By now you are very much aware that the Opportunity School District amendment failed with over 60% of Georgians telling Governor Deal NO to school take overs. But now we must deal with a wounded elephant in Governor Deal. He has announced that legislation will be brought forward in the 2017 General Assembly to deal with failing schools. While his Republicans have the clear majority in both chambers, it is not clear that he has a mandate to tell local school systems how to deal with their schools. Perhaps the most significant thing that the Governor failed to see in his take over movement is that local systems are struggling and that every one of them—yes every one of them is doing the very best they know how with the resources they must help their underperforming schools. An important lesson is being taught in North Carolina—if you want to influence the improvement in underperforming schools you must pour the resources into them. It’s not just money, its teachers—quality teachers and support personnel that know how to deal with high poverty, low wealth issues.
GAEL is pledged to lead the fight to make sure the Governor knows what works and what doesn’t work but YOU must take up the cause. Please try to contact your legislator by phone, don’t trust email—they get slammed with bulk emails, and tell them what you know that works in your system and what needs to be done to make it better. Most of the legislators that I know want to do the right thing but they aren’t professional educators and they need your input. It may be the most important thing that we do for public education.
The very wise Michael Thurmond told several of us that if the OSD fight was to be won that local school boards would have to wage the front-line battle—they did and I am so proud of each of you for doing what was right and helping to defeat the divisive amendment #1.