Far-out ideologues want to destroy public education in Georgia
By ELLIOTT BRACK
Editor and publisher
OCT. 12, 2012 -- Let’s take a moment and consider what a charter school essentially is.
It is not like regular public schools. While charter school funding comes from public sources, charter schools essentially are public versions of private schools. If Amendment One passes next month, that could upend public education in Georgia.
Here’s why: public money will go to charter schools, funds that would otherwise go to the local public school. But, get this: there is no accountability of charter school’s public money the way public schools do. Those with input into what a charter school teaches, and the way it is run, won’t be parents of the charter school students, but, board members only reporting to the school’s management, not the public. (The school itself would be authorized by a state agency of seven people appointed by the governor, not by a locally-elected board.)
Sounds crazy, right?
All this comes from a far-out organization that has been laboring behind the scenes for
years to promote its own limited-government agenda. It seeks to dramatically change public education, and then privatize most of it. The organization is called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC for short. It was founded in 1973, and consists of nearly 2,000 ultra-conservative state legislators, promoting the privatization of public schools. It also wants privatization of other ways of life, such as health care, the environment, voting laws and public safety.
And how do they accomplish this? ALEC has prepared a template of their model language it gives to like-thinking legislators for bills to introduce in their state as “reform” measures. In other words, this self-selected group has its own limited agenda, which it is aggressively pursuing, funded by corporate money and wealthy citizens hell-bent to get richer through less government, and less taxes.
Yes, more greed. And in the case of Amendment One, actually an expansion of government.
Over the years, one of the key agendas items of ALEC is supporting school vouchers of public money to pay for private education. Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to move to this system. Boy! Is this is bad legislation!
ALEC carries on a broad range of efforts to get their views enacted into law. Among some measures, ALEC seeks:
Requiring universities to annually report to the legislature on "intellectual diversity."
Setting up low-income students for failure in college by incentivizing early graduation for the students in need of a complete high school education.
Promoting climate change denial in education.
Subsidizing private universities by offering taxpayer-funded vouchers to for-profit and religious institutions of higher education.
The list goes on and on. To see other ALEC initiatives, click here.
Back to the upcoming amendment in the Georgia election next month.
Even reading the proposal on the ballot is virtually dis-honest. The explanation on the ballot will read:
“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?”
Sounds positive. And even the preamble sounds positive, saying the amendment: “Provides for improving student achievement and parental involvement through more public charter school options.”
Yet you must vote NO to keep public education as it now is, limiting charter schools to approval by local boards, with appeals always possible to the State Department of Education. Let me repeat: on Constitution Amendment One, vote NO to defeat the ALEC idea that is on the Georgia ballot. There's not one thing in the legislation that assures better student performance or parental involvement, despite the deceptive language written by the Governor.
Again, vote NO on Amendment One.