Don’t be fooled by deceptive ballot language

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(AP)

Let me suggest a useful rule of thumb in reading the ballot language on proposed constitutional amendments in Georgia: Whatever you think it means, it often means the opposite.

Take the title to Amendment 1 on this year’s ballot. It says, and I quote:

Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.”

” … through increasing community involvement.” Hmmm. Our rule of thumb tells us that Amendment 1 will NOT increase community involvement, but in fact is designed and intended to do exactly the opposite. And sure enough, that’s exactly right.

Amendment 1 would give the governor the authority to seize control of as many as 20 local schools a year, up to a total of 100. The locally elected school board, answerable to local voters, would be stripped of any control or authority over those schools. The governor would be empowered to seize local tax revenue as well, with no oversight by locally elected officials.

There is no honest way that Amendment 1 could be accurately described as “increasing community involvement.” Instead, the language is intended to deceive those many Georgians who support community involvement and control over schools into voting to put that control into state hands, stripping parents, teachers and local taxpayers of any effective say.

So let me introduce a second rule of thumb: When someone trying to sell you something tells a blatant lie in the very first sentence of the sales pitch, everything that follows is probably based on deception as well.

The wording of the actual ballot question is also interesting. It reads:

“Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the state to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance?”

As those who drafted the question know, it’s hard to oppose a measure that will improve student performance. Who could be against that? Georgia schools have been slowly getting better — national standardized test scores are rising, as are graduation rates — but that improvement has come in painfully small increments, and major funding shortfalls in recent years haven’t helped. Laying off teachers, cutting the number of school days and packing more students into each classroom are on nobody’s list of steps likely to improve educational performance.

In Georgia as elsewhere, improvement has been slowest where it is needed most, in school districts with a large number of students living in poverty. It’s frustrating, even tragic.

To date, however, I have yet to see or hear a convincing argument explaining how putting local schools in the governor’s control is going to fix anything. It hasn’t worked in Tennessee, where a similar program has produced little or no improvement in targeted schools, according to research by Vanderbilt University. In Michigan, the state-run Educational Achievement Authority — “racked by financial scandal, poor academic performance and even worse public perception,” says the Detroit News — will cease operations at the end of the school year. In Louisiana, the state-run Recovery School District is also being phased out of existence.

The real impact of Amendment 1 will be to concentrate more power in the governor’s office, but the ballot language is silent on that count. If you want to know why, I refer you back to the two rules of thumb outlined above.

Reader Comments 0

858 comments
Whitsettguy
Whitsettguy

Thank you for REMINDING us folks that "ballot verbiage" is as CROOKED as the POLITICIAN!  Hopefully folks will read your article!  THANK YOU!


TaxiSmith
TaxiSmith

Thanks for watching out for us ignorant voters. What WOULD we do without you?

Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

Most of the media was saying this morning that Pence sounded like he was making a presidential run for the year 2020 instead of talking about Trump for 2016.

rimsky
rimsky

Under fire from Russian, Turkish, Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish forces, as well as US air power, so-called Islamic State has lost large swathes of land, as well as fighters and money. What does this mean for the Islamist militant group? Is it finished?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37550300

Thanks Obama.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@rimsky Glad to see the JV gone, now on the Boston, New York, San Jose, Ft. Hood, Orlando and numerous other cities  

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Pence gave me a great idea for breakfast this morning - drove through the line at Taco Bell and asked them to whip out that Mexican thing.

TBS
TBS

Didn't watch any of the VP debate. A quick check of a few news sites would lead me to believe that Pence is being viewed as the winner. Now with Trump still at the top of the ticket how much will Pence's performance cut into HC's lead?

That's the bottom line.

TBS
TBS

Little infrared on election night

"Trump won GA"

"Trump won GA"

That and a dollar plus tax will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's

But they might let you audition to be the clown

Have a great day... "Trump won GA"

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@TBS But But the State Dems say they have a good shot at turning Georgia Blue?

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@TBS the latest AJC poll out this morning show Hillary has a lead of 3.00054 points in the Midtown area

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@TBS  About as much as Lloyd Bentsen's beat down of Dan Quayle affected the 1988 election.

TBS
TBS

So Trump winning GA is going to be your consolation prize on election night?

Bless your heart

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@TBS The AJC has Carter and Nunn leading their respective Republican candidates

honested
honested

@Infraredguy @TBS 

low heat,

How do you feel about pence being as good a liar as chump but being a head and shoulders better debater than chump?

Will chump be offended that he has been so soundly defeated by his own guy?

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@honested He is good, but no where near as good as Hillary " I don't recall " Clinton

ohenry3
ohenry3

@Infraredguy @PaulinNH Senator/Secretary Bentsen was doing pretty well until 05/23/06 when he passed away at the age of 85. President Clinton did his eulogy.

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

Pence seemed to be his cold, calculating self, and Kaine seemed to be more aggressive, which did not suit him.


Both of them seemed to have a good command of the issues, if not the facts.


But, regardless, Pence's motives cannot be pure and his judgement cannot be sound if he is aligning himself with a demagogue like Trump.

Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

@Citizen-of-the-World  I agree with everything that you said and because of the fact that Pense is a minister, then it should really bother Pense to align himself with someone like Trump who feels that the world is his playground and that he can step on anything and anyone just to get what ever he wants.

rimsky
rimsky

Mike Pence can lie like a rug.

Could not defend his own boss.  

DEPLORABLE PERFORMANCE.


Binderlady2016
Binderlady2016

The vice presidential debate was really a waste of time because for Pense it didn't erase the last two weeks of Trump's craziness.  It didn't erase the news of the $916 million loss in his tax return and Trump and his cronies bragging about the fact that he was smart at not paying any taxes, it didn't erase the tweeting at 3 am about Ms. Universe, calling her awful names and the referencing of a so called sex tape, it didn't erase the investigation into the misuse of the Trump foundation money and him using other people money for his own personal gain and the fact that he will probably have to give the donations back to the donors.  Trump did all of this to himself and Pense could not defend him.  So, if Trump thought that Pense could save him, well it didn't happen.  So, there was no winner last night, just a waste of television time.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@Binderlady2016 It also didn't erase the 30,000 deleted e-mails and numerous " I don't recall " answers to the FBI 

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@rimsky That's mostly what the FBI Director said he got from the Clinton interview

ohenry3
ohenry3

@Infraredguy @Binderlady2016  We will ask Soros when the Republican Party chooses HIM as their Presidential nominee. Nice try though. Thanks for playing!

Citizen-of-the-World
Citizen-of-the-World

I thought Pence came off better than Kaine, for the most part -- "won," if you will. (That, right-wingers, is what you call intellectual honesty.) 

ByteMe
ByteMe

Pence threw Trump under the bus on the way to his own 2020 nomination... or so he hopes.

rimsky
rimsky

@ByteMe Pence doesn't realize the craziness started by the Republicans is not going to subside.  He is too mild mannered for this crowd.

Peachs
Peachs

Watching reruns of last week's, Meet the Press.  They were talking about how the world has changed, and there is no endorsement that matters, from the elite.  They have no real power in an election. 


If you lived in the south, we have always had strange men running our lives. Lester Maddox, an uneducated ax swinger, or George Wallace, the classic grease ball.  Endorsement of the press, particularly the national press, many times had a negative effect.


A presidential candidate would land at a southern airport, and hold his breath that anyone would pick him up.  The rest of the country is just catching up with us, though before he was shot Wallace did carry the Michigan Democratic primary. 


Instead of trickle down, the country has always been in a trickle up mode. 

Peachs
Peachs

I am always amazed at how Congress, who is the genius of the government paralysis, is not held more responsible.  They are like the terrorist that strike in the night, shut down the progress of the country and then hide in craves.  

omark
omark

http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/03/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-presidential-polls/

Regardless of who wins a debate, normally they don’t have much effect on the eventual outcome. The candidate that says things you agree with, is going to be perceived the winner. Hillary’s post-debate bump is surprisingly large.

We’re not out of the woods yet, but a little cautious optimism seems justified. Historically the winner of the first debate has gone on to the White House. Donald is probably relieved. He doesn’t have to spend four years living in a deplorable shack.

We’ve speculated for months what the Donald’s true ceiling was, in terms of support. It looks like it’s in the neighborhood of 42% that’s not a glass ceiling. It’s concrete.

Still 42% is a scary number. That’s a lot of folks basically saying what the Hell, what have I got to lose? Government has clearly failed those people. Unless they’re prepared to deal with something worse than Trump, they’d better start doing their jobs. The Constitution says something about promoting the common welfare. It doesn’t say a damned thing about refusing to consider Supreme Court nominee’s in an election year.

rimsky
rimsky

@Peachs @CherokeeCounty @omark To get favorable judgements in the innumerable number of law suits.

In short to save his kister from going to the big house.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@omark

//Donald is probably relieved. He doesn’t have to spend four years living in a deplorable shack.//


Hahaha - ain't that the truth.