John Barge’s Reply To Edward Lindsey’s Open Letter

Dear Rep. Lindsey,

Thank you for your comments on my position on the charter schools amendment. As the state’s top education official, I felt it was important stand up for the 1.6 million students and 111,000 teachers in Georgia’s public schools. I fully support creating high quality charter schools, but I cannot support the constitutional amendment. It would be harmful to the 2,300 public schools in the state that have been cut more than $4 billion since 2008. I am a true conservative who believes in limited government and fiscal responsibility. Establishing a charter school commission would go against both of those principles. First and foremost, we must work to restore school calendars to 180 days and make sure teachers are getting their full annual pay. A new state agency that duplicates the existing work of the state Department of Education and the powers of the State Board of Education – while taking away local control and costing taxpayers millions of dollars – is just plain wrong. If the amendment passes, I will honor the wishes of Georgia voters, but I could not stay silent on an issue so critical to our public schools. I look forward to continuing to work with you on issues relating to education in Georgia.


John Barge
State School Superintendent



Filed under Charter Schools, Edward Lindsey, Georgia Education, John Barge

6 responses to “John Barge’s Reply To Edward Lindsey’s Open Letter

  1. The Money

    There is no need for a constitutional amendment to appoint a group of individuals to start more charters in Georgia. The state already has the authority to do this through existing mechanisms. The charters we have do not represent an improved educational option. In Georgia charters do not outperform the typical school counterparts. Why divert funds to organizations that do not have sufficient oversight, can avoid accountability, and do not perform better than the schools we already have? I am a Republican, but there is something other than policy and educational improvement at work in the GOP’s agenda here.

  2. Middle School

    Sounds like my middle school daughter and her friends in a texting argument. I hate you, I love you, I hate you, I love you.

  3. JK

    The state constitution is the wrong place to define responsibilities for educating our children.
    The constitution provides a framework within which our elected officials craft laws and regulations that add order to our way of life. Using the constitution as an alternative to legislative action only invites endless legal proceedings, turning what should be positive cooperation into unnecessary competition.
    As the legal proceedings ensue, “attorney full-employment” practices kick in and the taxpayer gets to pay for both sides of an argument that never should have occurred. We taxpayers (at least this one) should expect our elected officials to lead, and quit acting like school children arguing over who got the biggest piece of the pie or who gets to be boss.
    If there is a problem with education – we should demand that the educators fix it. Or, replace them. Simply adding another element of oversight will quickly turn into over-management. The students lose, the parents lose, and the taxpayers get hosed.
    As concerned citizens we should evaluate the Boards of Education and make sure we vote for people that will lead education forward. Vote YES for quality education; Vote NO for constitutional intervention.

  4. JB

    I wonder if Rep. Lindsey has his students in public school? I also wonder how many Georgia state legislators have their children in public schools? Are our elected officials fighting for the best education for Georgia’s school children by never fully funding educational initiatives they propose? GOP, please take credit for your lack of interest in educational concerns, everyone knows the effects of your $4 billion in cuts; the truth is clear and politicians’ words cannot erase the disappointment felt by the state and the fears for our collective futures.

  5. Cat

    Boo, hiss! And hurray for Dr. Barge!

  6. Mitch

    Mr. Lindsey comments the graduation rate is only 60 percent, truth is that is at age 18. Take that to age 24 and the graduation rate is 90 percent and has been there for many years.