By Mike Klein
Governor Nathan Deal traveled to Cherokee County on Thursday morning to deliver a message about charter schools. “Parents quite frankly are the ultimate local control,” the Governor told parents, teachers, students, legislators and media who gathered at Cherokee Charter Academy to watch him sign this year’s charter schools commission implementation legislation.
“We hear that term used quite a bit but parents should be the ones who have a great say so in the way their children are educated,” Deal said. “We believe that if we empower the citizens of this state and give them those kinds of opportunities they will respond.”
The official business was a signing ceremony for House Bill 797 that establishes how the state would re-create a charter schools commission if voters approve a constitutional amendment in November. The bill also describes how state commission charter schools would be funded.
The unofficial business Thursday morning was to deliver a blunt message to those who continue to resist the charter schools movement that is trying to provide learning options in Georgia.
(Click here to watch the House Bill 797 signing ceremony on the Foundation YouTube channel.)
“Charter schools are in my opinion a key ingredient in the future educational success for the state of Georgia,” Governor Deal said. “We know that when you promote competition, when you promote strong parental involvement which charter schools by necessity must have, then you improve the overall climate in which learning takes place.”
This issue has polarized educators and families who are trying to innovate with local or state approved charters against school boards, superintendents and teachers whose associations oppose the state charter schools commission concept and the constitutional amendment.
Cherokee Charter Academy opened last August as a state charter school after the Cherokee County Board of Education twice denied its local charter application. Click here to learn more about Cherokee Charter Academy and its fight with the Cherokee County school board.
Constitutional amendment opponents argue charter schools take education dollars away from local schools. Deal answered that charge, saying, “House Bill 797 clearly states that local school districts will not miss out on funding because a charter school operates in their area.”
Lisa Grover of the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools presented Deal with the Alliance’s 2012 Champion for Charters Award for his actions to safeguard 15,000 students after last year’s state Supreme Court decision that voided the state charter schools commission.
Previous recipients of the National Alliance award include governors Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
(Click here to watch Governor Deal receive the 2012 Champion for Charters Award from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools on the Foundation YouTube channel.)
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