouchers (using county tax $ to fund state charters & private schools)
- Lots of $$ and forces well trenched on both sides of this argument.
- A specified increase or decrease in charter school funding and approval.
- Sometimes billed as a "blank check for new charters", but the reality is that here is only so much $$ to go around – and Gov. Deal has other priorities he must fund, like healthcare & transportation).. (But not ethics – let’s be clear)
- Increase school performance measures, parental involvement, technical alternatives to college, or other meaningful changes.
Now, most of the vitriol and baggage comes from two events:
- A Supreme Court ruling saying the State doesn't have the authority to approve new charter school applications. (They can only weigh in on appeals.) That should be left to the "level of government closest and most responsive to the taxpayers"
- Source: AJC Get Schooled 5/16/11
- A cut of 12.5 percent in state funding of K-12 Schools between FY09 and FY12.
So, to me, I do not consider the charter school amendment an election issue, because then you lose sight of how the BOE spends its money on such items as lobbying, technology, business development, central office expenses, all of which lead to more furlough days, shorter school years, and group think.
This amendment would give the DOE the authority to evaluate new charter school charters, and it would put pressure on the local school boards to incorporate charter schools into their capacity planning, curriculum planning, discipline measures, and data to measure their performance against. Also, there are already protections for only Georgia based not for profit management companies, so the bigger conspiracy is still only with those manipulating the issue.
We really need to be focusing on the BOE races, rather be distracted by this issue which has been perverted by non-Georgian interests.
On a side note, I wouldn't have had the point of view that I have if there weren't people like Elizabeth Hooper championing the voice of the "little guy" and trying to cut through the spin, hype, and agendas. Although I think we've reached different conclusions, my hat is off to you.