Tag Archives: Charter School Referendum

Adding another charter school authorizer reduces academic learning —Karen Noll

Received today on Georgia charter schools do no better than traditional public schools. -jsq

The Stanford study, Multiple Choice: Charter school performance in 16 states (p. 4), also found that multiple authorizers:

Figure 15: Charter School Effect of Policy Variables

States that empower multiple entities to act as charter school authorizers realize significantly lower growth in academic learning in their students, on the order of -.08 standard deviations.

Currently we have the local boards of education that authorize charter schools at a very high rate, 94%. If the charter is not approved by the local board then they can appeal to the Dept of Ed. For approval. So, by adding another authorizer in the form of the UNCONSTITUTIONAL charter school commission you simply reduce the academic learning of the students! This is not about education this amendment is about the money earned by some to keep power! Our constitution states that we have an obligation to provide free quality education to all Georgians. We have no obligation to line the pockets of the rich with our tax dollars!

-Karen Noll

Charter school amendment: taxation without representation —Karen Noll @ LCC 2012-10-09

Karen Noll spoke to the Lowndes County Commission Tuesday about the charter school amendment, saying it would implement taxation without representation Karen Noll @ LCC 2012-10-09 and would take more tax dollars from our public schools to give twice as much money to special charter school students.

When you’re talking about my kids in the schools and you’re going to take their money and ship it to somebody else’s family and then there’s no accountability, that’s just unacceptable.

Here’s the video.


Georgia charter schools do no better than traditional public schools

Let's look at Georgia's non-unionized public schools. So far as I know, Georgia does not have teachers' unions. But there's still no reason to believe charter schools in Georgia would be any more magic than in Chicago.

According to CREDO at Stanford University, which has done CREDO at Stanford University state-by-state charter school studies, they find CHARTER SCHOOLS IN GEORGIA PERFORM SIGNIFICANTLY BELOW THEIR TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOL PEERS IN MATH: No Difference Found in Reading Performance. That's their press release. Here's the detailed study.

So if someone has a charter school idea that they think will perform Vote No on Amendment 1 better than public schools, they can talk to their local school board about that, and maybe that local board will agree. There's no need to authorize an unelected Atlanta board to force that charter school on us.

Vote No on the charter school amendment in November.


Chicago charter schools do no better than unionized public schools

The Georgia “charter school” amendment isn’t really about charter schools (which any school district in Georgia can already approve, and many have): it’s about giving an unelected committee in Atlanta power to force us to pay extra local taxes to fund charter schools we don’t want. However, since the pushers of that amendment say it’s about charter schools, it’s worth reviewing that charter schools actually on average perform no better or even worse than traditional public schools. Let’s look at what the pushers hate most, unionized public schools in Chicago. and then let’s look at Georgia’s non-unionized public schools.

Ben Joravsky wrote for chichagoreader.com 3 October 2012, Today’s lesson: charters do not outperform unionized schools: Confronting the anti-teachers’ union myth with, you know, facts

But as I was saying, the foes of the teachers’ union declare that we should pay close attention to the all-important standardized test scores. So let’s take a look.

Chicago Public Schools There are 541 elementary schools in Chicago. Based on the composite ISAT scores for 2011—the last full set available—none of the top ten are charters. None of the top 20, 30, or 40 either.

In fact, you’ve got to go to 41 to find a charter. Take a bow, CICS Irving Park!

Most of the 49 charters on the list are clustered near the great middle, alongside most of their unionized neighborhood schools.

The top scorers are public schools with unionized teachers who are members of the Chicago Teachers Union.

UNO is a charter school operator. Joravsky compares one of its schools side-by-side with a unionized public school.

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Joint Resolution in Support of Quality Public Education —Lowndes and Valdosta Boards of Education

Yesterday I asked But what does the joint resolution actually say? Karen Noll has supplied the answer, in the form of a PDF of the signed resolution, transcribed below. This thing makes the education paragraph in the Occupy Valdosta Mission Statement sound mild-mannered. We’ve already seen the state’s response. -jsq

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GA State attorney general tries to order private citizens not to oppose charter school amendment

Pushers of the charter school amendment must be desperate! Blurring the line between public officials and private citizens, state Attorney General Sam Olens wrote:

Local school boards do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong….

As Jim Galloway wrote yesterday for the AJC in Sam Olens orders local school boards to stay out of charter school fight,

That means organizations like the Georgia School Boards Association, and perhaps, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, would be barred from speaking out against the proposed constitutional amendment.

And would that include organizations like PAGE, which produced the slides that a local middle school teacher used last week? What about that teacher, or Dr. Troy Davis, speaking a few weeks earlier, both on their own time?

Olens’ letter would apply to what the VDT said was in the VBOE and LCBOE joint resolution, at least the part about “The resolution explicitly states that the boards are asking voters to not support the Constitutional Amendment relative to state charter schools.”

But what does Olens mean, duly elected local school boards don’t have authority to express opinions about educational matters that would directly affect the people who elected them?

Why has Sam Olens suddenly gotten religion about this now, after he was silent last year when both VBOE and LCBOE adopted resolutions against the school “unification” referendum? Where was he when both boards of education hosted numerous forums opposing consolidation?

Will he next be telling the Valdosta City Council it can’t pass a resolution opposing a referendum? What exactly is the difference between that elected body and an elected school board as far as expressing such an opinion? And all of those resolutions were non-binding opinions.

Will Sam Olens next be telling the VDT it can’t editorialize against the charter school amendment?

How desperate are the pushers of the charter school amendment?

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Local school systems jointly oppose charter school amendment

The Valdosta Board of Education, followed by the Lowndes County Board of Education, adopted a “Charter School Amendment Resolution” or a “Joint Resolution in Support of Quality Public Education”, depending on which ones minutes you go by. What does the resolution actually say?

Brittany D. McClure wrote for the VDT 11 September 2012, School boards to adopt resolution against charter school amendment.

“The Lowndes County and Valdosta City Boards of Education request that the Governor and State Legislators commit their support to adequately fund a first-class K-12 public education for students in Lowndes County and Valdosta City and across the state of Georgia,” the resolution states.

The resolution explicitly states that the boards are asking voters to not support the Constitutional Amendment relative to state charter schools.

Valdosta Board of Education did that at their 10 September 2012 meeting:

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VDT against charter school amendment

Even the VDT opposes the charter school amendment.

“Staff Writer” editorialized in the VDT 12 September 2012, Will charter schools hurt public education?

So the state has consistently run down the public education system in Georgia over the course of the last decade by drastically cutting funding from programs, but are now complaining because student test scores and graduation rates have decreased.

The state solution? Allow for basically anyone who has a building to apply to run a “charter school” that would siphon money away from public education. Students would be able to choose where they would go, the parents or community officials would “run” the schools, and they would not have to meet the same standards as the current public schools, but taxpayers would still be forced to pay for them.

State officials are fond of saying that charter schools aren’t private schools, but when a school gets to pick and choose who they let in and who they don’t, that’s the definition of a private school. Only the elite whose parents want to run the schools will have a chance, and the poor and disenfranchised will have no choice, will not be accepted, and will suffer even more because the money will no longer be there to educate them.

Here’s an idea: Restore all those drastic austerity cuts from education to pre-Gov. “Sonny” Perdue levels, invest in the public education system which is already in place and doing quite well in spite of the state’s best efforts to shut it down, and restore the true value of a public education to the taxpayers of the state who are footing the bill and seeing fewer results.

I like that idea. Let’s vote No on the charter school amendment in November so we can get back to funding public education.


Democrats and Tea Party: both against charter school amendment

In the same month, both the Lowndes County Democratic Party and the Valdosta Tea Party had speakers explaining how bad the charter school amendment is. Neither group took a vote, but it seemed pretty clear most of the attendees at both meetings were against that referendum on the November ballot, and mostly for the same reason: nobody wants an unelected state committee taking away local control and local tax revenue. Parental choice is one thing, and charter schools are another, but nobody seemed to like Atlanta taking away local control.

As the PAGE slides say,

This isn’t a Democrat vs. Republican debate. Legislators voted across party lines to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot. Republican and Democrat voters must defeat it together.

You can watch for yourself. Here are the two presentations:

If you don’t want Atlanta taking away our educational control and local tax dollars, vote No on the charter school amendment in November.


The charter school amendment is about control —Dr. Troy Davis @ LCDP 2012-09-10

Lowndes County Schools Assistant Superintendent Troy Davis gave his personal opinion: “it’s about control”. The charter school amendment on the November ballot is not about charter schools, which any community in the state can create now. It’s about control by the state of local schools and resources.

Dr. Davis pointed out Georgia already has 350 charter schools, up from 160 three years ago. All but 19 were established and agreed upon by local communities. There’s a successful one in Berrien County, established by the Berrien County school board. The process to create more is in place in every community. If we wanted one in Lowndes County, all it would take would be for one of the two school systems (Lowndes or Valdosta) to approve one.

He suggested looking at the sources of funds for Families for Better Schools, which is backing the amendment. Top of the list is a Wal-Mart heir. (It’s Alice Walton. Dr. Davis deferred to Al Rowell for that information, and that’s also where I heard about Alice Walton. And as I discovered, the Walton Family Foundation put in much more than that last year.) He noted the bulk of the rest comes from for-profit school operators. (They include K12 Inc. of Virginia.)

He noted that the state of Georgia just passed this fiscal year the third largest budget in the history of Georgia, $19.1 billion. Yet the public schools have been cut $6.6 billion (apparently since 2002). And the Lowndes County school system lost nearly $8 million last year, and $43 million in the past 10 years. So he asked:

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