Opponents — including state and national teachers’ unions, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh (D) and Democratic Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — had argued that the rapid expansion of charter schools would drain traditional public schools of essential resources. The defeat is the latest in a string of rebukes of the charter school movement, including a recent resolution by the national NAACP calling for a moratorium on new charter schools until there is an assurance of greater accountability and transparency of charters’ fiscal and academic performance.
Voters appear to have rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the state to take over “chronically failing” public schools in a new “Opportunity School District.” Opponents saw the measure, backed by Gov. Nathan Deal (R), as a way to speed the conversion of traditional public schools to public charter schools. A similar state-run district has struggled in Tennessee.
Voters rejected a sales tax increase of one percentage point, which supporters said would generate more than $600 million per year for education. It would have expanded access to early education for poor children from birth to age three and added $5,000 to every teacher’s salary in the state.
Voters were leaning late Tuesday toward approving Proposition 58, which would expand access to bilingual education by repealing a nearly two-decade old mandate that required most children learning English as a second language to learn in an English-only immersion environment. With 18 percent of precincts reporting, 73 percent of voters supported the proposition.