It’s kind of funny when a blog talks to a blog, which then talks back to the other blog.
I wrote today about how the State Superintendent of Schools in Georgia came out in opposition to a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that would allow a commission appointed by the governor to override the decisions of local school boards that reject charter schools.
The news story about him said:
“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).”
Then, in response to my post, Jonathan Pelto wrote that Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy pushed for the same authority in Connecticut, to allow his Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor (who founded a charter school and is a strong proponent of charters) to intervene in low-income districts with almost unlimited authority to impose the changes he prefers.
And here is the funny part: The idea is promoted by the conservative group called ALEC, which advocates for vouchers, charters, the parent trigger and opposes unions, tenure, and certification. As an organization of some 2,000 conservative legislators, ALEC would normally be in favor of small government and local control. But ALEC advocates that governors should be able to appoint a commission with the power to overturn local decisions about charter schools, so that more charters will be created despite local opposition. This is a case where ideology trumps ideology.
ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) supports privatization and promotes a free-market ideology. It gained some unwanted attention this spring for its model “stand your ground” legislation, which figured in the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida by George Zimmerman.
Strange world we live in.