EmpowerED Georgia Supports Local and State Charter Schools, Co-Founder Says

But it opposes the amendment creating a state Charter Schools Commission.


EmpowerED Georgia is reassured to have the attention of the Georgia Charter School Association. We can only view a lack of a detailed rebuttal from Mr. Lewis as a verification of the concerns we highlighted in our piece. 

Mr. Lewis is incorrect in his assertion that EmpowerED Georgia does not support charter schools. We support the authorization of both local and state charter schools. 

EmpowerED Georgia’s Charter Schools Blueprint addresses the concerns we expressed in our piece and .  We support the establishment of an effective system of charter schools that serve all students in the state and will be focusing our efforts in promoting the reforms in our Blueprint up until, and beyond the vote on November 6th.

Matt Jones is a public school teacher in Toombs County and the co-founder of EmpowerED Georgia.

Athens Mama September 11, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Mr Jones, I am exceptionally sympathethic to the fact that you serve the public good, both of students and teachers. However, I need to you to help me understand how local BOEs can be convinced to open "reform" charter schools in their districts, when the budgets are shrinking so quickly, and first grade parapros are being laid off. My child was part of a first grade classroom with a parapro, and the children were being yelled at daily. My child reports being yelled at for giving the wrong answer. The classroom was bare, without any student work on the walls, as was the bulletin board outside the classroom. When I visited, the parapro barred the door to the room. Other parents reported great angst that their six year olds were being yelled at by the teacher. I observed specific abuses by the parapro against one student with my own eyes. My child was then put into a classroom with a third grade teacher who had horrible references, given to me unsolicited by more than 3 families who approached me. How do you suggest these specific problems are remedied? How do you suggest that CHOICES be given to parents facing these situations. I understand the platform of your organization, but let's be frank, local BOEs are not in a position to try new things and to share money in doing so in this era. I shudder to think what compromised classrooms will look like without even the parapros.
Athens Mama September 11, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Teachers in these particular situations, even with parent complaints, are simply moved to other grades. When tenure is in place, teachers must do something overtly criminal in order to be removed. I understand the risks involved with a state agency that would approve charters for local districts, but I must tell you that in my mind, it would be a great cause for celebration for many parents and children if there were more choices quickly available in a district. I understand that the test scores are not necessarily better - but if the customers are happier, why would you not want to put local schools in a position to provide better service to their customers in order to retain them in local public schools? Certainly, some charters may be bad apples, as are some local public schools, but at least with choices, you could remove the stagnance that occurs when a neighborhood school knows you are stuck with them for better or for worse. As local districts are confined by real estate boundaries, the only recourse for parents and students who are not being served with the goal of customer satisfaction is to move, often at a great expense to the entire family. I know about this firsthand.


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