Charter School Advocate and Mom Will Vote No

North Fulton mother says she found local control was critical after finding problems while her son attended Fulton Science Academy.


Georgia is in the midst of an intense debate over a proposed charter school amendment that will be on the ballot in November. Whatever your position, you need to read my story.

The polls predict this amendment will pass with flying colors, thanks to a misleading ballot question and a majority of funding from outside the state. If this amendment passes, politics and corporations will shape our schools. Groups with multi-faceted objectives are lining up to grab their market share. If a state controlled charter school comes to town, you will have no recourse if there is a problem.

Why Local Control is Critical

The problems I encountered at Fulton Science Academy were not anticipated by our local and state board of education or by educators across the country. Charter schools are new territory and bring new problems, however politicians should never ignore or bully a concerned parent into silence. Jan Jones is the author of the charter school amendment, had not only the power, but also the knowledge needed to create legislation that would protect our community, tax dollars and students.

My son attended Fulton Science Academy charter school, for three years, when I found out about problems that also led to my learning that the school was being operated by followers of the influential and controversial Turkish Imam, Fethullah Gulen.

Fulton Science Academy’s problems were serious and later validated, by an external audit, commissioned by the local school board. My concerns left me fearful to speak up because the Gulen movement is a powerful international organization and because of the federal investigation into the school. Details can be found in this article about Fulton Science Academy in the New York Times, by Stephanie Saul. (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/us/audits-for-3-georgia-charter-schools-tied-to-gulen-movement.html)

Turns out the Gulen movement was the least of my worries.

The real problem? Legislators with tunnel vision, hoping to open the Georgia education frontier to more charter groups at any cost. My legislators demonstrated that they will look the other way, as long as, a school has high test scores. What is the impact if a school has received a National Blue Ribbon Award, as did this particular charter school? Well, it is untouchable.

Ultimately, the local school board held Fulton Science Academy accountable and did not renew its charter. The local school board did the right thing, which equaled political suicide. The politicians condemned the local school board’s decision, continue to vilify the board in public and have put legal pressure on the board to reverse their decision.

I understand that the landscape of education is changing and with that rules and regulations need to be adapted. However, it is irresponsible of the Governor and our legislators to lobby for a constitutional amendment that does not stop the known problematic consequences of charter schools.


While detractors like to scream foul when the Gulen connection is pointed out, this is no longer an issue debated in the national circles. Even our local Istanbul Center has been forthcoming about its link to Gulen.

So, if you want to call me names, that is OK. Let me get you started, I am an over-educated, naive, dumb, unassertive mom who sat back for two years and watched a charter school hi-jack our tax dollars, mislead parents and break rules.

(Oh. For those of you who want to call me other names, let me remind you that my son went to FSA for three years, I respect the diverse population of teachers and kids. I sought out that diversity and I am incredulous that the FSA administrators I trusted were not (or maybe could not be) forthcoming about the Gulen affiliation.)


It is all public record. The most vocal supporters of Fulton Science Academy have been Chip Roger, John Albers and Jan Jones, even after they knew about the issues I have described. The photos, the awards, the campaign contributions speak for themselves.

FSA supporters: the wind has shifted and the same politicians that lobbied for the school now state that Fulton Science Academy is a problem created by the local school board. A problem charter school that would never have been approved by a state board. So, much for the blue ribbon. (And the fact that local charter contracts are signed by the school, local BOE and State BOE)

Vote No

This is not a partisan issue. It is about keeping a voice in your community. I am a Republican and Hillsdale College alum, I understand the Republican agenda and I will vote no on this amendment.

Details, including the letter I sent to the North Fulton Delegation can be found at: www.georgiacharterschooldisgrace.com

Dana Teegardin


Jim Beam October 31, 2012 at 12:36 AM
GA still graduates only 66% of its high school students. Nearly half of GA's technical college students (recent GA public HS grads) need remedial education. When you're at the bottom of the nation's educational test-score rankings, the only place to go is up. Vote YES on Amendment 1 to give parents a choice on how their children are educated, rather than trusting the various test-alterers and criminals running our public schools. Anyone who looks at the current state of GA public education and thinks no change is necessary is dangerously delusional.
Monty Brewster October 31, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Yeah...yeah... what could possibly go wrong with politicians and corporations have full access to taxpayer dollars? I'm sure that the politicians receiving huge campaign donations from the corporations would never do anything unethical. We can't get any less ethical here in the most politically corrupt state in the US.
David Chen November 01, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I do not find the author's argument convincing, it is actually pushing to another side. My kids are in barnwell and audrey mill and probably will be in johns creek high later. So far I am satisfied with our local school and do not plan to send them to any charter school. But I know there are people who are not satisfied with their local schools and I do not want to take away their right for an alternative choice. Vote yes to this amendment will not take away anybody's right to be educated in a school controlled by local school board. But voting no will certainly take away or at least severely limit the somebody's right of not being educated in a school controlled by local school board. The current situation of Fulton science academy is really a pity.
Monty Brewster November 04, 2012 at 07:48 PM
David, the State BOE can and is still approving charter schools. Voting no does not take away anyone's choice. Voting yes will limit the majority of the students in what they have available at their schools. There isn't enough money to open limitless charters AND fund public schools.
R Thomas November 04, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Monty, your comment highlights the fract that you have not looked outside your personal reason for wanting charter schools to the bigger picture. We have Charter Schools now and will CONTINUE to have Charter Schools. This is about an amendment that gives GA the right to conver public schools into a Charter System. Not as individual Charter Schools, but 1 system. Do you really think our g'vment has the best interest of our children at heart? We already have the process needed to accomplish the goal, yet they want an amendment. Cartersville, GA is already a Charter School system and Fulton is in the process of implementing the program. The first group is called Cohort 1 and includes 20 schools. Does it not concern you at all that that we are going to lose control as parents. Yes, I am sure there will be a few parents on the board to say they are involved, but they will NOT be the majority. Follow the link below. You will see this is truly not about competition for public schools, or school choice. This is about who will be picked to be a mechanic and who will be the 10-20%, cream of the crop, that will go on to higher education. I would suggest anyone that does not know exactly what Performance Based Edu/Outcome Based Edu or School to Work Edu is, educate yourself. Look outside your box with open eyes. Charter Schools as they are is good, that will change with this amendment. http://portal.fultonschools.org/chartersystem/Pages/Default.aspx


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »