So much for “small government” Republicans.
Georgia has recenly passed SB 133, a bill that allows for what is essentially a state level takeover of failing elementary and secondary schools by adding them to an Opportunity School District(OSD). Despite being passed by the House and Senate, it still requires voters to approve it via the statewide election in November as it would need an amendment to the state constitution.
The idea has been painted as a way to help students in failing school districprints, by allowing the Governor to appoint a superintendent of these schools that will report directly to the Governor. This will effectively move how the school is managed from groups like parents in the PTA to the state government. The state would then have full authority on hiring teachers and principals, modifying curriculum, and controlling the budget.
Schools will qualify for the OSD program based on the College and Career Readiness Performance Index(CCRPI) for the precedig 3 years. The state is only allowed to add 20 such schools to the OSD each year. Each school may only be part of the OSD for 5-10 years, when it would then transition back to local control.
With the reputation government has for managing anything, it’s hard to believe they would have any success managing individual schools any better. Not to mention, moving responsibility further from the people affected(local to state oversight) is hardly ever a good idea. Individuals are the best assessors of what is good for them, not the state.
Instead of moving these responsibilities away from the individuals, we should be taking a look at what we can do to move them closer. We could be implementing programs to give people a choice as to what schools they will attend, creating competition that will drive results upward. A voucher program could solve that problem. Essentially, students and their parents would be allowed to choose the school they’d like to attend. If a school is failing, people could move to other, better performing schools, which would either promote the existing, failing school to change some of it’s methods and turn itself around, or let it fail and be replaced by a school that can do better.