When the state’s school superintendent says they oppose a proposed charter school amendment, it’s news. That’s what happened yesterday when news broke that the state’s republican superintendent of schools said he opposes a charter school amendment that would permit the state to create charter schools.
Barge is quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying in a prepared statement, “I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education.” Barge then went on to claim that the money would end up in the pockets of for-profit companies based in other states that he claims offer no better results. “What’s more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases).”
There are critics of Barge’s position however. One is The Albany Journal publisher and school choice proponent Tom Knighton. “I understand what Barge is saying,” Knighton said. “However, what he’s failing to understand is that there are school systems in this state such as Dougherty County where children are the ones suffering. Charter schools offer parents alternatives to get their kids out of a bad school system and into a place where parents are required to be involved.”
Barge is the most high profile Republican to break ranks over the proposed amendment.