Kyle Wingfield

Political commentary and opinion from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's conservative blogger

Flipping the script on school choice

Attention! Attention! Please stand by for an important educational announcement!

Effective immediately, the University System of Georgia is instituting a new admissions policy. No longer will Georgia’s public colleges and universities enroll students based on their grades or SAT scores. Rather, all college-bound students in Georgia will attend the campus closest to where they live.

This new “attendance zone” policy will bring to Georgia’s colleges the same standard of excellence found in all of its k-12 schools!

The new policy may be a bit confusing, but we are here to help.

Students around the state will be assigned to the nearest college, university or technical college, regardless of their career interests or academic credentials. It certainly won’t have anything to do with where they want to go; individual choices in education simply don’t make sense.

So, high school graduates in Macon will attend Middle Georgia State College. Those from Richmond County will be assigned to either Georgia Regents University or Augusta Tech -- but don’t worry, we’ll make the choice for you. After all, you probably aren’t capable of making such an important decision yourself!

It gets a little tricky in metro Atlanta. If you live in Buckhead you will attend Georgia Tech, but only if you’re between Ga. 400 and I-75. If you’re in Buckhead between 400 and I-85, you’ll be assigned instead to Georgia Perimeter College’s Dunwoody campus. We’re sorry if you wanted to become an electrical engineer, but you can still get an associate’s degree in engineering!

If you live in Decatur or Druid Hills, you won’t be able to attend the University of Georgia. You get Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston. With the right amount of effort and involvement on your part, we’re sure it will be pretty much the same experience. Almost. Close enough. No? Too bad.

If these school assignments aren’t what you had hoped for, we can only feign sympathy … er, apologize.

You will not be able to enroll at a different college. Nor will you be able to use any state or federal grants or loans at any private colleges, such as Emory University. Instead, we will keep that money. We just know you’ll love our “fix the public schools first” attitude!

We will, however, allow a limited amount of “school choice” for about 1 in 30 students. If you wish, you may apply for a lottery to attend Georgia State University. Please don’t get your hopes up, as seats will be limited and the odds long.

(Oh, and from now on, Georgia State will be funded at about 80 percent as much per pupil as all our other colleges. We’re sure it’ll be great, though!)

If you have questions, we won’t answer them. You can direct them to the folks who sued over such crazy k-12 programs as the state’s charter schools commission and its tuition tax-credit scholarships, or the legislators who try to keep such programs from expanding.

They can tell you all about how patently absurd it is to let students and their parents choose from among a variety of schools and decide what’s best for them.

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About the Author

Kyle Wingfield joined the AJC in 2009. He is a native of Dalton and a graduate of the University of Georgia.