Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Proposed Amendment 1, State Privatization of our Public Schools

by Cindy Pitts Gilbert Buford Weekly Illustrated 10/12/16

When I first heard about the proposed Amendment 1 on the November 8 ballot, I thought I had been transported to the magical world of Harry Potter, when the Ministry of Magic took over the school of Hogwarts.
Jokes aside, this is serious business. Last week, the Buford Council Meeting addressed the potential Amendment 1, which is based on similar programs in Tennessee and Louisiana. If passed, the proposed Amendment 1 would allow the state to take over a failing school and run it through a superintendent appointed by the governor’s office.
What this legislation could potentially do is take away the voices of parents, local school boards, teachers, and administrators when it is decided that a school is failing. So, who decides when a school is failing? It appears that this will be up to the governor. Quoting the AJC, “Governor Nathan Deal feels this would be a way to break the cycle of chronically failing schools, especially in low-income or minority communities.”
The probable scenario is that the failing school would be taken over by the state and then made into a state school run by a for-profit educational management company and named an Opportunity School District, or OSD.
Do we really want more state government control? Is privatization of public education really in the best interest of our children? Aren’t our parents and teachers the true voices for our children? Are we prepared to lose our voices? This amendment brings up so many questions.
Where do you stand on highly debated issues such as standardized testing, No Child Left Behind, and Common Core? Many believe these are all failing our children. What if the state decides that arts in education is unnecessary? Our choice will be gone. Right now, a month before the election, we still have one.
I find it ironic that the proposed Amendment 1, that may very well remove our local voices, by name bears a striking resemblance to our First Amendment, which guarantees our right to freedom of speech. Fellow voters, we still have time to do our research. Study, scrutinize, and make the right choice about Amendment 1.

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