Yet Another 1162 Hatchet Job Courtesy of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution

We were interviewed earlier this week for an article published in today’s AJC regarding the Charter Amendment.  To say the end result was a disappointment is a massive understatement.  Regardless of whether or not our specific input was used, this piece clearly demonstrated a continued bias toward those now known as “anti-Charter.”  I think I would rather refer to them as “pro-mo’ money.”

Of course, Maureen Downey had to immediately jump on this article to point out how this continues to fuel the debate and if only those poor, misguided souls “under the Dome” could just get with the program and start pouring all that money into these starving school districts instead, everything would improve, life would be better and the over-burdened, struggling systems could start producing the Einsteins of the next generation.

Below is the text of my response to her blog post:

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Why is it that “public education advocates” continue to insist that more money solves the problem? Clearly, we have more money than most of the countries that best us in the global picture of education yet we need to spend more – on, what? Teachers? Supplies? Books? Buildings?

Our public education system is failing and we here in Georgia want to stick our heads in the sand about the real issue. The AJC article, while lengthy, was certainly targeted towards those who read this blog and believe that “more funding” is the only solution.

We live in a world were people lose their jobs every day with little or no notice. Companies are going out of business because our economy is so weak we can’t sustain growth. Yet, our “public school advocates” (who are typically employed by the system in some manner) continue to say “If you want to fix the problem, show me the money” Let’s keep things just the way they are and more money will make it all better …

The time for that fairy tale has passed. We need a fresh perspective on how to fix our education system and it cannot come from “the inside.” It certainly won’t come from this blog or this newspaper.

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So, while there are many studies that have the US ranked all over the map in secondary education.  They are all consistent in one thing, we are nowhere near the top.  I am not, by nature, an “internationalist.”  I certainly don’t believe that we should be more like France as our current (and hopefully soon-to-be-former) President has suggested.  BUT, we do need to look at those countries that are out-performing us and figure out what the heck we need to do to improve our children.  We need to be competitive in the global economy, not be stuck looking for “the union label” or petting all the frail egos that want to shape (some might say OWN) the minds of tomorrow.

I know they are out there, innovators that are driving change in education.  They’re doing it on shoestring budgets and building kids that see the future in front of them, not a future full of buildings to hold more sources of revenue.  We need to find those innovators, put them in charge of the system and let them fix it.  To some people, $500 Million dollars is a lot of money, to others it is just a $118 Million deficit.  We have to change the way we think and we need to do it soon.

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About Christopher Knowles

Born and raised in Georgia, Chris graduated from Norcross High School ('82). He spent a few years between DeKalb Community College, Southern Tech and Kennesaw while also working as a computer programmer before entering the US Army in 1987. He served two years as a Military Intelligence Trainee with most of that time at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California receiving an Honorable Discharge for Medical Reasons. Chris returned to computers in 1989 and has worked in the Software and Services Industry since for such companies as ChoicePoint/Lexis Nexis, Siebel/Oracle and most recently, Hewlett-Packard. Chris is married to Barbara (18 years) and has 4 beautiful daughters (Ashley - 22, Mallory - 17, Victoria (Tori) - 12 and Christyn (Ally) - 10). Ashley works as an office manager/inside sales person at Precision Vent and is working to go back to college, Mallory is in her Senior year at Sequoyah High School, Tori and Ally both attend Cherokee Charter Academy. With several family members having ADHD, including Chris himself, he is very passionate about quality education with appropriate attention given to ALL students and believes that only through strong fiscal accountability and creative, "out of the box" thinking can Georgia and the USA reverse the trend of poor performance of our education system on the global stage. Chris and his family currently live in Woodstock, Georgia (in Cherokee County) with three dogs.

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