Does Trump’s proposed expansion of school choice shortchange rural Georgia?

In this Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 photo, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrives to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md. The school choice movement has been cleaved into two camps: those who want to use choice to improve public schools and others, like DeVos, who want to go further by allowing tax money to flow to private schools through vouchers, government-funded scholarships or corporate tax credits. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

U.S. Secretary of Education and champion of school choice Betsy DeVos continues to promise schools that her U.S. Department of Education will grant them more flexibility and freedom from federal oversight.

What she doesn’t mention is they will also get less money. As I have pointed out many times related to the Georgia General Assembly’s pledge of more flexibility as a counterbalance to its education cuts, you can’t pay for lights and heat with flexibility.

DeVos and President Donald Trump propose relying more on vouchers and charter schools to educate America’s children, but neither charters nor vouchers is a likely reform strategy for rural areas. Most rural areas have few private schools, and they lack the conditions needed to attract the successful charter school networks. While three-quarters of urban students have the option of enrolling in another nearby school, federal data show only 21 percent of rural students with that same access.

Nationwide, rural schools enroll 25 percent of America’s students. About 16 percent of charters are in rural areas. However, most high-performing charters schools are in urban areas. The top charters rely on donations to supplement state funding, and most corporate donors favor higher profile urban areas. Charters also need a young and strong teaching pool, and that’s a struggle in rural areas. (Ask traditional public schools in rural regions how hard it is to recruit a physics or German teacher.)

Trump’s education budget cuts 13.6 percent or $9.2 billion from ED. The budget creates a new billion dollar federal grant program under Title I to allow students to take federal, state, and local dollars to their public school of choice. Among the losers from the proposed cuts: After-school programs, teacher and principal training, career and technical education and health.

A board of education member from southern rural Georgia sent a letter to Georgia Senators David Perdue and Johnny Isakson about the budget. Grady County school board member Laura Register says it will hurt to rural school systems.  Here is the letter.

Dear Senators,

I am writing with deep concern for our public education system. When the Georgia School Boards Association representatives spoke with you both this past February, Sen. Isakson assured us that he had talked with Betsy DeVos and “had her under control” and all would be fine. With the newly revealed slashing of public ed funds in favor of vouchers and charter schools (privately owned not public charters) I am holding a great faith in you both to rein in this irresponsible budget and the disastrous  policy direction,

I was at a school the Monday after spring break. The principal had to go and bring to school a young child. During the break the child had been hardly fed and almost ignored. When he was brought to school, the principal fed him and cared for him, settling him down so he could join his class and start the learning process for the day.

What do vouchers and charters do for this child?

They cut into his free breakfast and lunch funding. They cut into the already limited resources the schools have to provide a conducive learning environment.

Senators, you both understand the importance of public education. You both know how limited we are in rural areas and what these cuts mean to the kids most at risk in our country…not just our state but ALL kids!

PLEASE, speak with Mrs. DeVos and try to restore the proven methods that work in education. Privatization and vouchers are proven to hurt education not help it.

Thanks for all you do,

Laura Register

Grady County Board of Education

 

Reader Comments 0

38 comments
Starik
Starik

Rural Georgia, and Grady County have plenty of choices; lots of "Christian academies" a/k/a segregation academies nearby.

time for reform
time for reform

Teachers' unions churn these out endlessly.

But school choice can't come soon enough for parents trapped with failing zip code schools. Teachers' union bosses accustomed to teachers being forced into paying union dues, meanwhile, will vigorously oppose parents and their desire for better options.

With media filler and fat election-time donations to Democrat candidates.

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JosephineTAdams


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Astropig
Astropig

Just curious:


The earliest version of this piece had the word "principal" spelled "principle",thus indicating that an idiot wrote the letter.I'm just wondering who changed it after I pointed it out?


Just curious.

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

@Astropig One misspelled word makes one an idiot?


Tell Mrs. Astropig to step her "game" up; you sound like a frustrated deplorable.

Starik
Starik

@DrProudBlackMan @Astropig The problem isn't one misspelled word; too many Georgia teachers who spell poorly are teaching kids to spell. Teachers with poor grammar and speech patterns are teaching English. Coaches teach history and other subjects they no little about, and become principals.

Wrecker
Wrecker

Since when has the amount of federal funding been the major problem with our schools?  Poverty, drugs, poor socialization, liberal schools of education, moving away from basics, excessive standardized testing, lack of work ethic/desire to learn, de-emphasis of reading by parents, and poor home life.  All of these reasons correlate more with education outcomes than amount of federal funding.  Throwing more money at the problems has been the chosen panacea for many years and nothing has changed.  When anyone questions whether more money is the problem, the people who created the problem scream "We need more money!  Won't someone please think of the children!"


More local control of schools (think communities and not the federal government) would solve more of these problems than spending on more ridiculous, untested, unproven, fruitless federal government programs.


Most of you do not know the obscene amount of control and oversight the federal government demands as the strings attached to government programs.  Who knows the local students better?  An educrat in Washington or your own local community?

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

For Trump and DeEvVoSs, the world has only ever existed to serve them; that is what a giant money bubble does in certain circles. They seem to have no sense of self or others, having always lived with disposable servants and toadies to reinforce their perceived magnificence. It is arrested development at the toddler stage (of a toddler that has been extremely spoiled).

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

The plan is to end US Government control of public education. The decline in the quality of public school education began with the advent of the DOE in 1979.

The sooner the bettet.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@BurroughstonBroch

Do you have any specifics? ; because, actually:

The plan is to give huge amounts public education money paid by all taxpayers, to a chosen few for personal enrichment and religious education. The quality of public school education has improved since DOE involvement in 1979.


It will not be bettet.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

The Public Education system is already inadequately funded.  We all know that.  The anti-tax, anti-U.S. government group have always been opposed to any taxes, but, the real goal here, by the wealthy, who actually have less interest in taxes, is their fear of the rising educated lower and middle classes.  'School Choice' is exactly that - the ability of the school to choose its students.  The bottom line is the recreation of an uneducated, slave class that can not unionize, understand ballot options, make demands for appropriate benefits, and, when needed, can be siphoned into the military as necessary.   

JK1951
JK1951

The federal government only pays for around  8% of K12 school now so what's the big deal? If you want more for your schools then raise state, county and local taxes by the difference.

If you want to pay more for schools then pay it and quit whining. It's not the federal governments business to borrow money to educate your child for you. It's certainly not Trump's fault you don't want to support your children.




AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@JK1951

Can we cut military spending to run neverending wars in other countries to allow state taxpayers to have more money to spend on education?

Wrecker
Wrecker

@AvgGeorgian @JK1951 I would be in favor of cutting all taxes (federal, state, and local) regardless of how the money is spent.

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KaylaJWallace

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Cinque Fouronetwo
Cinque Fouronetwo

Tick tock...tick tock...tick tock...b4 impeachment or resignation!!!!!

mgunter
mgunter

AvgGeorgian......my guy is doing terrific. Actually my party is doing terrific. In th past 8 years we've taken th House, Th Senate, th Presidency, over 2/3 of th Govenorships and State Houses . So we've got plenty to boast about. My point in my post was that most all news media type and newspapers are far left and always report that way. My other point is that in spite of all that negetivity , we are winning everything!

Love that new Supreme Court justice and love watching th economy take off and love th deregulation and love that th Left is having daily meltdowns. It's a good day to be a conservative!!!!!

mgunter
mgunter

Let's see according to polling 84% of th AJC stories on Pres Trump have been negative during his first 100 days compared with 14% of th Obama stories during his first 100 days. Your left leaning underware is showing AJC.........

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@mgunter

You party label lemmings seem to have nothing to talk about without being against Obama.

Let's see. If you remarried and the only way you could feel good about your current spouse is to talk continuously about how horrible your ex was, never say anything good about current spouse, how would that work out for you?

Gregandlinda Gilbert
Gregandlinda Gilbert

Last I heard facts were facts. Opinion polls aren't about facts. While your "polls" are unspecified, I notice you give no examples of the AJC reporting anything that is untrue. Go back to fox which will tell you what you want to hear.

Tcope
Tcope

This plan will not hurt rural Georgia. The rural part of the state has always struggled with education and will continue to have problems. If you are a family that does not trust the local government school you always have the option of moving closer to one of the larger cities where there are many choices. If you can't afford to move or send your kids to private schools you should probably make some financial changes to your life to increase your income.

fizzixteacher
fizzixteacher

@Tcope I don't think you know much about rural areas.  That is where the majority of low-income families are living, not in the cities.  Moving or increasing income when they are already below the poverty line is just not an option.

JKToole
JKToole

@Tcope Yeah, because low income,rural dwelling people always "have the option of moving closer to one of the larger cities where there are many choices." Yeah! Let them eat cake, too. You are so unbelievably daft and out of touch with the world outside of your "ivory tower".

TheCentrist
TheCentrist

Well you sure told those rural folks, most of whom voted for 45 and regularly vote social conservative claiming self sufficiency and responsibility.

Freethinkethman
Freethinkethman

Maureen,

Does Trump’s proposed expansion of school choice shortchange rural Georgia?

No.

Get over Trump Derangement Syndrome and get a good night's sleep.

JKToole
JKToole

@Freethinkethman If you think DeVos' polices are about or have anything to do with "school choice" your name belies you.

TheCentrist
TheCentrist

Most suburban social conservatives know best for their rural people.

School choice will be fun to watch to play out during football season, especially in rural social conservative communities.

PoliticParallelUniverse
PoliticParallelUniverse

Mr. Trump's policies are opposite of the words he speaks. Poorer and less educated will not solve the problems Georgians face. Not just rural Georgia, but mid-size cities like Savannah, Macon, Columbus, Valdosta, and smaller but vibrant areas with solid schools like Camden County and countless other communities that have worked together to provide competitive education offerings to everyone - without regard to race and socio-economic status. These areas will be hit the hardest by the programs proposed to be cut by Billionairess DeVos who has no clue what it is like to go to school hungry, home to an empty house because parents are working two jobs, and no funding mechanisms available to realize college or technical school training. She is not to fault for having a silver spoon to feed her mouth, but she is for what comes out of it.