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Score One For The Kids: Washington and Georgia Produce An Election Night Highlight ^ | November 11, 2012 | Austin Hill

Posted on 11/11/2012 2:16:10 AM PST by Kaslin

You’ve probably seen the post-election headlines: private sector employers in the U.S. have begun slashing jobs, attributing their economic hardship to President Obama’s healthcare and environmental policies. But did you hear how some Americans actually voted for some really good things – things that can make for a brighter future?

It’s sad to see what our country has chosen. Barack Obama campaigned in 2008 on a pledge to “bankrupt” the coal industry (if you don’t believe me watch the video on Youtube), and the Obamacare taxes and fees levied against healthcare technology companies are downright onerous. So once it was evident that we chose “more of the same” last Tuesday, it was not surprising to see both the coal energy and healthcare technologies industries announcing thousands of layoffs – they simply can’t afford to continue operating at the same pace, given the President’s policies.

But the good news on election night came from the states of Washington, and Georgia, where residents voted to expand educational choices for children. This is to say that a state which overwhelmingly voted to re-elect President Obama (Washington), and a state that overwhelmingly voted to replace the President with Mitt Romney (Georgia), actually both agreed that increasing kids’ education options by expanding the number of charter schools is an across-the-board good thing.

Charter schools, if you are unfamiliar, are k-12 schools that are partially funded with taxpayer dollars (and partially with private donations), but are usually managed by private individuals and organizations. While each state has their own precise rules, generally speaking charter schools can reach beyond the bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all constraints of the local school district and customize their educational content and approach.

That’s why many charter schools offer academic specialties. Got a kid with an interest in engineering? Some charter schools offer an emphasis in science and mathematics. Does your son or daughter want to be a film maker? A charter school with a fine arts concentration might be a good choice.

The important point is that kids and parents should have these choices available. Charter schools allow people’s tax dollars to be put to use in ways that address the unique needs of students and parents, first and foremost, and in ways that the often self-serving established public schools don’t. Fortunately, Georgians and Washingtonians voted last week to allow even more of these options to flourish.

However, not every good effort to ensure wise use of educational tax dollars was rewarded last week. In Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota, voters lashed out against state policies that forced local school districts to be transparent with how they spend taxpayer dollars and negotiate labor union contracts, and which provided educational technology in public school classrooms. Initiatives like these may seem like good ideas- and objectively they are-but if you’ve got enough money to spend on advertising, you can successfully portray them as evil.

Who, really, wants to argue that educational tax dollars should be spent on things that don’t benefit students? And who, really, wants to argue against government transparency?

Nobody would try to campaign on these points. But if you’re the AFL-CIO and your teacher’s union members are vested in the status quo, then you want nothing to do with transparency in government, and you certainly don’t want your union members to have to adapt to the “change” of using more computers.

So big labor spent millions in advertising dollars demonizing the education reform laws in Idaho, Indiana and South Dakota, while trashing the policy makers that brought them about. Scrutinizing the negotiation of labor union contracts was equated to “hating teachers,” while using online computer technology was characterized as “trading teachers with laptops” - and the costs of the computers were allegedly going to bankrupt the respective states, according to the teachers’ union’s advertisements.

A quick price comparison between an inexpensive laptop computer purchased in bulk (with enough digital space to store several digital textbooks) and a single hardbound text book suggests that school districts could actually save money with more computers. And expanded internet access can allow kids in the most rural of regions to connect with world class educational content from top universities. But neither of these realities mattered. This wasn’t about the kids, it was about the labor unions – and on election night voters in all three states chose the union’s agenda.

Both the expansion of charter schools, and enhancing transparency and technology in traditional schools, are fundamentally economic agendas: both initiatives have to do with a more efficient use of taxpayer money, and spending money for its intended purposes (improving kids’ education).

Yet one agenda was embraced (by both a “red” and “blue” state), and the other was rejected. The charter school movement has become so successful and popular that even the AFL CIO usually can’t stop it (although unions generally hate charter schools because they produce better academic results while spending less money). But scrutinizing - let alone “changing”-conventional public schools is apparently too uncomfortable. So in three relatively “conservative” states, voters chose with education reform like a majority of voters around the country chose for presidential leadership: they opted for “more of the same.”

Let’s hope that government transparency (even for school districts), and a respect for private enterprise, can become acceptable agendas like charter schools – so more Americans will stop choosing “more of the same.”

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: education; georgia; schoolchoice; washington

1 posted on 11/11/2012 2:16:20 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
But the good news on election night came from the states of Washington, and Georgia, where residents voted to expand educational choices for children.

I did not vote for the amendment because it guaranteed an increase in spending. I voted for it because I did not want local dictatorial school systems/school boards to be the only ones to approve or disapprove new charter schools.

I have watched too many meetings of the Atlanta and Fulton County School Boards IGNORING the needs and wants of its minority parents (white people).

Too many times when parents of North Fulton (e.g., Roswell and Sandy Springs) wanted something, they were completely ignored by the black school board. I have no doubt this situation exists in any Georgia Urban area.

This amendment was about one thing; taking away dictatorial power and giving parents some avenue of redress, specifically, taking their case to a state legislative board that isn't racist.

Lastly, the vote NO side of this equation was SPONSORED by the Georgia Association of Educators and the Fulton County School Board - two organizations with which I'll NEVER agree on anything.

2 posted on 11/11/2012 2:25:38 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: Kaslin

See? There’s scores of these victories to be found. We may have lost a big battle but we won some, too.

My candidate for US Senate, here in Pa., was Sam Rohrer. Sam lost his primary battle to Tom Smith. While Sam was in the Pa. State legislature, he crafted the first legislation for charter schools and won. It has become the model for other states.

Sam spoke with us the other night, topic; what’s next?

Among returning and reaffirming ourselves to the Judeo-Christian teachings that were the basis for our founding documents, we Must take back the education of our youth. I think it was Kruschev that said...”give us your youth and wie’ll take your country.” Election night was won by their side in no small measure due to the youth vote. We MUST win the battle of ideas on this front. It will be a long term battle. I’ll take these victories where I can get them.

3 posted on 11/11/2012 2:31:38 AM PST by SueRae (It isn't over. In God We Trust.)
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To: Gaffer

The left spent a bunch of money trying to defeat the charter school deal and they lost.I am glad our home state saw through the bullscat of the left.

4 posted on 11/11/2012 3:17:58 AM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: Kaslin

Are teachers in these charter schools members of the union?

5 posted on 11/11/2012 3:21:12 AM PST by gotribe
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“The left spent a bunch of money trying to defeat the charter school deal and they lost.I am glad our home state saw through the bullscat of the left.”

It’s not over yet and the left is still spending money. This will go to court because the left is trying to make the case that the language was too confusing for it’s ignorant and illiterate voters to understand.

6 posted on 11/11/2012 3:54:47 AM PST by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: freeangel

Judge shopping to be sure.We need a way to counter that.

7 posted on 11/11/2012 4:04:38 AM PST by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: gotribe
"Are teachers in these charter schools members of the union?"

Here in Georgia, the teachers unions do not have collective bargaining rights. Also teachers are not required to join the union.

8 posted on 11/11/2012 4:32:01 AM PST by Apple Pan Dowdy (... as American as Apple Pie mmm mmm mmm)
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To: Apple Pan Dowdy

That’s progress! Thanks for answering.

9 posted on 11/11/2012 4:38:29 AM PST by gotribe
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To: Kaslin

Also something else under reported. Georgia is one independent away (ee is considering changing to GOP) from having a GOP supermajority in both the State House and Senate...just the reverse of California.

10 posted on 11/11/2012 1:50:35 PM PST by Hotlanta Mike ("God only knows it's not what we would choose to do." - Lyric from Us and Them - Pink Floyd)
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To: Clintonfatigued


11 posted on 11/12/2012 3:34:08 AM PST by Impy (Boehner for President - 2013)
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