Better Georgia schools are on top of every voter’s mind as the November election approaches. With a charter school constitutional amendment on every ballot, Georgia voters could radically change how charters are awarded to schools in local communities. And that radical change would not make better Georgia schools.
Like most Georgians, Better Georgia believes that decisions on how local education dollars should be spent ought to be made by parents in the communities where those students live and by the school boards they elect.
The issue should be a slam-dunk. Voters know that snatching control from local communities doesn't lead to better Georgia schools.
When we took a poll earlier this year, 69 percent of Georgia voters said they are opposed to granting the state more control over education tax dollars raised by local city and county school boards.
But Gov. Deal, Don Balfour and Chip Rogers have stacked the deck. To confuse voters on the issue of charter schools, they have taken some liberties with the wording of the ballot question.
Here’s what you’ll be asked when you vote on Nov. 6:
Notice how the preamble suggest the ballot measure will improve schools? Notice how the question says a yes vote will allow "state or local approval" of public charter schools?
This is political sleight of hand.
Georgia already allows for local approval of charter schools. In fact, there are more than 200 charter schools operating in Georgia now.
The new law, if approved by voters, will create a new, costly, and unnecessary state bureaucracy that can pick favorites among charter school operators. That part is conveniently left off the charter school ballot question.
So, who wants you to vote ‘Yes’ on Amendment 1?
- Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton
- Multinational Conglomerate Koch Industries
- 10 big-dollar out-of-state donors
The Wal-Mart heiress has donated $250,000 to the effort. In fact, more than 92 percent of money contributed to the ‘Yes’ campaign comes from donors outside of Georgia.
We don’t need another government agency to tell us how to educate our children or how to spend our tax dollars.