Georgia State Superintendent John Barge has broken with the rank-and-file Republican leadership. He opposes a proposed amendment that would take away local control of permitting charter schools and place it in the hands of a new state agency.
"I cannot support the creation of a new and costly state bureaucracy that takes away local control of schools and unnecessarily duplicates the good work already being done by local districts, the Georgia Department of Education, and the state Board of Education," Barge said in a prepared statement that was quoted in the AJC.
"What's more, this constitutional amendment would direct taxpayer dollars into the pockets of out-of-state, for-profit charter school companies whose schools perform no better than traditional public schools and locally approved charter schools (and worse, in some cases)," the statement said.
Barge echoes sentiments expressed by both EmpowerED Georgia, an advocacy organization for public education, and by . Both have decried the amendment for taking away control from local school boards.
The Republican superintendent says he continues to support “quality charter schools." Existing law allows local school boards to authorize the independent campuses, and more than 100 charter schools have opened in Georgia, according to a story in today's Athens Banner Herald,