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Letter: Charter School Amendment Would Raise Taxes, Inequality

Bartow County resident Paul Nally opposes a proposal to restore the state's power to approve charter schools and their funding. Georgia voters are set to decide on the constitutional amendment.

Georgia voters are set Nov. 6 to decide a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to approve local charter schools and their funding. Bartow resident Paul Nally says the move would hike state taxes and inequality among students.

Dear Editor,

Consider that question concerning the "special schools" provision of the proposed constitutional amendment appearing on the November ballot.

Of particular interest to the taxpaying citizens, both the younger who pay county school taxes and the elder who, here to now, have been exempt from that tax, is the meaning of section 3 of HR 1162 which provides:

The state is authorized to expend state funds for the support and maintenance of special schools in such amount and manner as may be provided by law; ...

What this means is simply that state taxes will have to be raised to pay for the "special schools" AND local taxes WILL NOT go down. PLUS, those elderly who are now exempt will have to pay increased state income taxes to pay for education. 

Yep, you guessed it. Your legislators finally figured a way to get into your pocket, and for you younger folks, TWICE, local taxes and increased state taxes! That happens because the Average Daily Attendance, upon which funding for a school is determined, by law, will not go down. That is due to the kids going to the special schools still being counted as attending their old school.

But of greater concern, is the fact that this new "special school / charter school" will not be attended by all the students in a school district, just a few; and their education exposure will be considerably better than the average school kids left behind. Do we now support leaving children behind?

That realization brings to my memory a US Supreme Court case and the implications of its holding. In Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, 494-495 (1954) we read:

We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.

If "separate but equal" is inherently unequal, and violates due process and equal protection, how much more offensive to these Constitutional concepts would "separate AND unequal" be?

The answer? Make every school attain the level of a “charter school”. Dumbing down the level of educational excellence, lowering the bar so to speak, should now be viewed as the idiocy of the indolent. “Consider the ant, thou sluggard; observer her ways and be wise!”

Of course, that could get in the way of Official Education’s attempt to educate our children to the maximum level of their acceptable ignorance.

Paul Nally

Rydal, GA

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Paul Nally October 09, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Kim, This opinion came from reading HB 1162, Brown v. Board of Education, and my life-long acquired understanding of corporate, political, and governmental governance, extrapolating from that evidence the best logically structured understanding of that which is, or reasonably would be, of which my mind is capable. Forthcoming events cast long shadows into the past; for those who can see and understand them, you need not be a prophet to reasonably know the future; and all I’ve been given is the syntax of the House Bill with which to start this journey of understanding (ill informed though it may be).
Paul Nally October 09, 2012 at 12:05 PM
MP, The Cartersville School System in ’59-’63 had, as I recall, a three-tiered high school educational objective structure which, I think, worked very well and prepared us kids for whatever future we wanted to pursue, even to the point of teaching the University of Florida freshman courses in Logic during the senior year in addition to classes in Latin, music, and art in the college preparatory classes. All the kids attending that school were “exposed” to all these levels of instruction, and the instructors, whether or not they took a particular class. Cartersville did not build separate school buildings for the instruction of students whose parents wanted them to be nothing more than menial laborers and those who wanted their kids to be doctors and lawyers. It was not necessary. AND, if you will think about it for a moment, you will come to understand that structured classroom work is NOT the only influence in a learning environment. Social interaction and exposure to the varied levels of the “caste system” in this County is a learning tool as well, whether a child comes from the “social or political elite” or from the meanest estate in the County.
Paul Nally October 09, 2012 at 12:05 PM
I perceive that you are imagining that every child will have the same opportunity to be exposed to an institution of higher learning. That just simply is not the case, and the House Bill does not make provision for such. Nor does it make provision for the transportation of children whose parents simply can’t afford to transport their kids. My understanding of this Bill, as it is written, is that it will intentionally establish a separate building, instructors, etc., which will be focused on skills and knowledge consistent with “higher learning” and, by its very language, acknowledges that not all children will have, or be entitled to, access to it. Since its aims and objectives are “different” than the “ordinary school” then it is, by definition, unequal, not to mention an additional burden on taxpayers.
Paul Nally October 09, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Why go to all the trouble and expense of this scheme when it would be simpler for the PTAs to immediately start determining that which is an absolutely mandatory level of education to which any child should be exposed in a public education system, then force the BOEs to implement it? This is not a case of segregation based on race, it is segregation base on economic circumstance. Both are equally wrong and offensive to the Constitutions. It may not be apparent in its language, but it will appear in its implementation.
Paul Nally October 09, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Kim, According to your reasoning, kids leave one school to go to the other school leaving fewer kids at the old school with no decrease in funding to the old school. Where is the research to support the reasoning that “throwing more money at a child creates a better educated child”? Then you say, “Charter school funds would just be lowered.” Does that mean that the State would be “dumbing down” these kids? I cannot agree that “More choice is always good.” I would argue, in this circumstance, that maximum quality is the only good choice. Under the present system of “local control”, the multitude of choices of parents is restricted to the degree of the quality of their school’s academic standards, even if that means temporarily eliminating sports programs. “Failing school systems” are reflections of the failure of the parents who have made the “local control choice” of failure ... nothing less, and that is their prerogative and their responsibility under our Constitutions. There is really no need to “reinvent the wheel”. Private and religious schools aren’t reinvented wheels; they just took a damaged wheel, became wheelwrights, and made it better.

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