Opponents launch TV attack today on governor’s Opportunity School District

The first TV ad opposing the proposed Opportunity School District airs today. (Proponents launched their ad the following day.)

The 30-second ad is the handiwork of the Committee to Keep Georgia Schools Local. Members of the group include the Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia AFL-CIO, PAGE, Georgia Stand-Up, the Coalition for the People’s Agenda, Public Education Matters, Southern Education Foundation, Working America, Pro Georgia, Better Georgia, Georgia Federation of Teachers and Concerned Black Clergy of Metro Atlanta.

“The Amendment 1 ballot language is intentionally deceptive,” says Keep Georgia Schools Local campaign manager Louis Elrod. “That’s why we have to move quickly to educate voters about the pie-in-the-sky promises they’ll see at the polls. If you read the fine print, you’ll see that Amendment 1 will silence parents and teachers and hand over local control of our schools to an unelected, unaccountable political appointee who can close schools without public input and fire teachers without cause. We have to use our voices now to stop the state takeover.”

So far, at least 16 school boards have taken stands in opposition to Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposed state takeover district, which will be on the ballot in November because it requires a change to the constitution.

Georgia PTA opposes the amendment because of the fuzzy ballot language that simply asks whether the state should intervene in failing schools. The preamble that will introduce voters to the ballot item — written by the governor and General Assembly leaders — is also vague: “Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.”

The PTA believes the language misleads voters rather than informs them.

As the AJC reported:

“Parental and community involvement is not increased by or required by the OSD enabling legislation,” Lisa-Marie Haygood, president of the Georgia PTA, said. She said “local communities” and their elected school boards are the most effective school stewards, and she noted that the constitutional amendment would allow the governor’s new superintendent to take local tax dollars for any school absorbed by the OSD. “Forcing local taxpayers to fund local schools in which their local school board (and by extension, the voters) have no voice is not the answer,” she wrote in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The ad states: “Here’s the truth about the school takeover amendment. The cost will be huge. Amendment 1 robs struggling schools of desperately needed funds and takes away $13 million from education statewide. Instead of investing in smaller class sizes, good teachers, and more resources for learning, Amendment 1 cuts money from local schools to make us pay for a whole new set of bureaucrats and an unaccountable political appointee. We just can’t afford this costly school takeover. Vote No on Amendment 1.”

And here is the ad:

Reader Comments 0

83 comments
Roxanne Dimacale
Roxanne Dimacale

Nice work! I also can be helpful here :) I've forgotten the last time I filled out a form on paper. I mostly use PDFfiller to edit. You can easily fill GA Form 1013 here <code>https://goo.gl/EiNEb0</code>.

KnowTheFactsOSD
KnowTheFactsOSD

FACT CHECKS

“The Opportunity School District will cut local funds and take money away from the good schools”

No OSD-eligible school will lose funding once it enters the OSD. In fact, with decision-making in the hands of the school rather than a traditional district, the schools in the OSD will likely see more money spent directly in the classroom. Additionally, high performing schools in Georgia will not see existing funds diverted to fund those schools in the OSD.

No more than 3 percent of the existing funds flowing to the school within the OSD shall be held for administrative operations. This is less than most local school districts withhold today (the average is 4.9%). As a result, more funds will be available at the school level within the OSD. 


“The Opportunity School District hands control to an unaccountable political appointee”

The OSD superintendent will be selected by an elected official JUST as local school superintendents are. Ultimately, the superintendent and the governor will be held accountable and will have to answer to any possible missteps.

Ultimately, the superintendent and the governor will be held accountable and will have to answer to any possible missteps. As part of an accountability procedure, the superintendent must release an annual report to the legislature and the public detailing the OSD’s activities and results.


“The Opportunity School District takes away local control and silences parents and teachers”

The OSD has been specifically designed to heavily involve local parents and teachers improve failing schools and meet the needs of our local communities. In fact, this program ensures that the majority of the school council is made up of parents and guardians of the students. The OSD would allow for more decision-making in the hands of the individual school rather than a traditional district, and local input will be sought throughout the entire process. 


“The Opportunity School District is nothing but a power grab and a political takeover”

The sad truth in this debate is the communities most impacted by low-performing schools have been kept silent for years by the same scare tactics we are currently seeing to fight for the failing status quo. The OSD will give parents forced to send their children to chronically failing schools a pathway to greater involvement within those schools to create real improvements. 

The OSD will give our neighborhoods a needed voice for change, and hold those accountable that refuse to roll up their sleeves and commit to improving Georgia's schools.

CSpinks
CSpinks

Who has studied SB 133?

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

I have and if parents of kids attending these schools will have a voice is fooling themselves. How will a poor parent in south Georgia get to the Governor's appointed superintendent to complain about something happening at their takeover school? Is it OK to take YOUR local tax dollars and you have no voice in a private company that will run a school that is no longer under local control? Memphis us a mess, New Orleans is a disaster, Philadelphia is failing......why? They have a similar law. Get schooled. Thank you, Ed Johnson.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Here is an interesting observation:  The very people who crawled all over Nancy Pelosi when she said, "We will find out what is in it after we pass it" are totally willing to find out what is in this amendment AFTER they pass it!  Consistency, anyone?


And that completely ignores the "small government" mantra.

jezel-dog / Coach - me
jezel-dog / Coach - me

Those of you who are familiar with the conservative agenda....check out what is going on in NC today..who seem to be the poster child for the GOP.


Their voter id law has been struck down....and now the NCAA has moved 7 championships from the state. The ACC commissioner is in the process of relocating the ACC football championship game that was  to be held in Charlotte on Dec. 3.


If Georgians are not careful about who we elect for our next governor....we may be left out of the mix....like NC.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@jezel Naw, we will just offer the NCAA a billion dollars in tax incentives, rebates, and infrastructure for the next ten years to "win" those sports events upcoming.

EliasDenny
EliasDenny

Why even talk about this. Vote No 

Astropig
Astropig

Interesting...My favorite "citizen journalist",Mike Antonucci, just put out some late breaking news on the union/teachers political battles going on this autumn:


http://www.eiaonline.com/intercepts/2016/09/13/neas-ballot-fund-being-brought-to-bear-in-states/


Mike says that the NEA hasn't sent any cash to Georgia as of yet (but scratched a check to Massachusetts for $1.4 mil).Could this mean that they have done some internal polling and decided that the OSD will definitely pass,and that their money will be largely wasted?

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather @Astropig


"Would they even need to do any polling?"


To avoid wasting their $1.5 million on a hopeless cause? In the pantheon of dumb questions,that one deserves a high place.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

I'm curious as to why you are so gleeful at the prospect of a failed policy being instituted in GA? What are you hiding about your personal gains?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Then there is the whole problem with the CCRPI.  To say that it varies greatly is an understatement.  One of the local elementary school's scores go (2012-2015) 69, 80.5, 62.6, 68.4.  How reliable/valid can that be?  The middle school: 73, 87, 77.3, 65.9.  Look at that!  High school: 60.9, 73, 77.1, 68.1. 


THAT rests on the reliability and vaiidity of the CRCT (2012, 1013, 2014) and now the Milestones.


Anyone feel the shifting sands?

Starik
Starik

@Wascatlady CCRPI is garbage, of course.  We couldn't have a meaningful test, it would be embarrassing.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Let me add that charter companies are only one of the 4 governance (haha--I typed GIVErnance) models: Direct management, shared governance, and closure are the others.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

One more thing: Look at the class of kids the Governor and First Lady are sitting in front of on the Governor's page about OSD.

Vikib
Vikib

With so little criteria for  OSD superintendent  and for lack of a  consistent and continuous way to decide on the 'failing schools- This thing should never have made it to the voting ballot !  Deal is Gov. now- who will be appointing the OSD superintendent and how in the world will this superintendent (assuming one) manage schools in different systems?  How long will his tenure be and I can assure you he/she will have some kind of job-security.....his salary will be up for grabs and it will probably be a "who do you know" issue!   NOT good for GA kids!   Go back to the drawing board Gov. Deal!

Wonder if the superintendent will have a "staff"-  assistant, secretary, etc..........and who will pay for that?


vb

MIstakes are in this-  just a quick response

Intteach
Intteach

@Vikib Who knows? There might be regional superintendents that will suck up even more money.

newsphile
newsphile

There will be much leeway in how schools are managed in the future should OSD pass.  According to what's been touted, this is to address so-called "failing" schools.  Who's to say whether it would eventually affect all GA schools?  This is just another way to pay back some of the current governor's campaign donors.  Because someone is married to a teacher doesn't make that individual an expert on education.  How many of you would let the spouse of a surgeon perform your medical procedure?  Geez.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@newsphile But EVERYONE has been to first grade so EVERYONE knows how to "do" education!

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

Opinion? Does that make you an expert on how children learn or how to teach? After 38 years, I am still learning. I can promise, even 'bad' teachers taught you something.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@pcrabtree 41 years here, plus a PhD from UGA, 2 master's,a BS, and 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Yes, I know a good bit about how children learn, and I have learned from even poor teaching colleagues (mostly what not to do.)


I have continued to learn how to teach in the 2 years I have been retired as I volunteer in 3 different schools and learn new things each time I step in the classrooms.


I get real tired of folks who talk big but have no clue as to how complex student learning is, except they know what they experienced 10, 20, 30, 40, 50,or 60 years ago.

cuppa
cuppa

Teachers' union money is once again being thrown into the fight against education reform, including out-of-state union money. That's what unions do.

But 100% of the bad effects of failing public schools remain local.

And without new ideas there is 0% chance that failing schools will be turned around.

Astropig
Astropig

@Starik @cuppa


Generally speaking,unions are outside their "core competency" in trying to persuade any group of unaffiliated people  to do anything they want.Their "comfort zone" is leaving a severed horses' head on their opponents beds.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

It's not a new idea. It's been tried 8n other cities/states and it has failed. Please educate yourself.

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

Just got back from Memphis, it us a mess! Has not improved the schools, nor increased the economy.

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

New ideas are not always better. Unions prevented a female from being fired because she was pregnant, child labor laws, 40 hour work week, minimum wage, and more. They are the problem or the lies that are told on them? This is not about unions, it is about tax dollars, taxation without representation, local control, and profiting off the backs of our children. A few charters are successful, but MOST are dismal failures. Can we say Latin Academies. John Oliver said it best.

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

That would be true if the unions were not made up of college educated teachers and paraprofessionals who lived teaching EVERY day. And they are out of their 'comfort zone' ? I think they know what is best not some pseudo, wannabe education policy expert. GET SCHOOLED.

kaelyn
kaelyn

Six in one hand and a half dozen in the other. If OSD passes it removes local control from parents and stakeholders. However, these same people are, in large part, responsible for the current state of the schools.

The poor tend to vote in much lower numbers and I think that OSD will be voted into law by the middle class, who will never have to deal with its aftermath.

Starik
Starik

@kaelyn We don't exactly know the aftermath, but hopefully the worst teachers will lose their jobs.

kaelyn
kaelyn

@ Starik Wouldn't that be great? It's a shame that the bad apples haven't already been tossed. My question is how long does the OSD stay? Do the governor's people work to actively engage parents to become invested in the outcome? OR is this another instance of the government permanently alleviating people from taking some personal responsibility and demanding better for their children? I promise you that path leads to a dead end.

Starik
Starik

@kaelyn Irresponsible parents who can't run their own lives successfully aren't likely to take personal responsibility for their children. Often the school is the only positive thing in their lives, their only out of the bad situation they were born into.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@kaelyn The middle class ASSUMES it will never have to deal with it, but that assumption is questionable.

kaelyn
kaelyn

Starik - I'm not calling anyone irresponsible or unsuccessful. Often, these parent are simply uninformed. The danger lies in constantly giving people fish instead of teaching them HOW to fish for themselves. If OSD is in the business of teaching, then I'm all for it. If it's more government forever fish handouts, it'll be a disaster.

NikoleA
NikoleA

@kaelyn I disagree that the middle class won't deal with the aftermath. In fact, I believe that the state will actually take over schools that are on the borderline between passing and failing, just so that they can claim victory over "turning around" a failing school. And those schools could be middle class. Additionally, there is no language that defines how a school qualifies as failing. It can change at any time, allowing the Gov. to take over a middle class school that is currently classified as passing.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@NikoleA @kaelyn Just redefine "passing" to 70 or lower for 2 years, then 75, and you will start seeing the middle class squealing--too late!

Starik
Starik

@kaelyn Fish are not the problem. The worst parents are criminals;it's how they get money. They introduce their kids to drugs and alcohol before they are born. 

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

Really? Why has the state lowered their standards to allow non-certified, off the street high schooler to be hired as a teacher? By the way charters can do it. Teacher shortage will show you what a 'bad' teacher is and you will wish for what you have now. GET SCHOOLED.

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

If there are bad teachers it is because of bad Principals. Even tenured teachers can be fired. When is the last time you have been in a classroom?

Astropig
Astropig

Ah,yes...The unions speak! Wonder what took them so long?


I saw in Galloway's column that this will mostly air in the Atlanta TV market.Characteristically stupid move by the union bosses.Unless they air it next to the "Have  A Wreck,Get A Check" ads during daytime shows,nobody will see it.The ones that DO see it won't know what to make of it and of those,a lot will vote for it anyway.


The ad buy(again,per Galloway) is $730,000.That won't buy enough impressions to make any measurable difference in the outcome of the vote.In fact,its not even a drop in the bucket in an election year with political ads cluttering up the airways ad nauseum.


As for the amendment language: Tip o' the cap to the sponsors.They knew that their opponents and the media would play the race/hate card early and often and use ugly scare tactics to try to defeat it.Their choice of language was a proactive move to blunt that stratagem and I'm glad they did it.They learned well from the charter amendment set-to and (apparently) their union opponents didn't.

Astropig
Astropig

@jezel @Astropig


Here's my homework:


The Afl-CIO is a union.

The NEA is a union,and is supposedly contributing $1.5 Million dollars of their members dues to run ineffective ads.I haven't seen it,so maybe they just stole the money.It would certainly be in character.


The unions are the real money behind these ads.These other dog and cat coalitions don't have a pot to whiz in or a window to throw it out of.Unions can coerce their members to give money ("we know where your kids go to school...") and these other groups are mainly George Soros front groups or professional panhandlers.They are just along for the (free) ride.

Astropig
Astropig

@sneakpeakintoeducation


They lobby all the time...But they don't cause their opponents to sleep with the fishes.


"Nice house you got there...A shame if anything happened to it" 


This ^^ is the way unions "persuade" their colleagues.

sneakpeakintoeducation
sneakpeakintoeducation

You're message would be more meaningful if you acknowledged the strong lobbying groups that represent those who will make a bucket load o' money if this passes. Your negligence in this matter and your unwavering support for a failed takeover model makes it apparent that you too stand to make substantial financial gains if this amendment passes.

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

And their economies have fallen off terribly.

pcrabtree
pcrabtree

You know not of what you speak. No teacher us coerced. The government makes sure of that. Any dollars spent on political action must be reported whereas corporations don't. I know I have filled out a msny of forms yo make a contribution. GET SCHOOLED!