Friday, October 23, 2009

GCSA: DeKalb Schools Lawsuit Takes Away Civil Rights

District wants to take away a parents’ right for public school choice

The Georgia Charter Schools Association takes great exception with the decision by the DeKalb County Public Schools and Superintendent Crawford Lewis to sue the State of Georgia and the Georgia Charter Schools Commission for the purpose of maintaining control of the educational choice options of parents and students in the county.

DeKalb County Public Schools, with a student population of 100,000, 72,000 of which are African American, has never met AYP and has seen the number of schools within the district failing to meet AYP grow from 18 to 30 in the same time period. The 30 schools which did not make AYP during the 2008 – 2009 school year have a combined 94 percent minority student population.

DeKalb and Gwinnett school officials have falsely asserted that the state is reallocating local funds to Ivy Preparatory Academy, an ethnically diverse all-girls charter middle school in Norcross, and that this threatens the overall quality of public education in the county. Both are incorrect.

Lawsuit about controlling quality educational options

“In light of the poor performance of schools in the DeKalb School District, the need for charter schools and options other than district-run schools there is profound and undeniable,” said Georgia Charter Schools Association Chief Executive Officer Tony Roberts, Ph.D. “Launching this lawsuit demonstrates that the DeKalb School District would rather spend its limited resources to fight the Georgia Charter Schools Commission than to do right by its students and their parents. Students who have left their failing schools for a school like Ivy Preparatory Academy did so for good reason and should not be denied the benefits of taxpayer funded public education—which the lawsuit attempts to do.”

Through the Georgia Charter Schools Commission, an independent charter authorizing body created by the passing and signing of HB881 in 2008, the state is now funding Commission-approved charter schools at a level equivalent to that of traditional public schools. Ivy Preparatory Academy in Gwinnett County and Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts and Technology in Bulloch County are the state’s only charter schools approved by the Commission.
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