[Reprinted from Nancy Jester’s October 11, 2012 email newsletter, “Nancy’s News”.]
For all the hyperbole out there about charter schools, here’s my top five facts to remember:
1. Charter Schools are public schools that must admit students using a blind lottery (if there are more students than spaces). They can’t pick and choose.
2. Charter Schools are run by a local group of parents and community members. Charter schools are NOT run by “outside corporations”. A board can choose “a la carte” to purchase goods and services (curriculum, financial management, texbooks, etc.) from companies. This is exactly how all districts work. School districts across the state purchase goods and services everyday from a variety of vendors.
3. Charter schools that fail to meet their metrics (academically or financially), are shut down. Failing schools in our school districts can exist in perpetuity. There is no mechanism that automatically shuts down a failing traditional school. If a district doesn’t manage your tax dollars well, the district isn’t shut down either. In fact, the district can raise your taxes. When districts are failing, the footprint of their failure is much larger than that of one charter school.
4. Competition creates innovations. Even the threat of competition from charter schools can incentivize local districts to create a better, more responsive product. If school districts compete for the business of parents who might choose a charter school, there will be no need for one to open.
5. This argument isn’t about money. It’s about control. The current establishment has produced an abysmal rate of return on your taxes spent on education. Because they can’t “run on their record”, they are attempting to distract the public.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? This one is worth 162.5 pieces of Candy Corn. Here’s how the dollars stack up – we’re talking 1/2 of a Candy Corn!:
State Education Funding
The state’s total FY2012 appropriations: $15.9 billion.
Appropriations for Education: $9.97 billion
(62% of all appropriations for the state.)
Amount of money spent on charters commissioned by the state: $56.1 million
(0.56% of total amount spent on education in Georgia.)
Regarding all of the hullabaloo about advocacy and public officials: I support everyone’s right to speak out about the amendment and advocate their viewpoint. I do not think it is appropriate to use taxpayer funded distribution methods or assets owned by the public. My website, email list and social media channels, are all owned and maintained by me privately.