As a Rockdale County small business owner, I care about my community and about the youth we are educating to become strong leaders. My children are well beyond school age, but I care deeply about the contract that we foster with our children to help them to develop and nurture our community into the foreseeable future.
There are 17 public schools in Rockdale County, serving 14,407 students most are striving, and on the whole, I know that educators work every day to help our children succeed. In my business, I’ve worked side by side with student interns, actively participated in youth leadership programs, and visited middle and high schools to talk about entrepreneurship. One thing that I know for sure is that active involvement creates partnerships among schools, community groups and individuals. These partnerships result in sharing and maximizing resources.
Quality education levels the playing field for all our children. Critical thinking skills, social accountability, and financial independence all stem from education. The key, though, is a combination of community involvement and adequate resources. For this reason I am adamantly opposed to the state takeover of schools proposed by Governor Nathan Deal. As it is designed to do, the language used to describe the amendment sounds like the answer to every parent’s prayer. When in fact it will lead to the same nightmares that other states have experienced after implementing similar schemes. I encourage everyone that I know to vote NO on November 8th to the proposed amendment to Georgia’s Constitution.
Evidence shows that of the 3 states that have attempted state takeover of schools, none have been successful. Louisiana and Tennessee have recently voted to end their programs and return state-run schools to the local districts. The Governor’s plan to take over “so called failing schools” is no more than a thinly disguised attempt to privatize schools in Georgia at the expense of local governments. There are a few threshold questions that the Governor has yet to answer. Why hasn’t he utilized all available resources before jeopardizing our children’s education? Why is the Governor ignoring the results of the badly conceived experiments that have failed children in 3 states?
Why can’t the Governor call upon our State Department of Education—that already has the tools to help schools—to work with successful school districts in Georgia to identify best practices to benefit our children? Shame on you Governor Deal for putting profit ahead of progress. Our children deserve better.
Elaine Davis Nickens is chair of the Rockdale Democratic Party.