Gary Henry, a Vanderbilt professor who has studied school takeover attempts in Tennessee, Louisiana and North Carolina, examined the legislation for Deal’s so-called “Opportunity School District” and believes it has failure written all over it.
Successful teachers want to work in schools that are humane, supportive and dynamic. Charter schools, especially privately-run ones, are unfortunately known for their terrible treatment of teachers: long hours, anti-union sentiments, demands of volunteer labor and no job security. Also, good teachers expect better pay.
There are no additional funds going into the Opportunity School District, so OSD is not going to be able to hire better teachers. Without additional resources, there wouldn’t be money to hire teachers with better track records.
When asked if he was in support of Opportunity School District, Henry said “I would be uncomfortable saying yes given the current provisions.” Opportunity School District, as written, takes away local funding and community control and gives nothing in return.
- The school takeover will keep school districting in place without giving students the option to choose where they go.
Schools in high-poverty areas tend to do worse than schools in middle-income areas. Keeping students at their neighborhood schools only keeps poverty concentrated and it’s clear that Gov. Deal’s school takeover list is made up, almost exclusively, of schools in poor neighborhoods.
When it comes down to it, a big part of what makes schools better is properly funding schools to attract, train and retain better teachers and provide greater resources for our students. Georgia’s school takeover will not provide schools with more funding, but will skim from the insufficient funding underserved schools are already coping with.
Parents and communities will lose their voices and teacher turnover will remain high or worsen.
We need to work together to improve Georgia’s schools, but handing over local control to an education czar — which is what the OSD would do — is not the way forward.