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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The BIG Picture: Voter's Guide To Georgia (Charter School) Amendment 1

Remembering Georgia's (Charter School) Amendment 1 ...

October 28, 2012

About Derrick Brown

I am an analyst who develops and reports metrics that assess each Georgia school's academic, operational, and governance performance.

I am an agent of accountability, much like a big brother - but not like “Big Brother”.

From 2004-2010, I served as a founding faculty member, governing board representative, administrator, and consultant at a public charter school.

About The (Charter School) Constitutional Amendment

In November 2012, Georgia’s voters will decide whether to amend Georgia’s constitution to allow the state to authorize charter schools that have been denied by local school boards.

There are two opposing factions that have emerged, who hold mutually exclusive views (i.e., they see the same picture, but view it through similarly biased frames of reference) about the amendment’s impact …

Amendment Supporters Think It ...
Amendment Opposers Think It ...
1.       Creates a substantive appeals option for charter school petitions that are rejected by local school boards. 1.       Creates a redundant bureaucracy - because school petitions that are rejected by local school boards can already appeal directly to Georgia’s State Board of Education.
2.       Creates more public school options. 2.       Creates a parallel public school system run entirely by the State.
3.       Creates innovative teaching and learning methods, healthy competition, and shared best practices among public schools – which benefits Georgia’s students. 3.       Creates more profit opportunities for out-of-state school management companies.
4.       Creates a system of schools with the ultimate measure of accountability – if they do not perform, they are closed. 4.       Creates a system of schools with no true measures of accountability.

I offer a simple, sober message of hope and accountability to both factions …

1.    Understand the flaws of your position.

We have all believed in something – only to later find out that it was not quite what we thought it was …

(The) Boogeyman
Ex-Boyfriends & Girlfriends
Professional Wrestling
Santa Claus
(The) Tooth Fairy

Spend ample time being forthcoming about your side’s shortcomings – including future unintended consequences, and other elements of the issue that you do not understand.

Inform your perceptions, challenge your assumptions, then help the undecided public understand the issues – so that they can make informed decisions.

2.    Sometimes "let go"; sometimes "let know".

The Bible contains a passage that almost seems to contradict itself – until closer examination …

Proverbs 26:4-5
New International Version (NIV)

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes.

In the jungle, those who become consumed with gnats and mosquitoes are often trampled by elephants. Pick your battles, and make sure you fight the right fight.

3.    Sometimes the cause masks the agenda.

Slavery was once a policy that opposing factions argued for and against with great passion.

Ditto for Prohibition, and denying the right to vote to people because of their skin color or gender.

Policies are created, challenged, and changed by self-interested humans who may be guided as much by ambition and myopia as they are by principles.

4.    Sometimes our causes mask our issues.

The media (which now includes the blogosphere) is littered with assumptions, perceptions, intentional manipulations, meaningless data, half-truths (also referred to as “true lies”), innuendo, and vitriol. Volumes of this content is produced and consumed daily by folks who love to argue.

In this fight, both sides justify both their passions and vices by stating that they are for children.

Folks who love to argue may not do so because of their passion – they may just love to argue.


Derrick Brown
Email: derrick.s.brown@att.net

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