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Georgia Charter Schools Amendment: What Will My Vote Mean?

Tuesday's ballot includes a Georgia constitutional amendment to re-establish a state commission to approve charter schools. Your job's to decide if that's a good idea.

 

There aren't a lot of statewide issues on the ballot Nov. 6, but one has the potential to affect school districts, parents and children throughout Georgia.

It's Amendment 1, and the ballot will say it "Provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public charter school options."

The question voters will answer yes or no to is, "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?"

So what does a yes vote mean?

If the amendment passes, the state will create a commission that can approve charter schools in local communities, even if local school boards oppose them. Supporters of the amendment believe this is necessary to sidestep obstructionist local school boards that are failing to do their jobs. Opponents fear a loss of local control and a shift of resources from traditional public schools.

What does a no vote mean?

If the amendment fails, local school boards will still be able to approve new charter schools, but the state will not have clear authority to do so. (There's debate over whether the State Board of Education can still hear appeals from petitioners whose schools are rejected locally.)

What's a charter school, anyway?

In short, a charter school is a publicly funded school that's exempted from some state and local rules so it can try more innovative ways of educating kids. Some charter schools in Georgia are operating within local school board governance, and some are operating outside it. Amendment 1 would lead to more charter schools operating independently from local school boards.

So what do I have to decide?

Basically, your decision comes down to: Who do I trust more to make decisions about charter schools: local school boards, or the state of Georgia? If you think the state should have more authority, you probably want to vote yes. If you want the state to stay out if it, you're probably a no vote.

How do I learn more so I can make up my mind?

Follow these links, and look for more related articles on Patch.

Arguments for the charter schools amendment:

Local school boards need more accountability

The amendment empowers parents

The amendment is the epitome of small government

The amendment is another tool for improving Georgia education

Arguments against the charter schools amendment:

Local control is critical

The language of the amendment is misleading

The amendment will effectively privatize Georgia schools

Where are you learning about the charter schools amendment? Share links in the comments below.

 

 

 

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MP November 02, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Just to be clear - who do you trust more... Local school district boards OR Parents, teachers, and community members serving on charter school governing boards (apprioved by the state) Really, it's local control (district boards) vs. even more local control
Athens Mama November 02, 2012 at 09:28 PM
MP nailed it. Local BOEs do not necessarily represent the interests of the involved parents and students in their districts. They do not necessarily stand for delivering a high standard of treatment for the students enrolled in their districts. Truthfully, like an orphanage, they are concerned with making sure that there is a space for everyone, 3 meals a day for everyone, and that no one gets hurt. Trying to achieve a high standard of treatment of students is difficult when you are focused on making AYP. VOTE YES on the amendment in order to open the doors to MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS, which = MORE CHOICE IN GEORGIA, where our schools are graduating an average of 2 out of 3. Not good enough.
David Jarrett November 03, 2012 at 05:17 PM
The decision will not be made locally . They will be made by a board appointed by the govenor and the speaker of the house and a few others. This is a State board not accountable to anyone but those who appoint them and easily manipulated by people who give money to those state officials. So pay off Deal and you can get your for Profit School running to take money away from finacially strapped local boards. A great deal for the money grubbers a very bad deal for education Vote NO! (Money for those misleading ads with "Autumn" all come from out of state.)
Ed Uktr November 05, 2012 at 11:42 PM
The teachers’ unions, represented locally by the Georgia Association of Educators, are steadfastly against education reform and parental choice. If the charter-schools amendment passes, the union strategy of fielding phony “Republicans” in local school board elections in order to block new charter school approvals—will ultimately prove less fruitful. Rent the film WAITING FOR SUPERMAN to learn more. Then do a Google search on “NEA” and “donations” and you’ll see that the National Education Association, GAE’s parent union, is a cash-cow for Democrats and every liberal-left pressure group in the news. Vote “YES” on the charter-schools amendment !

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