It is clear the state school Superintendent Kathy Cox is leaving her post in a few weeks. (She announced last week that she is resigning to head a think tank in D.C. and is no longer seeing election to a third term running Georgia’s schools.) Her criticisms of state cuts to education are growing more forthright, including a statement this week that the Legislature only approved enough funding next year to cover 147 days of the mandated 180-day school year.
That means the local communities are paying the full freight for the 33 remaining days, which seems — at least to me — a failure by the state of Georgia to live up to its constitutional obligation to fund education. (Cox did the basic math of dividing the number of schools days by the allotted state funding, which has been dramatically and possibly fatally cut. And you folks don’t think the new math curriculum works. )
The rural lawsuit was scuttled on a technicality but I think Cox’s statement is damning evidence of the state’s dereliction of duty.
Speaking of Cox, word is that the business community is not thrilled with the field of candidates to replace her as school superintendent and was thinking about finding and funding an independent candidate for the post. There is still no word on her replacement; Gov. Sonny Perdue is apparently keeping this deliberation close to the vest, although I am not sure why.
Whoever fills out the remaining six months of Cox’s term will only be a caretaker. There are plenty of strong administrators in the deputy ranks of the DOE. I have already suggested the very capable and proven Martha Reichrath, deputy state superintendent for standards, instruction, and assessment.
I would also recommend Garry McGiboney, associate superintendent, policy, external affairs, and charter schools.
What do you think?