Defeat of Public Charter Schools Amendment in Georgia Legislature Leaves no Winners

lead image

The score yesterday was 110-62, but nobody won! No, not a ball game, but the single most important piece of legislation (HR1162) in Georgia to continue the growth of high quality charter schools here.

The measure would allow the voters of Georgia to decide about a Constitutional Amendment that would restore the ability of the State to authorize charter schools. This is in response to our Supreme Court that struck down our law that established an effective alternative authorizer—the Georgia Charter Schools Commission.

Now the readers of this blog do not need to be persuaded about the value of an alternative authorizer for charter schools. So, I am “preaching to the choir.” I am going to share some observations and rants about the “sinners” that are doing their darn best to stop this charter movement here–and in your state as well.

Big nuisance to me: hearing all the opposing legislators yesterday start their speeches with: “Now I support charter schools.” Charter grammar lesson number 1—this phrase will always be followed with the conjunction “but.”

We heard that over and over yesterday. One representative who used that line yesterday, then referred to every study ever known to mankind doubting the value of charter schools. He even referred to some studies that have never been done! Where is the logic in this? This rep “supports charter schools” even though he thinks they are the worst development in public education and certainly should be burned to the ground (good thing we don’t have facilities?). Suggested response to him and others like him: “Now I support you,” but “your voting record is atrocious, you have bad grammar, bad logic, are ignorant of our dire K-12 education problems, clueless what we really need, and that a five-year old could represent the children of your district better.”

Another big nuisance to those of us on the front lines: “friendly” fire. You know—getting shot in the back from those who should be with you—and that some legislators actually think do support children in schools.

It’s the worst opposition of all. Consider the Georgia PTA. I thought their mission was to facilitate greater communication between parents and teachers for the children’s sake. Are they no longer about chili suppers, school festival days, cookies for parties, and apples for teachers? When did they become one of the loudest voices AGAINST charter schools? Did they poll all parents and teachers to get this position? Are they now Professional Teachers Association?

Other “friendly” fire here has come from Georgia School Boards Association, Georgia Superintendents Association, and PAGE (Professional Association of Georgia Educators).

Most gratifying has been the development of a broad-based and growing coalition to fight for the children. With eleven current members, we are pushing for the growth of quality charter schools. Check out We are expecting an opposition website www.wesupportcharterschools.but.

The good news is the game is not over; there has been a delay in the game. The issue will return to the House after 10-15 more representatives realize this issue is about children—not job security.