The following rant is my response to an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle entitled, “Georgia’s Schools Chief Opposes Charter School Amendment”

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I voted for John Barge in 2011 with the hope that he would support the Charter school movement in Georgia. Rationale he is using now is that public school funding will be reduced if Charter School Amendment is passed. Where is our priority? With students or the Teacher’s Union?

Source of following data can be found here:

If funding per pupil is a predictor of academic achievement, California would produce the students most prepared to move forward into higher education. Georgia would rank #10 in US for best prepared students.

Funding for public elementary and secondary education in US has doubled since 1992 ($10,515 per student is the US average in 2010, $5,001 average per student in 1992) . Georgia spends on average $9,394 per student. Has the academic quality of students attending kept pace? There is NOT a direct correlation between funding and student performance, Dr. Barge.

Georgia public education (elementary & secondary) revenue in 2010 was $17,835,820 (Feds provide $2.6 million of this total). Within Georgia, more funding is directed to instructional staff support ($814,000) than to pupil support services ($764,000). Another $222,000 is directed toward general administrative support and $927,000 toward school administrative services. Add another $1.1 million for operation and maintenance. Also add $641,000 toward transportation.

Only 15% of the total elementary and secondary budget is directed to pupil support services within Georgia’s public schools. Another 16% toward instructional staff support services. Get it? 31% of the total revenue received in Georgia for elementary and secondary education is directed to the students and their classroom experience.

Georgia ranks 15th (this is high and most would say that is good) in the US in the amount spent on elementary & secondary education per $1,000 of personal income.

The public high school graduation rate in Georgia is 59.3%! I suppose we should be thankful in knowing we beat out South Carolina (58.8%) and Nevada (50.5%). Source: NCES Common Core Data

Georgia has the third lowest high school graduation rate in the U.S! Dr. Barge, the loss of public school funding to Charter schools certainly won’t negatively affect our students’ performance. We couldn’t be doing much worse. Obviously, Georgia’s return on our investment for public education is dismal.

We need to pass the Charter School Amendment in Georgia. Let’s fund the Charter schools in Georgia. Let’s try a different (and proven) approach to educating our children!