It’s not too late. The state Supreme Court has one more chance to get it right.
In the legal equivalent to a 70-yard Hail Mary pass into the end zone, the Georgia Charter Schools Commission’s existence is dependent upon one of four judges — in response to a pending motion for reconsideration — reversing his or her position and voting to not strike down a law that catapulted Georgia to win a $400 million federal Race to the Top grant and recognition as a leader in public school choice.
As an attorney, a former Atlanta Public Schools elementary teacher and a once bright-eyed judicial intern in our state’s highest court, I have struggled to understand the court’s unnecessarily harsh decision. Despite their vote, I do not believe that the four judges who decided to dismantle the commission based on historically inaccurate and intellectually dishonest reasoning condone the mediocrity that permeates our public schools.
Nor do I think that any member of the court believes that low-income Georgia families stuck in these mediocre schools have access to political and economic capital of the magnitude expended by local boards of education in their efforts to preserve sole control over charter schools. But I do suspect these judges, on a very basic, instinctual, “gut-feeling” level, under-appreciate the magnificent danger posed to returning to the pre-2008 days of leaving charter school authorization in the exclusive hands of locally elected school boards.