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www.gae.org | 27 During her testimony before the Georgia House Education Committee, Lisa combated the notion she and her colleagues weren’t doing their part to educate their students. “I’m highly insulted that anyone would suggest that I don’t have high academic expectations of my students. I’m personally insulted by that! I do everything I can for my students.” The vast majority of the schools on the OSD list are predominately located in poor, urban, and degraded communities in Georgia. The innumerable challenges that come from living in such areas cannot help but be pervasive in every aspect of the community. “These problems are not going to be solved by the Governor appointing a superintendent,” said Lisa as she concluded her statement. “The only way you’re going to solve my student’s problems is to come to my school - talk to me. Go to each of these schools - talk to the principals. If I never hear ‘failing schools’ again, I will be thrilled. Because I’m sorry, a school is made out of bricks and mortar. And we’re not buying deficient bricks in Georgia to build the schools. I think it’s a cop-out when we say failing schools. Because the schools aren’t failing - you’re talking about my babies.” While emotional and compelling, Lisa’s testimony that day seemed to have fallen on deaf ears. The OSD legislation passed both the Georgia state House and Senate. It will now be up to the citizens of Georgia to determine whether or not the state’s constitution will be amended to allow for the state takeover of local community schools. In 2016, the deceptively benevolent ballot initiative for OSD will read: “Shall the constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?” The question is not coming from teachers. The question is not coming from parents. The question is not even coming from the Board of Education. It’s coming from the Governor, who despite all of his many accomplishments is not an educator. So when it comes to the fate of Georgia’s future, shouldn’t we be listening to someone who knows more about his/her students’ potential than a system that has already deemed them as failing? To read more about the statewide coalition work to help stop the takeover of local schools, visit: http://bit.ly/29C9KfR


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