Char­ter Schools

The Covington News - - Opinion -

Char­ter school: a tax-sup­ported school es­tab­lished by a char­ter be­tween a grant­ing body (as a school board) and an out­side group (as of teach­ers and par­ents) which op­er­ates the school with­out most lo­cal and state ed­u­ca­tional reg­u­la­tions so as to achieve set goals.


Char­ter school: Older ref­er­ence is to schools in Ire­land be­gun 1733 by the Char­ter So­ci­ety to pro­vide Protes­tant ed­u­ca­tion to poor Catholic chil­dren. Mod­ern use in U.S. be­gan c.1988, as an al­ter­na­tive to state-run pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion. Word-dy­namo is part of dic­tio­ (on­line dic­tio­nary)

Last week, Ge­or­gia Su­per­in­ten­dent Dr. John Barge broke from his pre­vi­ous com­ments and chal­lenged state leg­is­la­tors to turn down the fund­ing and cre­ation of in­de­pen­dent char­ter schools.

This brought forth an im­me­di­ate re­buke from the Gover­nor and other high rank­ing Repub­li­can state lead­ers.

The At­lanta Jour­nal Con­sti­tu­tion’s Poli­tiFact Ge­or­gia fea­ture gave a half true rat­ing to whether com­mis­sion.

This is an emo­tional is­sue partly be­cause the lead­er­ship of the pub­lic school sys­tem in our state has helped made it so.

We have heard re­ports that teach­ers at par­ent meet­ings have told par­ents that if char­ter schools are al­lowed, it will be the end of the pub­lic school sys­tem. That state­ment is pure fan­tasy.

We sup­port our pub­lic school sys­tem but the truth of the mat­ter is that for the last 40 years, we, the peo­ple have al­lowed it to be­come the catch-all for most of the so­cial ills that face us in this coun­try.

As a re­sult, the ed­u­ca­tion of our chil­dren has been reg­u­lated to just a small over­all piece of the monies that are spent on pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion.

It seems to us that we have stooped to the low­est com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor on de­sign­ing pro­grams that com­pen­sate for the lack of par­ent­ing by a great num­ber of fam­i­lies. As a re­sult, par­ents who are in

The Broad Foun­da­tion, an ed­u­ca­tion think tank, said that 70 per­cent of eight graders in this coun­try

It is no won­der that car­ing par­ents who want their chil­dren to be able to reach their full po­ten­tial are clam­or­ing for an al­ter­nate means of ed­u­ca­tion.

We be­lieve that par­ents and con­cerned busi­ness lead­ers of a community have the right to cre­ate char­ter schools that they them­selves can set cur­ricu­lum, con­trol dis­ci­pline with­out hav­ing the pres­ence of law en­force­ment in their schools and have the lo­cal school board.

We also feel that par­ents should be given cred­its on their tax obli­ga­tions to cre­ate such a school if they choose and have the right to help cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment that best suits the ed­u­ca­tion needs of their chil­dren.

Par­ents should have the ul­ti­mate power to con­trol the di­rec­tion of their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion — not a group of bu­reau­crats who are afraid of los­ing con­trol of a sys­tem that is in dire need of an over­haul.

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