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Opinion: Education panel should not limit public access to meetings
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Citizens in Georgia should know how “appointed” citizens to the State Advisory Panel for Special Education are fundamentally changing the foundation and objective of government in Georgia. This sets a dangerous precedent. 

Georgia is a representative democratic republic. Select “appointed” citizens, who are supposed to be representing the stakeholders in our districts, should not be closing meetings on education that have been open for decades. 

Article I Section II Paragraph II in the Bill of Rights of Georgia’s Constitution states, “The people of this state have the inherent right of regulating their internal government.” 

Closed education meetings do not allow for accountability in any shape form or fashion.

How are we to check the integrity of the  minutes reported to the public if we cannot attend the SAP education meetings?  

The current lack of integrity in education records has been an issue for parents in Georgia for decades. This is an issue I recently communicated to Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and our legislators.

The people of Georgia have a right to listen to the discussions and input these “appointed” SAP members are giving on behalf of Georgia citizens. This is especially true when “maximum flexibility” is being used to allow “appointed” citizens to substitute the voice and input of the citizens when it comes to the unmet needs of the education of our children and how education policy impacts families and our communities in Georgia. Our input is how the Every Student Succeeds Act Plan for Georgia by Georgians is developed.

This change would mean that appointed members, who are not elected, represent us and replace our voice and input in matters of the education of our children, families and communities in Georgia.

Who appointed the SAP members?

The intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act was to change the status quo and ensure the policies in education were of and by the people, not a select few “appointed” citizens to the State Advisory Panel. 

Carmen Allen 


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