NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 13, 2007

In Atlanta, school choice opponents employ many tools to stop reformers, but one of their most effective weapons is simply restricting who can grant charters, says the Wall Street Journal.


  • In DeKalb County, the local school board rebuffed Indea Snorden's charter petition on the dubious grounds that it was submitted too late, after Jim Mullins, the district's "charter liaison" spent months giving Snorden the runaround.
  • In June, the Atlanta school board spurned an application from Ed Chang, a Teach for America alum who wanted to start a charter that would target low-income black children.
  • Chang was rejected on grounds that it was too "exclusionary," so Atlanta's black teens will have to return to high schools with nearly twice as many freshmen as seniors.

To fully appreciate the lengths some districts will go to deny education choice, it's hard to beat what happened to Nina Gilbert last month when she wanted to start a college prep charter school for girls in Gwinnett County, says the Journal:

The first objection from the local school board was that the school model violated Title IX gender-discrimination statutes and that the district would invite lawsuits from civil rights groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  

  • So Gilbert produced a legal opinion that said single-sex charter schools do no such thing and are permitted under federal and state law; she also produced the head of the local NAACP, who supports the school.
  • Nevertheless, the board still denied the application on grounds that an all-girls school, in its view, was "not moral" and "just not fair" to boys.

In addition, the board chided Gilbert for such petty matters as omitting from her proposal the names of the bus drivers and bus monitors she would use to transport school kids, says the Journal.

Source: Editorial, "Back to Failing Schools," Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2007.

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