OSD critics argue about language rather than how to help kids

The hopes of those wanting a serious debate about the Opportunity School District were dashed this past week.

Instead of arguing the proposed constitutional amendment, opponents filed a click-bait lawsuit that should be laughed out of court, but which got free media coverage for their unproven claims about the OSD.

Here’s the crux of this unserious suit, per a press release:

“The plaintiffs argue that the ballot language is intentionally deceptive — Amendment 1 will not ‘increase community involvement,’ it will not ‘fix’ failing schools and the Amendment will not provide ‘greater flexibility’ compared to current public school models.”

Kindergartners at Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans. Opponents of Georgia's proposed Opportunity School District, modeled in part on Louisiana's Recovery School District, would rather file lawsuits than explain why we can't replicate some of New Orleans' success. (AJC Photo / Hyosub Shin)

Kindergartners at Arthur Ashe Charter School in New Orleans. Opponents of Georgia’s proposed Opportunity School District, modeled in part on Louisiana’s Recovery School District, would rather file lawsuits than explain why we can’t replicate some of New Orleans’ success. (AJC Photo / Hyosub Shin)

These are of course the opinions of the plaintiffs, who prefer to ignore the 19-point climb in New Orleans’ high-school graduation rate within nine years of instituting a similar Recovery School District. They don’t want to explain why Georgia’s OSD couldn’t spur schools in Atlanta, DeKalb, Macon and elsewhere to match the RSD’s 50 percent increase in graduates who earn Louisiana’s version of the HOPE scholarship, or its doubling of students who pass state exams.

They don’t want unopinionated ballot language; they want ballot language that reflects their opinions.

The press release also quotes Lisa-Marie Haygood, head of the anti-OSD Georgia PTA, as saying “the preamble, and indeed, the entire amendment question, is intentionally misleading and disguises the true intentions of the OSD legislation.”

Those words “entire amendment question” are key. Here’s how the question reads: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing schools in order to improve student performance?”

Which of those words does the Georgia PTA find objectionable? All of them — including “Constitution,” “Georgia” and “amended.” Don’t believe me? Here are some of the group’s talking points about ballot language:

“First understand that the average citizen holds an unspoken reverence for anything referred to as a ‘Constitution!’ The average citizen thereby feels this word as a symbol of protection and liberty and will be significantly inclined to trust how it’s (sic) will might be expressed.

“Accept that the use of the state name ‘Georgia’ is not just intuitive, but that strategically, it plays on the minds of the average person’s understanding to yield to a higher authority.

“Nowadays especially, many citizens in a state like ours will even hear the words ‘amend the constitution’ and reflect on all things positive in the pursuit of and even the personal struggle for civil rights.”

Aside from thinking the use of “Georgia” is somehow a matter of strategy, the group clearly looks down on the critical thinking skills of people in “a state like ours.” What does that even mean? A conservative state? A state poorly served by many of its public schools? We can only guess.

But here’s one thing you won’t hear OSD opponents talk about much: kids.

They’re too busy trying to protect adults: adults who want to control tax dollars, adults who don’t want to lose their jobs for poor performance, adults who are afraid of the word Constitution. (Excuse me: “Constitution!”)

It seems they’ll talk about anything — except why they tolerate thousands of children being shuttled through failing schools, without choice for themselves or accountability for those adults.

 

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94 comments
RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

There is a rule of thumb- if the opposition is talking about adults instead of children (i.e. local boards, teachers, etc.) their heart is not where it should be and they should be disregarded. The OSD offers these kids trapped in failing schools a chance- though not a certainty- of a good education.

anguslee
anguslee

Good to know you don't think language matters. It never was a mystery. Also good to know you approve of the STATE (You know, maybe, that the word state applies to the government of the United States) taking over for localities. Here's a nice list of things that will go wrong when the state (or so called non-profit schools) decide teachers are fungible:

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_grind/2016/09/the_lengths_that_charter_schools_go_to_when_their_teachers_try_to_form_unions.html


You should try teaching. Or learning.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@anguslee Admittedly, having the State step in to take over a failing school district runs counter to the traditional Con philosophy of local rule, but ultimately I have to agree with Kyle when he points out the obvious: "There are no guarantees in life. But the closest thing we have to a guarantee is that leaving these schools in the hands of those currently running them will lead to continued failure."

It's kind of the theme for this whole election year, wouldn't you say??

anguslee
anguslee

@Bruno2 @anguslee It isn't only counter to the philosophy, it's hypocrisy. Pick between the state of Ga. and the federal government. Of course the fed is run by a black man. A gang of Republican crooks hides in the Dome. Writing, "there are no guarantees in life," means, "the thieves are at the door."

Bruno2
Bruno2

@anguslee @Bruno2 

"Of course the fed is run by a black man."

When all you have is the race card, you pretty much got nothing.

anguslee
anguslee

@Bruno2 @anguslee And you have the hypocrisy. The state of Ga. wants to take control of schools that are primarily in places where the majority of students are black or minority. The state is controlled by white republicans. Those white republicans want to take over schools in those districts. If you don't see race, you are blind. Or lying.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

One need not ignore the parlous state of the American family in 2016 to recognize there are better ways to run schools for precisely these students who need them the most.

Perhaps the wording should include the word "village"  in describing the Opportunity School Districts? A "village" wherein parents choose not to be present.

It was, after all, the progressive Melissa Harris-Perry who Leaned Forward to say: “We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to their communities.”

Many parents may be seeing Nathan Deal as a community organizer on a larger scale?

lvg
lvg

900 million in  tax deductible losses and 850 million in state and local tax credits. How much could the Orange Clown have contributed to our failing schools with that money?(Not included is possible millions in deductions for that illegal private charity/foundation which actually  was funded by others).



But here we have Mr. small government advocating using state funds pay for the solution.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@lvg Schools are funded through property tax payments. Property tax payments can be legally written off in your federal tax return but schools get all the money, regardless. 


Are all you liberals this clueless?

Bruno2
Bruno2

@IReportYouWhine @lvg I've paid for a lot of kids' education in Cobb, Gwinnett and Dekalb Counties over the years even though I have none myself.  My guess is that Trump paid for more kids' education via property taxes than all of us added together here on the AJC blogs.

Bruno2
Bruno2

For my honey, who I love more each day.  I'm sure I don't deserve her.

Please stay with me now
Don't you let me go
I'll make it somehow
I got to let you know
That I'll make it
Somehow, some way
Though I wait on the day
What I'm doing's gotta pay
Some way, somehow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR1wZqy_eM0

Bruno2
Bruno2

Thanks again to Kyle for his tolerance here in allowing me to stray a little from the stated topics. Although, as I pointed out below, what a person believes regarding Cosmology does ultimately influence their moral/political choices.  Those of us who hold a theistic or quasi-theistic view have respect for life, while those with an atheistic view don't.

Bruno2
Bruno2

SGTGrit (to Mark VV): Once again it's duly noted that you're devolving into the utilization of personal insult to avoid documenting your argument. You scoffed at the credentials of one person, while avoiding presenting of your own. 

To be clear, SGT, I would never ask anyone here to accept what I say based upon any Science credentials I have claimed. Nor would I accept the refutation of any of my arguments by buffoons like Mark VV, JFMcNamara or Hedley based upon their weak Appeals to Authority.  My arguments need to stand on their own, and they do based strictly upon Scientific truth.  Unfortunately, none of the Libs here have a sufficient education to even begin to appreciate what I am saying from a strictly Scientific standpoint.  If you notice, not one of them has been able to provide any proof of their own beliefs, nor counter what I am saying using facts.  To do so, they would need an extensive education in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and the Life Sciences, which none of them have.  Which is too bad, because I would love some company here in trying to solve the riddle of Emergent Properties.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Bruno2 

I can't help you much buddy with the deep study of scientific disciplines. Out of the military back in the late 60's I went to work selling business machines that cut a path into the I.T. industry where I had a long career in sales, marketing and several senior management level positions. I went into business for myself and started a retained search business that I had for 12 years. So while I'm not a science or medical professional my career experience has given me a pretty good B.S. detector. The libs toss out a lot of it on these blogs.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@SGTGrit @Bruno2 A good BS detector is probably worth more than all of the book learning in the world.  As I'm sure you're aware, it's not that difficult to develop a philosophical  argument or even create a new branch of mathematics which is "air-tight" from a logical standpoint, but which is completely untrue from the standpoint of real life.

My own journey into studying deep Science led me to ultimately reject the books and equations and choose a career in the healing arts instead.  Much more meaningful IMO.  Ultimately, life is about interacting with other people, not staring at a computer screen all day.

Bruno2
Bruno2

In the end, of course, no one knows exactly how and why the Universe came into existence, all we have our guesses.  One may reasonably ask, then, what does it matter what a person believes, whether a theistic explanation, a quasi-theistic explanation, or an atheistic explanation??  In my experience, it makes all of the difference in the world as far as choosing a moral basis by which to make decisions and how a person conducts himself.

When a person assumes that random processes are the driving force behind existence, then existence is ultimately meaningless, leaving each person free to invent their own meaning.  In philosophy, this is known as Existentialism, which I find to be a dangerous, amoral way of thinking.  It is precisely this type of thinking which allows most Libs to declare that abortion is harmless as long as we decide it is.  It is this type of thinking which allows many Libs to declare that a two parent household is unimportant, that State sponsored education will fill that gap.  It is also this type of thinking which allows some Cons to declare that polluting the planet is acceptable, that the health and welfare of other living creatures is less important than the economic well-being of humans.

Bruno2
Bruno2

From the last thread:

SGTGrit: "Because the universe is just too complex and too finitely woven together for it to have come into existence without intelligent design. It's too simplistic to accept Darwin's theory that man evolved by accident from some form of aquatic life to a primate and then into a human being. My choice and the choice of many others is that the Bible presents the most plausible answer to life. But to each their own."

SGT--As you know, I don't believe the Biblical Creation story in a literal way, but taken in an allegorical sense, I think it does provide a plausible story which at least acknowledges the magic that life represents.  In contrast, the supposedly "scientific" explanations that the Big Bang/Evolutionary Theories provide are not only not well supported by the evidence, but they are ultimately sterile from a Creation standpoint and cannot bridge the gap from non-living entities to living beings.  Particularly when the driving force behind them is random chance.

According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, all systems tend toward disorder.  As such, in the absence of some organizing force, whether internal or external, living beings never could have developed if we are to believe all of these Theories/Laws simultaneously.


AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

These "failing" schools will be given to the State Charter Schools Commission to be doled out to private charter management companies that have contributed to Deal's campaign.


The State Charter Schools Commission can't figure out how to turn its own failing schools around. Why would you give them more schools?


They are good at hiding all spending from the taxpayer though. Does the money go to friends and family and campaign donors? If not, why hide the spending?

lvg
lvg

@AvgGeorgian More government welfare for the rich and corporations  from the shyster who let his business get away from paying 74 million in state taxes while he pockets millions.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

The liberals opposition to this amendment is proof positive that we need to improve our educational system.


Fact

MarkVV
MarkVV

@IReportYouWhine The author of the post provides proof positive that his education was badly neglected.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @IReportYouWhine 

Pop goes the weasel. I think Kyles, education dwarfs your own. Your insipid little posts reveal your intellectual shortcomings.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

Of course, the liberals need to see more proof that this will work, other than higher test scores and increased graduation rates.


Yes, I'm laughing right along with you.

Starik
Starik

@IReportYouWhine I wish the higher test scores and graduation rates were meaningful.  State tests age garbage, and graduation rates mean nothing when there's no graduation test.  Can't read? Don't worry about it.

MarkVV
MarkVV

I can understand the desire to change things, when there are so many failing schools. I just wonder if there is more into it than changing the structure, so that different people would make the decisions. How do we know they would make better decisions, and even that those decisions they can make will change the results? Perhaps there is some analysis about what are the specific causes of the failures, but I have not seen that in the debate of the Amendment.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@MarkVV They are eager to throw the baby out with the bath water here.


All over the very dubious claim that these schools perform better.


They dont.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Let the state run them all, and eliminate local school taxes.  Tax income for the funds.  


This is a scam.  Like probation for profit.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Jefferson1776 @Kyle_Wingfield I've noticed that, over the last 20 years here in Georgia anyway, there is a common theme in changing the Constitution:  Shifting the tax burden off one special group.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

There is trickery in the way it is worded, NO DOUBT.  That's how the GOP operates.   That is why you have Trump.

Bruno2
Bruno2

Kyle: "why they tolerate thousands of children being shuttled through failing schools, without choice for themselves or accountability for those adults."

As I've mentioned before, I don't have any children, so I don't really have a dog in the fight when it comes to school choice.  I do agree with your sentiment, however, "But the closest thing we have to a guarantee is that leaving these schools in the hands of those currently running them will lead to continued failure."

Having said that, I ultimately don't blame schools for failing students.  IMO, the blame lies with failing families, and ultimately with the failing students themselves.  I came from a broken home and attended one of the lowest rated High Schools in NJ, but still managed to become a National Merit Scholar and won an academic scholarship to one of the top colleges in the US.

Bottom line: Where there's a will, there's a way.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Bruno2 This is true on a micro level. In aggregate, we shouldn't expect the extraordinary to become commonplace. One need not ignore the parlous state of the American family in 2016 to recognize there are better ways to run schools for precisely these students who need them the most.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Bruno2 It has to be more than one or two people with the will for there to be a way.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@Kyle_Wingfield @Bruno2 Thanks for the reply, Kyle.

I have mixed feelings about schools taking on the job of the parents these days with the free breakfast, lunch and dinner, after-school programs, etc.  On one hand, it would seem cruel to NOT meet the needs of each child, but on the other hand, we've became enablers of bad parenting.  It's sad that there are so few stay-at-home parents anymore.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Vote no, this is a power grab.


This is a scam.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Jefferson1776 A power grab. Right. Because for generations, politicians have said to themselves, "You know, I'd be really powerful if I could only be in charge of really terrible schools."

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Jefferson1776 I would be happy for all 50 states to consider doing this if they think it would work for them.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Jefferson1776 Education is a core responsibility of the state, according to the Georgia Constitution. It is not even mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. Big difference.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Jefferson1776 "so don't start the GOP talk about you would be happy"

I have no idea what you are even talking about now.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Jefferson1776 And I would be. If all 50 *states* chose to do so. Of their own volition. That's different from the federal government making them all do it.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

"You know, I would be really powerful if I had more contributions to ensure my re-election, 'fact-finding' trips,' and cushy jobs for my family members.  And I could get these by voting the right way!  So easy!"