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Georgia Charter Schools Amendment: What Will My Vote Mean?

Tuesday's ballot includes a Georgia constitutional amendment to re-establish a state commission to approve charter schools. Your job is to decide if that's a good idea.

There aren't a lot of statewide issues on the ballot Nov. 6, but one has the potential to affect school districts, parents and children throughout Georgia.

It's Amendment 1, and the ballot will say it "Provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public charter school options."

The question voters will answer yes or no to is, "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?"

So what does a yes vote mean?

If the amendment passes, the state will create a commission that can approve charter schools in local communities, even if local school boards oppose them. Supporters of the amendment believe this is necessary to sidestep obstructionist local school boards that are failing to do their jobs. Opponents fear a loss of local control and a shift of resources from traditional public schools.

What does a no vote mean?

If the amendment fails, local school boards will still be able to approve new charter schools, but the state will not have clear authority to do so. (There's debate over whether the State Board of Education can still hear appeals from petitioners whose schools are rejected locally.)

What's a charter school, anyway?

In short, a charter school is a publicly funded school that's exempted from some state and local rules so it can try more innovative ways of educating kids. Some charter schools in Georgia are operating within local school board governance, and some are operating outside it. Amendment 1 would lead to more charter schools operating independently from local school boards.

So what do I have to decide?

Basically, your decision comes down to: Who do I trust more to make decisions about charter schools: local school boards, or the state of Georgia? If you think the state should have more authority, you probably want to vote yes. If you want the state to stay out if it, you're probably a no vote.

What is your opinion on the charter schools amendment? Let us know in the comments.

Related articles:

  • Feeling Manipulated About Charter Schools? There's a Reason for That
  • Former Members of the Georgia Charter School Commission Speak Out
  • Should the State Get Back into the Charter School Business?
  • GAE Lauds State Superintendent’s Stance Against Charter School Constitutional Amendment
  • Senate Dems Criticize Latest Charter Schools Maneuvering

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