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Get the facts, and then decide.

By Denise Dunbar

March 25, 2015

Plans are in the works to fix Georgia’s failing schools, or are they?  Seems like the more information that’s released about a new piece of legislation that’s progressing at the state capitol, the more confused some people become.

Governor Nathan Deal calls it the “Opportunity School District”. It will allow the state to create a new district to handle struggling schools that consistently under perform.  He would create the governor’s Office of Student Achievement, appoint a special superintendent to take control of up to 100 schools.  Before you twist your nose, think back when over past accreditation problems that some districts had like Clayton schools, when some parents were screaming for the Governor’s intervention. After that experience, you can understand why some parents believe that this idea has positive potential.

However, a growing list of teacher and professional education organizations in Georgia are voicing strong opposition.  Mostly because local school boards would no longer have a say in supervising the schools on the new district list.  That also means parents will have very little or no say in what goes on at these schools. On top of that, local school boards will still be responsible for paying major repairs.

There is also the race issue.  Most inner-city schools are qualified to be on the list already. In fact, 88% of students in underachieving schools are black.  5% are Hispanic.  That means most African-American students in Georgia could be in a school system run by the state. That’s huge!

The Senate has already approved the idea, and now it’s in the hands of the House. So, whatever you decide about an Opportunity School District, you should call your State House Representatives and let them know you want them to vote for the best interests of your kids and your families.  A list of Georgia House Representatives is on this website.

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