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GCPS Superintendent: Georgia 'Has Become Our Opponent' in Education

Alvin Wilbanks' statement on the Charter School Amendment cites "efforts by some to ... dismantle public education."

From Suwanee Patch

Updated, Nov. 9, 1:55 p.m.

Gwinnett Schools Superintendent Alvin Wilbanks has issued a statement expressing disappointment that Georgia voters passed the Charter Schools Amendment on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The state's voters, by a strong majority, approved Amendment One, which allows for state officials to approve publicly funded charter schools, without the permission of local school boards.

Wilbanks' statement said the amendment "is not in the best interest of students and public education in this state."

-- How do you feel about the Charter Schools Amendment passing? Do you feel the Gwinnett system should remain the sole authority for charter schools in this county? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

"We are disappointed that with the passage of Amendment 1 the state, rather than being our partner, has become our opponent in the all-important work of educating the state’s children," the statement read.

The Gwinnett system, which is the state's largest with almost 165,000 students, has four charter schools within its ranks. New Life Academy of Excellence, the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Maxwell School of Technology and the Gwinnett Online Campus are set up by GCPS according to charter school rules.

However, the recent controversy over Peachtree Corners-based Ivy Prep Academy, an all-girls charter school, shows the controversial nature of the just-passed amendment.

Ivy Prep operated under GCPS control from mid-2011 until January 2012. It continues to operate as a State Charter Special School, according to the Georgia DOE website.

Wilbanks' statement added: "The intentionally misleading ballot language, the massive amounts of money that poured in from out of state companies to promote the amendment, and the brazen attempts to silence the opposing voices were too much for our significantly less-well-funded grassroots campaign to overcome.

"I do need to thank those many Georgians who with their “no” votes rejected the efforts by some to privatize, defund, and dismantle public education."

Already, one lawsuit has been filed against the amendment, and ballot language is cited. (See link below.)

For Wilbanks' complete statement, visit the Gwinnett schools' website.

Peachtree Corners Patch contributed to this article.

See also:

  • Georgia Charter Schools Amendment: What Will My Vote Mean?
  • Georgia Charter Schools Amendment Appears to Pass

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Amanda Helmstetter November 10, 2012 at 11:21 PM
The wonderful thing that just happened on Tuesday of this week is that the PEOPLE spoke. We made a decision, we didn't have to take anyone else's word on the status of the public educational system - we decided that status quo was not sufficient for every child in the State of Ga. If you don't want a charter school in your county, then simply don't make it necessary for even one child to need an alternative. Instead of making the State your opponent on this issue - you should take a long hard look at your own house and make sure you are doing everything you need to to take care of the kids in Gwinnett county. If you do that, then you simply won't have to worry about a charter school you don't approve of in your county. Please stop spending my taxpayer money on lawsuits to try to get your way and stop whining about the wording on the ballot. Just focus your efforts on creating a world class educational system for ALL kids in the Gwinnett County Public School system - and then you won't have to worry about this.
Annette Rogers November 11, 2012 at 12:18 AM
What/where is the link to the lawsuit?
lee kellogg November 12, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Mr Wilbanks is only half correct. It was not the "state" that let the citizens of Georgia down and became an opponent of better education. It was the corrupt, greedy Republicans that control the state and their bizarre allies from some far hell hole, the big money Jesus coalition that will now control what happens with tax money that should be spent on public education. That there is no real Jesus involved in anyway should be obvious. Republicans can ruin the educational system and support a great university like Georgia Tech, and their ideology is both dishonest and beyond logic.

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