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report print email Source: Editorial: OPINION: Charter school amendment bad for state, devastating for rural Ga.
Voice over choice
November 01, 2012 | 05:40 PM

I support choice of public schools, charter schools, private schools, cyber schools, home schooling, etc. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. With that being said, I am in opposition of Amendment 1 because this is NOT about CHOICE, it’s about VOICE! The amendment reads, “Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of charter schools upon the request of local communities?” Confusing huh? How could anything that sounds so good be the catalyst that could ultimately destroy our traditional public schools? The key word here is “state” since local approval for charter schools is already possible. This is about creating a new multi-million dollar state commission that will consist of 7 “appointed” not “elected” persons. This would take away the voice of the citizens which violates the precept of “local” control. This also opens the door for out of state charter management companies to get their “tax exempt” hands on Georgia taxpayer money. Unless the state is sitting on a huge new source of income that is has yet to tell the public about, it would be funding these new charters our of its existing education budget. This amendment, if passed, will result in further cuts to traditional public schools, higher taxes for Georgians and more money in the pockets of lobbyists and state legislators. This is taxation without direct representation.
Supporters of the amendment are using a smoke and mirror tactic to get voters to focus on families having an education choice for their children when in reality, they have many choices. If this amendment does not pass, they will still have that choice. There will still be charters created and existing charters will remain open. Considering that 95% of our children attend traditional public schools, the further cuts to them (as bad as some may be) could be detrimental. Should we focus on further funding the 5% and leave the 95% to perish? I would like to see lawmakers and others who eagerly criticize our public schools exert just as much effort and enthusiasm trying to improve them instead.

Coldwell Banker
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