September 6, 2016 8:00 AM
From Barrow County comes a school board member who speaks truth to power, albeit rudely. In fact, Lynn Stevens has shot her mouth off so profoundly she might look into using gunpowder as toothpaste.
From the Barrow NewsJournal:
“The Barrow County BOE plans to take a stand against a proposed state constitution [sic] amendment creating “Opportunity School Districts.” The BOE will likely sign a resolution opposing the amendment at its Sept. 6 meeting. But BOE member Lynn Stevens said teachers and administrators also need to get involved.
“If our teachers are happy being teachers in the cultures in the schools that we have created, then they need to fight this with their heart and souls,” said Stevens. “…And they have the power, along with the administrators to send a message to the governor to go to hell and take his money with him.” (emphasis added).
Ahem. Barrow Schools aren’t failing, and most (79%) of the students who attend BCSS graduate. The system has a “College and Career Readiness Placement Index” (CCRPI, an acronym you’ll hear a lot about this fall) of 74 -which is higher than most, but well out of contention for being near the top. The system is also the 4th largest charter system in the state, as well as a “PK-12 Research Charter System Designate.” And whatever that means, it doesn’t SOUND like it means “we’re satisfied with the status quo of public education in Barrow.” It sounds like they’re trying to get more and better education for the 13,400 or so Barrow County students and the $103,000,000~ they spend on them. Were it not for Board member Stevens’ comment, you’d think a school system with stats like that would WANT to make sure that no student got stuck in a failing school, and that the chance to get ahead was available to EVERY student.
Governor Deal certainly does. He believes it’s a ‘moral duty’ to make sure that Georgia students have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty: “When we talk about helping failing schools, we’re talking about rescuing children. I stand firm on the principle that every child can learn, and I stand equally firm in the belief that the status quo isn’t working.” Whether or not the “status quo” is working depends on where you’re looking, of course. Georgia’s public schools in the city of Atlanta are struggling to turn themselves around. Again. Georgia’s public schools in DeKalb County have several schools that would be eligible for state takeover -although most of them would be off the potential takeover list if they keep improving. In fact, most of the schools identified as “perpetually failing” have started to improve, once it became clear that this governor was not content to accept a fresh round of excuses from educrats whose sinful inertia creates a perpetual cohort of Georgia students mired in failure and poverty.
Opposing the Opportunity School District because there’s a failing school in YOUR district is understandable. Opposing it because it would be used in other districts is a head-scratcher. And telling your Governor to “go to hell and take his money with him” is especially puzzling, given that 67% of Barrow County Schools’ revenue comes from the state. (On behalf of Georgia taxpayers in metro Atlanta: You’re welcome, Barrow County!)
Board member Stevens probably didn’t mean to tell Governor Deal to cut Barrow County Schools’ revenue by two-thirds, and Governor Deal doesn’t seem like the kind of reckless and petty person to even consider such a thing. But when elected “Republicans” from whiteflightville want to trash-talk a sitting Governor and bite the hand that feeds their budgets because he’s proposed an education reform in an attempt to help Georgia students who need the most help, ie, mostly poor, mostly black, mostly urban kids?
The devil on my shoulder says “Do it!”