Founding Principle: Decentralized Local Control – Commentary by Frank Gillispie 5/17/11
I am a fan of charter schools. I like the idea of allowing school administrators and faculty to have the freedom to operate the schools in the manner
they think will most benefit their students. I firmly believe that parents should play a major part in determining the schools policies.
It is for that reason that I support local control of the public school system. The further you remove school policy makers from the students and
their parents, the greater the chances that the schools will not be operated in accordance with the will of the local community. That is why I
agree with the recent decision of the Georgia Supreme Court to declare a state controlled charter school system to be unconstitutional.
In 2008, the Georgia legislature approved an Act that authorized creation of a new kind of state charter school called “commission charter schools.”
This act cut out the local school boards from any involvement in managing these schools, while at the same time, taking funds from the local board
to finance them.
Chief Justice Carol Hunstein led a 4-3 decision that this was unconstitutional. ”Under the current Constitution, which voters approved in 1983,
local school boards have exclusive authority to create and maintain K-12 public education“, she wrote for the majority.
The Constitution only allows the state government to create “special schools.” The 2008 Act authorized the “Georgia Charter Schools Commission,”
whose members are appointed by state officials, to approve petitions for a new type of general K-12 public school known as a “commission charter
These schools might well be a way to improve the general level of education within our community. But that is a decision that should be left up
to the local Board of Education, and the parents, especially if the money for them comes from the local education budget.
One of the primary principles on which this nation
was founded was that the people should be sovereign: that all political power rest in the hands
of the voters. To me, we the people only have that right when the decisions are made nearest to the voters. Each voter has more influence over
local city and county governments than they do over distant state or national policy makers. That was made clear by the tenth amendment to the
U.S. Constitution which says that all powers not assigned to the federal government, or prohibited to it by the constitution are reserved to the
states or to the people.
The first line of authority for public works, including public education, belongs to the local community. Only when need exceed the ability of the
local community should the state play a role. And only those things that require joint actions by the several states should be dealt with by the
Yes, I confess, I am a states righter. That is the only way we can maintain our personal freedom and
And that is what liberty is all about.
Copyright © 2011 by Frank Gillispie
email@example.com, Hull, GA
The American Ideal of 1776: The Twelve Basic American Principles
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"The traditional American philosophy teaches that decentralization of governmental power, to the maximum practicable extent, is essential to the
security of Man's God-given, unalienable rights." --Hamilton Abert Long, from
Principle #6: Decentralized Government
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary; too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
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