Is Opportunity School District dead or is governor plotting a resurrection of sorts?

Apparently, the Opportunity School Distirct is dead but not forgotten. Plans may resurrect parts of the proposal. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

So what can the state Board of Education do in lieu of the stinging defeat of Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District, an idea killed at the polls but apparently not without hope of some form of second, albeit lesser, life?

Amendment 1 would have given the state sweeping new powers to take over local schools deemed to be failing by state testing and put them in a special state district, which would be called the Opportunity School District and led by a Deal appointee. The schools could be closed down, reconstituted or turned over to charter management. The state would have been able to absorb the local tax dollars flowing to those schools, which increasingly fund the largest share of education. The state used to be the predominant funder of public education, but that has changed with cutbacks.

With opposition from Republicans and Democrats, the OSD went down with 60 percent “No” votes. However, the AJC’s Political Insider blog reports today from Athens that the Republican leadership may be looking toward the Georgia school board as a lever to increase state authority.

No one is saying exactly how the state board could become a vehicle for greater state intervention in failing schools. I would argue the appointed board members have their hands full already and are not in a position to intervene at the schoolhouse level. They don’t have the staff to turn around schools and would have to look to the state Department of Education, which already has school improvement teams working with struggling schools.

According to the AJC:  (Read the full story here.)

At the legislative biennial conference in Athens, House Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman said Monday there will be legislation outlining a “six-step” plan to give the state more power to address the schools.

He wouldn’t talk specifics, referring questions to state Rep. Kevin Tanner, a Dawsonville Republican who will be championing the measure. Tanner was tight-lipped, too, but said he’s already met with state School Superintendent Richard Woods, educators groups and state administrators to lay the groundwork. Deal’s office has also been consulted.

“We want to brief some other folks on this before we talk publicly. We want to work within the existing system we already have, working with the state board of education and the school superintendent,” he said. “We’re not creating a new bureaucracy, it doesn’t require a constitutional amendment.”

He indicated the measure would give the State Board of Education – whose members are appointed by the governor – more power to intervene. He also said it would avoid the constitutional questions raised by the 2011 Georgia Supreme Court ruling that concluded that only county and area school boards have the explicit authority to create and maintain charter schools. Deal has said that ruling is why he pushed for a constitutional amendment rather than the simpler route of a legislative change.

 

Reader Comments 0

33 comments
FlaTony
FlaTony

Going through the state board of education is how it should be done.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

 I think readers will appreciate reading what charter schools have done to gut public schools in North Carolina.  See link, below.  This is quite a movement, readers, and dangerous to our democratic-republic, as I see it.  I have followed this privatization, for-profit  movement for years in education and in social services such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.


https://dianeravitch.net/2016/12/06/north-carolina-how-charter-schools-are-slowly-gutting-public-education/

Tom Green
Tom Green

As long as there's money to be made, there will be many reincarnations.

redweather
redweather

The main reason I opposed the OSD is because the State Board of Education not only possesses the authority to intervene meaningfully in so-called failing schools but has used that authority effectively.  

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Much better just to do nothing, and let the children just continue to fail and end up in poverty or jail.

Supposed "caring people" who keep towing the eduacracy party line, which is focused on ensuring the adults in the central office are taken care of, make me sick.

JBBrown1968
JBBrown1968

@dcdcdc The schools are not failing. The communities around these schools are failing.You and the pig sound like pedophiles. I am  not saying you are..but it is more than a little odd!  You are so quick to point out the failing teachers and seem to have very little real classroom experiences. Do you have many friends that are not your own age. Do you have school age children? Do you think about school aged children most of your day? How much time during the day do you spend with school aged children that are not your own? It has been a lot fun arguing with you.....but its getting serious you and a couple others seem to be a little sketch!


L_D
L_D

It will be interesting to see how the new "6-point proposal" differs from existing laws.


20-14-35 - Gives GOSA the ability to do complete audits (including financial) of any school at any time and recommend changes


20-14-41 - Gives the DoE the ability to implement one or more of the following interventions for failing schools (defined as 'unacceptable rating for 3 or more years'):

   1.  Removal of school personnel (including the principal);;

    2.  Implementation of a state charter through the state

     3.  Complete reconstitution of the school, including replacing all staff;

     4.  Give parents the option to relocate students to other available public schools in the system.  For Title 1 schools, the system will provide transportation; transportation for non-Title 1 is subject to funding, otherwise parents are responsible for transportation;

     5.  Mandate a monitor, master, or management team to be put in place and paid by the district;

     6. Continue the intensive student achievement plan put in place when the school has 2 consecutive years of unacceptable ratings; 

     7. Restructure school's governance structure and internal organization of the school.


20-2-73 - Removal of school board members.


These three laws were in place prior to the Governor's OSD proposal - the amendment was unnecessary.


William1952
William1952

"4. Give parents the option to relocate students to other available public schools in the system. For Title 1 schools, the system will provide transportation; transportation for non-Title 1 is subject to funding, otherwise parents are responsible for transportation;"

This is a key problem with so many of the failing systems: there is no other public school "in the system." This, of course, involves small plublic systems which have only one school per level, such as primary, elementary, middle, or high school. This is the reason parents have no choice in such cases, and their children are stuck in the only government school in their system.

There are more problems than one that plague school children in this state. Here is one:

Dooly County is the latest example of having its entire elected board of education removed for incompetence, micromanaging, and other ills. SACS, the official accrediting agency in most states in the South, had warned repeatedly that the system's accreditation was in danger of being withdrawn. The board did little or nothing, so just before the plug was pulled, the Georgia DOE recommended to the governor that the entire board be removed. So, the governor did so, and appointed replacements. It's not the first time this has happened in Georgia, and likely won't be the last.

CharterStarter_Too
CharterStarter_Too

@William1952 Also, what if the whole district stinks or is so small, there isn't a good alternative within the district?  Transportation is, as you mention, another huge issue for many at risk students, and this is compounded in rural districts.

Astropig
Astropig

Leftists getting a taste of their own medicine? You betcha! Love it.


Liberals never accept defeat at the polls as the final word on public policy,so this looks like a mirror-image replay of their political strategy of the last,oh, 50 years or so.Keep at it until you effect the change you seek.


These kids are worth fighting for,so I say-keep fighting.

Astropig
Astropig

@L_D @Astropig


"As a conservative, how do you support a higher authority taking control of your locally generated tax dollars, using the tax dollars however and wherever with no accountability to you, the voter and tax payer?  This seems to be in direct conflict with conservative values."


First off-If those are values that you admire,why aren't you a conservative?
But more importantly, I just have to ask you-Do you really believe that conservatives are monolithic and all march in some kind of lockstep? If the OSD result teaches us anything,it's that that is certainly not the case.Do you really have such a stereotypical view of people that hold a contra opinion from yours?(honest question-I don't know the answer,so educate me)I do my own thinking and bring my worldview to the debate in whatever the subject matter.I would be alarmed if every other conservative agreed with me or I with them. I've seen liberalism fail in the real world enough to know that it is an economic dead end and a cultural disaster.But liberals themselves...There are a lot ,and I mean a LOT of good people that call themselves liberals.I just disagree with them.I don't hate them because of what they believe.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@L_D @Astropig The OSD lost in 151 out of 159 counties. Clearly, conservative voters opposed it. 

L_D
L_D

@Astropig I asked you this during the campaign, and you didn't give me an answer:


As a conservative, how do you support a higher authority taking control of your locally generated tax dollars, using the tax dollars however and wherever with no accountability to you, the voter and tax payer?  This seems to be in direct conflict with conservative values.


You keep thinking this amendment was defeated by liberal voters. However many conservatives also were against it - including the Tea Party, Cherokee Republican party and school boards with Republican majorities. 

L_D
L_D

@Astropig Good show of deflecting from answering the one question I asked.  My entire argument against amendment 1 was always around the actual language of the amendment (allowing the state to garnish funds from locally elected boards), that there are 3 existing laws allowing state intervention, the existing DoE division successfully moved 155 schools in 3 years out of the lowest 5 and 10% of schools (GA has a successful program, why add another level of bureaucracy in state government?),  and state take-over in three other states is either floundering or has been repealed.  Which of these points do you not consider conservative?

To directly answer your questions: Not only do I not think all conservatives are "monolithic," I know they aren't.  No, I do not consider myself to have a "stereotypical view of people" to think they can't have an opinion different from mine.  That was never the case.

You consistently rage against anyone or point you consider "liberal." You've also repeatedly implied that many "liberals" just blindly follow and do what they are told. Yet, the concept of "big" state government coming to the rescue is not usually part of the conservative platform.  I asked you to explain your support around the governance structure amendment 1 would have established.  However, you AGAIN avoided actually answering that question. The people in my life have a wide-range of views on a wide-range of subjects - on which they are able to articulate and support their positions.  In regards to this ONE question, you have yet to show the same skills.

Pelosied
Pelosied

@newsphile 

No, we can't. The unions spent twice the amount OSD supporters did.

newsphile
newsphile

@Pelosied @MaureenDowney Out-of-state for-profit charter school management companies poured millions of dollars into the campaign to support OSD, so I think we can drop the bit about teachers' groups supporting its defeat.   

Amber George
Amber George

@Pelosied @newsphile As I stated on another article, Georgia does not have teacher's unions. The organizations I believe you are referring to (GAE and PAGE) are professional organizations. I do not know much about unions, but I am quite sure that they do not perform the same job. Also, I would like to point out that another group that was in staunch opposition to the OSD was the Georgia PTA. Which is an organization of parents, not teachers.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Just remember that Thomas Jefferson would have been appalled at the idea of public schools being run by corporations for a price, whatever new plan emerges.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Astropig 


@Astropig 

Someone needs to speak for Jefferson, today, so it might as well be I.  See the words of Jefferson verbatim below related to corporations and note Chomsky's words afterwards.  See Jefferson's thoughts on corporations and how "a new Aristocracy in government" will be " founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations" that under the guise and cloak will rule over the common man, under "Status" here: https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/end-democracyquotation


Exact quote by Jefferson here:

"Jefferson wrote in 1825 to William Branch Giles of "vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76 now look to a single and splendid government of an Aristocracy, founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry."2  Chomsky's 1994 book quotes Jefferson's 1825 letter to Giles and then comments that "[Jefferson] warned that that would be the end of democracy and the defeat of the American revolution."

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Pelosied @MaryElizabethSings


Then do not read Chomsky.  Read, however, Jefferson's words, directly, on corporations and their ability to take over of the interests of the common person. Prophetic.


The ideas of Jefferson played out against the ideas of Hamilton even today.  Jefferson's views must prevail if our democracy is to prevail, as I see it, and our schools are key.

Pelosied
Pelosied

It cost the teachers' union bosses $5 million in dues money to keep inner-city mothers from escaping failing neighborhood public schools.

What those bosses ended up with instead ... is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

LOL.

BRV
BRV

Does 15 cents per post really count as ka-ching?