State Senate passes Deal’s plan to seize control of failing schools

From the Governor’s Office:

Gov. Nathan Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal today praised the Senate for passing legislation that would allow for an Opportunity School District (OSD) to aid chronically failing schools throughout the state. The constitutional amendment resolution and the implementing legislation will now move to the House for consideration.

“Today, we are one step closer to creation of an Opportunity School District, and one step closer to restoring children’s and parents’ hopes for a brighter future,” Deal said. “We’ve seen the successes that Louisiana, Tennessee and Michigan attained with similar, bipartisan measures.

“Working together, I believe Georgians can achieve the same for our students and families. I congratulate Sen. Butch Miller on his diligence and hard work in advancing these education reforms, and I commend the courage of the 37 other senators who supported this legislation. As the House considers this bill, I am confident that its members will also put the needs of Georgia’s most vulnerable students first. Through the efforts of our legislators, we will put this referendum on the ballot so that Georgians can assure that a child’s chance of success isn’t dependent on his or her ZIP code.”

The OSD legislation requires a constitutional amendment, for which there must be a two-thirds majority in both houses and majority approval by Georgia voters at the next general election. The OSD would allow the state to intervene in schools that have received failing grades for three consecutive years. The district could add no more than 20 schools per year, for a total of 100 at any given time. The schools would remain in the OSD for no less than five years and no more than 10 years.

“The Opportunity School District will allow us to bring new focus by education experts, better governance and best practices to schools that have underachieved for too long. The children trapped in these schools can’t wait. I believe all children can learn, but we have an obligation to provide access for high-quality education to those students and parents who are anxious for a better future. It’s my vision – and that of many legislators here – that every high school graduate in Georgia should have the skills needed to enter the workforce or further their educations in college.”

Reader Comments 0

30 comments
Astropig
Astropig

@redweather


This would make perfect sense...If the first time you see an amendment is when you step into the voting booth.But in this age of instant communication and continuous voter education efforts by interested parties,not knowing what you're voting on is inexcusable.If you're too lazy to do a modicum of research on ballot questions that will amend the state constitution,I wish you'd just stay home and watch TMZ.

ProHumanitate
ProHumanitate

Most charter operators are NOT going to take over a "failing" zoned school and ALL of its zoned students. They'll want to control how many or which students they take (rolling out a grade level at a time, having limited special education capabilities, capping enrollment, counseling out, etc.). 

Where do the other kids in the former zone go?

KIPP tried taking over a zoned school once, years ago, in Denver. They abandoned the effort after 2 years.

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

The quotation marks around the word “race” have always signified non-belief in that social construct, hence also “gasp!”  So, no “race issue,” here.

However, facing reality, as there were African compradors back during the slave trade, obviously there are among our lawmakers today African-American compradors.  And they, above all, deserve to be put out of office.

AJCkrtk
AJCkrtk

If the Superintendent decides to CLOSE a school he/she deems "failing", the local district can't use it again as a school with the same attendance zone and grades for THREE years.  This OSD plan seems to have no understanding or concern about what empty buildings do to neighborhoods. 

living-in-outdated-ed
living-in-outdated-ed

While I am troubled by the rapid pace of the legislature and not knowing what the task force who was supposed to have studied the various models actually recommended, I am not necessarily opposed to the state taking over failing schools.  What I would not support is APS schools being included in this district immediately. I think the new Superintendent deserves at least a year to demonstrate that metrics are headed in the right direction.


And while I wouldn't support @EdJohnson 's comment about making this a race issue.   Of course all but one co-author is Republican.   That's quite telling.

BroadwayJoe
BroadwayJoe

@living-in-outdated-ed @EdJohnson Yes, it is quite telling how Democrats in our state are willing to vote "NO" to attempting to change the educational environment of those attending the worst of the worst public schools in our state.  Shame on all of the Senate Democrats.

AJCkrtk
AJCkrtk

@living-in-outdated-ed The Constitutional amendment would allow the new OSD Superintendent  to takeover ANY school that fits the state's definition of "failing."  While it would be nice if EVERY system that is choosing a new operational model (APS is choosing Charter System) to have 3 full years to let their efforts improve the under-performing schools, that will not happen.  The Amendment, if voters pass it, will give the Superintendent unfettered authority to take any "failing" school into the OSD, and run it in the building owned by the local district, AND use the LOCAL FUNDS to run it.  If that school becomes a state charter school and exits out of the OSD, the school KEEPS the building and the local funding.


@EdJohnson And one Republican Senator, whose picture would look just like the faces of those on this website, voted against the amendment.  


Astropig
Astropig

@living-in-outdated-ed @EdJohnson



"And while I wouldn't support @EdJohnson 's comment about making this a race issue..."


I would support that.Every time Democrats have played the race card in statewide elections for the last decade,it has blown up in their faces. People are sick of every policy disagreement becoming racially charged. Play it for all it's worth,I say.

BroadwayJoe
BroadwayJoe

@Wascatlady Yes, those children in the 141 failing schools are on a "slippery slope" to educational and economic travesty.  

EdJohnson
EdJohnson

 Maureen, how about posting or the AJC publishing the Senators’ voting record to include the – gasp! – “race” of each?

ProHumanitate
ProHumanitate

@EdJohnson

AND - on the same site, you can click on each of their pictures and get each of their legislative and recent voting records.

redweather
redweather

Sounds like a "big government" move to me. 

Astropig
Astropig

@EdUktr


I've thought for a good while that Governor Deal benefits greatly from being underestimated in general statecraft,fiscal policy and his ability to get things done in the legislature.He's got some ethical baggage,but what politician doesn't? You don't reach that level of accomplishment without ruffling a few feathers.



Intteach
Intteach

@Astropig @EdUktr 

There is a reason why "he gets things done" - and it is not a flattering one. It has to do with the ethical baggage you are talking about. Nothing has changed. People are closing their eyes. It will be for the detriment of all and the benefit of a few.

Astropig
Astropig

@Intteach @Astropig @EdUktr


You're right-The only ones that will benefit will be the kids in failing schools.Democrat administrations had decades to build a good school system,but they didn't. Now a different approach is needed. I applaud Governor Deal for proposing constitutional amendments to institute such reforms.That means that some partisan Democrat can't easily undo them later.

Astropig
Astropig

This is a great development.If Georgia voters want an OSD,they can approve the amendment and we'll go from there.Of course,it'll face another battle in the house and reconciling any variations won't be a day at the beach, but Georgia voters deserve a say in such an important policy initiative.

Astropig
Astropig

@Mandella88 @Astropig @DSW2


This isn't 1954. You can always vote no. You're obviously afraid that this will pass because people are fed up.Fine.Go to the polls and make your voice heard.Deal is not imposing this,he is proposing this.This has nothing to do with race or slavery or any of the other strawmen that will be used to scare people.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@Astropig @Mandella88 @DSW2

Look at who voted for it.  Tell me the make-up of the identified schools.  Why were the values used in identifying the schools deemed appropriate?  Let me know about the "straw men" you see once you have done your research.  Get your facts squared away first before you toe the party line.

DSW2
DSW2

@Astropig Exactly! The unintended (maybe) consequence of this idea is that it will open the door for independent (mostly city) school districts all across the state. In our opinion, that is a good thing.

Astropig
Astropig

@DSW2 @Astropig


If people were happy with the status quo,this kind of amendment would never have a ghost of a chance.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig @DSW2 "If people were happy with the status quo,this kind of amendment would never have a ghost of a chance."


Like those pesky chips being implanted in people.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2 @Astropig

Because more central offices, Boards of Education, and Superintendents are what the Mafia are all about, right?

Mandella88
Mandella88

@Astropig @Mandella88 @DSW2

No one is against the democratic process, but we live in a republic (remember your words to the Pledge), and this republic has had elected individuals propose and/or support actions that were not necessarily correct.


What do you think the democratic process in every southern state would have said in 1954 after Brown v Board of Education if it was put to a vote to integrate schools?  Is this the kind of democratic process you would support and are talking about?