A parallel state school system that we have no control over. —Christie Davis

A local middle school teacher spelled out problems with the charter school referendum: no local control over creation or operation of the charter schools it would authorize; money siphoned off from existing local schools; and charter schools actually perform worse than traditional public schools anyway.

Christie Davis, a teacher at Hahira Middle School, speaking at the Lowndes County Tea Party monthly meeting Thursday, pointed out it’s not just the preamble to the referendum that’s misleading. The actual wording of the referendum is also misleading:

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

She remarked:

It sounds very good that we should say yes. It’s very misleading. And the reason why it’s misleading is totally purposeful. It says something about local communities. We already have that right in our local community, our local boards, to go ahead and implement a charter school, if we see the need. However, they put it in there so that voters that don’t really know what’s going on think they’re helping our local schools by voting yes. However, by voting yes, it will be funding a parallel state school system that we have no control over.

Here’s the video:

A parallel state school system that we have no control over. —Christie Davis
Video by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 27 September 2012.
Thanks to Diane Cox, President, Lowndes County Tea Party, for the invitation.

She also got into the financial aspects:

If we already cannot afford the schools that we have, why would we want to create a whole parallel school system, when we can’t even afford the ones we have; why would we want to create more schools? And it would take money away from our local schools in order to create those schools.

And in case you thought this amendment was actually about improving education:

Last year in Georgia, the charter schools scored 3% lower than traditional public schools. The proponents of this bill say charter schools are so much better and they score so much better, but that’s just not true.

If this constitutional amendment passes, the money siphoned off to charter schools would mean public schools would have to eliminate programs, shorten the school year, lay off teachers leading to larger class sizes, or otherwise reduce services.

Here are what appear to be the slides she was using: The State Power Grab Amendment: What Educators should know about a Constitutional Amendment Squeezing Local Public Schools (copy on the LAKE website). Those slides come from PAGE, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.

PAGE invites us all to Vote No to state controlled schools; Keep it Local on November 6 votesmartgeorgia.com.