'Opportunity School District' proposal faces criticism from state educators

Opportunity school district proposal faces criticism from state educators

Columbus, GA (WTVM) -  As election day draws near, educators in Georgia want to inform parents of a potential change to the state's public education system, which will appear on their ballots.

We spoke with Sid Chapman, president of the Georgia Association of Educators. 

The GAE and several other teacher's associations have come out against the amendment which creates an "Opportunity School District" for state lawmakers to come in and fix failing schools in each county. 

"The language on the amendment is deceiving," Chapman said, "because it sounds like 'Well, who would be opposed to the state of Georgia intervening into chronically failing schools?' It's an amendment to the constitution. The devil is in the details, so to speak."

Lawmakers look at the College and Career Ready Performance Index, or CCRPI, to determine which schools have not adequately performed.

In Muscogee County, eight schools - both elementary and middle - have been deemed as failing institutions. All are in areas where students face higher levels of poverty and hunger. 

Chapman and other opponents argue a vote for this amendment will take away control from local school boards all across the state and give it to those inside the state bureaucracy. 

"If you have a school that comes in, a private charter management," Chapman said. "They come in and just fire every teacher and they're not necessarily certified teachers; they don't bring these wrap-around community services that these students so desperately need."

Beyond that, Chapman said he believes this proposal could put all other school employees under a microscope. 

"Once this were to pass, there's nothing to prevent the Georgia General Assembly to go and change that arbitrary number to 100 percent, it could change the whole way we do business with teaching," Chapman said. 

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