Democratic gubernatorial hopeful DuBose Porter said Tuesday that Georgia needs a governor who will put his full effort behind education reforms, not candidates who offer “apologies, games and empty claims.”
Speaking at a Capitol news conference and rally, Porter welcomed Marie Hooks, the principal at Saxon Heights Elementary School in his hometown of Dublin.
Saxon is a Title 1 school where more than 90 percent of the students live below the poverty line. Hooks said that shortly after becoming principal, Porter called her and offered to help raise the school’s test scores.
“DuBose didn’t tell us what we needed to do but instead asked what we needed from him,” Hooks said. “With help from state agencies, DuBose Porter delivered. He made a difference in our community.”
Since then, the school has met the annual yearly progress requirements of the state .
Porter said his goal as governor will be for every student to read at grade level before completing the third grade and to allow joint enrollment for juniors and seniors at technical and community colleges, “so our young people will graduate high school and be trained for a job.”
“Georgians are tired of apologies, games and empty claims,” he said, a direct shot at his two main opponents in the July 20 primary, former Gov. Roy Barnes and Attorney General Thurbert Baker.
Barnes has apologized — several times — in this campaign for failing to listen to teachers when he was governor from 1999 to 2003. Baker has advocated creating a video bingo game through the Georgia Lottery to boost education spending.
“Georgia classroom teachers haven’t had the support of the governor’s office in 12 years,” Porter said, alluding to the end of former Gov. Zell Miller’s term. “when I am governor, I’ll give teachers the tools they need to succeed.”