OSD foes make same claims that proved wrong about charter schools

Dozens of schools in a parallel, segregated school system! Millions of dollars in wasted state spending! A vast new bureaucracy replicating what local districts were already doing, undermining their control!

Claims about the Opportunity School District? Yes — but recycled ones. That’s because these very same claims were made four years ago, mostly by the same people, about a different constitutional question: the state charter schools amendment.

And boy, were they ever wrong then.

The education establishment that opposes this year’s proposal to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing schools also opposed that measure to allow the state to create charter schools. Then as now, they made wild predictions about the plagues to descend upon traditional public schools if such a travesty came to pass.

The measure passed, all right. But their predictions? Not so much.

John Barge, then the state schools superintendent, speaks out against the charter schools amendment in 2012. Barge is no longer on the state political scene, but some of his now-disproven arguments are now being used by opponents of the Opportunity School District. (AJC Photo / Johnny Crawford)

John Barge, then the state schools superintendent, speaks out against the charter schools amendment in October 2012. Barge is no longer on the state political scene, but some of his since-disproved arguments are now being used by opponents of the Opportunity School District. (AJC Photo / Johnny Crawford)

Within five years, the anti-charter agitators said back then, the reinstated state commission would approve some 35 state charter schools, at a cumulative cost of four hundred thirty — say it with me like Dr. Evil — million dollars.

In reality, the tally of new schools approved since the amendment passed stands at a mere 11. According to the latest data available from the Georgia Department of Education, these schools cost the state about $58 million more than the average per-pupil funding over the first three years.

That’s off the predicted pace toward $430 million by a long shot. And just how much did that “take away” from other students across Georgia? About $11.50 per child per year.

Far from redirecting funds from local districts because of state charter schools, the Legislature has continued to pump more money into them. The OSD’s critics contend we wouldn’t have so much school failure if Gov. Nathan Deal would stop cutting money from the budget. This is yet another way they are divorced from reality.

In fact, the same DOE data show state funding had increased by more than $350 per child four years after Deal took office. (That doesn’t include several hundred million dollars added to the state’s education budget since then.) Curiously, it’s local funding that’s fallen during the same period of time, by more than $60 per child on average.

The rest of those old claims fall flat, too.

Not only is the state-charter system smaller than predicted, it’s more diverse than critics warned. State data show more than half of state charter schools’ students are non-white; almost half come from low-income families; and they serve roughly the same percentage of students with disabilities as Georgia’s non-charter schools.

And that vast new bureaucracy? The state commission employs a whopping seven people. That’s a big reason the agency annually returns some of the 3 percent of its schools’ funding to which it is entitled by law. Traditional public schools spend 4.4 percent of their budgets on general administration.

In every way, the results of the charter schools constitutional amendment have been unlike the fear mongering we heard from opponents. The biggest difference this time is they got $2 million from a national teachers union to spend publicizing their bogus arguments.

Same people, same turf-protecting motivations, same outrageous claims. Why would we listen to them this time?

Reader Comments 0

166 comments
AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

Why is the governor hiding the spending of the state charter schools? Could it be going to campaign donors and contributors to the OSD effort? Is it a friends and family jobs bonanza? Why are all you "conservatives" okay with a state run school system that hides all spending and hiring?


If the spending is PRIVATE, the school is not PUBLIC.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@AvgGeorgian I know this is one of your favorite punching bags. So tell me, how are the data APS provides on a school-by-school basis here (starting with pg. 164): http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/cms/lib/GA01000924/Centricity/Domain/12/Budget_Book_06.26.2015.pdf

... appreciably more detailed than what's available for state charter schools here (choose "expenditure report" and then scroll to line 174): https://app.doe.k12.ga.us/ows-bin/owa/fin_pack_revenue.entry_form

???

Are those generic "purchased services" at the Atlanta schools a "friends and family jobs bonanza"? Could the money be "going to campaign donors"?

Personally, I'm in favor of much more transparency in school spending. But you are trying to hold charter schools to a standard that traditional public schools don't meet.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@AvgGeorgian This wag cut and pasted most, if not all, of his post from another blog. He has proven that he doesn't know what he believes he knows.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Kyle_Wingfield @AvgGeorgian

Are you joking? Seriously, I'm not kidding.

If not: Go here for the APS (158 pages) budget http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/cms/lib/GA01000924/Centricity/Domain/12/Budget_Book_06.26.2015.pdf

Go to state provided local government financial reports to see financial audit report (117 pages). https://ted.cviog.uga.edu/financial-documents/sites/default/files//atlanta_independent_school_system_fy2015_cafr.pdf

Go here to see staffing and salary information for  APS. http://www.open.ga.gov/

Go here to see an example of APS board meeting minutes describing a specific contract with a specific vendor. http://www.boarddocs.com/ga/aps/Board.nsf/Public

So APS has:

1.Publically posted detailed budgets

2.Publically posted detailed 3rd party audits

3.Publically posted detailed salary and personnel reports, person by person

4.Publically posted detailed minutes of board meetings that describe all contracts for services.

This is what PUBLIC schools do.

When you look for The State Charter Schools’ comparable publically posted reports, you find…..nothing.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@RoyalDawg @AvgGeorgian  It took me about 30 minutes((while I was cooking  supper ) to find and post all the public financials for APS.

 Please do the same for all the State Run Charter Schools, INCLUDING detailed salary, personnel, minutes, and vendor payments. On your mark get set, go. 


JesseDavid
JesseDavid

https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/150/Red-Herring

Red Herring

(also known as: beside the point, misdirection [form of], changing the subject, false emphasis, the Chewbacca defense, irrelevant conclusion, irrelevant thesis, smokescreen, clouding the issue, ignorance of refutation, judgmental language [form of])

Description: Attempting to redirect the argument to another issue that to which the person doing the redirecting can better respond. While it is similar to the avoiding the issue fallacy, the red herring is a deliberate diversion of attention with the intention of trying to abandon the original argument.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

You "conservative" OSD supporters look foolish supporting a proven failure of a plan(The State Charter Schools Commission School District), taking away local government control, and supporting a system that hides all hiring and spending from taxpayers. Hilarious.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@AvgGeorgian 

You must prefer a system that hides spending and incompetence from taxpayers. Although, the aforementioned has gotten more difficult to do, hence alternatives. Get used to it there's more to come.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@SGTGrit @AvgGeorgian

I prefer REAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS that post all spending and hiring so I can make up my own mind about how well they perform. 


You seem to want to say "yes sir, you think for me, take my money and spend it in secret" to your republican masters.


Are okay with the governor appointed chronically failing charter school district hiding all spending and hiring from taxpayers? 


Are you a big government liberal? It's okay if you are.


If the spending is private then the school is not public.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Where's Bruno? Did he run off and elope without telling us.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

The libs much prefer third rate education for the poor and minorities because it keeps them captive to their plantation and shelters incompetent teachers.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

The governor appointed state run charter system hides all hiring, salaries, vendor payments from the public/taxpayer.


1. Why are Kyle and other so-called fiscal conservatives okay with ZERO financial accountability to the public for state charter schools?


2. If you are okay with it, are you okay with all regular school systems hiding all hiring, salaries, vendor payments and other spending?


All OSD supporters go deaf, mute, and blind when asked this question?


Kyle, others? Care to answer 1 and 2?

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@AvgGeorgian Moron. Ignorant or liar, deserves no more effort in a response. Kyle proved him wrong above, so he just repeats the same lie.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

Hedley, I've been out for awhile, but you do realize your article about the Prom was from Wedowee, AL don't you.  I was talking about Randolph Co, GA and you post an article from Wedowee, AL.  I would ask what is wrong with you, but I think I know.  


Kyle's column was about the GA OSD vote, what the blank does Wedowee, AL have to do with anything? 

EliasDenny
EliasDenny

Every state that has tried Deal's system has either stopped or is failing.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

If you were to ask any US high school student "what did you learn in school that has helped you in life," it would be akin to asking hillary to name an accomplishment during her time in government. Both would illicit the same response, "may have a moment to think about it?" 


Currently, the US ranks behind Slovokia and Vietnam in math and science scores (Vietnam!) These results have been brought to us by the democrat party, which owns the public education system. Do they seem concerned with being ranked 35th in the world? Or do they seem to want more of the same, a LOT more of the same?


Donald Trump wants to spend 20 Billion, a serious amount, to expand any and all alternatives to the current failed system. I don't think that is enough and he should be talking coin that ranges in the hundred billions. What do you think the results of our children being taught more than Christopher Columbus was a bigot and Miami is being flooded by sea levels that haven't risen even an inch would be? How much would it add to the GDP if we prepared our children for life better than the Vietnamese do?


Doesn't this seem like an investment that anyone who loves their country would be happy to make? Should be happy to make?


Why aren't we?

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@IReportYouWhine @McGarnagle


You do realize higher taxes to pay for government programs is a democratic initiative. Most republicans would rather want lower taxes and prefer private sector companies as better equip to tackle these issues.


But Trump has hood-wink you all into thinking he's the only one coming up with these "brilliant ideas". God help us all.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@McGarnagle Anything would be better than what we have now. 35th in the world and you defend the status quo?

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@IReportYouWhine @McGarnagle


No. Anything is not better. Anything could take us lower then 35th. The notion that anything would be an improvement then what we have in place is ridiculous. We all want change for the better but we still need a concise and well thought out plan. 20 billion in additional spending. Uh. No.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@McGarnagle @IReportYouWhine Did you ask that question about Cash for Clunkers, the Iran deal or money for Solyndra, all cluckers?


It seems that question never surfaces at the right time for some reason.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

We don't need no stinking amendment -


GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump laid out his most specific education policy plan to date, honing in on two controversial issues: school choice and merit pay.



Trump's plan would direct $20 billion in federal education spending to school choice policies that would give students and their families the option of attending traditional public schools, public charter or magnet schools, or even private schools.



"As your president I will be the nation's biggest cheerleader for school choice," said Trump, speaking from the Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy charter school Thursday afternoon. "I understand many stale old politicians will resist, but it's time for our country to start thinking big and correct once again."



http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-08/donald-trump-goes-all-in-on-school-choice



A vote for gary johnson won't achieve what those who care about the future of our nation want. 




McGarnagle
McGarnagle

@IReportYouWhine


Amazing how Trump has turned Republicans into the spend-o-crats that they originally despised. 

Astropig
Astropig

@IReportYouWhine


We'll pay for it like we pay for everything these days: We'll borrow the money from Chinese peasants,hand them treasury bonds, and when those bonds come due,we'll print up some fresh Harriet Tubman 20's and tighten up our creditor/partners.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Cue up the libs with their whiny little "how's he gonna pay for it," like that ever worried them before.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

In the past you and other conservative commentators (Ga Gang, etc) have said that schools/students that perform poorly/fail are because they do not have a positive atmosphere at home. It was said that many households do not have a father/man, and that many are single parents/grandparents that are forced to raise/educate their children alone. How does this Amendment change that?

I note by your defensiveness below, that this is not an "engineered" question. I sincerely ask how this will address your shared view from the past?

Astropig
Astropig

@RoadScholar


Over the longer term,educated men will be more likely to have the life,career and parenting skills to keep their families intact.


That's my answer.I'd love to hear other opinions.

historydawg
historydawg

No either/or decisions here. Improving education has too many variables. The OSD in La is far from successful. We need to improve education with and through community, not by being antagonistic to it. Parents, teachers, and locally elected boe's are best equipped to do this. Solving the poverty that underlies poor ed performance and that the Governors resting machine affirms is another issue.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@historydawg "The OSD in La is far from successful."

The high school graduation rate went up by 19 points in 10 years. College enrollment went up by 22 points in 11 years. If our failing schools were improving at that kind of pace, we wouldn't be talking about this.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Kyle_Wingfield @historydawg High school grad rate is quite easily manipulated.  College enrollment can be, as well.  How about college COMPLETION rates?  And, are all these kids LA kids or LA OSD kids?

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady @Kyle_Wingfield @historydawg


Every time this subject comes up,you harp on how easy it is to cook the books.That must be the only way you know to get the numbers you want. 


The governors OSD plan involves something that educrats are allergic to,apparently-hard work and the ability to change what is failing.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@RoadScholar My answer is that you can either continue to point to this as a reason for bad results, or you can try to do something to overcome it. The demographics you mention are similar in New Orleans. And yet, they've improved outcomes for the students there -- which, as Astropig notes above, should make for something of a virtuous circle when today's students become tomorrow's parents.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Astropig @Wascatlady @Kyle_Wingfield @historydawg No, I am one of those on THIS BLOG who pointed out, months before the AJC got on board, that the APS "miracle" was not possible.


It IS easy to cook the books (massage the data).  I spent 5 years of grad school looking at such.


As a 4 decade-long teacher of mostly poor kids, I KNOW how difficult the job is.  Right now, there is NO PLAN available from the state.


I find it nearly impossible to believe that small-goverment, local-control Republicans can think this is an acceptable idea.  And are willing to put up with no plan.  You can bet if it was THEIR children facing this, they WOULD NOT.


Just wait.  Agree to this constitutional amendment and see the can of worms it opens!

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

From a true undecided voter on this issue, I have decided to vote yes for OSD. Mainly because since it will focus on failing schools and accountability and ownership falls directly on the new superintendent and the ultimately the governor.


I would like to point out the irony of state takeover at a local level which is something that conservatives have repeatedly and loudly claim to be against.


I would say that I have re-new faith in Governor Deal mainly because of what he did early this year in vetoing the freedom of religious law. He understood the damage our state economy would suffer and so he did the right thing against his party's rhetoric.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@McGarnagle What happens after Deal? This is not a local law....it's an amendment to our Constitution!!!!

Astropig
Astropig

@McGarnagle


Another thing that Deal has done that shows good faith (IMHO)is spearheading criminal justice reform.


http://gpbnews.org/post/gov-deal-signs-criminal-justice-reform-bill-law


Next to signing justice reform,education reform can be one of the most powerful anti-poverty measures that he can accomplish in his term(s) of office.I know first hand how a second chance for some of these offenders can keep them from a life of crime and dependency.Improving schools that desperately need it can also be the "hand up" that will improve whole neighborhoods and towns.This is one reason that I detest the opponents personalization of this political scrap.Deal has been a surprisingly centrist governor and that has gone unnoticed by his critics.

RoyalDawg
RoyalDawg

@McGarnagle If Deal directs the State Charter School Commission to grant these schools a charter, they will have to create a local panel that will be MORE LOCAL than current county boards. The SCSC will offer training and hold them financially and academically responsible for results.


You can't get more local than that.