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GA PTA Under Pressure Over Charters

The National Parent Teacher Association wants the Georgia chapter to remain neutral in the state's charter school debate.

With nearly two months to go before , the Georgia PTA is under pressure from its parent organization to rescind its opposition to the measure.

Last month, the state chapter made its position clear: Vote no when you go to the polls in November.

While the Georgia PTA supports charter schools approved by local school boards, "we reject the state power grab from local communities in the education of their children, the financial inequities, and the overt attention being given to those who intend to profit from the education of children," Sally FitzGerald, the group's educational policy specialist, wrote in the July 1 position statement.

Since then, according to an article in Education Week, the National PTA has revised its policy on charter schools and extended its support to charters approved by all authorizing bodies—not just local school boards.

And the national organization wants its chapters to support the change. For the Georgia chapter, that means taking a neutral stance in the debate over the state's proposed charter school amendment, according to Education Week.

Emails to FitzGerald and the Georgia PTA executive committee have not been returned, but the Georgia Charter Schools Association today praised the National PTA's policy shift.

"We applaud the recognition by National PTA that just as one size doesn't fit all in educating our students, a single charter authorizer doesn't fit all either," Georgia Charter Schools Association President & CEO Tony Roberts said in a statement. "High-quality authorizers such as the give parents and students a needed appeals process when a school board refuses to fairly consider a charter application. The entire charter community here in our state is asking Georgia PTA to follow their national organization and end their opposition to the November vote on the charter amendment."

The Georgia PTA isn't the only opponent of the charter amendment making headlines. In a move that came as a surprise to his Republican colleagues, State Superintendent John Barge earlier this month announced his opposition to the measure.

"Until all of our public school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia’s local school districts," he said.

Gov. Nathan Deal, who , said local districts wouldn't lose money.

"In fact, under the formula in the legislation, they are getting the very lowest level of funding of any public school," he said at the time.

FAST FACTS

  • On Nov. 6, voters will be asked, "Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow state or local approval of public charter schools upon the request of local communities?" Voters will check "yes" or "no."
  • Cherokee school board members voted 4-2 during its April 19 meeting to endorse a , which they fear will take away from local districts.

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Sue Taylor August 30, 2012 at 06:00 PM
On the contrary. The dumbing down can be found in the public schools. My kids have been in 3 different private schools.. all have been excellent. The past 3 years at the public high school has been fair at best. Dismantle away. Whats with your issue about creationism and evolution? Let's not go there shall we. Remember, this means we have a choice where our kids are educated.
Greer Thompson August 30, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Ok so is the PTA a liberal organization?
Jim Beam August 30, 2012 at 07:53 PM
At the national level, the causes the national PTA espouse are definitely liberal. They generally walk lockstep with teachers, and in many states this means they're walking in lockstep with teacher unions. They've received grant money from the union-loving Dept. of Labor, they've repeatedly campaigned against vouchers and charters (both of which are favored by conservatives), and repeatedly back social causes that lean left. I suspect their insistence on neutrality here is due to a fear of losing their tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization. (as usual, it's about $$$$, not education!)
Greer Thompson August 30, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Very interesting that I had no idea I was apart of this type of organization. I thought being a member of the PTA meant I was supporting my school! I didn't know they have an agenda.
Stevie Nicks August 30, 2012 at 09:18 PM
PTA is a nonpartisan 501c3 organization who follows the IRS guidelines regarding legislative activities. They can't support or oppose political parties but may engage in nonpartisan issues that affect the work of the PTA. Mission is. To make every child's potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to,advocate for all children. PTA rarely takes a stance but some things they have advocated for are kindergarten, school lunches, polio vaccines, anti drug and smoking messages, car seats, anabolic steroids, child abuse, driver's Ed, non partisan school board elections, PE, posting of minor's photos, child prostitution and a host of other issues related to children's safety and education. Does that make them liberal? I am pretty sure there are places in the country where they work WITH teacher unions but not here in GA because there are NO UNIONS in GA.

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