Enough. We have to try something else. Give the power to the people. Some may do a better job, some worse. But at least we wouldn't feel so hamstrung and ripped off.
Here are some quotes from Mr. Delk's column -
...But if the Atlanta cheating scandal has shown us anything, it’s that the wrong people control public education and that real accountability in the traditional public school system does not exist.
Neither the parents of students attending the 58 schools, nor Atlanta’s taxpayers footing the bill, have any real alternative to the status quo.
But what would happen if we changed the current system of governance and offered parents and taxpayers the chance to assert control over public education in Georgia by convincing local school districts and the General Assembly to pass Georgia’s version of the Parent and Taxpayers Trigger? ...
The problems facing Atlanta’s parents and taxpayers are certainly not unique to Atlanta.
Whether it’s the soaring costs of public education, abysmal test scores and graduation results, loss of accreditation by Clayton County, or alleged corruption in DeKalb County’s schools, the simple fact is that we have a system of public education in Georgia and throughout the country in which the people who pay for the services (taxpayers) and the people who use the service (parents) have little or no real power.
It’s time for a coalition of parents, taxpayers, business and political leaders to join forces to bring the parent revolution to Georgia by implementing Georgia’s Parents and Taxpayers’ Trigger that will provide:
- 51 percent of the parents whose children attend any public school in Georgia can, with a petition, trigger one of three options — charter conversion, closing the school, or use of tuition tax credit scholarships to enable students to attend a private school;
- Fifty-one percent of the taxpayers of a county or city can, at a specially-called referendum, vote to trigger one of the three options for all schools in its jurisdiction;
- the trigger applies to all public schools, not just failing schools;
- charter school funding will equal that of traditional public schools;
- parents and taxpayers can elect to close the schools and give parents a tuition tax credit-funded scholarship. Georgia currently has a $50 million annual cap on the scholarships; the cap should be lifted.
Some people will argue that such a mechanism will cause chaos in our public schools, or that the approach is too radical. My response is that perhaps the chaos resulting from a parent and taxpayer revolution is necessary to bring about real change, since I believe AJC columnist Maureen Downey was right when she wrote: “cheating on the CRCT did not help the children of APS, many of whom have poverty and family chaos already working against them.”
For more on the subject, read this post about Arnold Schwarzenegger's article on the subject in the Washington Post.
For more conversation on the topic of education reform, check out these two grass-roots blogs I recently discovered. We are certainly not alone.
Knitting With Pencils - A Failure of Imagination
Dr Kwame M. Brown: Move Theory - Child Development Specialist, Thought Leader, Change Agent