Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How about a hand for Ga. schools chief Barge -- a Republican

Georgia's school chief John Barge has been a loyal Republican -- up 'til now. But Barge is breaking with his own party and with Gov. Deal over the issue of charter schools. AJC reports that Barge will announce his opposition to the proposed charter school amendment to the constitution today, becoming the highest profile Republican to break with his party on the issue.
"I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education," Barge said in a prepared statement. "What's more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases)."

"Until all of our public school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia's local school districts -- much less an additional $430 million in state funds, which is what it would cost to add seven new state charter schools per year over the next five years (the annual average of the Charter Commission that would be revived if the amendment passes)."
 You can read Barge's full statement on Maureen Downey's Get Schooled Blog.

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