Friday, October 12, 2012

Update from DeKalb School Board Member and Dunwoody resident Ms. Nancy Jester

Parent Roundtables
Dr. Atkinson will be hosting a series of discussions with parents. Please see the schedule below:

October 29, 2012
7:00pm @ Dunwoody High
The board approved a new calendar, which I opposed, for the 2013-14 school year.  Click here for the AJC report on the calendar .  Cobb County recently discussed their calendar at a meeting.  I was struck by something that their Superintendent, Dr. Hinojosa said:

"What happens during the school day is what makes the big difference," he told board members. "There is no empirical causal data that shows one calendar is better than another. It's a community preference and that's what it is."

Click here to read the entire article.   

Charter Schools Amendment
I just posted a new blog:  It's Called a Balance Sheet.  Click on the title to read and comment.  If you haven't already read my last blog on the subject, please check out The Myth of Local Control.   

For all the hyperbole out there about charter schools, here's my top five facts to remember:

1. Charter Schools are public schools that must admit students using a blind lottery (if there are more students than spaces).  They can't pick and choose. 

2.  Charter Schools are run by a local group of parents and community members.  Charter schools are NOT run by "outside corporations".  A board can choose "a la carte" to purchase goods and services (curriculum, financial management, texbooks, etc.) from companies.  This is exactly how all districts work.  School districts across the state purchase goods and services everyday from a variety of vendors.     

3.  Charter schools that fail to meet their metrics (academically or financially), are shut down.  Failing schools in our school districts can exist in perpetuity.  There is no mechanism that automatically shuts down a failing traditional school.  If a district doesn't manage your tax dollars well, the district isn't shut down either.  In fact, the district can raise your taxes.  When districts are failing, the footprint of their failure is much larger than that of one charter school.   

4.  Competition creates innovations.  Even the threat of competition from charter schools can incentivize local districts to create a better, more responsive product.  If school districts compete for the business of parents who might choose a charter school, there will be no need for one to open.        

5.   This argument isn't about money.  It's about control.  The current establishment has produced an abysmal rate of return on your taxes spent on education. Because they can't "run on their record", they are attempting to distract the public.  

A picture's worth a thousand words, right?  This one is worth 162.5 pieces of Candy Corn.  Here's how the dollars stack up - we're talking 1/2 of a Candy Corn!:
State Education Funding

The state's total FY2012 appropriations: $15.9 billion.

Appropriations for Education: $9.97 billion
(62% of all appropriations for the state.)

Amount of money spent on charters commissioned by the state:  $56.1 million
(0.56% of total amount spent on education in Georgia.) 
Please note....
Regarding all of the hullabaloo about advocacy and public officials:  I support everyone's right to speak out about the amendment and advocate their viewpoint.  I do not think it is appropriate to use taxpayer funded distribution methods or assets owned by the public.  My website, email list and social media channels, are all owned and maintained by me privately.          


1 comment:

Hire_A_Veteran said...

A few days ago I watched Bill Moyers and Company on PBS. The show was about ALEC. If you haven't heard of ALEC, or haven't seen this show, I encourage you watch it. Here's the link:

I was a public school teacher for 18 years, 16 years in California. At that time, California schools were rated above 5th in the nation. Now they are somewhere near the bottom. In the 90s the state legislature spent more on prisons than it did on schools. Around the time I was leaving the school system to become a minister, business entered the field of education. The public was told that business could run schools better than the public system. Privatization of education had begun.

On the show, Bill Moyers exposed ALEC which are businesses and mostly Republican state legislators subverting the lobbying system. Business interests provide suggested business friendly legislation to be introduced in the various states which the state legislators (who have been wined and dined by those business interests) take back to their states and present as their own legislation to be passed. Privatization of Education has been one of the objectives of ALEC during the past 20 years or so and public dollars to education have been reduced and reduced and reduced.

One of the states where ALEC has been able to get the appropriate legislation, (Bill Moyers talked about it on the show, I don't recall which one) public dollars for education were given to business interest for education purposes.

This may not seem like a big deal, after all, aren't these businesses educating kids? Consider this, if business takes over the majority of education, it will mean the business has a right to refuse service to anyone it doesn't want to serve, or require something from its patrons, as well as payment.

I taught in a low-wealth district. The private school kids usually outscored our kids. As public school teachers we used to complain that our test scores weren't higher because we had to educate everyone. Kids with problems are not less intelligent. They are dealing with more issues outside of the classroom. We couldn't refuse these students as private schools could. I now see that as a blessing.

This change to Georgia's constitution sounds a lot like ALEC legislation and if it passes, business will be more fully involved in education in Georgia. Just take a look at who's for the change - Wal-Mart, Multinational Conglomerate Koch Industries, 10 big-dollar out-of-state donors, Gov. Nathan Deal, Don Balfour, Chip Rogers.

Please join me by voting NO on the charter school amendment in order to keep big business and the right-wing agenda out of our public schools. Do you want a school system where intelligent design instruction is required, but evolution and global warming theories are banned, and scientific thought is continually denigrated? Of course not! Vote NO on the charter school amendment!

I also recall a while back a local blogger, who had thoughts of grandeur of running for office himself, but thankfully that attempt was thwarted by clearer heads and never came to fruition, trashed a teacher at one of our schools in his blog because he in his narrow ethnocentric mind didn't care for the song choices (feeling they were too ethnic and didn't fit the Dunwoody "culture") included in her holiday musical program. Do we want that type of near-sighted control over our teachers? No! Vote NO on the charter school amendment! And vote out any school board members so narrow sighted to support it!