Editor’s note: The following letter regards the Nov. 6 voter referendum on an amendment to the state’s charter school law.
Why do we need to change the Constitution? My sons thrived in Atlanta Public Schools. As a mother, former Parent Teacher Association leader and citizen who wants to ensure all of Georgia’s children thrive in our public schools, I ask, given that…
o Parents already have school choices. Georgia has more than 200 charter schools and more in the pipeline.
o Locally elected school boards approve charter school applications based on merits. They can deny a charter school for governance, financial and/or ethical improprieties. There is a formal appeal process already in place.
o Academic performance of Georgia’s public schools equals or exceeds that of charter schools. In 2010-11, 73 percent of traditional public schools in Georgia met AYP targets while 70 percent of charter schools met them. (Source: Georgia Department of Education 2010-11 annual report)
o Most education leaders oppose this amendment, including State Superintendent John Barge and the Georgia Parent Teacher Association.
o Georgia has already cut nearly $4 billion from public education. This amendment allows the state to continue siphoning money from traditional public schools and put it into both regular and state-controlled charter schools and allows public dollars to go to private education companies that are unregulated in Georgia. Barge said, “…I do not believe we should divert scarce state dollars to create a new government agency when our schools are suffering.” (Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Aug. 26). … What is the problem we are trying to solve?
Charter schools are an important tool already in the local education reform toolbox. This amendment is about who controls this tool. Vote no on [what columnist Dick Yarbrough called] “this weasel-worded amendment.”
Lynn Brown McKinney
Buckhead resident and candidate, state House District 54