Critics: Governor’s school takeover district represents disinvestment in public education

Below is the official statement from the press conference this afternoon at the Capitol by the Georgia Association of Educators and other education groups rallying to stop Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District.

Georgia voters will decide in November whether to empower the state to take over schools it deems No headfailing and reorganize them or turn them over to a charter operator. The change requires an amendment to the state constitution.

Here is the press conference statement:

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, and the Southern Education Foundation, two advocates for equity in education, today jointly released “Investing in What Works: Community-driven Strategies for Strong Public Schools.”

This report is the most recent in a series of analyses of state takeover initiatives and other education governance reforms. In November 2016, Georgians will be asked to approve a state takeover modeled on the laws reviewed in this report. Finding little evidence of success, the authors, while flanked by supporters at their press conference today at Georgia State Capitol, provide an alternative vision for sustained school improvement inclusive of eight research-proven strategies.

Speakers urged voters to take into account lessons learned from past takeovers in Louisiana (Recovery School District), Tennessee (Achievement School District), and Michigan (Education Achievement Authority), which have not proven effective.  These initiatives have relied on converting schools to charters or closing them altogether. The results have been highly stratified institutions and deepened segregation, widened gaps in achievement, and further disadvantaging schools that already struggle to keep pace with their counterparts.

“As legislators prep to return to work and voters ready for an election year, it’s our intent to share our ideas before their minds are made up. We believe the eight strategies in this paper outline an alternative path to creating successful public schools that we ask Georgians to consider as we evaluate the recommendations of the Education Reform Commission and OSD referendum.  All of us are ready for the challenge ahead,” said Sid Chapman, a teacher and president of the Georgia Association of Educators.

The report goes on to suggest that Georgia’s takeover proposal, the Opportunity School District, is a high stakes proposition for the state.  The OSD would disproportionately impact low-income communities with many schools targeted for takeover being concentrated in Atlanta (26 schools), Richmond (21 schools) and DeKalb County (24 schools).

Additionally, the student population across all OSD-eligible schools is composed of 94 percent African-American and Latino students. “The architects of the OSD are targeting low-income communities using arbitrary achievement levels to declare their schools and the students in them as failing,” said Kent McGuire, president of SEF.

This report calls for investment, not divestment, in Georgia public schools, and for effective strategies like access to high quality early childhood education, collaborative school leadership, quality teaching, wraparound supports, restorative practices and student-centered environments, culturally relevant curriculum, and deep parent-community-school ties for students from low-income communities.

“This report provides an important framework and crucial strategies for working with communities to support their local schools, as opposed to having change forced on them by a state takeover. We’re excited to be part of this work and look forward to hearing from families and communities in this process,” said Janet Kishbaugh of Public Education Matters Georgia.

“Effective school reform is done in collaboration with communities, parents, students, educators and administrators,” said Warren Simmons, executive director of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University, and a Southern Education Foundation board member. “Top-down strategies have repeatedly not proven successful in sustaining high quality public education. It is the teachers, school leaders, students and parents who must carry out and push forward any improvement strategies; they must be engaged for the reforms to succeed.”

Among those present and supportive of the initiative were national superintendent of the year, Dr. Philip Lanoue of Clarke County Schools, Dr. Sid Chapman, president of Georgia Association of Educators, and a host of concerned educators, parents, and community members.

 

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

....two advocates for "equity in education..."

Translation:  taxpayers, hold onto your pocketbooks.


Yep, here it comes:  "This report calls for investment, not divestment, in Georgia public schools..."

Translation:  Mo money, mo money, mo money.


"...the student population across all OSD-eligible schools is composed of 94 percent African-American and Latino students..."

Ah yes, the racial IQ Hierarchy comes into play once again.  Just as you will never get a Shetland Pony to win the Kentucky Derby, you will never get a demographic population  with an average IQ of 85 to perform on the same academic level of a demographic population with an an average IQ of 100+.

newsphile
newsphile

It's easy to see who, among the list of commenters below, are on the payroll of charter management companies and/or other entities who stand to gain power and/or money from an OSD. They are paid to take over the site.

Starik
Starik

@newsphile And it's easy to see who makes a living from the current system of public schooling.  In some areas the system works - North Fulton, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Forsyth, Fayette - but are the schools in largely black areas to be preserved for the sake of the unqualified teachers and administrators who help keeping these schools in their current state?

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

@Starik @newsphile


We should be worried about the billionaires who are putting millions into not only the board of education elections but into privatizing our schools. They do this but having billions of dollars isn't enough-they need more.


CSpinks
CSpinks

On the other hand, Professor Simmons of Brown University is on to something. Schools which involve the communities they serve and in which they are situated tend to be more effective in helping our kids learn. Of course, community involvement activities demand more work than too many of our educrats are willing to perform. The public and official tolerance of this indolence must cease.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I agree.  However, I have found that inspiring educators to work with communities, rather than coercing them to do so through fear, has been more effective and productive as a strategy toward achieving the ultimate goal of having more teachers serve students and their communities well.  (A slap on the back goes a lot further with most people than a kick in the a*s.)

CSpinks
CSpinks

@MaryElizabethSings MES, behavior is situation-specific. In some situations, a pat on the back is needed. In others, some else is called for.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@CSpinks 

What you have stated is true.  However, I simply stated that (in my 25 years in working with teachers in a leadership position in trying to help them improve their instructional awareness and delivery) I got better results overall by being supportive and inspiring than threatening.  Both are needed in various degrees depending on each unique situation, as you wrote. 

Nevertheless, I found in 35 years in working with teachers and students that the nurturing approach is not only more productive with students, overall, but also with more productive with teachers, overall, and that the supportive role in leadership it is more in tune with an educational, rather than a business, model.

CSpinks
CSpinks

Mr. Chapman, that there are in our state's major urban areas so many public schools which are failing the Black and poor kids enrolled in them is a scandal of the first order. What has your organization done to ameliorate this horrendous situation? What has your organization done? I am not asking what has your organization said it was going to do.

Bitcoined
Bitcoined

Can't imagine many turned up at the press conference besides union activists and their media shills.

Bitcoined
Bitcoined

Add these "new" teachers' union proposals to the half-century of failed liberal schemes which have resulted in the mess public education is in.

Colwest
Colwest

ignorance it tough to beat.  it is the basis of religion and racism, both of which are still prevalent in this state as evidenced by proposals such as this one and the legislation proposed by the racist from Columbus. 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

My, how the "comments" section of Maureen's column has dwindled....you mean, most normal folks don't think its worth paying for the AJC's bias?  Its gong to be a very humbling conversation when the crack AJC ad sales team has to explain to prospective advertisers why their "web hits": have dropped so dramatically.


Now it's pretty much ME singing to herself....


Wow, who could have predicted that.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@dcdcdc 

Thanks then for adding to the number of "comments" that Maureen can count.

HILUX
HILUX

Maureen's apparently one of those liberals who view non-liberal opinions as not just wrong but "evil."

CSpinks
CSpinks

@dcdcdc I was going to reply to (D)cdcdc's comment but awoke to the realization that the comment did not merit a reply.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@EdJohnson 

I can't assume readers will "hit" your link.  Here is the the startling transfer of state funds to charter schools at the APS mentioned in the first paragraph of your link, above:

"In an extraordinary decision, the Georgia State Board of Education awarded APS charter schools the lion’s share of $1.4 million in facilities grant funds. Atlanta Neighborhood Charter Schools ($199,762), Charles R. Drew Charter School ($149,994), KIPP Strive Academy ($125,463), KIPP Vision Academy ($77,781), and The Kindezi School ($150,000) each received grants totaling more than $553,000. Confirmation of the decision was made Thursday, December 10, 2015. Other state charter schools also received funding. . . ."

Starik
Starik

The "failing schools" are a legacy of slavery and segregation.  The students are unprepared by their home life to learn, and some - a significant and unknown percentage -  are quite unable to learn, don't want to, and want to disrupt the classroom for students who could succeed if schools did a better job.  The teachers in these schools - ?% - are not competent to teach.  They came from the lower half of the worst colleges.  They remain in the schools because of racial politics, and from districts that are more interested in employing people who do indeed need the jobs they hold in teaching, administration than helping kids.  The kids come and go, mostly graduate, but the teachers are allowed to work to retirement. 


Possibly a State takeover will help. Maybe not.
It's worth trying.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

It's worth a go even though we know that it's failed everywhere else. That's one of the signs of insanity.

Christie_S
Christie_S

@Starik You know, I just found your comment today, on the 23rd, but I felt the need to reply just the same. You said:

"[t] he teachers in these schools - ?% - are not competent to teach.  They came from the lower half of the worst colleges.  They remain in the schools because of racial politics, and from districts that are more interested in employing people who do indeed need the jobs they hold in teaching, administration than helping kids. "


I'm one of the teachers who is employed in a 100% FRL population school.  I graduated summa cum laude for both my undergrad and graduate education degrees, magna cum laude for my accounting degree, summa cum laude for my foreign language degree (Mandarin and Spanish), and top 1% in my certification courses.  I went to the Univ of S. Fl for my accounting degree, UGA for my education degrees, and U of Md for my foreign language degree.


You know what else? I'm only one of many teachers at my school with similar academic credentials.


I get so sick and tired of hearing people who can't do my job belittle those of us in the trenches every day. 


You think it's easy being a teacher? As my teenager would say, "quitcher bichen" and sign up as a long-term sub.  Don't just visit for a day, come spend some "quality time" in a classroom filled with high-needs, high-poverty students.


If the kids don't eat you alive for your naivete, then we can talk.



HILUX
HILUX

The teachers' unions and their liberal allies continue to oppose any reform which threatens union revenues.

Unions are leading contributors to the Democrat Party and liberal causes. Accountability and parental choice tend to loosen the grip unions have in school districts elsewhere where teachers are required to join unions to get or keep a job.

But failing public schools have created a critical mass of voters who will no longer accept excuses.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@HILUX 

I was a "reformer" in traditional public education for 35 years, and that fact had nothing to do with the fact that I was, also, a member of GAE/NEA by my own choice, not by mandate. You have made way too many assumptions, and you are thinking in cliches. 

Btw, it's the "Democratic Party," not the "Democrat Party."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

"This report calls for investment, not divestment, in Georgia public schools, and for effective strategies like access to high quality early childhood education, collaborative school leadership, quality teaching, wraparound supports, restorative practices and student-centered environments, culturally relevant curriculum, and deep parent-community-school ties for students from low-income communities."

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

Excellent, President (of GAE) Chapman.  

Readers may recall that within the last two weeks I posted that the teachers, themselves, through their unions throughout America may save public education, the foundation of any democracy.  GAE comes as close to being a union for dedicated teachers as Georgia presently allows.  I was an active member of GAE/NEA throughout my 35 years in public education.  I remain a member of GAE/NEA-Retired, today.

Bitcoined
Bitcoined

Google "NEA" and "contributions" to see why she continues to send money to the union bosses.