State school board endorses governor’s Opportunity School District

At its meeting today, the appointed Georgia Board of Education endorsed Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District.

The resolution says the state school board supports the OSD “in order to improve the education of Georgia children trapped in failing schools.” Voters will decide Amendment 1 in November.

If the amendment passes, the governor will gain sweeping new powers to take over schools deemed failing by their performance on state tests. Deal and subsequent governors can choose to take over such schools and hand them and their local funding to the appointed OSD superintendent. Then, the schools can be reconstituted, turned over to charter management or even closed.

The state board resolution has some peculiar wording leading up to the statement of support, which may reflect political concerns. The resolution seems to go out of its way to mention local districts, which will likely have little role in the OSD.

Condemnation of the board action came quickly. “By passing the governor’s school takeover resolution, the State Board of Education is telling Georgia parents, students and teachers that they support gutting local control of our schools,” said Louis Elrod, campaign manager for Keep Georgia Schools Local, which opposes the OSD.

Deal praised the state board, saying, “By supporting the Opportunity School District, the State Board of Education is taking a stand against the failing status quo.”

To read more about the resolution, go to the AJC Get Schooled blog.

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