School Choice & Charters

Rift Emerges on Ga. Charter-Panel Proposal

By Sean Cavanagh — August 28, 2012 1 min read

Georgia voters will decide in November whether to approve a constitutional amendment to create a state-level commission that can authorize charter schools. And the state’s schools chief wants them to vote “no.”

John Barge, the state’s elected schools superintendent, recently announced that he opposes the measure, which was placed on the ballot by legislative vote earlier this year. In taking that stance, Mr. Barge, a Republican, is bucking a lot of elected officials in his party, including Gov. Nathan Deal, who supports the measure, and GOP state lawmakers, who control the Georgia Statehouse.

The ballot measure would re-establish a statewide commission empowered to approve charters, even over the objections of local school districts. Georgia set up a commission in 2008, but it was abolished by a 2011 ruling of the state Supreme Court. Backers of charters in the legislature then secured the two-thirds majorities necessary to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

Mr. Barge, a former teacher and principal, said he supports the creation of “high quality” charters, but said the commission’s approval of new ones would drain funding from traditional public school systems shaken by state budget cuts.

The superintendent also has said he thinks establishing the commission would usurp local control over education and allow public money to flow to for-profit charter operators.

The governor responded by accusing his fellow Republican of having reversed himself on the issue.

“I am discouraged that Superintendent Barge has changed his position since the campaign trail and no longer believes parents should have public school options for their children,” Mr. Deal said.

In a 2010 interview with the Georgia Charter Schools Association, then-candidate-Barge checked a box saying he “agreed” with allowing local districts, the state board of education, and a state commission to approve and monitor charter schools.

But a spokeswoman for Mr. Barge’s office, Dorie Turner Nolt, pointed out that in response to that same question, he wrote that he found it “greatly disappointing that we need another administrative body to do something” that the state board and local officials otherwise could do.

During his campaign, Mr. Barge continually voiced “concerns about making government bigger,” she added.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 29, 2012 edition of Education Week as Charter-Panel Idea Exposes Rift in Ga.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Professional Development Webinar
Building Leadership Excellence Through Instructional Coaching
Join this webinar for a discussion on instructional coaching and ways you can link your implement or build on your program.
Content provided by Whetstone Education/SchoolMint
Teaching Webinar Tips for Better Hybrid Learning: Ask the Experts What Works
Register and ask your questions about hybrid learning to our expert panel.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Families & the Community Webinar
Family Engagement for Student Success With Dr. Karen Mapp
Register for this free webinar to learn how to empower and engage families for student success featuring Karen L. Mapp.
Content provided by Panorama Education & PowerMyLearning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Senior Director Marketing
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Camelot Education
Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships
Camden, New Jersey, United States
Camelot Education
Training Specialist -- Little Leaves Behavioral Services
Weston, Florida, United States
Camelot Education
Superintendent, Mount Pleasant CSD
Thornwood, New York
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Letter to the Editor Are NOLA Charters a Mixed Bag?
To the Editor:
The opinion essay by Douglas N. Harris about how New Orleans’ education reforms post-Katrina are relevant to the COVID-19 era (“As Schools Recover After COVID-19, Look to New Orleans,” Sept. 30, 2020) highlights some basic improvements in the NOLA system but downplays the most significant aspects of those changes: the impact on people of color.
1 min read
School Choice & Charters Home Schooling Is Way Up With COVID-19. Will It Last?
The shift could have lasting effects on both public schools and the home-schooling movement.
10Homeschool IMG
School Choice & Charters Opinion Challenging 3 Common Critiques of School Choice
A new volume from Corey DeAngelis and Neal McCluskey challenges some of the familiar but suspect assertions that pepper public debates about school choice.
3 min read
School Choice & Charters Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read