Monday, October 29, 2012

Nothing To Fear In Charter Amendment

Read the column here.

Year after year, the United States registers among the bottom tier of industrialized countries insofar as educational attainment is concerned.  And year after year, Georgia registers among the bottom tier of the fifty states.  And year after year, the Clarke County School District ranks among the bottom tier of Georgia counties – despite paying top dollar for such dismal results.  So just how is that status quo working out?

As a point of reference, four-fifths of the states provide for public charter schools of some description and, of those, more than three-quarters provide for an “alternative authorizer” other than local boards of education.

As another point of reference, the Georgia Charter Schools Commission approved fewer than one-third (17 of the 56) of the applications presented to it during the brief period of its operation [see below].

For the origin of “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” see chapter 13 verse 42 of Matthew:

For O.C.G.A. Title 20 concerning education:

For HB 881 creating the Georgia Charter Schools Commission:

For HR 1162 amending the state Constitution:

For HB 797 creating the State Charter Schools Commission:

For Georgia Public Policy Foundation FAQs:

For Georgia Department of Education FAQs:

For Georgia Charter Schools Association FAQs:

As I researched this column, I found that the sources differed on a variety of particulars, such as the relative number of charter schools approved by the Commission and even the number of charter schools in the state. Regarding the latter, some counts apparently include only "dependent" schools and some seemed to conflate "charter districts" with "charter schools." So, I guess one is left to choose for oneself.

Regardless, though, as noted by one commenter (a fact which others seem to steadfastly ignore) my point is that the actual impact of a revised such Commission is likely to be rather small.

And yes, given my past positions on educational issues it is true that my support for the amendment could be anticipated - just as could others' unwavering support for the dismally failing status quo.

Readers will note that I did not engage in any hyperbole or denigrate the character or motives of those who oppose the amendment. As is frequently the case, the same cannot be said of many of my critics.

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