by Nancy Jester, District 1, DeKalb County (GA) Board of Education
Let’s set the record straight about who controls education in Georgia. Superintendents and their administrators do. Local boards of education do hire the Superintendent but once in place, these educrats are in the driver’s seat. The legal framework in our state reinforces the supremacy of the superintendent’s position relative to a board.
School system administrations choose who works in the system and what they do. We often hear that the board and administration are a “governance team”. Sadly, “the team” is dominated by board members with “Stockholm Syndrome” or they are accomplices in the abduction of local control. All of this power comes with a hefty contract that insulates superintendents and gives them a golden parachute at taxpayer’s expense even if their tenure is marked by failure. Make no mistake about it. Local control is superintendent control. If you agree with the superintendent and they are making good decisions for your particular community, you’re probably content. But, if they are not, you are in a constant struggle with little to no redress.
The charter school amendment is perceived as an existential threat to the gravy train for educrats throughout the state. That is what the fight is about. The “local control” that is hailed by the current purveyors of the fine educational products in Georgia, is “educrat control”. They push the buttons and pull the levers and try to make you believe that “stakeholders” have a say in it all. Despite state legislation on school councils, parents don’t get a seat at the table when selecting a principal for their school. In the struggle for power and control, the educrats have failed you and your children; all the while collecting fat paychecks and doling out six-figure jobs and lucrative contracts to more educrats. If you realize that your voice as a citizen is so diminished within the current power structure of education, you will know that voting for the charter amendment is one of the solutions.
Parents deserve more choices. Communities deserve more input into how their schoolhouses are run. Charter schools are innovation incubators and are governed by a volunteer group of parents, teachers, and community members. That’s local control. They get to choose the companies that provide services to their school. If they do a bad job, they will lose their charter and parents will leave their school fora better product. If they are responsible and create a valuable product for their community they will thrive and our children will get the education they deserve. This responsiveness is completely missing in education today. In fact, in DeKalb we have some schools that have been labeled “failing” for as long as a decade, yet remain open with no replacement of staff. All of the “turn around” plans, accountability measures and excuses brought to us courtesy of the “local control” we have today do nothing to rid our system of failure or make it more efficient, helpful and valuable for the students and community. Please join me in supporting real local control. Please join me in advocating for kids and taxpayers in DeKalb County and throughout our state. Please join me by voting YES on the charter school amendment.This article is re-printed with permission. It originally appeared on Nancy Jester’s blog, http://whatsupwiththat.nancyjester.com/