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Letter to the Editor: Parents Fight Bureaucracy for Charter Schools

This writer is concerned that school districts are stifling the voices of parents that are in favor of the charter school amendment.

Dear Editor:

For those who have been following the debate regarding Amendment One – the Charter Amendment – and wondering why everyone is so upset, I wanted to give you some final thoughts.  For those of us in the thick of it, it’s a passionate subject that goes to the basic instinct of parents, what’s best for our kids and who is best to decide that? 

Looking at the last 180 days I can say with certainty that those of us in favor of this amendment have definitely been out “PRed.”  We don’t have the ability to send home flyers in thousands of backpacks or have access to the public relations machines districts have.  The fact the opposition has played the victim in this fight is both brilliant and hysterical.  In most counties where there is an actual struggle you will find a small group of devoted parents up against a 150 year old, well entrenched bureaucracy.

Here’s the truth, this is an appeals process, a place to go for parents who want school options and cannot get a fair viewing at the district level.  In this country everyone has the right to an appeal…except parents trying to get more educational choice for their kids.  Everything else about this battle is politics:

Because charter schools educate kids for less money, and in most cases, do it better, there are some who are afraid taxpayers may someday look at districts and ask why?

Because someday the microscope of accountability that charter schools are under may shine on districts, suddenly people might start having the same expectations of a traditional public school that they do of public charter schools.

Because what happens to traditional district schools, who are failing, when parents suddenly have a choice and don’t HAVE to send their kids there?

For a minute forget all the politics and bickering, if you live in a high performing school district or if you don’t have children answer this: can you, in good conscience, condemn children in failing school districts across the state to continue to attend failing schools with no choice because apathy is easier or because the “system” told you to?  I cannot and will not!!

Lyn Michaels-Carden, Georgia Charter Educational Foundation member

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