Destroying Local Control
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, June 14, 2013 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
Good morning, Jim. They’ve been working on it for a very long time and the demise of local control over education is almost gone. I knew we were in trouble when education elitists said “local school boards are dysfunctional,” probably because they are elected and hard to control. As the “dysfunctional” label took root in Georgia, efforts were made to appoint members of local school boards, but that failed, as did efforts to appoint the state school superintendent.
However, the 14-member (one from each congressional district) State Board of Education is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the State Senate for seven-year terms. Meaning, voters don’t elect them and voters can’t replace them.
While thinking about that, consider this. By a margin of 14 to one, the appointed State Board of Education that makes education policy out-numbers the elected state school superintendent, who presides over State School Board meetings. So, the one voice elected by voters is out-numbered by 14 voices appointed by the governor. But, since the governor is elected as well, the actual ratio of elected voices to appointed voices is 14 to two. That means the greatest influence over education in Georgia is not voters! It’s the governor!
The State Constitution authorizes locally elected boards of education to manage and control schools and voters are constitutionally authorized to elect and replace local members. But two decades ago, Georgia adopted the Next Generation School (NGS) project to transfer control of education from the local level to state and federal levels and, also, give teachers and staff control over schools, a direct contradiction to the State Constitution. Continue reading