In Georgia, the Republican party has lined up to support a constitutional amendment this fall that would give the governor power to override the decisions of local school boards and open charters whether the local boards like it or not.
Obviously, such a law would eviscerate local control and also raid the local school budget to fund the charters.
Where did this idea come from? Not surprisingly, from the rightwing organization called ALEC, which values privatization over local control.
But here is the amazing news: the state superintendent of education, a loyal Republican named John Barge, has come out in opposition to the measure, which will be on the ballot in November.
This is from Maureen Downey’s blog in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“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,” Barge said in a prepared statement. “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).”
Barge said the passage of the amendment, the restoration of the Georgia Charter Schools Commission and state funding for the charter schools it approves would be too costly for the state.
“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),” Barge’s statement read.