It’s election time and people on both side of [insert issue here] are taking to the airwaves, tv, Twitter, and blogs to promote their stance on [insert issue here]. Social media has given voice to the otherwise voiceless, self included. Some are so passionate about their stance that they try to scare/bully others into changing their opinions and votes. Not me. I already knew how I would vote in the presidential election as well as for the local issues that matter to me: A black, college-educated single mother of three. Yes, our family is homeschooling because my kids’ needs were not being met in the local schools, but that may not always be an option for us. Being unemployed means that private school is not an option; neither is moving to a more affluent school zone. Real school choice is the only option for our family and the thousands of families like ours. Charter schools provide choice and parental input. Are they the perfect solution? Absoluetly not but when parents’ voices are ignored by local districts, we should have the right to take our kids elsewhere.
Anyone who’s remained abreast of the education landscape here in Georgia is well-aware that the hotly contested charter school amendment is on the November ballot. In a nutshell, the amendment would allow Georgia’s state consitution to provide for a governing body to authorize any charter petitions denied at the local school system level. And again, if you have followed education in Georgia then you are well-aware that some districts are against charter schools, unless of course it is their own magnet school-disguised-as-a-charter, which did not offer transportation during its first 2 years of operation. This same ‘charter school’ required an admissions application, with grades and teacher recommendations. If you have only known about charter schools for five minutes then you know that admissions applications are not required; likewise with grades and recommendations. Furthermore, all charter petitioners are required to address how they plan to remove any barriers to access, i.e., kids who may not be able to attend because their parents work/don’t have transportation. This district was not required to do this and it is reflected in the charter school’s lackluster student diversity. But I digress because if you are reading my blog, you are smart enough to read between the lines.
I won’t continue to bore you with stats or pointing-out that there are indeed double standards with regard to who should and should not have school choice in certain districts. Instead, I have come-up with a list of reasons why I am voting ‘YES’ to the charter amendment this election season. Here goes:
- I am a single parent with school-age children;
- If our ‘assigned’ school cannot meet their needs, we should have school choice options;
- We do not live in a $300K+ home, but my kidsn deserve the same quality education as the kids who do;
- If I support education, then I must support education for all cildren-not just my own;
- School choice means just that: Choice. Income should not keep kids ‘stuck’ in certain schools;
- I have been thru the charter petition process, with little assistance or collaboration from the district. It’s clear they do not want them. At least those charters which aim to serve majority minority and low-income students.
- Others who have made efforts to start schools were told that their ideas were not unique. Hmmm. A visual and performing arts school in one county, and STEM-based schools in other counties. Enrollment not contingent upon income or zip code. Connect the dots.
- Contrary to popular belieff, being the longest-serving syperintendent in the country does not mean you are the only person qualified to make education decisions.
If you are a Georgia resident, I hope you get the facts on this amendment before voting. It’s easy to be misled with convenient snippets from either side.