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Using Students for Politics & Influence Peddling

I was in Augusta, Georgia on Friday and Saturday and during the local evening news program, there was a TV Ad supporting the Charter School Amendment on the November ballot. The TV Ad was paid for by Families for Better Public Schools, which is chaired by Georgia Republican Representative Edward Lindsey.

The TV Ad features a student at Ivy Preparatory Academy, in Norcross, Georgia. The video can be seen on the Families for Better Public Schools website.

Representative Edward Lindsey is Chairman of Families for Georgia Public Schools, a “social welfare organization” (according to its website) that is underwriting the campaign to convince Georgia voters to approve the Charter school Amendment. If approved, the Georgia Charter School Commission will be allowed to receive and approve applications for charter schools anywhere in the state, even with out local or the Department of Education’s approval.

This amendment is a political and corporate power play that will result in the formation of a separate stream of charter schools that the state can not afford. A few political appointees will have the power to do this, and they will have little to no accountability.

Lindsay uses double speak in his effort to get this amendment approved. He not only is chairman of the organization that has raised nearly all of its money to support the bill from out-of-state, including a billionaire from the Walton family and thousands of dollars from charter schools operators in Michigan, and Florida and other states. Very little financial support has come from Georgians. Now this is the same man who scolded Georgia’s State School Superintendent for coming out against the amendment, and stating his opinions publicly. He wrote a letter, and actually called Dr. Barge a liar.

Yet Lindsey heads up an organization for the sole purpose of raising money to run ads to get Georgians to pass his amendment. Yes, his amendment. He was one of the three Georgia House members that intro ducted the bill. And, not only that, he’s a member of ALEC, the organization that wrote the charter amendment in the first place.

So, Lindsey and others that support a bill that they claim will give parents a choice in the schooling of their children, actually use children to gain a political and corporate foothold in Georgia Public education. The flagrant use of a student in this ad shows the levels of deceit that those in power will go to convince the public. If this is such a good idea for Georgians, why is almost all of the money to support Lindsey’s idea coming from outside the state?

Georgia already has more than 100 charter schools. Some of the charters are good. Some of the charters are not so good. But the evidence from journaled research shows that public schools are actually doing a better job educating American youth than most charter schools.

It’s time for Georgians to realize that the charter Amendment has nothing to do with school choice for families, but is a slippery way to corporatize public education, and cut the stability of schools as we know them.

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Jack Hassard

Jack Hassard is a former high school science teacher and Professor Emeritus of Science Education, Georgia State University. While at Georgia State he was coordina...