Weighing the vote when it comes to state taking over Opportunity Schools

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Testing will be a little different this year for all students in Georgia. The Georgia Milestones has a few changes, and some schools are working to change their perpetually failing status, as indicated by this list compiled by the state. The list shows schools that consistently score below a 60 on the test.

Muscogee County Schools Superintendent Dr. David Lewis says improving student test scores is key key to getting schools off of the failing list. News 3 caught up with one parent at J.D. Davis Elementary School. Davis is one of nine schools in the county that is on the perpetually failing list.

“I’ve always wanted to be as involved as I can,” Wynona Sanders said.

The Georgia Milestones has a few changes, and some schools, like J.D. Davis Elementary in Columbus, are working to change their perpetually failing status, as indicated by this list compiled by the state.
The Georgia Milestones has a few changes, and some schools, like J.D. Davis Elementary in Columbus, are working to change their perpetually failing status, as indicated by this list compiled by the state.

As a parent of three school-aged children, Sanders says engagement at home jump starts students’ academic achievement. Even though Davis is on a sub-par performing list of other schools, Sanders says the school is finding ways to improve.

“Davis is a great opportunity school,” Sanders explained. “I began working with the FAST program here, which helps bring families closer together.”

Dr. Lewis says the schools on the list are challenged with many different obstacles. He has instituted a long term plan that aims to boost academic performance.

“We are working with them to develop individual improvement plans based on the needs of the specific school,” Dr. Lewis said when asked about helping perpetually failing schools. “And overall, we’re building on two years of initiatives.”

Come November, voters will decide whether to let the state create separate school districts that will govern perpetually failing schools. If passed, the state constitutional amendment would allow Gov. Deal to create a separate Opportunity School District that would be comprised of 20 schools across the state. Proponents of a state takeover say students will get more individual attention.

“I think schools that come into the opportunity school district will get more attention from some of the best educators in the state,” Georgia Rep. Josh Mckoon (R, Columbus) said.

Meanwhile, opponents question interference from lawmakers in the classroom.

“If we’re to make our schools better, why not go to people on the front line like teachers?” Georgia Association of Educators District 3 Director Darryl Carter suggested.

While the decision comes down to the voters, Wynona Sanders doesn’t want to miss a moment of her children’s first day of school.

“These moments are very important.”

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