Opinion: Governor challenges recovery district opponents to find better idea. Here’s one – Education Olympics.

Glenn Delk is an Atlanta lawyer and long-time advocate for parental choice in education.

By Glenn Delk

Gov. Deal has challenged opponents of his proposed Recovery School District to come up with a better idea.

With all due respect to the governor, implementing the RSD would be Georgia doubling down on a proven federal failure, School Improvement Grants. 

The $6 billion program has not generated scalable outcomes and has been described by one expert as … ”the greatest failure in the 30+ years of the U.S. Department of Education.”

More specifically, many of the 141 schools on the list of failing Georgia schools have received millions in federal aid for years, administered by the state, with no discernible improvement.

Gov. Deal and his supporters cite the New Orleans RSD as proof of the validity of the concept, failing to acknowledge New Orleans is not an example of a successful state take-over of failing schools. Instead, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the failing government-run school system, Louisiana authorized and funded all new charter schools, run by charter management organizations.

The New Orleans results show the merits of increasing parental choice and deregulation of public schools, not the benefits of turning schools over to a different set of bureaucrats.

As a long-time supporter of Gov. Deal’s efforts to expand parental choice in education, my better idea is to give our teachers and educators the freedom and incentive to achieve the equivalent of putting a man on the moon within a decade: Georgia’s students out-performing the world, using international standards, by 2025

Offer teachers, educators, charter schools, traditional districts, private schools, colleges and universities up to $1 million per school in start-up funds, to develop new schools and new school models serving all students. 2015 can mark the beginning of our quest to unleash innovation in education that would enable Georgia to realize its audacious dream.

A choice advocate says Billy Payne's vision for the Atlanta Olympic Games offers lessons for education reform.

A choice advocate says Billy Payne’s vision for the Atlanta Olympic Games offers lessons for education reform.

The Path: Create an open competition, similar to the effort Billy Payne and the city of Atlanta encountered when seeking the bid for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. At the time, most thought Mr. Payne was crazy, but nearly three decades later, few can deny Mr. Payne’s dream has forever changed Atlanta.

In that vein, I’d like to propose a defining moment for education in the state of Georgia…an Education Olympics where we leverage the very principles that make this country great by challenging the public and private sector to strive for gold. Invite educators and visionaries with demonstrably effective or research-based school models to come to Georgia.

Clearly define the end goal, allow the entities to define the how, and parents the freedom to choose. The only requirement will be to operate as a charter school in Georgia—tuition free, no admission criteria, $7.500-$8,500 in per student funding, and publish an annual accountability report which shows how they spent the money and their students’ performance national and international tests. Give gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as cash bonuses and college scholarships to winning educators and students.

The Education Olympics represents another dream of possibility, much like hosting the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. We know that American students can, and are, achieving at the highest levels internationally, when educators have the freedom and autonomy to hire the best teachers, who set high expectations for all students.

For instance, BASIS Education, started by two college professors in Arizona in 1998 with 55 students, has grown to serve over 13,500 students today, while spending less than $7,000 per student. As a public charter school, BASIS accepts all students, with no admission tests and no tuition.  

According to the 2014 results from the OECD, BASIS students already rank #1 in the world, outperforming students from Shanghai, Finland and Japan by large margins; in other words, if BASIS students constituted a country, they would win the gold medal

 Two fundamental reasons compel us to chase this dream: 

1. We have a moral obligation to make Jefferson’s dream that “all men are created equal” a reality. Today, many low-income minority students are denied equal education opportunities simply as a result of their zip code. Gov.Deal believes that, in order to compete in the 21st Century economy, at least 60 percent of Georgia’s 9th graders need a two or four year college degree; unfortunately, today, only 9 of 100 ninth grade students in Georgia ultimately get a two or four-year college degree; for minority students, the number is 2 of 100.

2. There is an economic imperative for the Education Olympics. If U.S. students improved to No. 1 in the world by 2050, the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. would increase by a net present value of $14.7 trillion, while tax revenue would grow by $5.3 trillion, more than enough to fund the entire U.S. government for a year.

If we succeed in dramatically improving the academic performance of Georgia students by 2025, the consequences for Georgia and the country will be just as profound as the impact of Mr. Payne’s dream on Atlanta’s skyline.

Reader Comments 0

72 comments
ProHumanitate
ProHumanitate

Strangely, I don't see my most recent comment so I will repost:

Glenn Delk knows full well that the results of BASIS are not scalable - or at least that they are only scalable to the highest end of the bell curve of students in any part of the country.

Is that what we are going for? Schools tailored to students of specific aptitude? Because that's where this "Olympics" would go.

SFG
SFG

Ironically Democrat State Representative Donzella James is selling out the democrat party and South Fulton residents by supporting GOP Governor Nathan Deal's school takeover plan in exchange for the ill-fated support of her senate version for a city of South Fulton.Amazing how cityhood zealots abandon their constituents and any principles they ever had in the pursuit of their City of South Fulton that 85% of voters already said no to in 2007...

redweather
redweather

@SFG  That assumes she had any principles to begin with.

Antagonist
Antagonist

This is wrong on so many levels. When will the students become the first priority again?

Bernie31
Bernie31

@Antagonist - NEVER! and that is the Plan!  just write the Parents a check and walk away is the old man Governor's idea and Plan! everybody is on their own....Every Tub sits on its own Bottom!

Yer either sink or swim! As far as the Colored Kids is concern....more welfare,food stamps, medicaid and Prison. Not necessarily in that order. If we need more Prisons Nathans friends is gonna Build them! as many as we need!  In 5-10 years Nathan is OUT of here, anyway!

Nathan will not have to put up with all of the groaning and moaning about it does not work! For Nathan will be asleep! and planning fer his next adventure.....where it is very warm and toasty.

Besides this plan insures future Republicans Votes and office holders. also  campaign Talking Points about the Undesirables Laziness and their No good fer Nuthin parents and Grandparents. As Nathan always say about them.  They is GHETTO! is his word of choice followed by laughter! uh..huh.

Bernie31
Bernie31

There is No Gold Medal to be had on this one. In fact there is a Flag on the Play. This athelete may be using hormone enhancements ( Artificial Facts) to bolster his win. Do you remember that LYING Bike Rider's name?

Falcaints
Falcaints

Two points that school reformers pretend are not true. 1) The Bell Curve is valid, some children are just smarter than others. 2) Not all students care, intrinsic motivation can't be taught.

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

Would these Olympics turn out the way of the Atlanta Olympics?  Or have we forgotten that disaster?

Bernie31
Bernie31

@Looking4truth - De Good Lawyer thinks it was Wonderful and We All Loved it!  LOL! Jest, like We is Lovin everthang here, he is tellin to US!  Everythang will be perfect and Hunky Dory..and wit de Gubornors Plan, Georgia will produce Genuises by the de Bus LOAD!

EBERYDAY!

redweather
redweather

Here's another idea.  Have all students, teachers, and parents at these at-risk schools sign off on one of two options at the beginning of the school year.  This will constitute a binding contract with their school:


Option #1:  I want to earn at least a B in each of my classes, and I will work all year long to make that happen.  That means coming to school, paying attention, asking questions, listening patiently when other students ask questions I know the answer to, doing my homework, and submitting all assignments on time and completed.  I will never do anything before, during, or after class that might prevent learning from taking place. 


Option #2:  I cannot commit to Option #1.


Have all teachers sign off on one of the two options at the beginning of the school year:


Option #1:  I will fully support students who choose Option #1.


Option #2:  I cannot commit to Option #1.


Have all parents sign off on one of the two options at the beginning of the school year:


Option #1:  I will fully support my child if he/she chooses Option #1.


Option #2:  I cannot commit to Option #1.



This would help separate the wheat from the chaff.  For those students, teachers, and parents who choose Option #1 but don't follow through, their pictures go up on the "Wall of Shame" posted at the entrance to school.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

“Jefferson, unlike most, saw history as a process unfolding, as an evolution of human consciousness, if you will.

--MaryElizabethSings

So, Governor Deal challenges recovery district components to find a better idea, huh.

Well, here, right here on Maureen Downey’s Get School Blog, today, February 17, 2015, is MaryElizabethSings handing Deal, and Glenn Delk, a better idea.  Not just a better idea, but one heck ‘o a dang better idea!

But the deal is this: Can Deal see the better idea?  Can Deal see the better idea is for him to work at providing for public education to improve as a process of continual unfolding, as an evolution of human consciousness, and as an evolution away from the “Education Olympics” way of thinking?

Bernie31
Bernie31

@EdJohnson - Have you ever held a lengthy and complex conversation with a (74) Seventy-Four OLD, recently? 

If you have, you would know and understand the Problem, with what you are faced with. Throw in the Factor of Race and Class....For get about it! Nothing reasonable or rational will come to Light.

Its like this..."The Lights are on, but nobody is Home". And that is the Truth!

Bernie31
Bernie31

@MaryElizabethSings @Bernie31 -  My dear we are viewing from different perspectives and prisms of the same issue. It is You have no Idea of what I am talking about. For you have no knowlege or experience to even remotely understand or relate too.  uh..huh

Bernie31
Bernie31

@popacorn @Bernie31 @MaryElizabethSings - Sometimes our Edcatur in Chief gits her bloomers in a bunch, when she does not feel all thinks she is always WRITE! Not to worry, she will be awright. It has happened bafore.

We is still friends, I hope!

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Bernie31


Of course, we are still friends, Bernie.  You have basically a kind heart and usually keen insight.  Btw, your assessment of me above is off the mark, however.  No problem, though, because you spoke your truth as you see it, without malice.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@MaryElizabethSings @EdJohnson - I understand completely..I just do NOT agree with the premise, under which it is conveyed. We as Americans have always had the tendency to romanticize and fictionalize our American history to a point where Truth is no longer a viable factor or concern. We tend to overlook and dismiss the horrific parts, that does not meet our moral standards of today. A scrubbing of it if you will, to make it palpable and not tell the unvarnished Truth.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@MaryElizabethSings @Bernie31 - Thank-you My Dear...You know I have much Love for you. I appreciate your voice of reasoning here. it provides a balance to the usual nonsense of insanity from the OLD and Crazy Racist bigoted Thinkers! 


I just wish they would hurry UP and DIE!


America, will be a Better Nation and  have smarter Children as a result of their quick demise. For the Old Thinkers, do not really care about the Children, their many issues nor concerns in education or anything else. The Old Thinkers like to pretend they Do..Like they are always referring to themselves as God fearing Jesus loving and praying Christians....which they are not EITHER!


For you can tell by their Works!  For in Georgia when it comes to the Children. We are not much better than some third World Nation  scattered around the World. and that is how the Old Thinkers want to keep it.


Backwards with No Progress....Yesteday was a better time in their thinking!


Smiles to you.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Bernie31 


Every fact or "truth" of history must be placed in the historical context of its era, and every character in history must be assessed, not as a one-dimensional caricature, but as a complex, multi-layered, evolving human being who made certain choices based on the options given in "his or her deck of cards" dealt to him or her in that era of history,

Bernie31
Bernie31

@MaryElizabethSings @Bernie31 - Again I disagree with that premise! The INHUMANITY that is ACTED upon is by Choice, Free Will, Greed ,Mental illness and plain OLE Evilness from the PIT! nothing more or Less!


what you are implying it is NOt their Fault! Plus providing a way of excusing the Inexcusable.


Dastardly Human Beings who are definitely Not Christians in any sense of the word, menaing or intent. Abit more like Satan...Misery,Pain,Death and destruction without any care or concern for other Human beings.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@MaryElizabethSings @Bernie31 - As for the People of Color of this Nation and State. The acts of the majority of this State and political party, is makeing the Horrific Terrorist Acts,  we Face look like child's Play!

We are still faced with an Unimaginable amount of Terrorism from Our Political Leaders of this State. We are being Held Hostage to their sick thinking and old belief system. Despite having a President making a way for major imporvements and changes. The old thinkers say, they do not CARE!

and are Proud of it.

So here we are, with our Heads under their SWORD, awaiting the next swing followed by a room full of Great Laughter and JOY!

USA! USA! USA!

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Bernie31 @MaryElizabethSings 

I agree. The horrific details of chattel slavery may not be widely known today, but they should never be forgotten or air-brushed out of history. "Context" cannot excuse anything. In the same way, the Holocaust with its concentration camps should never be forgotten. Evil is not relative.

redweather
redweather

Every BASISed.com school has this to say about admissions:  "Applying to BASIS Independent (fill in the blank) is a selective, multi-step process that varies depending upon the entry grade."


Might the all important word "selective" explain their students' robust test scores?

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

Maureen, why do you trust the government to run any program? What do you have against private enterprise. The essence of what you're really talking about is a voucher system. Empower parents by giving them control of their tax dollars to seek the program/service of their choice. Allow the free market to be the 'education Olympics'. Of course they'll be some unscrupulous providers just as there are in the public arena but parents are not locked in and can make changes readily. The state can provide some level of monitoring/assessment of the services and provide parents with an objective opinion on them. You're trying to recommend a miracle top down solution and that only works in rare situations, usually as a result of the uniquely talented individual who has a vision and the abilities to put together a motivated and talented team for a short period of time. I've never seen a system able to replicate what these unique, one-of-a-kind individuals can do just as there are few Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs in the business world although many wannabes.


Is it the government bureaucracy you are trying to protect? Is it Democratic control of a large group of voters you wish to keep yoked to the government? If you really are interested in the best interests of children, then you must conclude that public education has failed for far too many for far too long.


With computers, distance learning, the wealth of instructional modules available for home schoolers, opportunities abound for the creative if parents are given their tax dollars to pursue alternatives.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@traderjoe9  - Step away from the Meth Pipe...it Rots yer Brain and yer Teeth.  uh..huh.


sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@traderjoe9


Because public schools benefit our society as a whole and that is why everyone contributes to the system. When you take dollars from a system that accepts everyone, no matter their background, I.Q., race, which doesn't happen when you try to apply the "educated public" to the private schools or "choice" options that you speak of.  They are selective on who they chose and they are not accountable to the public. I know of many parents who had to transfer their child from a private school and found that their child really wasn't getting the quality education they had hoped for. Of course, some private schools do a great job.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@traderjoe9 @Bernie31  - addressing your comment to Maureen an act of Genius? I think Not! Can you even Read?  I am not going to ask about comprehension. You have proven that one already.

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

@sneakpeakintoeducation @traderjoe9  That's not an argument against vouchers which have proven to be successful. You're giving control back to parents. The private market will compete for those dollars unlike the public system which does not have to compete and has wracked up 40 years of failure for these kids from poorer areas. The fact that private options are selective is the key to their success. Parents have to get their kids ready. The state will be there to make sure parents do their job which is not the case now. The failing dynamic currently enforce is that parents can drop off hostile kids and demand that the school system adapt to them. This dynamic has killed public education.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@traderjoe9 @sneakpeakintoeducation

Again, our public schools serve every child who steps through the door and their motive is not to make a profit. Where is your proof that vouchers lead to better educational outcomes for all the children who get them, not just the anecdotal few stories that are bandied about? Where is your proof that private schools will educate all those who walk through their doors? Where is your proof that our society will benefit by privatizing schools. I can tell you that your option has been tried and proved to be a complete failure. Look no further than Chile, who, under Pinochet and under the influence of Milton Friedman's style of economics that you propose, has taken the educational system to the brink of disaster. Now the newly elected Chilean government and the citizens have recognized that privatization only benefited a few and was disastrous for the many. They are having to spend billions to put a public educational system back together again. 


So, your idea that vouchers and privatization will be a cure all has been tried and tested. The results are in and it's not pretty. Hardly an example we would want to follow, is it?


Here is a link that contains a series of 3 essays by Professor Mario Waissbluth discussing the disastrous results.


http://dianeravitch.net/2013/08/12/chile-the-most-pro-market-school-system-in-the-world-part-1/

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

@Bernie31 @traderjoe9  Well it's obvious you can't. You should go back and try the 6th grade again. But then again, even 6th graders make sense. I have no idea what point you're trying to make other than you feel threatened by vouchers. Coward!

td1234
td1234

Education is not going to change substantially until parents change their attitudes about education and set the proper expectations in the home.  

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

@td1234  I agree wholeheartedly, but would add one thing - students must also change their attitudes about education and support expectations that will help them excel. 

Bernie31
Bernie31

@td1234 - yes lets just fergit and ignore the DECADES of  institutionalized, Racism , Bigotry and Inequality  that remains rife in the school systems and Blame everything on the Parents and Teachers.

We hear ya!

NikoleA
NikoleA

I'd like a post about the Democrats' plan of community schools, which I've long said are necessary to improve failing schools.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@NikoleA  - A Plan The Republicans dismiss out of Hand. For such a Plan does not fit their Racist and Bigoted rhetoric of a time gone by.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@NikoleA


The Democratic educational plan is being shared right now on "Lawmakers" (on Georgia's legislature) on Georgia Public Television, Channel 8, from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

"The Path: Create an open competition, similar to the effort Billy Payne and the city of Atlanta encountered when seeking the bid for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


The minute I hear the word, "competition" among schools, I feel somewhat nauseated because it reads like a surface level cliche and, as a seasoned educator, I abhor thinking in cliches.  Every school situation is different from every other school situation, whether those schools are traditional public, public charter, corporate-led charter, or private schools.


The only way to know if any given school has been successful is to compare it only with itself.  By that I mean that the assessment should be done on each individual student in a given school  at the beginning of the school year and again, using the same testing format, at the end of the school year on the same students.  Moreover, the IQ levels of each student, who has been pre- and post-tested in THAT school for THAT school year, must be weighed against the degree pf increase of the students' scores, individually, from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year.  Those students with lower IQs in THAT given school cannot be expected to have made equivalent progress in terms of months, or years, of growth as will be the degree of increase of students with higher IQ levels.


Yes, Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence were:  "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. .  ."  Jefferson did NOT say that that inherent equality was based either on academic test scores or inherent IQ levels.  I believe that Jefferson believed that all men are created equal simply because all men (and women) have the commonality of being human beings.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Needless to say, I disagree with the ideas expressed by lawyer Glenn Delk in his article unless his educational ideas are greatly modified to reflect the educationally sound principles which I have taken the time to express above, in order to inform him as well as the general public.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@MaryElizabethSings  -  The sad Part is that the Southern Legislators who participated in the signing of the The Declaration of Independence insisted on a change of wording to insure The Darker HUED Americans would only be considered as 3/5 of a Man with Legal and Constitutional Rights Less than his White Brethren.

From there we were off to the Races to say that Black Slaves of America were not 100% members of the Human Race. All based on a false claim of Skin pigmentation alone.


The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise reached between delegates from southern states and those from northern states during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention. The debate was over if, and if so, how, slaves would be counted when determining a state's total population for legislative representation and taxing purposes. The issue was important, as this population number would then be used to determine the number of seats that the state would have in the United States House of Representatives for the next ten years, and to determine what percentage of the nation's direct tax burden the state would have to bear. The compromise was proposed by delegates James Wilson and Roger Sherman.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Fifths_Compromise


From this current proposal by The Governor and his supporters, it seems that same Mindset exist still to this Date!


Let US not worry about the UNDESIRABLES! is the thinking STILL!


I suppose the 400years of Slavery was a figment of Our Imagination and it did not Happen. Yet it did

Horrifically and Inhumanely, by a so called God Fearing Christian People who Love Jesus with all of their Heart and Soul.  uh..huh.

bu2
bu2

@Bernie31 @MaryElizabethSings 

You totally missed the point.  It was the Yankees who insisted on counting them as 3/5ths.  They wanted to have disproportionate political power and didn't consider the slaves "real" people.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 @Bernie31 @MaryElizabethSings 

Plus, quite pragmatically, there were so many slaves in the Southern states that if they could have voted, they would have outweighed any Yankee votes...and as slaves they  would have voted as their masters wanted.