The state of Georgia and three charter schools are angling for a rematch with the Georgia Supreme Court over educational reform. At the end of the first tussle, on May 16, a Georgia Supreme Court ruling struck down the state’s 2008 charter school law by a 4-3 vote. There are 16 state charter schools in Georgia that instruct 5,000 students and the impact of the ruling on them is hard to discern.
The Supreme Court, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ruled that the law that created the Georgia Charter Schools Commission was unconstitutional as it gave the state government the power “to approve charter schools over the objection of local school boards.”
There are two African-American justices on the state’s highest court. Justice Robert Benham voted with the majority to strike down the charter school law. Justice Harold D. Melton. wrote a dissent that is contained in the body of the ruling.
A motion has been filed by three charter schools Ivy Preparatory Academy, Charter Conservatory for Liberal Arts & Technology and Heron Bay Academy. Two of trio's Web sites ask how much public funding willl charter schools lose as a result of the court's decision.
The AJC reports that the motion before the high court argues that the court's ruling "will turn the regulation of public education upside down and render unconstitutional any number of state laws and thwart desperately needed state-led educational reforms.”
The motion also states that when education was strictly under local control it provided separate but decidedly unequal educational opportunities for African-American school children. The Atlanta paper reported further about the motion saying that it argues that “After the local districts failed to provide adequate education for generations of African-American children, the state exercised its control.”
Regardless, the motion faces a difficult future. To succeed it must convince at least one member of the majority to switch sides.
(Photo: Rob Kim/Landov)