Dear Mr. McKee:
I’m a parent of two charter school students who obviously doesn’t agree with your piece in the MDJ. Both of my girls are doing really well in school and for thousands of dollars less a year in tax revenue than the traditional public school in our neighborhood. Yet folks you and Dr. Barge want to take their school away.
Dear Mr. Blasé:
No way. How did you get that from my column? The point is that local school boards – elected by local citizens – have state constitutional responsibility for public schools. And charter schools are public schools. If a majority of citizens in a school district disagree with the board on charter schools or any other issue, they have the ultimate recourse of electing a new board – which just happened in another Georgia county where the entire board was voted out.
But let’s be clear about what is at stake with this proposed constitutional amendment. It takes away local control – which is what most people cherish as opposed to state and federal control, both being the source of ever-increasing bureaucratic make-work regulations that seriously over-burden teachers and work against their primary mission of teaching children.
The truth is that many local boards have approved many charter schools. If a local board denies a charter school application, an appeal may be made and the decision is taken out of the hands of the local board. If the applicants have a solid case for the charter school and can show that the local board acted improperly, then the applicants should prevail.
Further, I do not oppose charter schools. To the contrary; from what I have seen, some of them do outstanding work. I even like home schooling as well because some of my friends are doing a fantastic job of home schooling their children.
However, I also strongly believe in public education which keeps getting a bum rap from too many people. I am the product of public schools – and so are/were many of this country’s most outstanding leaders. I believe the public schools overall do a good job and in many situations a fantastic job, given the issues they have to deal with – lack of parental support and language skills, for example. My view is validated by what I have seen first hand in the dedication and highly successful work of relatives, friends and others who are public school teachers.
Off Balance asks: “The wording of the question confuses me. How do I vote to stand with John Barge? I gather ‘No’ is the vote to support John’s views.”
This proves my point that the ballot question misleads, to wit: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?”
It deserves a “No.”