Monday, October 15, 2012

Discussion on the GA Charter School Amendment [Oct 17]

Via CHCA...
Event Date and Time:  10/17/2012 - 9:15am
From the Emory Lavista Parent Council, Cosponsored with eduKalb.
Join us at 9:15 am  (refreshments begin at 8:45 am), Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at the International Community School (Formerly Medlock Elementary), 2418 Wood Trail Lane, Decatur, GA 30033.   
The Georgia Charter School Amendment: The Devil is in the Details.   
Rep. Scott Holcomb will provide an overview of what led to the amendment being proposed and then join Mark Peevy, former Executive Director of the Georgia Charter School Commission and Margaret Ciccarelli, Legislative Services Manager and Attorney, Professional Association of Georgia Educators  for a discussion of the proposed Georgia Charter School Amendment and how it will affect our schools and choices.
As you probably know, the November 6 election will include a vote on a constitutional amendment to modify how charter schools are established in Georgia. The amendment is not about voting yes or no on whether charter schools can be established, but is about control over how they are established. Voting yes would amend current law to allow the Governor and a politically appointed commission to approve new charter schools. Voting no preserves the current system, whereby local school boards,  in conjunction with the State Board of Education, make determinations over charters in their districts. This decision is being watched closely because it may set precedents for other states to follow.

This is a rather contested decision, as Governor-approved charters would compete for public funds.

A search of AJC online articles turns up a number of items on this ongoing debate. Creative Loafing,  the AJC's Get Schooled blog, and the Huffington Post all have featured this issue in recent weeks.

Pro and Con Arguments

YES: Proponents argue that the amendment will enhance school choice and preserve local control of schools (since schools are run locally). The GA Chamber of Commerce has issued a pro-amendment position statement.

NO: Detractors argue the move is dangerous because it removes power from local, elected school board officers and grants it to a non-elected independent board located elsewhere. The VoteSmart Georgia website argues against the amendment. There are also serious concerns about commercial interests influencing the decision: