Cease and Desist: Educrats May not Advocate with Georgia Tax Dollars

Sam Olens orders local school boards to stay out of charter school fight
4:48 pm October 3, 2012, by jgalloway

Attorney General Sam Olens this afternoon sent a letter to state School Superintendent John Barge, in which Olens ordered all local school boards to shut down any opposition to the proposed state constitutional amendment on charter schools that involves official time or taxpayer funds.

Olens’ ruling applies to school boards that endorse the measure as well. But by and large, local boards of education, particularly in rural Georgia, have been firmly against the November ballot measure. Many have passed resolutions condemning it.

Read the entire letter here. Wrote Olens:

Local school boards do not have the legal authority to expend funds or other resources to advocate or oppose the ratification of a constitutional amendment by the voters. They may not do this directly or indirectly through associations to which they may belong….

That means organizations like the Georgia School Boards Association, and perhaps, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, would be barred from speaking out against the proposed constitutional amendment.

http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2012/10/03/sam-olens-orders-local-school-boards-to-cease-campaigns-against-charter-school-amendment/?cxntfid=blogs_political_insider_jim_galloway

Charter School Students in Georgia Speak Truth to Power

Charter school students in Georgia are understandably dismayed by the behavior of adults around them. Recently, some students have been dragged into the political process as actions taken by some adults threaten the existence of the schools they love and in which they excel. Tax dollars pay for education for students in public schools, and charter schools are public schools. Public dollars in Georgia are paying for public education and paying salaries of public school teachers- so what’s the problem?

These students from Georgia rightly point out the outrageous opposition of certain members of entrenched power blocks that are having difficulty surrendering their monopoly over the status quo- the one that has led most schools in Georgia to coming in near the bottom in the nation.

“My charter school helps me go to college, so all this about ‘no’ doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Jordyn Sheppard, a student at Ivy Preparatory Academy.

Autumn Smith, another student from Ivy Prep, wrote the following open letter:

My name is Autumn Smith. I am a 7th grade scholar at Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood. I recently attended the Georgia Black Caucus-Annual Legislative Conference. As the meeting began, I had respect for all of the adults there; I looked up to each and every one of them. Sadly, I have to say my perspective changed.

First I’d like to tell my story. I live in a neighborhood where the behavior, education, and parent resources aren’t up to the standards I have been taught to expect. Therefore, I went in search of a good school. I found Clifton Elementary, which is a technology magnet school. While I was there, my grades rose and I felt happy and confident about my school. I went to Clifton from 3rd grade all the way to 5th grade. After I left Elementary school, I realized I was zoned to attend Columbia Middle School. Columbia Middle School is half magnet program half resident. But, the school itself has gangs, drugs, and abuse going on inside the school. Luckily, the summer before I started middle school, I found out about Ivy Preparatory Academy-Kirkwood. After learning about the school, I decided it was the right choice for me. Now this is the second year that my school has been open. We are growing strong and will continue to grow strong. I’m not going to let anyone get in the way of my education and future.

Back to the caucus meeting, all I kept hearing from the adults was, “It’s all about the children”. It kept running through my head if it is all about the children tell me why we argue, and fuss about our schools. We should all have a common goal to give children the proper education they need to have a bright future. I stood up and got in line to ask a question to the panelists. “Why were our tax dollars being spent to train teachers how NOT to vote for the charter schools amendment?” The moderator for the evening decided that my question should not be asked. Nobody could tell me why tax dollars are being used to teach people not to stand up for my education. If it was “all about the children,” why were they trying to make me be quiet and not answer my question?

Just recently, I saw a screening of a movie called “Won’t Back Down” it was about a school that was underperforming and how parents did not just sit there and wait for change. They stood up and made a difference in their school, and community. Neither can I wait for a change. I’m not going to sit back, relax, and wait for change that might not come until my grandchild is in school. I want change, and I want it now. I deserve to have a choice in what school I want to be in. I just don’t understand what the problem is if charter schools are performing better than other schools, when being funded less, then why can’t people see that Choice is important.

I want to end on a positive note. If it’s going to be all about kids, let’s listen to what they have to say. Charter school is a very important word in my life right now, and here are the reasons why…

C Choice, I have the choice to choose what school, education, and type of education I want. Whether from a book, lecture, hands-on, or writing.
H Harmony, for once everyone works together teachers, parents, scholars as we like to call our students, faculty, and staff.
A Academics, Academics is the most important thing in a charter school ours are definitely onboard.
R Radical, we teach in different ways but our students are top notch the best of the best.
T Training, we make sure our teachers have the proper training, and knowledge to teach our students.
E Encouragement, what I like most about my school, is that not what situation I’m in everyone love and supports me. They tell me no matter what keep pressing on, your worth more than you could ever imagine.
R Resources, my school has provided me with outstanding resources– everything I could ever need to be successful in everything I do.

Now, who are the adults that want to help me continue with the great school I have found? I thank you all for helping me keep my school.

Won’t Back Down Is What America Is Really About


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2012

Originally posted at http://ponytailpatriots.blogspot.com/2012/09/wont-hold-back-is-what-america-is.html

The American spirit of determination and sacrifice in order to secure a brighter future for our children is alive and well. At least according to the movie Won’t Back Down. I went to see the movie at a special sneak peek in Atlanta last night. And the moment the screen filled with the image of a little girl struggling to read a simple sentence on the chalkboard, I knew I was seeing a rare and beautiful gem from Hollywood.

My emotions ran the gamut through the movie. At times I cried for the child struggling to keep up and the mom who just wanted something better for her. I felt the hopelessness of teachers struggling with rules and regulations from the local school board and the union. I felt the anger of feeling like I couldn’t speak up without losing my job and the anger of a mother who dared to ask for help only to be rebuffed in every way imaginable. I lived those moments of thinking “Why bother?” when seemingly never ending hurdles were placed in the path of those wanting to make a difference. And I rejoiced in the triumph of succeeding against all odds.

Won’t Back Down is the story of a broken education system. It was presented in a non-partisan and fair way. Parents, teachers, bureaucrats, and union leaders were all equally to blame for children slipping through the cracks. A sense of apathy and an unwillingness to change the status quo kept a “failing school” open and drained the opportunities that would allow a better future for the children. But one parent stood up and said, “NO MORE!” A teacher said, “I will do better. I will work harder.” And in the end, a community came together to win a battle that would turn a “failing school” into a “winning school”.

I walked out of that theater last night with the sense that this is what our Forefathers had in mind when writing the Constitution. This is movie personified our First Amendment right to free speech, peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances. I thought to myself, “This is what being an American is all about. Standing up and fighting against a wrong to make it right and defending those who can’t defend themselves.” I can’t express everything I would like to when it comes to this movie but I can tell you that it is a MUST SEE. It will make you take a closer look at the education system in America, you’ll look closer at your local officials, and you’ll remember that it only takes ONE VOICE to affect change.

Won’t Back Down Movie Trailer

Make plans now to see the new movie- Won’t Back Down opening September 28th.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis star in this movie about school choice and the parent trigger. It shows the power of parents and teachers uniting together to fight for better schools for children

Watch the trailer linked Here.