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The Charter Schools Commission Amendment: John Barge Speaks Out

The State Superintendent speaks about why the charter schools amendment is a bad idea for public education in Georgia. His full remarks are attached to this article.

Dr. Barge, State Superintendent, shared his thoughts on the charter school amendment. In a press release, he had this to say:

I fully support the continued creation of high quality charter schools for Georgia’s students, but after careful consideration of what is best for all of Georgia’s students, I have decided to take a position in opposition to the constitutional amendment that will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.  

Until all of our public school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia’s local school districts – much less an additional $430 million in state funds, which is what it would cost to add seven new state charter schools per year over the next five years (the annual average of the Charter Commission that would be revived if the amendment passes).  

I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education. 

What’s more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases).   

I trust our local school districts will continue to approve only high quality charter schools for Georgia’s students, and I am committed to working with all of our school districts to ensure that high quality applicants are not denied locally – including mediating between high quality charter school applicants and any local districts that are reluctant to approve them, as provided by existing Georgia law.

Hangtough September 25, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Dr. Barge, Taking away local control of schools is exactly what needs to happen in this state. You guys have had years to correct this problem and done nothing. When you see proof that charter schools are outperforming brick and mortar schools by leaps and bounds, you have to wonder why. Why do you insist on fighting them so hard? Do you not want any child in the state to get a good education? We have found something that works and yet you want to distroy it. I could tell you horror stories of what I went through with one son, one step-son and now a granddaughter all with learning disabilities in public school. Now I have my granddaughters in a charter school and it has been like two different worlds. THEY CARE! I never received that in public school! I will fight to keep charter schools because they work, where public school does not. All anyone is concerned with in public school is just as you stated...not loosing their funding. If they worried more about education we would not have this problem!

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