Charters on the ballot in Georgia


by David Safier

Follow the money. A ballot measure would set up a state commission to authorize new charters — a similar situation to what we have here in the Wild West of Charter Schools, where all you need to get a charter authorized is an application and a pulse. Right now, local school boards authorize Georgia charters.

Groups supporting the measure are outspending their opponents 15 to 1. It's a mixed bag of supporters, including the educationally naive Bill and Melinda Gates (I know some people think they have evil intentions. I think they're reasonably well meaning rich people who believe rich people know more than the rest of us, and the corporate model that has served them so well is the ideal model for every enterprise.), along with a Koch brothers front organization, Charter Management Organizations and Michelle Rhee's group.

In Washington, donors supporting the charter ballot initiative include Bill and Melinda Gates; the parents of Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon; and Nicholas Hanauer, a prominent venture capitalist. Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton, has contributed to campaigns supporting the measures in both Georgia and Washington.

Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party organization founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, has donated to a committee supporting the charter amendment in Georgia. Students First, a group run by Michelle A. Rhee, the former schools chancellor in the District of Columbia, has also contributed and is helping to organize supporters in the state.

The roster of contributors in Georgia includes several companies that manage charter schools, including K12 Inc., Charter Schools USA and National Heritage Academies.

Oddly, some Tea Party members have joined Dems opposing the measure along with the Republican State Ed Supe, though the article doesn't say why.

The battle to privatize education marches on. This army doesn't travel on its stomach. It rides in a limo over a road paved with hundred dollar bills.


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