September 20, 2016 4:40 PM
In 47 days, Georgians will vote on the Opportunity School District (OSD) amendment. Put another way, Georgians will vote whether or not to force kids to stay in chronically failing schools. Anti-OSD forces dropped a television ad with the same old arguments used for years to scare people into submission. It’s, quite frankly, shameful.
It seems curious that the opposition is focused more on adult problems than the simple fact that any school that is put under state control has to be failing for three straight years. This is about the education establishment protecting their turf, jobs, and hierarchy while students are being robbed of opportunity and economic mobility because of where their parents can afford to live.
For every person screaming “but local control!,” where is the local accountability? Why are you content with sending your tax dollars to schools that continue to fail the same kids, year after year? And despite these failing schools getting at least two types of additional grants on top of state funding (Race to the Top and SIG), they continue to do nothing and scream “even more money!”
Arguments used by opponents ignore basic facts. Some of their arguments, I’d say, are downright lies. They argue OSD is an aggressive state takeover of public schools, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. OSD is providing accountability where none exists. OSD is our state declaring that failing schools are unacceptable.
OSD is our state telling kids stuck in poor schools that we care about their future.
In an op-ed written by Senator Elena Parent, a vocal opponent of OSD, she notes that the amendment fails to address other factors impacting students. That’s exactly why we need OSD: Local accountability is nearly nonexistent.
At the end of the day, anti-Opportunity School District forces seek to keep thousands of kids in failing schools, to protect the education establishment, and to reinforce the education hierarchy. For them, it’s not about kids stuck in failing schools for reasons entirely out of their control. That’s a problem.