Myth: Charters Will Expand Choice and Create Competition  

Fact:
Passage of the charter amendment does not guarantee that charters
would be added to areas that have chronically underperforming schools.
   
    In this economic climate with over a billion being cut to education
    each year and with teacher furloughs/layoffs, shortened school
    calendars, and increased class sizes, it does not make fiscal sense
    to allow the creation of state charters in areas with performing
    schools.  Are additional educational options really needed in areas
    with high-performing schools?  If the amendment is really about
    improving education, why isn’t charter authorization being targeted in
    areas with chronically underperforming schools?

    In EmpowerED Georgia's Charter Schools Blueprint, we advocate
    that charters authorized by the State Department of Education be
    focused in areas with chronically underperforming schools.  The
    proposed charter amendment does not include such a focused
    creation of charters.

    If, as charter school advocates claim, choice creates competition and
    competition drives a school’s performance, why is choice not being
    offered in areas with chronically underperforming schools?  Why are
    charter schools avoiding serving these areas, and why are they
    avoiding serving the most challenging children (and the ones they
    claim would benefit the most from their services)?

Fact: True competition can only exist if the same system of rules and
regulations are in place for all participating parties.  
    Comparing charters and traditional public schools is like comparing
    apples and oranges.  Charters can kick out students, whereas
    traditional public schools must educate every child that enters their
    doors.  Charters can mandate parental involvement and acceptable
    student behavior, whereas traditional public schools have no such
    authority.  Charters can screen students, whereas traditional public
    schools are committed to educating every child.  


Conclusion
The amendment is not a referendum about charter schools or even school
choice. The real story is that the State is undermining our traditional public
schools (as well as our local charter schools) through the severe cuts in
financial support and by increasing red tape (expanded testing, Common
Core, merit pay, etc.).  Changes are needed (see:
Charter Schools
Blueprint), but they must be positive, constructive changes and not
gimmicks.  The proposed charter amendment is not a choice between
expanding charter schools and protecting local control or even between
increasing options and preserving the status quo. It is about whether we
should go down a new road until we have given the schools we have a
chance to succeed.  That answer is a resounding “No.”


-----------------------------------


Related:
EmpowerED Georgia's Charter Schools Blueprint
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