Keep Georgia Schools Local

Keep Georgia Schools Local

Opportunity School Districts

A proposed amendment, Opportunity School Districts (OSD), will give the governor of Georgia the ability to take control of a school from the local school system, close the school if he deems it necessary thereby firing all the employees of the school. The TWU Georgia State Conference joins Georgia teachers in opposing this amendment.

1. A school takeover would silence parents and teachers.
2. Read the fine print!
3. This constitutional amendment guts local control of public schools.

Local Control Will be Taken Away, and Parents will be Powerless to Stop It:

  • This constitutional amendment is a state government political takeover of our public schools that gives absolute power to a hand¬picked political appointee and out-of-state, for-profit corporations that could run our schools.
  • The political appointee will even have the power to fire teachers without cause and close schools creating more classroom overcrowding and fewer resources for already struggling schools.
  • This amendment provides zero oversight or accountability for how the powerful political appointee spends taxpayer money, and decisions made by the political appointee cannot be appealed. Parents will have no voice in the decision-making process.
  • Parents, teachers, and communities know what’s best for their kids and community, not for-profit corporations from out of state.

Don’t buy the hype ­ read the fine print.

  • Voters should be wary of the pie ¬in ¬the sky promises made by the out-of-state, for-profit corporations pushing for this change to Georgia’s Constitution. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Read the fine print.
  • What is in the fine print? This constitutional amendment is a power grab by bureaucrats and out-of-state special interests that will result in a wholesale sell¬off of our children’s education and won’t improve our public schools.
  • The amendment requires no accountability, it silences parents and teachers, and it cuts funding.

A school takeover will harm ­­ not help ­­ public schools.

  • Teachers, PTAs, educators and local community leaders from across Georgia oppose this approach. Lobbyists and out-of-state corporations support it, and yet local taxpayers will have to pay the bill.
  • This change to the constitution will allow a political appointee who has no accountability to local voters to fire teachers and principals without cause.
  • This amendment will cut funding from our local public schools in order to fund a new layer of state bureaucracy and a powerful new political appointee.

Let’s not confuse the conversation. This is NOT about charter schools, political agendas, or finger-pointing at legislators. This IS about our schools, our children, and parents’ rights to have a say in their children’s education.

And there are questions, good questions, that require good answers. From the opposing side, this is how we see it:

1.    What is the alternative for “failing” schools?

We should do what we know works. The alternative to a school takeover is more input from local parents and teachers as to how to improve schools. “Twenty percent of school districts in Georgia were still furloughing teachers earlier this year because of lack of funding. Instead of dismissing schools as “failing,” the state should fully fund education, reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, restore art and music programs and work on retaining our best teachers.

2.    Doesn’t OSD provide opportunities for students and greater community involvement?

Governor Deal’s office says “parents and community input will be solicited formally, during public hearings, and informally throughout the planning and implementation.”

No. Read the fine print! The political appointee has FINAL say and NO accountability to the parents or community. The school takeover silences parents and teachers by allowing a state political appointee to make all decisions without meaningful teacher or parent input. The appointee can fire teachers without cause, close schools or turn the schools over to out-of-state, for-profit corporations and the appointee’s decisions can’t be appealed.

3.    Governor Deal has said that if school districts don’t have failing schools then they have nothing to worry about with OSD. Shouldn’t school districts just work harder to fix failing schools?

We all want to improve our schools, but a school takeover is the wrong approach. Instead of dismissing schools as “failing,” the state should fully fund education, reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, restore art and music programs and work on retaining our best teachers.

4.    Didn’t similar plans in other states have success? Statistics show XYZ?

No. The New Orleans plan failed and has been shut down by the Louisiana State Legislature. Parents were silenced and communities were disenfranchised.

5.    Why do you want to control failing schools? Local boards have had their chance and failed. Isn’t it time to try something new?

These schools have been chronically underfunded and set up to fail. Given the proper resources, local communities can turn schools around. We aren’t in favor of the status quo. We all want to improve our schools, but a school takeover is the wrong approach. Instead of dismissing schools as “failing,” the state should fully fund education, reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay, restore art and music programs and work on retaining our best teachers.

6.    Supporters of the Amendment says, “let’s just try it.” Why is that a bad idea?
We don’t want to use a permanent change to our constitution as an experiment for our students.

If you haven’t read the proposed amendment, if you haven’t gotten all the information, you can read/download the documents below.

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Constitutional Amendment

Resolutions Opposing OSD

The Dawson Resolution

 

READ. UNDERSTAND. VOTE!