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Response to State Superintendent’s Position on Charter Schools Mixed

Georgia Schools Superintendent Dr. John Barge has publicly said he opposes an amendment that would give the state the authority to grant charters for independent schools.

Responses are mixed after State Superintendent Dr. John Barge announced that he opposes an amendment that would allow the state the authority to grant charters to independent schools.

Gov. Nathan Deal, who , told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was "discouraged that Superintendent Barge has changed his position since the campaign trail and no longer believes parents should have public school options for their children.

"His new position doesn’t change mine. I stand with 2/3 of the General Assembly and will uphold the promises I made when I ran for office: Parents and students should have public school options; this is the best form of local control."

The Georgia Association of Educators has

“We truly appreciate the state’s top education official standing up for Georgia’s 1.6 million kids and against the November 6 constitutional amendment on charter schools. Dr. Barge sees first-hand the impact this constitutional amendment would have on ensuring every child in Georgia has fair access to a quality education,” said GAE President Calvine Rollins in a press release. 

Not surprisingly, charter school supporters are less than pleased.

Late Wednesday, 's Lyn Michaels-Carden issued this statement: "Obviously, we are very disappointed with Dr. Barge’s decision. We feel we have a very good working relationship with the Department of Education and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future."

“Charter schools are public schools,” said Rhonda Gatch, co-founder of Moms for School Choice. “It was kind of treated like we were the red-headed stepchild. We’re public schools just like traditional public schools. We wish that our Georgia state superintendent would represent all students and all teachers in their public schools instead of being so divisive. 

At this time only local school boards can grant charters, however

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Barge opposes the amendment because it threatens local control, but also because of its potential financial impact.

"Putting this whole picture together, I could not stand by without voicing my opposition to sending any money anywhere else until our children are in schools 180 days and our teachers are at full pay," Barge said to the Associated Press.

But for Gatch, the amendment is about putting students’ futures ahead of finances.

“Ultimately we think that the money should follow the student,” she said. “Just like when a student moves out of the district, the district adjusts. So they can also adjust to a child wanting to move in to a charter school. Financially with their budget they can adjust to those changes. There’s room in their budget to do that.”

What do you think about the State Superintendent’s opposition to the amendment? Are you voting for or against the amendment in November? Tell us in the comments.

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John August 17, 2012 at 06:47 PM
This is a good articulation of many of the concerns that people have for the Charter School or so call School Choice movement. though lengthy, I hope all would take time to read it. http://www.ucc.org/justice/public-education/pdfs/Message-13-web-version.pdf
ryan August 19, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Georgia needs to loose the GOP and go back to being Democrat. What Nathan Deal wants to do to education is astounding. He is wanting to sale the schools off to Charter organizations that are not even in our state. So the tax money that goes towards education will go to other states, futhermore to the billfolds of a business. Public education needs to be left alone. It is our tax money and we support public eduation not charter schools.
Pierre August 31, 2012 at 01:17 AM
The problem is that public schools boards have lost site of the big picture. You can not have a one size fit all mentality, and that is why I will vote YES on Nov. 6th. Parents should have the choice to find the school that best fit their child in order to give them a chance to excel. Let's not play the "big government" buzz word game with our children. They deserve better. Pierre
Pierre August 31, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Hey Ryan, f.y.i., charter schools are PUBLIC SCHOOLS! And they(traditional public) have been left alone too long, that's why we support charters...Come on man!
Teresa Cox October 02, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Sir, i hope you will also realized that as a parent of a kid with disability, charter school is the best school for them. My son learned more than at the traditional public school. I hope you will consider your decision. Please, we needed your support. Thank you and God Bless!

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