By Mary Worley in the Gainsville Times on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Children are the future. They are our legacy, our future workforce, the teachers of Georgia’s future generations. Right now, 68,000 of these children are required by law to attend schools that are failing them year after year. As both a mother and a grandmother, this is simply unacceptable. I can’t imagine having no other choice than to send my children to a failing school and watch the cycle continue. Not everyone can afford to send their child or children to private schools or even go as far as moving so they have a chance at a better future.

It’s unfortunate that in this debate we’re seeing adults talking about adults, not the children we need to be serving. Our children cannot afford to wait for us to act on this when many of them have already spent years, and in some cases a decade, attending failing schools. It would be a mistake to continue to devote taxpayer funds to schools where failure is tolerated and accountability for those in charge is nonexistent. It is time to get over the idea that the school would be “taken over” they have had multiple chances to fix what was wrong and did not and the students are the ones suffering.

To those who oppose this sorely needed reform: Would you rather be spending all of your time, money and efforts fighting this amendment, or would you rather roll up your sleeves and do everything in your power working toward turning around these failing schools in your district? These schools have had years — yes, years — to get up to standards and they have not! Where was your help when it was needed where was your righteous indignation then? In the end, regardless of the outcome this November, you have to ask yourself which is better for the child, not the adult.

Gov. Nathan Deal has put forth a solution that recognizes Georgia is a unique place and deserves its own mechanism to fix its failing schools, and it’s time we step away from what did not work and take this much-needed step for Georgia’s schools and, most importantly, its students. When opportunities for students change, students are able to succeed. Think about the children not yourself when you vote, what is best for them. I am more worried about student success than who the person is making sure they do. That is why I voted “yes” on Amendment 1.

Steven is the state outreach manager for GeorgiaCAN. Besides working hard for Georgia’s kids, he enjoys checking out local record shops, gardening and trying out new recipes.


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