Get ready Georgia schools. By early next year, our 200-plus charter schools and every other public school will need to compete for attention and scarce dollars with a select group of charter schools set up by a new Atlanta-based agency made up of unelected political cronies.
If passed, Georgia’s charter school amendment — Amendment 1 — will create a new, costly, and unnecessary state bureaucracy to preside over the creation of charter schools. This appointed board will also have the power to deny charter applications.
Supporters of a ‘Yes’ vote say the amendment will provide more school choice. But exactly who will have more options? It won’t be parents, teachers and locally elected officials.
Instead, this new Atlanta-based agency will be hand-picked by Governor Nathan Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and Speaker of the House David Ralston.
That’s right, unelected political appointees will have the power to make decisions affecting schools in your community.
If you don’t like the decisions that the new agency makes for schools in your community, tough luck. You can’t vote agency members out of office.
To fully understand how this works, you have to look past the deceptive language placed on the ballot. And you have to look past the legislation that lawmakers passed to put that deceptive language on the ballot. You have to dig deep and look at a second bill lawmakers call “enabling legislation.”
This is where the inner workings are hidden.
Amendment 1 is enabled by a piece of legislation passed in the Georgia General Assembly earlier this year. Even though the State Board of Education makes the final decision on whom is appointed to the new charter schools board, the legislation clearly states they must select from a list of nominees submitted by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House.
Who do you think they’re going to choose? Educators? Parents? School administrators?
Of course not!
Don’t believe us?
Let’s take a look at part of the legislation to see just what kind of authority Gov. Deal, Lt. Gov. Cagle, and Speaker Ralston have if the amendment passes.
From HB 797:
The commission shall be appointed by the State Board of Education and shall be composed of a total of seven members and made up of three appointees recommended by the Governor, two appointees recommended by the President of the Senate, and two appointees recommended by the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall each recommend a list of no fewer than two nominees for each appointment to the commission.
We know who’s funding the “yes” campaign. We know who will bend the ears of Deal, Cagle, and Ralston if Amendment 1 passes.
And we know what this means for Georgia’s schools: corruption and cronyism.
Yes Georgia, the slime is oozing all over the charter schools amendment and it’s our job to make sure the mess doesn’t reach our schools.
We cannot stand for this infringement on local control of our schools.
In the last 8 years, we’ve seen $4 billion cut from education funding and now we’re supposed to trust Governor Deal, Lt. Governor Cagle, and Speaker Ralston to make the right choice for Georgia’s students?
We don’t need their corporate cronies telling us what we can and can’t do with our local charter schools.
We need local control and a state government that stands up for local schools by providing the funding they’re owed.
Say NO to political appointees controlling charter schools in Georgia and vote NO on Amendment 1!