Thursday, February 23, 2012

Enabling Failing Schools

Atlanta, Georgia, 2/22/2012 - The Georgia House of Representatives passed legislation that would reinstate the commission charged with authorizing charter schools, the first step in an effort by advocates of educational options to overturn a State Supreme Court decision that struck down the commission last year. Nationwide, though, there is a sentiment of comfort with failing schools.

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Georgia voters could decide in November if the state will be allowed to create charter schools. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the state House, a move that is sure to face a challenge from local school districts.
Last year, the Georgia Supreme Court outlawed the state Charter Schools Commission, ruling the commission was illegally creating charter schools over the objection of districts.
The American Federation for Children—the nation's voice for school choice— praised leaders in the State House for the bipartisan vote to pass House Resolution 1162. 
Such an amendment requires a two-thirds approval from both the House and Senate, as well as approval from two-thirds of voters during a general election. A reinstatement of the Commission would significantly strengthen the state's charter school sector, which currently serves more than 48,000 students across Georgia.
The measure's passage, which met the required two-thirds margin by a 123-48 vote, was shepherded through the House by Speaker Pro Tempore Jan Jones, who led the original fight four years ago to create the Commission.
CHICAGO 

Chicago is buzzing over a controversial practice aimed at forcing inner-city school kids to follow rules. The Noble Network of Charter Schools, which has received high praise from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is charging its mostly low-income students five bucks for violating certain rules, which reportedly include bringing “flaming hot” potato chips to school, chewing gum and falling asleep in class.

A group of parents whose kids attend Noble’s 10 Chicago charter high schools rose up in February to publicly object to the practice, which they are denouncing as both overkill and a cynical way for the company to collect extra money, according to reports in the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets.

At news conferences, parents and a group called Parents United for Responsible Education said they obtained documents showing that Noble has collected almost $400,000 in fines from families since the 2008-2009 academic year. Noble calls the charges “fees,” not fines. Last year, the charter company raked in almost $190,000 in fines for infractions and $140 fees for summer behavior classes some repeat offenders are required to take.


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