Posts Tagged ‘Georgia schools’

Hope You’ll Vote NO on the Georgia Charter School Amendment

October 3, 2012


I’m talking about the move by Georgia lawmakers who want to make it easy to circumvent local boards of education, and even the state board of education, so that new charter schools can be formed.  

There is a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would allow a special commission in Atlanta to approve spending state tax dollars to  fund new charter schools. 

A lot of people whose opinion I respect think this is really a bad idea.  Local school boards and the state board can now approve charter schools, so it’s not a matter of not having them. It’s a matter of losing local control and using state tax dollars for charter schools that could be going to local school systems. Local systems really need that money because of the draconian cuts to public schools by the state legislature.  The legislators will tell you they are for public education, but actions do indeed speak louder than words. 

After, studying this complicated matter, I  will be joining our state Superintendent of Education,  former state representative Mary Jane Galer, former state representative and State Board of Regents member Milton Jones, and others in voting no on this amendment.  If you live in Georgia, I hope you will do the same thing. 

A lot of out-of-state money is going into the campaign to get this amendment approved.  I am told that is because for-profit management companies that manage some charter schools want this amendment to pass.

As I said, like so many other things, it’s about the money. 

The Education Solution: Race to the Top in Muscogee County

February 1, 2011


Muscogee County School District Superintendent Dr. Susan Andrews agreed to answer some questions I have about education reform in America, Georgia, and Muscogee County. Yesterday she explained the effects of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program.  Today, she explains the effects of President Obama’s Race to the Top. 

Race to the Top is a federal grant for school reform.  The purpose of this grant is to transform the nation’s lowest performing schools, to enhance teaching and learning, to ensure the implementation of the Common Core Standards, and to allow for teachers to use the most current data available to inform their instruction day to day, as well as providing them longitudinal data so they can see student progress over time.  Muscogee County will be receiving $11.6 million dollars over the next four years.  I am excited to be at the table as we begin these initiatives.  My greatest concern is that we will spend, as a state, $400 million dollars in the next four years and a true transformation will not have taken place.  We are going to work very hard in Muscogee County to use this money over the next four years to implement the reforms with integrity and make a difference in the achievement of all students.  A large portion of this money had to be set aside for year four of the grant to provide bonuses for teachers who reach a certain level on the Teacher Effectiveness Scale which will be developed at the State level.  The State told districts how much of the money to set aside for that purpose.  Another large portion of the money will be spent on building capacity among our teaching staff through targeted professional development.

Having said all of that I must remind everyone that in America, we value every child and believe that every child should have the opportunity to be educated in our public schools.  We are educating more students, with more diversity, to higher levels than at any time in the history of our nation.  That is a story that doesn’t often get told.  Providing a quality education for all students is a civil right due to all American children.