School choice roundtable next week
by Mark Andrews
Oct 17, 2012 | 1044 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Nov. 6, residents will have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that will allow a state charter school committee to establish local charter schools in communities, rather than leaving the establishment of charter schools to local boards of education. At the Clarence Brown Conference Center at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, five panelists from the field of education who are proponents of the amendment will discuss school choice and answer questions.

“Each of the panelists will spend just a few minutes talking about who they are and what their expertise is on this subject and what their interest is on the subject,” event organizer Robert Adkerson said. “We will show a condensed version of a movie called ‘Making the Grade in Georgia,’ it’s about 15 minutes, and then it’s going to be all question and answer and discussion from the panel.”

Adkerson, a member of the Bartow County GOP, said the panel will address points made by opponents of the amendment. He is sponsoring the event with the help of some private donors and the organization Georgia Needs Action Today.

The panel includes Christine P. Ries, a Georgia institute of Technology economics professor; Rich Thompson of 100 Dads; BJ Van Gundy, a former charter commissioner; Tony Roberts of the Georgia Charter School Association; and State Rep. Christian Coomer.

“[The panelists] are people I know personally and I’ve met through other events,” Adkerson said. “... There’s been a lot of misinformation out there about what charter schools are, what they’re allowed to do, whether they’re public or private, whether they’re nonprofit or not, those kinds of things.”

He said his interest in the amendment and the roundtable is from a “liberty perspective.”

“I was one of the original members of the Bartow Tea Party, I’m not affiliated with them anymore ... but I have three children, one graduated from Cass High School and one graduated from Adairsville High School and our youngest, who is 11 and we currently homeschool her because of some issues we see with the public education system,” Adkerson said. “... If we don’t change the paradigm in our education system or do something to stop us from slipping below the rest of the world as far as education is concerned, we will eventually lose our republic because people don’t understand the truth of our republic and what it means to be a citizen of our republic.

“If you look at it in a more general sense, if you look at Georgia, the amount of students who drop out of school every year would fill the Georgia Dome. ... Overwhelmingly the statistics show that when you drop out of school you end up being, at least for a long period of time, a tax on society.

“I love my country and I love my state and I want my children to have freedom as they grow older, and if we don’t stop all this political back and forth and kicking the ball down the road, we will lose this thing and that’s a reality.”

Adkerson said he plans to make education roundtables a quarterly event.

For more information, contact Adkerson at 770-361-9731.