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Ga. Senate could hear school voucher bill

ATLANTA (AP) -- GOP leaders have revived a bill that would expand Georgia's school voucher program to include military families and foster care children.

Senate Bill 87 would use taxpayer money to give students the option of attending the school of their choice, including private schools.

GOP leaders have tried for years to expand the voucher program with little success. Opponents say vouchers take funding away from cash-starved public school districts.

The bill must pass Wednesday, known as Crossover Day, for it to remain alive. Legislation must pass at least one chamber of the Legislature by the 30th day of the session.

The bill is part of a crowded calendar for the Senate, which will also hear a constitutional amendment that allows the state to create charter schools.

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Online:

S.B. 87: http://www.legis.ga.gov

Comments

Deb54 2 years, 9 months ago

"Opponents say vouchers take funding away from cash-starved public school districts." Ya think?!!! When are lawmakers going to wake up and realize that the voucher system is a BAD idea?

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NewsReader 2 years, 9 months ago

When it is actually proven to be a bad idea - which it hasn't. And by all accounts, it never will!

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FactChecker 2 years, 9 months ago

Actually, we do have stats that demonstrate a need to alter our concept of charter schools. Only 17% of charter schools can demonstrate an improvement over similar public schools while 37% actually perform worse than their public counterpart. We should recognize that charters can be divided into sub categories of those that are operated by public school systems, hence conform to standards and policies of local BOE. Then we have corporate charters. Gwinnett county BOE operates several charters like New Life Academy of Excellence which can demonstrate significant improved performance. In fact, I found numerous public operated charters that exceed their non charter counterparts. I was unable to find stats that support this anecdotal evidence that public school system charters outperform private charters but it is something that should be compiled before passing an amendment to the state constitution that uses money from local taxpayers to support schools where they have no input into the operation. One thing is certain, the name "charter" does not make it a better school and local public school systems should not be forced to pay for schools when they have no control over the proper operation of these schools.

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LoganvilleResident 2 years, 9 months ago

It is a bad idea for many reasons.

  1. Tax money for education is meant to provide for the good of all children - not just a single few.

  2. We keep placing mandates on our school system yet taking money away from them. i.e. They have to notify the state about school attendance. They have to pay for and give this test.. or that test. Now we want our school nurses and staff to receive training on specific medical conditions... The list goes on and on...

  3. I have the same fundamental problem with vouchers that I have with this charter bill. You take money that I pay and funnel it into a system where I lose all control over it.

The only response that I've heard justifying #3 is that I give up control of other tax money too. This argument is no different than the... if your friends jump off a bridge, would you do it too?

Education needs to be handled by a local elected board of education with minimal interference from the state or federal government.

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BuzzG 2 years, 9 months ago

Vouchers give power to parents. Under the present system, all the power goes to a monopoly government run program, looking very much like programs under the former Soviet Union. Teachers unions hate giving power to parents. They find it much easier to control a monopoly government program.

It is time to free our children from a mediocre school system. It is time for vouchers.

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LoganvilleResident 2 years, 9 months ago

Vouchers take my tax money and give it to private corporations and parents where I have no control over it. If you want your child to go to a private school, pay for it. If you can't, take advantage of the free public education that is offered to everyone. It isn't a hard concept.

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Jan 2 years, 9 months ago

Fact: Georgia does not allow teacher unions. Fact: Vouchers give very little choice. The best private schools, like St. Pius, achieve this with smaller class loads for teachers and special tutoring programs. The vouchers would only cover about 20% of the tuition ($11,430 at St. Pius). In addition, parents would have uniforms to buy and in most cases be required to supply transportation. Fact. the charter schools not run by public school systems are much more likely to fall below public schools than above public schools. Fact: We know education achievement is improved when we lower the number of students in a class, yet the first response to the budget problems was to increase class sizes. Public schools do perform better when properly funded. Gwinnett student performance exceeds the state average because Gwinnett supplements education dollars better than most counties. And final fact: Better education helps keep people employed, thus should be a concern, not only of parents, but every tax payer.

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