After the Monday ruling handed down by the Georgia Supreme Court that the state charter school commission is unconstitutional, hundreds turned out for the Georgia Charter Schools Association rally on the Capitol steps. No charter schools in Cobb County will be affected by the ruling.
Rep. Alisha Morgan (D-Austell) was a speaker at the event. Here is a transcript of what she said:
“Thank you and good morning. When I first heard the decision that this (the Georgia Supreme Court decision overturning HB 881) was happening yesterday I was heartbroken and I was angry; I was sad and I was frustrated.
I was disappointed with the majority of the Supreme Court but grateful for the few that understood what this commission was about. It was about ensuring parents in this state have options and weren't dependent upon the status quo or the school district to decide the quality of their child's education.
I noticed even in some of the articles yesterday those who prevailed consistently commented about the money they lost. They never talked about the test scores at Ivy Preparatory Academy. They never talked about the level of parental engagement. They didn’t make any real comments about the quality of children’s education in this state – they only talked about money, power and control.
And there, my friends, in lies the crux of what is the crisis of education in Georgia and in this country because we have too many adults, too many districts and bureaucrats who are focused on money and jobs – not nearly enough focus on kids, student achievement, preparing students for life, and doing what’s in the best interests of kids.
But this decision is taking the adults back to school. It’s giving us a test, and this is test of wills. Do we have the will to fight the naysayers and those who are money and power hungry? Do we have the will to say ‘enough is enough?’ Do we have the will to stand up again even though we've been knocked down? Do we have the will to lobby our legislature and our state to change our constitution? Do we want to decide today that districts are not the sole deciders of a child’s education in Georgia?
How long are we going to sit idly by and allow the uncertainty of a child's future? How long are we going to wait for a system to fix itself? How long are we going to allow just 50% of boys to graduate from high school in the state of Georgia? How long are we going to wait? We’re not!
And so although I was distraught yesterday, I have hope today because I see this crowd, I see my colleagues in the legislature who are Democrat, who are Republican, who are black, who are white, who are focused on children. Because I see other elected officials in this state who are coming together to make our schools a reality. I am hopeful because what I see is a possibility that we can focus on kids and not adults. I am hopeful because I know we will keep fighting until every child in this state has access to an excellent education and is prepared for life.
And lastly I want to say to the parents and the students, especially my sisters at Ivy Preparatory Academy, that we may have been knocked down yesterday but we’re going to get back up. And while the adults work to make your schools work for you, you cannot be discouraged, students. You’ve got to continue to work hard, to do your very best, to slam dunk every test they put in front of you, to keep knocking down all the obstacles that get in your way. And all of the adults will continue to keep fighting for you until all parents have the freedom of choice of schools for their kids until every child graduates from high school in Georgia ready for college, ready for your careers, and ready for your bright futures.
And so I say to you that we’re going to keep fighting, Tony (Roberts). We’re going to keep fighting, students. We’re going to keep fighting, parents. We’re going to continue to fight until we get the kind of schools, the kind of education that every child out here and across this state deserves. So let’s keep fighting – my school, my choice!”