Charter school: a tax-supported school established by a charter between a granting body (as a school board) and an outside group (as of teachers and parents) which operates the school without most local and state educational regulations so as to achieve set goals. (Merriam-Webster)
Charter school: Older reference is to schools in Ireland begun 1733 by the Charter Society to provide Protestant education to poor Catholic children. Modern use in U.S. began c.1988, as an alternative to state-run public education. (Dictionary.com)
Last week, Georgia Superintendent Dr. John Barge broke from his previous comments and challenged state legislators to turn down the funding and creation of independent charter schools.
This brought forth an immediate rebuke from the Governor and other high ranking Republican state leaders.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution's PolitiFact Georgia feature gave a half true rating to whether Barge flipped his position on the charter school commission.
This is an emotional issue partly because the leadership of the public school system in our state has helped made it so.
We have heard reports that teachers at parent meetings have told parents that if charter schools are allowed, it will be the end of the public school system. That statement is pure fantasy.
We support our public school system but the truth of the matter is that for the last 40 years, we, the people have allowed it to become the catch-all for most of the social ills that face us in this country.
As a result, the education of our children has been regulated to just a small overall piece of the monies that are spent on public education.
It seems to us that we have stooped to the lowest common denominator on designing programs that compensate for the lack of parenting by a great number of families. As a result, parents who are involved in their children's education find themselves fighting a system that frustrates them.
The Broad Foundation, an education think tank, said that 70 percent of eight graders in this country can't read proficiently and most will never catch up.
It is no wonder that caring parents who want their children to be able to reach their full potential are clamoring for an alternate means of education.
We believe that parents and concerned business leaders of a community have the right to create charter schools that they themselves can set curriculum, control discipline without having the presence of law enforcement in their schools and have the final word on their children's education without the local school board.
We also feel that parents should be given credits on their tax obligations to create such a school if they choose and have the right to help create an environment that best suits the education needs of their children.
Parents should have the ultimate power to control the direction of their children's education - not a group of bureaucrats who are afraid of losing control of a system that is in dire need of an overhaul.