Dear Editor: In the November General Election, we will be voting on whether to allow the state of Georgia to sanction and fund local charter schools. Local Rockdale County Public Schools school board members and administrators are opposed to this referendum. Mind you, they are not opposed to charter schools, they just want to have control of the dollars and control which charter schools get their approval.
Since the 1960s, the federal government has poured billions of taxpayer dollars into K-12 education. Local school boards and local school administrators have had control of these dollars for nearly 50 years since the Great Society of President LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson). What have we gotten for all this money? We have gotten results that place the USA no where near the top 10 in developed nations in math and science learning. With 34 nations being studied, we came in dead last in advanced physics. You can bet we were not last in dollars spent on education. Where is the bang for the bucks?
Locally, recent newspaper articles again placed all three RCPS high schools below the Georgia average, which is below the national average, in ACT and SAT results. The ACT is a curriculum-based test which predicts college success. These poor results are despite the fact that our property tax millage rate is 4.50 mills above the state maximum of 20 mills. Plus RCPS gets a lot of federal dollars. Low ACT and SAT scores adversely affect what colleges our students get accepted to and whether they receive scholarships. Again, we are paying more and getting results below the state average.
So why continue to pour tons of dollars into K-12 education as we have for 50 years and continue to get the same mediocre to poor results? It is time to try some new things in public education. Local school boards and local administrators have had it their way for 50 years and the greatest nation in the world still does not have the greatest education system in the world. We just spend the most money for mediocre results. It is time to give charter schools not run by local school boards a chance to see if they can do better. Competition may force local school systems to improve to keep their students. Vote yes on the charter school referendum for your kids and grandkids. We cannot afford 50 more years of mediocrity.