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Lawrence Reed Columnist

Published Thursday, September 13, 2012

The charter school issue comes down to choice

In less than two months, Georgia voters will decide an important question about the future of education in our state: Should charter schools be authorized by a statewide, appointed commission or must they secure the approval of local school boards?

I’ve lived in Georgia for less than three years, but I worked on education reform issues for 30 years in Michigan. The two states are hundreds of miles apart but in so many ways, the issues of charter schools and education reform share the same background and alignment of special interests.

From the first moment that terms like “choice,” “competition” and “accountability” entered the education reform debate in Michigan, they generated fear and attacks from the government school establishment (we called it the “Blob,” and it was comprised of the unions, the bureaucracy and the administrators). It’s pretty much the same here in Georgia.

From the state superintendent down to the local superintendents and countless assistant superintendents and the assistants to the assistant superintendents, ad nauseum, the administrators with few exceptions were against these reforms. They’re basically bought and paid for by the establishment (they’re a big chunk of it, in fact) and they’re usually happy with the status quo, whether it works for the students or not. They’re not paid to be entrepreneurs; they’re paid to be bureaucrats and that’s the way they think and behave. They claim their product is so good they shouldn’t have to compete and you uninformed parents can’t be trusted with more choice. True in Michigan, true in Georgia too.

Teacher unions have always been more powerful in Michigan than in Georgia, but that’s to our credit here. Union leaders just want you to send the cash and the kids and keep your mouth shut. In fact, they really don’t care if you even send the kids, just so you send the cash. Then they force their own members to cough up the dues that fund their pet political causes, invariably left-wing.

I remember how hard it was to get charter schools off the ground in Michigan. Every stupid, self-serving argument in the establishment’s playbook was used but in the end, Michigan did get a charter school law that set up not just one but many charter school authorizers. The great majority of the hundreds of charters in Michigan have been issued by universities, in fact. Waiting for a local school board to allow a competing charter was fruitless and asinine in Michigan, just as it is in Georgia.

The whole issue comes down to whether or not you’re afraid of choice. If you’re part of the establishment that likes the comfort of a protected, non-competitive, tax-funded environment, you’d be an exceptional person of high character and courage if you wanted to give your customers lots of choice. Most will take the easy way out and stand pat for the status quo. That was the case in Michigan, and it’s just as true here.

................

(Lawrence W. Reed, a resident of Newnan, is president of the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, N.Y., and Atlanta.)

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Charter School for Georgia

9/18/2012

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No! I grew up with well funded public education and it worked just fine. For profit, even the non profit charters, decide what to teach children without any parental or much other input. Many are religious backed. Keep well funded public schools with active PTA participation and you will have better educated kids.

Posted by Gayle Muskus at 6:08 PM

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  10. Obituary: Herbert Lee Emory, 61, of Douglasville, Georgia, passed away Saturday, April 12, 2014. He was born April 2, 1953 in Transylvania County, North Carolina, the son of Mrs. Joyce Sanders Emory and the late Mr. John Lee Emory. In 1971, he left his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and moved to Atlanta where he attended the Atlanta School of Broadcasting and National School of Broadcasting. He was a longtime WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News traffic reporter, and was referred to as “Captain Herb.” He had been with WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News since 1991. Captain Herb has served as an Atlanta traffic reporter since 1971. He previously was a News/Traffic reporter from 1978 through 1991 with WSNE (Cumming), WDGL (Douglasville), WFOM (Marietta), WACX (Austell), WQXI-AM, 94Q-Star 94, Georgia Network News. Over the years, he spent many hours a week in a helicopter hovering over metro Atlanta’s traffic and was known as a friend to the Atlanta commuters. He had a great love for radio, NASCAR and community involvement. He hosted more charity events than any other WSB personality, including hosting the annual Toys for Tots fundraiser at Fred’s Barbecue House, Lithia Springs. Captain Herb hosted and produced the WSB Speed Shop auto racing, with his wife, Karen, from 1993 until 2011. He has earned at least 15 First Place Awards, including two Green Eyeshades, for news and traffic reports from the Georgia Associated Press Assoc. and other media organizations. He served as President of the Georgia Associated Press Broadcasters Association (GAPBA) in 1990/91 and served on the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Board of Directors. He was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the inaugural Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award in 2012. He had a great love for Douglas County and was always willing to volunteer for community events, particularly those involving children, the military and veterans. He had a great respect for all First Responders across the nation and had a special friendship with members of the Douglas County Sheriff Department. He served on the Friends of Sweetwater Creek State Park Board of Directors, and was a member of the Douglas County Animal Control Advisory Board. Captain Herb most recently emceed the homecoming for Olympic Medalist Elana Meyers and helped escort the "Remembering Our Fallen" exhibit with the American Legion Riders to the Douglas County Courthouse. He will be greatly missed by his family, coworkers, friends, neighbors and the community. In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by his son, Joseph Lee Emory his father-in-law, William Martinell; and uncle, Rev. Joseph Sanders. He is survived by his beloved wife of 24 years, Karen Emory of Douglasville; his mother, Joyce Sanders Emory of North Carolina; aunt, Doris C. Sanders of Florida; cousins, Loriane and John Lambert of Indiana and Debra Jo and Frank Bright of Florida, and J.J. Bright of Florida; mother-in-law, Joan Martinell of Newnan; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Lynn Wilson of Alpharetta, Patty and John Baker of Ft. Collins, CO, Robyn Adams of Senoia, and Bill and Sherry Martinell of Eugene, OR; five nephews, Ryan Wilson of Alpharetta, Russell and Kate Baker of Fort Collins, CO, Matthew Baker of Tampa, FL, Bryan Baker of Aspen, CO, and Patrick Baker of Denver, CO; one niece, Tayler Schnoor of Senoia; and adopted aunt, Geneva Gold of Newnan. Captain Herb’s impact was so eloquently stated by his colleague WSB’s Clark Howard: “He died of a heart attack, which is so ironic. This was a man who had more heart than anyone who I’ve ever had the privilege to know.” Anyone who had contact with Captain Herb, either in person or on the radio, will feel the loss of this great man. His family extended beyond his relatives especially to those members of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and his WSB Family, who he loved so much. His love of his family, friends and community will live on in the hearts of all those who ever had contact with Captain Herb. The family will receive friends at Jones-Wynn Funeral Home in Douglasville Tuesday, April 15, from 3 until 5 p.m. and from 7 until 9 p.m. Private Family Memorial Services will be conducted. His WSB Family will conduct a Celebration and Memorial for the public at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Captain Herb Emory may be made to the Douglas County Animal Shelter, 8700 Hospital Drive, Douglasville, GA 30134 – http://www.eventbrite.com/e/donation-in-honor-and-memory-of-captain-herb-emory-registration-9364175501 or A Gift of Love Services, 3870 Longview Drive, Douglasville, GA 30135 –http://www.agiftofloveservices.org . Captain Herb would want everyone to keep a smile on your face and song in your heart. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family at www.jones-wynn.com .
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