Georgians vote ‘no’ on Opportunity School District

A flyer for the Opportumity School District.

The governor was passionate. The TV ads were stark. The ballot language was appealing.

None of it was enough to persuade voters to approve Amendment 1.

Sixty percent of Georgia voters declined to grant the state sweeping new powers to seize control of schools and school taxes.

The Opportunity School District — Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature education effort — failed in spectacular fashion.

The ballot read: Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?

What voters apparently saw: Should the constitution be amended to allow the state to trample local control, seize local tax dollars and create a new bureaucracy to run schools deemed to be failing?

Georgians voted on four constitutional amendments. Amendments usually pass easily because the ballot language is written by the proponents, and, indeed, three of the four cruised to success.

Only Amendment 1 lost. That tells me voters were aware of Deal’s state takeover plan. This cannot be seen as an accidental loss or the outcome of a befuddled electorate. This has to be seen as a conscious repudiation of what voters saw as a power grab by the state.

“Today, parents, teachers and the communities across the state resoundingly rejected the idea that policymakers alone should be the stewards of our children’s future and public education-the public wants to maintain its voice. Instead, Georgians sent a clear message to Gov. Deal and other stakeholders — we need to make changes to our public education system, but the current plan isn’t working. We need to develop a new roadmap through an inclusive process where the focus is not on testing alone but on making the improvements essential to helping all students acquire the knowledge and skills they need for success in the 21st century economy,” said Verdaillia Turner, president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers.

In a statement, Allene Magill, executive director of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, said, “PAGE hopes that those disappointed by the defeat of Amendment 1 will acknowledge that the ballot initiative was beaten fairly at the ballot box by Georgia voters. Petty attempts to retaliate against educators, parent volunteers, local school board members or others who worked to stop the OSD would be politically divisive and a needless distraction from the pressing work of ensuring all Georgia students have access to high quality public education.”

The marketing plan for Amendment 1 never seemed to coalesce. Besides Deal, few big names got behind the OSD in a public way. Many Georgians complained  about the overtly racial mailers from the pro OSD campaign.

Yes, opponents enjoyed an infusion of outside cash, but proponents still had the edge in the benevolent ballot language they wrote that didn’t mention the state would not only take control of schools, but the local tax dollars going to those schools.

In the end, Georgians made it clear they view schools as a local issue. They did not believe a new state school district, led by a governor appointee, justified rewriting the state constitution.

In a statement tonight, Lisa-Marie Haygood, president of Georgia PTA which opposed the OSD, said:

We set out to communicate a unified message, determined to persuade others with facts, sincerity, relatable stories, and the credibility of our combined associations and efforts.  No one group or person was more pivotal or important, it took all of us to achieve this goal.  We were helped along the way of course, by our governor who chose to frighten, intimidate and insult people to convince them of his way of thinking. The hypocrisy of our elected officials sending their own children to private school while writing laws to benefit themselves and their tuition costs does not go unnoticed. That messaging did not work here.

Now, we are facing Nov. the 9th, and there is no time to rest. No politics are coming to save these schools….It will take communities as a whole to break the ravages of poverty that affect these communities. Starting with the very basics like attendance, explaining that the very act of getting your kids up and to school on time can change their chances of success. Help with school supplies and wrap around services for these schools will make the change we want to see. You guys are the hope and change that will make a difference.  It will take regular people, like you, like me.  I am just a mom.  A proud mom, but just a mom-and if you think one concerned parent can’t effect change, you are dead wrong.  Just look what happens when folks underestimate the power of an informed voter.

What do you think?

 

Reader Comments 0

33 comments
alanl
alanl

Deal just appointed an unqualified crony to be President at KSU.  What would make you think he would make a good choice to help these failing schools.  There was no detail offered on how this would make this bad situation better.  Obviously status quo is not the answer.  Everyone knows what causes the issues...lack of parental involvement , ability to attract quality teachers and poor facilities and resources.  Fix those issues and the problem is solved.  2 require more money and the other requires parents to step up and take responsibility for the child's education.  This may require money to train parents on how to do this.  If these issues are not fixed, it doesn't matter who is running the school....it will still fail.

Vic
Vic

Good.  This was a boondoggle by Deal to snitch $ from school systems and hand that $ to for-profit companies that run charter schools.  Deal's own daughter has made $ off this.  How many for-profit "education" companies have blessed the Governor with $?

Billisnice
Billisnice

The gov already dictated the president of KSU violating BOR policies resulting in millions in lawsuits. Who is the real winners of amendment 1? The gov and his family would have made millions in lobby $. 


Louisiana tried it and it was an expensive failure.


Louisiana’s Charter Schools Vulnerable to Financial Fraud and Academic Failures



MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I think that it serves public education very well that this amendment to Georgia's Constitution was voted down by the people of Georgia.  Capitalism has its part to play in building business enterprise not only throughout America, but throughout the world.  However, there are areas in which capitalism must be tempered in its thirst for personal profit with care for the common good. Those areas which serve the common good not through private enterprise but through public service should include public education, prison incarceration, medical care, and old age financial security. 


The Democratic Caucus within Georgia's Legislature has my full support in its community-based plan for developing more excellent schools throughout Georgia. Poverty in communities must be addressed to improve schools. Also, an educational format that addresses every student's individual rate of learning concepts to mastery must be implemented to improve Georgia's schools. I believe that I have shared thoroughly my thoughts on developing better schools and educational practices throughout Georgia on "Get Schooled." Moreover, my blog, "MaryElizabethSings," will continue to exist. My educational entries there, hopefully, will continue to help others interested in educational excellence into future years. Here is a starting point, one last time:


https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/about-education-essay-1-mastery-learning/

------------------------------------------------------------------


A poster mentioned, below, that I and another poster have a responsibility to acknowledge our roles in the election of Donald Trump as America's 45th president.  Here are some closing words of mine on the election of last evening.


I was pleased to see that Georgia was the last of the Deep South states to be declared for Donald Trump in the presidential election. Georgia, also, voted "No" to the amendment which allowed for a takeover of certain schools by the state of Georgia. I believe that Georgia, going back to the days of Ralph McGill and Martin Luther King, Jr., has led a progressive movement in the South.  I hope that vision for Georgia will continue.

I want to thank Maureen Downey for this excellent educational blog which has done so much good in enhancing the need for educational awareness in the state of Georgia.  I, also, want to thank her for allowing me to post entries from my blog here, as those entries applied to educational tenets and practices.

Now, I believe that my voice through my posts on blogs of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has run its course in terms of the impact I can make in furthering my educational and political vision for this state. My vision since my childhood has never really been political. It has been essentially artistic and spiritual, and my career in education stemmed from that innate vision.

I believe that the vision of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for our world will ultimately prevail for their vision has had a strong spiritual foundation that will bloom more fully in time.

Finally, I want all of the posters (past and present) of this blog to know that I hold no animosity toward anyone and that I wish all of you well.

newsphile
newsphile

Deal doesn't have much time left to show that he can be a leader.  Up to now, he's shown far too often that he can be a dictator, vilifying anyone who opposes his desires.  That's the opposite of what he was elected to do.  Hopefully, he will process the meaning of yesterday's resounding stand against a political machine. GA needs a governor who leads.  We'll know which direction he's taking when we see how he reacts to the defeat of OSD.  I hope he takes the high road.  It's time to lead Georgians to work together. 

 

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

A sad night for poor children in the middle of an otherwise exciting night. Those who still care will just have to work twice as hard and create charters in those communities. The problem is that more students will get inadequate education during the charter process, and fewer students will be saved from failing schools.


Some good is better than no good, I suppose. At least  Lisa-Marie Haygood can feel good that she has salvaged the better performing schools with outside money, and deceiving the uninformed voter.

MiloD
MiloD

It means nothing, now. What till Trump gets a load of this state´s education reality and the clueless educators riding the gravy train on taxpayer money. The OSD will seem like Nirvana in contrast. 

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@MiloD We were just talking about Trump and education. Consensus: He has made education a low, low priority and we may see no action from him on education for a while. He has a tax reform plan to develop.


redweather
redweather

I'm surprised this was voted down. 

30303
30303

A pyrrhic victory, Maureen.

With Republican control of the White House, Congress and our own state, failing public schools won't likely enjoy their monopoly much longer.

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

@30303 Republican voters rejected this amendment. You think you get to a 60-40 margin in this state with only Blue voters?

Astropig
Astropig

There are other ways to accomplish what the OSD proposed. Starting today,the battle begins anew!


After watching the events of the last 24 hours unfold (in disbelief,I'll have to admit),I'd caution the status quo to not get too comfortable.


The "no" side won fair and square,so... tip o' the cap.

W. Smith
W. Smith

@Astropig Don't be surprised if Governor Deal through GOSA works with the GaDOE to write the OSD initiative into the ESSA Act for the state of Georgia.  This could still be created through the ESSA act and currently being written.  This would not surprise me.

L_D
L_D

@W. Smith @Astropig State takeover and intervention of schools is allowed through OCGA 20-14-41.  Maybe the state should look to leverage what was already permitted!

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

@W. Smith @Astropig Already faced State Supreme Court.  Not legal. Look up Gwinnett County School Dist. v. Cox.  This ruling is why Amendment 1 had to be proposed.


This fight has been lost. Constitution still reads as it did.

Constitution of Georgia, Article VIII, Section 5, Paragraph I

"Authority is granted to county and area boards of education to establish and maintain public schools within their limits." 

Starik
Starik

Nicely chosen photo. Pity the kids.

Tom Green
Tom Green

The moral of the story is that the proposed amendments are written to fool the voters. Get schooled...not fooled.

Shannon Sullivan Price
Shannon Sullivan Price

Someone should have spent some money telling people to vote NO on 3. If I hadn't know its implications ahead of time I probably would have said yes based on the wording

Amy Latimer Rice
Amy Latimer Rice

Absolutely true. Constitutional amendments are written to trick voters. People have no idea what they unleashed in the judicial system with amendment 3.

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

Apig and Raldaawg I told you soooooooooo! Bring on the excuses.

dg417s
dg417s

@JBBrown1968 Don't be a bad winner. We now have to make the General Assembly and Governor listen to the alternatives proposed to make something work for Georgia and the students that need us the most now.

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

@dg417s @JBBrown1968 Not a bad winner...the pig has said many times.....vote them or it out if you don't like it......and we did! Now put the money in the classroom and not on the buildings and administrators. 85 percent in the classroom.

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

It's a crying shame that Deal spent so much money on all those tv ads and those slick mailers. If only he'd spent it on schools!

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

I fear we will continue to fail children with no accountability.  It makes me terribly sad for the students and our state.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

Your lies, or ignorance, may have contributed to screwing a lot of poor children being screwed. Be proud.

Milo
Milo

@AvgGeorgian

Trump got a lot of votes from people recoiling from the likes of you and MES. Time for you two to take responsibility for this result. 

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@CharterStarter_Too

Why does your charter school hide its spending and hiring from the taxpayer? Why does the state charter system continue to fail with no accountability?

BDKMBISH
BDKMBISH

@RoyalDawg  Repeatedly Charter school perform worse than their public counterparts. Charter Schools are NOT the messiah of failing schools.