It has to be dire for GOP School Superintendent Kathy Cox to break ranks with the governor and warn state budget-writers that Perdue’s proposed spending cuts could undo the progress that Georgia schools have been making.
In the past, I would describe Cox as a team player; she has not spoken out strongly in public against too many decisions by the governor. (She is running for re-election – to a third term – and he is not. And Cox has a line forming to challenge her, including folks from her own party.)
According to the AJC’s James Salzer, Cox told a joint House and Senate budget committee, “The 2011 budget takes away our ability as a state to do anything to help our schools.”
Among her points: Over the next 18 months, the cuts would give schools $710 million less in basic school funding. That could be a lethal cut to some systems. Gone would be the regional offices that DOE set up for teacher training and assistance; some of those offices have won raves from their client schools.
Cox has her detractors here on the blog, but she has been focused on improving teaching quality. She also has hired many good people at DOE.
Has she made mistakes? Sure, but I question the critics who blame her for the new accountability push and the pressure to improve test scores. That is a national movement and there is no escaping it.
It would not matter who led DOE – much of what has happened in Georgia was dictated by federal law.
What do you think?