Charter School Amendment: 2 VERY DIFFERENT Conservative Perspectives

Ahh, The Charter School Amendment: the issue which has conservatives calling each other liberals, debating ’til they’re blue in the face and liberals…well…just stomping their feet, like usual. So that’s why me and my pal Tori Wester (seen above fighting during our yard sign blitz) from ToriPundit decided to present two different conservative view points on the Charter School Amendment. She voted ‘Yes’ on Amendment 1 and I will be voting No.

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?

The Perspicacious Conservative:
As I mentioned in my Sample Ballot, I don’t condone any sort of government expansion regardless of the circumstances. That alone is reason enough to vote NO.
This amendment isn’t about the kids. It’s about government control. I would like to note that I am not as opposed to Charter schools as I am to this amendment. Sometimes, there is a need for a charter school in a district. There is a never a need for this amendment or its’ repercussions.

  • Georgia already has more than 100 charter schools in operation. There will be ZERO effect on the already operating schools whether the amendment passes or fails. If a charter is denied, there is already an appeals process in place: to the Board of Education.
  • Everyone says this is about ‘local control’ and ‘the parents’. Tell me what is local about a board appointed, NOT ELECTED, that is accountable to the Governor and his friends at the Gold Dome? This will allow states to override a denial decided by the local school board and require them to honor the charter. (I’m legitimately asking someone to tell me how this is local because I don’t understand.)
  • The denial of charters is not as common as proponents are making you think. It’s actually a rare occurrence for a charter to be denied. Revisit bullet #1.
  • 2010-11 State Department of Education report shows that 73 percent of traditional public schools in Georgia met AYP targets while only 70 percent of charter schools met those same targets. I thought Charter schools performed better? Isn’t that what this is about? Better schools?
  • I’m not one to propose more spending, but if you’re claiming students need more money, maybe you should take a look at the overall spending on education for Georgia and how it’s being distributed. Food for thought.
  • ALEC. I would encourage you to take a look at this analysis by PoliticalVine of funding, nationwide rankings and the role that ALEC plays in education around the nation. Do we really want an organization the size of ALEC intervening in our educational system and crafting our policies? I don’t.
  • Revisit the Fulton Science Academy Charter issue that caused a plethora of destruction for students, teachers and taxpayers. And what about where some charter school funding comes from? That mixes with your tax dollars. State charters are almost always managed by out of state for-profit corporations with no accountability.
  • Choice is not the issue. Parents may already choose public, private or homeschooling choices. They may choose which school district by living there, may enroll in any school within the local school system or any school in another school system, if there is room available. Another charter school or two will not significantly increase choice options.

I’m not sure anything could measure up to the ridiculousness of the TSPLOST, however, the government overstep with this comes close. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and find a different solution for the public education crisis. You can read more about Voting NO at VoteSmartGeorgia.


ToriPundit’s Opinion

I struggled with the charter school amendment, truly I did. Having no children and never having the extreme responsibility of putting a child through school laid heavy on my heart. I had to do a LOT of research. Also, I know so many well-informed voters (whom I respect greatly) that each have very strong opinions about the amendment, both in the affirmative and the negative. I did a little social media experiment on my Twitter and Facebook to get some of my lingering questions answered. I took the arguments I was worried about and posted them, asking supporters to defend them and nay-sayers to reinforce them. I weighed everyone’s arguments and played devil’s advocate until I felt like I had a very good understanding of what is at stake with this amendment.

  • Competition, Competition, Competition. School boards, teacher unions, and local elected officials are reinforcing the status quo. Is the status quo in public education good enough? I say no. Georgia is the “black sheep” of the states in education. Let these schools have an easier route to incite competition. In doing so, you make every school better. Competition is one of the biggest feather’s in a conservative’s cap. Let’s bring that principle to the public schools system.
  • Choice: Let me make this clear… PARENT’S DESERVE A CHOICE. Refer back to bullet point one – do you want them making choices for your kids, or do you want to make the choice? Who ultimately knows what is best for his or her own child? (Hint: it begins with “p” and ends with “arents”). Yes, parent’s already have a choice of where to send their child to school, but when a school board shuts down a charter request, that choice becomes much more limited. Allow the choice. Vote for freedom.
  • It creates more government… but not really. Many (conservative) folks who oppose the amendment do so because they felt a change to Georgia’s constitution was creating more government. I was one of these people, too. That was my final reservation. While the state can now overrule the local school board, it is because of the PARENTS. The state can now intercede, but it is when the parents ASK for the help…. THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!! Individual liberty > local control. The state doesn’t want control’ the state wants parents to have control and is helping them get it.
  • Show me the money. This amendment is not a declaration of support or non-support for charter schools. Charter schools are here. At least, some are. Many, especially in rural south Georgia, are blocked from creation by local boards. Should the parents (the people whose children have to go through these schools) want a competitive alternative to the status quo public schools in place, this amendment allows the state to provide that funding

I will close with this little tidbit of wisdom from my old-man crush, Neal Boortz: “If you want Georgia schools to continue to suck, vote no.”

The most important thing is to VOTE. I encourage you to take these facts, from both sides, and do a little of your own research to make the best decision. Which is, of course, voting NO.


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