I just got an email alerting me that there’s a movement
afoot to take our public schools out of taxpayers’ hands. For some reason,
Cherokee County is wary of any type of movement that gets away from “traditional
Since money follows the child, yes every child’s attendance
in a school is critical to the school’s budget. Last fall there was a big
hurting the budget of our existing schools. My question is if charter schools
are such a bad option, then why did the entirety of Fulton
County just announce that ALL of their schools will be CHARTER schools this
The announcement is also on the front page of the Metro
section of the AJC.
“Parents say they are ready for the district to capitalize on two of the key
components of the charter school model: more school-level control over
decisions affecting teaching and the potential for improved student test
scores.” Sounds to me they have figured out a budgetary way to make the charter
situation work for them. Schools within their district like Riverwood High
School have been designated charter schools for years now.
The charter school model is not new to the metro area.
Below is the listing
of operating charter systems and the dates they began operating as a charter
Schools of Decatur - August 2008
City Schools – August 2008
City Schools – August 2008
County Schools – August 2008
City Schools – July 2010
County Charter System – July 2010
County Schools – July 2010
If you’re the parent of more than one child, then you know
that all children are different. Using that same reasoning isn’t it safe to say
that not every child learns the same? Isn’t it also safe to say that
communities, teachers and parents should have the ability to educate their
children the way that would best suit them without too much bureaucratic
involvement? Under the Fulton County charter system, there is a board made up
of community leaders, teachers, and students.
As a parent, I would like to have more say over what happens
in my child’s classroom. There have been instances where there was a problem
with a specific teacher that warranted I sit down with an administrator.
Needless to say, I felt my concerns fell on deaf ears. And apparently, it doesn’t
matter which school you have issues at either. I got the same response
(nothing) at two different schools. The bottom line is we (students and
parents) are not the customers.
Before you get mad at me, I’m also in teachers’ corners. I’ve
substitute taught enough to feel their pain. These educators have to put up
with a lot of bureaucratic hassle, unruly students, and uncooperative parents.
All of this makes for long, frustrating days. I believe teachers, not some
bureaucrat, far removed from the classroom, should have more control over the
classroom. They should be given merit pay for a job well done, not more pay for
being a student and getting advanced degrees.
“Supporters from Washington to Atlanta have hailed the
public charter school as a way to give flexibility from top-down regulations,
encourage innovation and boost student achievement,” according to the AJC
article. Bottom line for me is to ask Cherokee County teachers and parents to
take a deep breath, step back, and be open to other schooling alternatives. We
all have the same goal: well-educated students and well-funded schools. Other
metro schools are proving it can be done by non-traditional means.