Monday, March 16, 2009

Clarfication and Apology: Gov. Ramsey was not part of canceling rally for charter public schools

In the smoke that is clearing from the disaster of Charter Public School Day on the Hill last Wednesday, some needed truths are emerging that will provide direction for the next steps to be taken on providing open enrollment for these places education rescue.

First, the staff for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey tells me he did not cancel out on the 12:30 rally on the Capitol steps for the legislation. The charter public school association did.

It seems some people were scared about the temperature outside. Yet after the rally was canceled, many of these children including the smallest were outside walking with their parents to find an affordable place to eat. The LP cafeteria was filled.

So I want to apologize immediately to Gov. Ramsey. He did not slight the children.

As for the association, I have not seen in my many years of fighting for education reforms all the way up to the Bush Oval Office more a disaster -- that also let down so many children and their parents who traveled many hours to Nashville. The association brags of making contact with 80 lawmakers. I witnessed one of those contacts, with a Memphis Democrat, who made no commitment to the needed legislation.

It is quite obvious now -- for those of us who successfully fought the first charter school battle -- that a new way free of the association is necessary. Power must be met with power, and money.

I have heard people talk of compromise of the legislation and waiting until next year. Why? We have a president who just endorsed charter public schools.

We need 100 percent open enrollment in charter public schools for any child being failed in any traditional public school. We also need a new approving authority for charter public school expansion and creation. School boards are not going to favor competition for public tax dollars. We need a state level agency to do so.

To Gov. Ramsey and his staff, my apologies. I look forward working with you personally -- along with a few of my colleagues -- on the way to do right thing for our children needing the most help in this state.

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