Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District plan (a.k.a. school takeover) is about to get some new opposition: the Board of Education of Bibb County, home to Macon, Ga.
During last week’s BOE meeting, several members spoke against the measure, which would give a state-appointed leader control over schools that have received failing grades three years in a row based on Georgia’s College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRI) scores.
Here’s Daryl Morton, the Bibb County school board treasurer, speaking against the school takeover plan, saying “it is not a good solution for our education problems,” and speaking about the need to maintain local control and accountability.
The OSD plan gives this appointed superintendent the authority to hire and fire teachers, allocate resources, set curriculum and enforce school discipline, all without any public oversight or accountability. This is Gov. Deal’s fix to chronically underfunded schools, poor teacher pay and retention, and systemic problems — like poverty and the school-to-prison pipeline — that make providing a quality education to all students a challenge.
BJ Shepherd, president of the Bibb Association of Educators, told the Macon Telegraph about his group’s opposition.
“OSD will attempt to fix education by replacing educators, but much more needs to be done than that,” Shepherd wrote in an email to the Macon Telegraph.“First, we need to solve the poverty issue and support our kids outside of school hours. Let’s start there before we begin to blame teachers about bad scores on a standardized test.”
These concerns were echoed by members of Bibb County’s BOE.
Former board President Thelma Dillard, recently re-elected for another term on the board, said it was “unrealistic” to think the state could resolve issues at struggling schools….“No matter what the challenges might be, they are ours,” Dillard said. “This is our family.”
I’ve previously written about the hypocrisy of state officials’ support for this school takeover plan. Local control is all they could talk about when it comes to transgender students being treated with respect and dignity. But when there is a chance for private charter schools to make big bucks, local control is no longer a concern to the likes of Gov. Deal, State School Superintendent Richard Woods, or Speaker of the House David Ralston.
The Bibb County BOE is set to pass a resolution in opposition to the ballot measure at their next board meeting.