FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 14, 2012
ATLANTA � �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 Calvine Rollins, president of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) in response to today�s announcement from State Superintendent John Barge saying he could not support the proposed November 6 constitutional amendment.
�We understood from its introduction that passage of this amendment would invalidate the decision making processes by which local communities elect their citizens to make local school decisions and be held accountable,� said Rollins. �GAE is in total agreement when Superintendent Barge says that he could not �support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy �and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education.�
�His announcement shows he fully understands the negative ramifications for our public school children should the amendment pass,� said Rollins. �He hits the nail on the head when he says passage would, �direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases).�
�When Superintendent Barge says, �Until all of our public school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia�s local school districts,� we truly believe his intent is to help restore the integrity of our schools, our children, and our future,� said Rollins.
Rollins feels that our legislators want to work to improve public education in Georgia, and while that is vitally important, it cannot continue to be at the cost of what we know Georgia�s children need. She says working to restore the constitutional mandate of 180 days of school along with improving educational access should be a key focus in order to ensure each and every one of Georgia�s children is ready to compete in this new global order.
Rollins says the bottom line is that passage of this amendment would be a step backward from efforts to meet the promise that both we and our state constitution have made to our children. So on November 6, she and now Superintendent Barge, are asking Georgia voters to vote no on the constitutional amendment regarding charter schools.