Senate Dems Criticize Latest Charter Schools Maneuvering

Senate Democratic Caucus Takes Aim at Charter Schools Amendment.

Henson says amendment preamble biased, inaccurate



Senate Democrats criticized the latest move by proponents of a November charter schools ballot amendment today, calling a new ballot preamble "biased, inaccurate and electioneering at its worst."

"As it was written in March, the charter schools question on the November ballot was misleading. The addition of a preamble to the ballot question heightens the inaccuracy," said Senate Democratic Leader Steve Henson of Tucker. "The preamble language adds to the bias and subjectivity of what citizens will be voting on. The language intends to mislead voters in an effort to ensure a specific outcome. This is not democracy."

The November charter schools ballot preamble reads: Provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public charter school options.

The charter schools controversy arose during the 2012 Georgia legislative session in the wake of a court decision to overturn a local school board's decision to approve a charter school. The GOP-led Senate and House voted to put the matter to voters. Democrats assailed the ballot language concerned it would mislead voters into thinking local boards did not have the power already to make educational decisions.

"The charter schools ballot question is a thinly veiled attempt to confuse voters into thinking they do not have local control over education. In fact, the opposite is true," said Sen. Valencia Seay. "Passage of the charter schools amendment will allow the state to take precious resources and funds from our public school districts to support what is essentially a parallel school system, further cutting our ability to provide a quality education to our young people."

Seay said that at a time when Georgia is furloughing teachers, cutting the amount of instructional time for struggling students, and enlarging class sizes, creating yet another distraction is the worst solution.

"Georgia has diverted $50 million dollars away from public education toward private school tuitions. Only a handful of charter schools will be affected by the November ballot amendment. Our conversation and our energy should be focused on what is in the best interest of our children," Seay said.

Senate Democrats noted the charter school movement in Georgia is flourishing under the current system.

Henson said claims of charter schools out performing public schools is nonsense. National studies show performance of public schools and charter schools to be nearly equal. He said the charter schools movement has been co-opted by special interest and out of state money.

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Chris October 03, 2012 at 07:11 PM
MA Evans, where did you get your Doctorate degree? You say "The Republican party hates government". Are you a mind reader or do you just live inside the minds of every republican? Hate is a very strong term and should never be used frivolously by one with intellect. It's probably okay though for you to exploit its meaning. I would LOVE to hear from you exactly why it is that you believe that Public Schools are working so well for our future America. Please abstain from the word HATE if at all possible. Oh, and don't let athens baby momma know that you feel this way. She's a lib.
North Georgia Weather October 03, 2012 at 08:22 PM
You know Frank, I consider myself a Republican and it's funny, but I don't think any of those things. It's also funny how you THINK you know what I think. You're gonna pop something if you don't chillax and little bit. And as far as I'm concerned, this was never a political issue for me, it's all about being good stewards of the taxpayers money and doing what's right for the kids. The government subsidizing private companies to operate schools while taking money from under-funded public schools, is not right at all. It's robbing from Peter to pay Paul, and I'm very much against it.
George Wilson October 03, 2012 at 09:02 PM
@all I have a problem with a few of the premises being assumed in this thread (as well the larger educational ideologies they belong to). The first is that schools are getting considerably worse. When we talk about "failing schools" in the US, we are really talking about schools in demographic areas of low socio-economic status. There's an excellent site that uses Google maps to show relative test scores in cities across America. Unsurprisingly, educational quality fits poverty rates like a glove. The site is http://schoolperformancemaps.com/
George Wilson October 03, 2012 at 09:14 PM
@all Ms Diane Ravitch: author of "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" Google her bio. she was in the Bush adm. "Charter schools have been oversold as panaceas. On average, charter schools do not have better results than regular public schools. On national tests, charter students have never outperformed those in regular public schools. But the media loves a story about a school that produces miraculous transformations. Their favorite is the story about a school that opens in a blighted neighborhood, enrolls poor and minority students who were doomed to fail, and then sends all of them to college. There may be some such charter schools, but they are not typical of the charter movement. And some of these "miracle" schools achieve better results by taking a smaller proportion of the hardest to educate students: those who have limited-English proficiency, those with disabilities, and immigrant children. Some of the highest-performing charters have a high attrition rate; those who leave are usually the lowest-performing or most difficult students, whose exit helps to sustain the "miracle".
Frank Jones October 03, 2012 at 09:22 PM
North Georgia Weather...I was referring to the Republican party establishment in Georgia (Chip Rogers et al) not individuals. There are many Dem/Rep against the charter amendment. There are many Dem/Rep for the amendment. David..."Inflammatory Lies" - not so: My voucher & semi-private charter school argument is based upon the fact that while the legislature was cutting funding for public schools it implement the SSO legislation to allow $50+ million per year of state tax revenues go to private schools w/ no account'g of who rec'd scholarships (ie Politician kids?) Charters require either contributions or volunteer hours by the parents. TN Reps want approval of a charter that "requests" parents pay $1,500+ per year. My "Republican want schools to fail" is based upon the fact that they "want" success but aren't providing funding and resources to make it happen. The easy way to get the amendment passed is to generate outrage towards TPS. If they wanted APS, Dekalb and other failing systems to excel, them they would target those districts. CSUSA has donated over $300,000 to Republicans legislators in Florida that I've been able to document. Countless more on dinners, trips & speaking engagements. Segregate schools-Take a look at the income and racial make-up of charter schools in GA compared to district demographics. Religion - Take a look at Louisianna's charter/voucher program. Rewrite of History - Take a look at Texas' textbook changes.


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