Some people are voting early. However, the polls should be pack come this Nov 6 election and that will be because of the controversial Amendment 1 citizens of the state of Georgia will cast their decision on come this next election. This Amendment is affecting local control of charter schools, and not just in one way! For one, control will be taken away from local schools boards and given to the state on whether or not a charter school may be built within their school district. Two, if passed, the amendment will cause for a separate division concerning charter schools to open within the State Department of Ed., potentially diverting millions of dollars out of public education school funds to fund this new division and similar initiatives. What we need are more charter schools and to give the state the control to open them. Is that the answer to our educational woes? That is the correct guess according to the recent Amendment 1, which voters and tax payers will have an option to vote on during the November 6 election.
This highly controversial issue can potentially take millions away from state public education budgets. Some special interest groups within the state are expressing their position against the new Amendment 1. These groups include the Georgia Association of Educators, the state Superintendent and school officials, and local school boards. The cry is for Georgia citizens to vote NO on this November ballot on the approval of Amendment 1. What is your opinion?
The NAACP opposes the provision of Amendment 1 authorizing the use of state funds for the support and maintenance of “special schools,” defined in the current Georgia law as charter schools, without the approval of local school boards. However, using tax payers’ money to fund charter schools may help to continue to provide the resources that are keeping schools as such open. Charter schools do provide many benefits. They are great additions to any public education school system. Not to mention, they are usually tuition free and open to the public. The American Federation of Teachers strongly supports charter schools that embody the core values of public education, equal access for all students especially students with special needs and English Language Learners, high academic standards, accountability to the parents and public, and a commitment to helping all public schools improve. There are many examples where charter schools have worked. Successful charter schools include the KIPP Academy in Houston, TX and the Arts and Technology Academy Public Charter School of Washington, D.C.
However, is passing over control to the State to implement such schools in local school districts worth it? Most Georgia school districts are presently working under deficits. State funded charter schools will cost Georgia state tax payers an additional 430 million dollars, in addition to state funds being out nearly 4 billion in recent years.
We need to somehow hold schools accountable, not just teachers, but schools as a whole, including students and parents. Students as well as teachers should realize the benefits of a good education and strive toward achievement in such areas. This would increase the drive and need of under resourced schools to request the additional monies needed to improve their educational initiatives, as well as, increase the urgency among leaders and policy makers to send money to the way of under resourced schools. This would increase the exposure of children to high performing, fully technology equipped schools, which could have profound effects on the education system and the education of our youth. This would be aided if there is increase accountability on all parts and increase funding.
My solution is to increase the amount of funding toward education. I believe all schools should provide a sound education for our students. Increasing the funding toward schools could do it. Here are some of my personal commitments I have towards education:
1. Have all students willing and ready to learn
2. Provide an environment where optimal learning can take place
3. Ensure that what is needed to be learned is learned inside and outside the classroom
4. Student’s needs are accommodated as it pertains to being provided an excellent and sufficient education
5. Resources are available for students, teachers, and administrators so that no one is lacking any skill, technology, resource, or type of education to be competitive in the global education arena and job market.
Amendment 1 is a highly controversial issue brewing in the waters and it will affect schools systems state wide come this Nov 6 election. Most importantly, it could allow for millions of dollars in the state education budget to be cut out of much more important areas such as regular public schools funding, low income under resourced schools, and public education. In contrast, charter schools have shown to be great additions to communities, having great successes and results. Implementing such schools in local school districts may not be a bad idea. What we need to do is address this issue head on, not be afraid of it and make the right decision come Nov 6.