Kathy Cox heads to DC. She can go with her head held high.

I like Kathy “With a K” Cox.  I don’t know her well; she is not the type to call and chat. Neither am I. And most of our conversations over the years came in response to bad news on Georgia’s education front. With each new round of scores or studies, I would make the call to the Department of Education and ask for a comment.

“What does Kathy think about the stagnant SAT scores?” “Why aren’t our NAEP scores in reading improving?”  “Why isn’t Kathy challenging the cuts to education by the Legislature?”

On her last day as school superintendent, I want to talk about why I like Cox.

I like her because she met my three criteria for a decent elected official.  She was honest. I never feared that she would scrape the gold off the Gold Dome to pay for plastic surgery. I couldn’t say that about her predecessor and current state prison inmate Linda Schrenko, who would have rented a crane, strapped on a harness and started chiseling if it weren’t easier for her just to steal the money directly from the education budget to underwrite a facelift.

Secondly, Cox ran for school superintendent in 2002 because she wanted to do that job. She did not run to sell more insurance back in Peachtree City or because her granddaddy once held the seat or because it was a good stepping stone to the governor’s mansion. She genuinely believed she could improve education in Georgia.

And she has. While it’s still unclear what our exact graduation rate is because of how we count, there is no doubt that it rose during her tenure. Has she improved education to the point that we can all sit back, kick off our shoes and proclaim, “Well done. Pour the champagne”? (BTW, I would appreciate any English teacher telling me if I have the right punctuation on this sentence.)

No. But I think Cox took a moribund DOE, brought it back to life, set it on the right path and led Georgia into the age of tougher standards, greater accountability and higher expectations. I don’t think everyone was ready to go down the path, including superintendents, principals and teachers used to closing the door and running their own universes.

I continue to be impressed with Cox’s hires at the DOE, talking to Martha Reichrath and Elizabeth Webb today at Cox’s goodbye gathering. These are smart women. They are not unaware of the problems. They are not ignoring the complaints about math or the concerns about vo-tech. They know there is too much testing. They have been in the classroom. They are not sealed off from the real world and the real challenges.

The farewell event today opened with a performance by student musicians from the Georgia Pick and Bow Traditional Music Program. Their first selection was “I’ll Fly Away,” which I thought was the perfect song for someone about to leave Georgia to head a think tank in Washington. Cox had her whole family there, including her husband, two sons, her mother, her sister, her niece and a slew of in-laws.

There was a funny slide show, including a great cartoon that spoofed both Cox’s many hairstyles over the years and her unfortunate comment in 2004 that the word “evolution” was a politically charged buzzword and thus wasn’t going to be part of the Georgia science curriculum, a decision that she came to regret and that she wisely undid.

But what I liked about the event was how much of it was spent talking about education. To her last seconds on the job, Cox talked about the performance standards, about efforts to get more kids to graduate, about the thousands of schools she visited, about her pride in improving conditions at the state schools for students who are deaf and blind.

And that is the third reason I like her: She is passionate about what she does.

At times, I wish Cox had showed more of that passion with her fellow GOP leaders, such as when Gov. Sonny Perdue responded to the gas crisis in 2005 by shutting down schools and idling school buses. That delivered the exact wrong message about the value of education and Cox should have called him on it publicly.

Cox was more progressive than her party on education or at least than the leadership, and I think that was beginning to wear on her. This year, she was a bit more outspoken about what the proposed cuts would do to schools.

She leaves DOE to become CEO of the U.S. Education Delivery Institute, which will advise states on reform strategies. I assume that she will not have any political muzzles in her new job, and I will be anxious to hear her views on education in Georgia in the next few months. The two Republicans seeking her post want to reduce the federal role in Georgia, and even the federal monies, which pay for special education and for extra help in Georgia’s low-income schools. I have to imagine that Cox might have a few words to say about that.

I think we all should look forward to hearing from her. I wish her and her family well. She worked hard for Georgia schools. She was honest and she was passionate.

And she was smarter than a fifth grader, which isn’t all that easy having two of them myself.

68 comments Add your comment

TW

June 30th, 2010
10:22 pm

Please retract this article before anybody reads it.

Maureen, you are flushing any educational cred you may have once had straight down the toilet with this one.

Jennifer Dawson

June 30th, 2010
10:29 pm

Well said, Maureen. You bring up excellent points & obsevations here. I was a finalist for 2008 Georgia TOTY and then had the opportunity to serve on her Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Board. As a fellow social studies teacher, I found her to be truly passionate about education and indeed more progressive than many around her. I was particularly moved by her continual championing of state schools for both the deaf & blind. I wish her & her family the best in their new endeavors.

Readers do your job

June 30th, 2010
10:31 pm

Maureen two questions about how “honest” Kathy Cox was.

1. How “honest” is it to try to do the bidding of religious zealots and attempt to remove the word evolution out of the school curriculum?

2. How “honest” is it to manipulate cut scores to create a “raise” in schools, and then refuse to release said cut scores until your paper, yes your paper compels her to release them with an Open Records request?

Readers do your job

June 30th, 2010
10:37 pm

“I couldn’t say that about her predecessor and current state prison inmate Linda Schrenko, who would have rented a crane, strapped on a harness and started chiseling if it weren’t easier for her just to steal the money directly from the education budget to underwrite a facelift.”

Now Maureen, I don’t ever want you to call out a blogger for their rhetoric because THAT was positively catty! LOL

Readers do your job

June 30th, 2010
10:40 pm

One the other hand, Cox did give the million dollars away. It doesn’t matter how politically advantageous it was for her to do so, she gave away a freakin’ million dollars.

Don’t see “The Facelift” doing that

No, that wasn’t being catty; that was being too LAZY to scroll up and spellcheck Schrenko!

williev2000

June 30th, 2010
10:44 pm

I agree with you Maureen!!! Most really do not know how hard Kathy worked for the boys and girls of Georgia.

Maureen Downey

June 30th, 2010
10:47 pm

@TW, Sorry, I will have to watch my cred go. I think Kathy Cox was sincere in her efforts. I also think she had smart people around her, which I always take as a good sign.
Maureen

Atlanta mom

June 30th, 2010
10:48 pm

Oh please, the person who may have damaged math scores for the state for the next decade. As a math person who has children studying engineering, physics and biology, Math 1,2,3 may have been the deciding factor to move to private schools. Thanks goodness we graduated this year. No accolades here.

funny

June 30th, 2010
10:49 pm

K Cox has given away anything it tied up in court.

She set the fields a fire and leaves us with “math” that no other states will accept,

Some seem to forget KC wasted alot of the tax payers money with helicopter rides around the state to show how powerful she was.

GA poticial machine is alive and well though not as good as Chicago’s.

redweather

June 30th, 2010
10:53 pm

No period after champagne necessary. By placing the question mark outside the closing quotation mark, you’ve shown that the sentence poses a question and not the quote. That’s all I think you need to do.

Maureen Downey

June 30th, 2010
10:54 pm

@Readers, Someone at DOE told me that one reason why Kathy Cox wanted evolution out was because she didn’t want science teachers having to deal with the zealots and get entangled with school boards in their communities over this issue. She wanted the material taught without the label, according to this person, to make life easier for the teachers.
Still think it was a big mistake, but I saw other instances where Kathy Cox was thinking of teachers. (Despite the surge a few years back in teachers getting “leadership” master’s degrees rather than content degrees – a surge that raised concerns at the PSC — she told me that she didn’t want any end to bonuses for advanced degrees until there was a career ladder in place. She said the degrees were the only way teachers could increase their pay at the time.)

Readers do your job

June 30th, 2010
10:55 pm

There you go again Maureen, as Ronald Regan might have said. Taking the softballs and knocking them out of the park.

But now let’s bring the cheddar; do you defend Cox’s honesty when it came to the cut scores, and how it took an Open Records request from your own paper to compel Cox to tell the truth about how pitifully low they were?

Maureen Downey

June 30th, 2010
10:56 pm

@redweather, Thanks. Change made.
Maureen

How Low Can You Go?

June 30th, 2010
10:57 pm

Congratulations for setting the bar so low that even a turtle wouldn’t have any trouble making it over! You have done wonders for our schools! What’s more important? Having a diploma in your hand or having a diploma that actually means something?

Cobb Parent

June 30th, 2010
10:59 pm

Cox was a tremendous improvement over Schrenko, that much is true. However I know I speak for many around my area in saying that I have not been thrilled with how the Republican leadership in Georgia has treated education in the last few years. And to be honest, as a Republican leaning voter, I’m not sure I would have exactly been enamored were a Democrat in charge either. So call me a swing voter but I am taking a very close look at the candidates from all parties for the job this year. If what I’m hearing and observing is any indication, Cobb is and should very much be up for grabs this November for this race.

I would like to see a superintendent that doesn’t bow down to politics when it comes to education. Your post just reminded me of the 2005 school shutdown, which appalled me to the point words can not adequately describe. Cox most certainly could have been more forceful in arguing against that. The whole evolution thing also annoyed me to no end. The Cobb board that pushed that is gone thank goodness but Cox’s attempts to relabel the term struck me as political grandstanding. The whole RTTT thing seems politically driven at all levels, and I’m not thrilled with that. Schools are losing a lot of flexibility, which worries me because I have always felt schools should adjust to their constituent communities and not the other way around.

And finally, I just don’t get why the office even has political labels attached. Education is not in my opinion an issue where opinions fit neatly into partisan designations. If judges and even mayoral candidates run on non-partisan labels, I see no reason why the same cannot be true for this office.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: Kathy Cox heads to DC. She can go with her head held high. http://bit.ly/aIb1HO [...]

Readers do your job

June 30th, 2010
11:01 pm

Just to be clear with the “softball” comment, I was referring to the 10:47, not the 10:54.

janet

June 30th, 2010
11:13 pm

State Superintendent of Schools: Beth Farokhi…professional educator, non political, passionate about making education a priority in this state.

Alpharetta Parent

June 30th, 2010
11:22 pm

Well said, Cobb Parent. There’s a lot of discontentment with the lack of leadership on education related issues here in North Fulton as well. Hopefully the Republican party of Georgia realizes before it’s too late that there’s only so far you can push moderate suburban Republicans before we defect en mass and hand control over to a different party.

Educator for Life

June 30th, 2010
11:27 pm

Maureen, well said. Some of you who are responding are too funny to me. I keep hearing everyone bring up Math 1,2,3, etc. PEOPLE, it is still the math that we all had, which was Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics. In the high schools, some of the seniors say, “darn, the ninth graders know a lot of statistics and I have never heard sampling population or collecting data to make statistical inferences”. Most of you on here are going by what OTHERS say without even knowing the curriculum. I have had the pleasure of “teaching” the first two and it has shifted the way I teach. Under the QCCs, students breezed through high school without really studying. Ask them, they will admit it. No, I am not talking about all of the students because GA has some brilliant students. But, because I have taught mathematics at Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and Georgia Perimeter, I have witnessed first-hand how a lot of our supposedly strong math “QCC-taught” GA students are weak in math. It amazed me how many valedictorians come to GT and flunk Calculus I and II. But, once I started teaching high school, I saw the reason why. There are teachers in our schools who want the kids to “do what I do” on the homework and tests and not require the kids to think critically. When I first started teaching, I did the same thing. Later, I began to make students learn by using proper questioning and not doing the work for them. It is sad that some of you come on here without even knowing what a standards-based classroom looks like, but you wanna criticize something you have no clue about.

Of all the high schools I deal with, there are a few teachers who resist the change and I quickly found out why. It is ridiculous to see the number of math teachers who are not strong in math themselves. So, when they teach, they prevent students from asking questions byt simply teaching in an algorithmic manner. By not allowing questions, these teachers hide what they really don’t know. There are Algebra teachers who don’t know Geometry. There are Geometry teachers who don’t know Statistics. Then, please don’t call yourself a mathematician. Math is not separate units; instead, math is all one cohesive subject which can ans should be integrated. Students will never learn from teachers who are one-dimensional.

The teachers who come on here and complain are too lazy to change because they feel that they are underpaid, get no support from administration, etc. I agree with those problems, but while you are in the classroom, give it your all. Stop punishing kids by doing their work for them. Challenge them and encourage them. Stop saying “my kids can do this, that, etc” Why do you admit that you “don’t know how to get your kids to do this, that, etc”? Our kids have brilliant minds and some of us don’t know how to bring it out of them. The new math curriculum allowed for teachers to get students to communicate math and not just follow steps. My one question to those who hate the new Georgia Performance Standards; why wouldn’t the DOE change what we were doing because, under the QCCs, GA was ranked 49th? If you can answer that, then you should be the Superintendent. GA has been the laughing stock of the USA in terms of education, but no wants things to change. No wonder we were low, with people having that attitude towards change. Some come here and talk about their own children, as if they represent every student in GA. Wow, your child is studying to be an engineer, lawyer, doctor, etc. OK, but what is the average student doing? The University System of Georgia stated that over 17,000 Georgia students who went to college in GA, required remediation in math. Hmmm, go figure.

Kathy Cox, I don’t think you did everything to satisfy EVERYONE, but you really cared and put your effforts towards making GA better. No one on these blogs could have done better. I didn’t vote for you, but apparently a lot of people did. I am glad to have had the chance to meet and talk with you about topics, such as why there is such a disparity in the acheivement by race. I hope that you continue to do great things in the future.

HS Parent

June 30th, 2010
11:33 pm

Maureen u might the only person on the face of the earth I know that likes that woman.

It humors me that you like her simply because she won’t cheat someone? Are you kidding? Have we as a society stooped so very low that NOT being a criminal is something positive? I already have my political slogan ready for the next election: “VOTE FOR ME! I HAVEN’T MURDERED ANYONE (yet)”

Cox’s education values are totally off base. And, that makes her stand as DOE head a total failure. This is everything from her stance on teaching evolution to her stance on ‘testing and more testing’ to her stance on paying teacher for student performance.

All I have to say is good riddance to Ms. Cox and Lord help GA if we ever have anything like her or Perdue in control of this State again!

ScienceTeacher671

June 30th, 2010
11:34 pm

I’d have more respect for Kathy Cox if she hadn’t allowed the cut scores to be set so low, then lowered some more so that she could go out on a high note, and if she’d had more to say about the budget cuts when it counted – while the General Assembly was still in session.

Dr. John Trotter

June 30th, 2010
11:34 pm

Janet, What is Ms. F. going to do about the absolute craziness and awful, non-existent discipline in urban schools? Nothing. Like all of the others.

Northview (Ex)Teacher

June 30th, 2010
11:37 pm

Maureen,

I’m astounded at your comments. Kathy Cox seems to me to have done the worst imaginable job in all ways. She was just a shill for Purdue and really is leaving education much worse off than when she came on board.

I don’t know her personally, but I was forced to sit through one of her speeches at Northview. While Sonny checked out the cheerleaders’ butts, Cox made the most partisan, irrational speech I have ever heard. It made me have some sympathy for the poor people in Russia who were forced to cheer on the appartatchiks. They made their stupid speeches, and we were forced to show how happy we were.

Cox is just another right-wing nutcase: goodbye and good riddance.

Gwinnett Teacher

June 30th, 2010
11:38 pm

As a fellow Social Studies teacher who has known KC for many years……She is a disgrace ! You need to compare tests scores from year to year. The scores have changed very little. The cut off scores for passing has gone down. So, more students are passing the CRCT and GHSGT tests. THAT IS NOT IMPROVEMENT ! That is false reporting to make the public believe there is improvement.Graduation rates have NOT improved. And, those great educators she hired to go with her to the DOE left long ago. You need to do some better research before you write this kind of article. I’m disappointed. BTW,When is someone going to ask classroom teachers about what is really going on? We teach, administor the tests and analyze the results. HELLO? Is anyone listening out there ?

Let's get real with Farokhi hack

June 30th, 2010
11:40 pm

Notice the various hacks come on here pushing their various candidates, but for the most part they go running when you ask them what specific things will they propose to increase the authority of the classroom teacher to hold students accountable for behavior and academics, and what specific mechanisms will you put in place to hold administrators accountable for enforcing the policy?

The only person who even came close to answering was Kira Willis, and even she had a dodge saying that school choice would basically solve the issue, but then she didn’t answer any follow up questions.

Readers do your job

June 30th, 2010
11:43 pm

I didn’t really notice Cox speaking out on education cuts until they got so bad that the layoffs got the public’s attention as re-election time was rolling around and a real sense of anti-incumbent fever seemed to have made her a sudden passionate advocate for not cutting the budget.

Dr. John Trotter

June 30th, 2010
11:46 pm

Kathy, Best wishes in D. C. with your new endeavors!

Readers do your job

June 30th, 2010
11:56 pm

Maureen you answered the first question in my 10:31 post but you are very conspicuous in your absence in answering the second question about how honest Cox was about cut scores.

I see others have raised the issue to. Surely a professional writer such as yourself can offer an effective rebuttal to someone prone to bizarre distortions. Surely.

GOP Teacher

June 30th, 2010
11:57 pm

Kathy has done a great job with Education–consider what she went into and what she has had to work with. Some do not realize that the State Supt does not set very many policies–they are Federal. I wish her well–and will stop and see her when I am in DC to see family during the holidays.

Remember, GA Graduation Rates are not set like other states. Here, if you get a Sp Ed diploma or a Certificate because you did not pass all of the GHSGT, you are counted as a drop – out. Who am I to tell a parent their Special Needs child is a drop out because they graduated according to their IEP.

Readers do your job

June 30th, 2010
11:59 pm

So GOP teacher, tell us what a great job she did with the cut scores; the same cut scores the AJC had to file an Open Records request to make her reveal.

Courtney

July 1st, 2010
12:03 am

Kathy Cox is a mess. She hired communist sympathizers to write the Social Studies standards and whenever she needed a boost just made the CRCT tests easier to “show progress”. Glad she is gone.

say what?

July 1st, 2010
12:04 am

Janet- I watched the atlanta press club debates, and Dr. Farokhi has no passion for anything- just facts. She appeared to be the epitome of the research professor who has all the answers based on “studies and research” yet would not know what to do inside of a school or central office for more than a day.

Not complaining about her personally as I do not know her personally, but even on such a serious topic as education in GA, make yourself personable. One leadership trait that is necessary is charisma.

Kathy Cox was not the best nor the worst, and I wish her to have fun in DC and surrounding areas.

Astounded and Dismayed

July 1st, 2010
12:04 am

I agree that Linda Shrenko was awful but frankly anyone would have appeared to be an improvement so this is meaningless. The math fiasco has ruined Georgia high school math for a generation of students and has turned out to be one gigantic unfunded mandate which is helping to sink our state school budgets. Cox intentionally set cut scores where students only need to score less than 50% on a very, very easy test to be called “proficient”. Cox created the one-size-fits-all high school diploma. Don’t forget the complete failure to fight for reasonable and fair funding for our public schools, the layers and layers of additional testing that Cox added to the public schools and that zaps precious instructional time, etc. Are you sure you have been in Georgia for the last 8 years? And yes, her silly hairstyles do resemble a 5th grader.

Jason

July 1st, 2010
12:13 am

“Celebrity” guests are never allowed to keep the money they win on game shows. If Kathy hadn’t appointed a charity to receive her winnings, she would have never been selected for the show in the first place. Too bad the financial dealings of her and her husband ended up messing up what should have been an automatic gift from the show to the charity.

But yes, I will grant you that she was an improvement over our plastic surgery prison inmate of a superintendent that preceded her. What a high bar to meet and what low expectations we have.

Georgia for decades has found it easier to attract highly educated labor from other states rather than go through the effort required to do it here. As soon as those workers get sick and tired of traffic, pollution, and schools that can’t educate their children at the same level they received in the state they grew up in, the gravy train will be over.

Tonya

July 1st, 2010
12:20 am

I don’t give to licks about her sincerity. She’s a dolt, plain and true. She’s the stereotypical female teacher with a heart of gold but no cahonas(sp). Glad to see her gone, and wouldn’t be upset if they got rid of the State Superintendent position entirely. If it is only going to be a showpiece and talking head…what’s the point?

Larry Major

July 1st, 2010
12:25 am

Will you PLEASE get another hobby, or better yet, a life?

Your incessant, nonsensical babble is very annoying to those with a triple digit IQ.

Jennifer

July 1st, 2010
12:38 am

agreed. Good luck in Washington.

Wounded Warrior

July 1st, 2010
12:44 am

We started at the bottom and finished at the bottom, with much worse than before. Perhaps Kathy now can take a personal finance class. This math curriculm is horrible, and we still don’t know how to count what a ‘graduate’ is.

Is Sunny back from Africa? GA is so broke, taking money from schools, but he travels to Africa to promote tourism? Really??

In 2008, when gas was $4.00, and if you could find it, Sonny boy was travelling to Japan on our dime. The best advice at the time was to ‘pump up your tires’.

BehindEnemyLines

July 1st, 2010
12:55 am

re: “When is someone going to ask classroom teachers about what is really going on?”

Maybe that’ll seem like a more reasonable request once it’s easy to find more than a handful with credibility as anything more than leeches feeding from the public trough. As long as the norm remains the steady drone of “we don’t need no stinking accountability” and “boo hoo, just give us mo money” then, as pitiful as both the image & productivity of politicians may be, teachers will remain the last people on Earth who will add anything useful to the discussion. There’s no group I can think of who I trust less.

Wounded Warrior

July 1st, 2010
12:55 am

In 2005, when the schools were closed state wide due to the ‘gas crisis’, that were our first official furlough days. It is a clue of what was to come…

franklin

July 1st, 2010
1:21 am

She took the job because it pays 2 or three times more than what she’s making now, and her developer husband lost everything with the real estate bust in, well, everywhere. They had to declare bankruptcy.

She got pushed around at the Capitol because, instead of having a few political guys in her office, she replaced them all with policy wonks who, while having plenty of good ideas, couldn’t get a quarter of what they wanted to do accomplished because she can’t hang in the backroom. She isn’t a politician, she’s better suited to be some Assistant Secretary of Education in DC. She’s a bureaucrat.

That’s why she got knocked around so much. The eggheads couldn’t play politics. And the truth is, folks, as long as the vast majority of education opportunities in this country are paid for by taxes, there will always (ALWAYS) be politics involved. If you can’t play, then you have issues like the school shutdown, as just one example. People generally saw it as a dumb move. But Kathy wasn’t able to prevent it, nor did she make any political capitol on it afterwards. You don’t have people who can help you at the Capitol and in the Governor’s office, you won’t get much done, despite good ideas and good intentions, and you will get exactly zero done.

Sorry, but the fact is the only reason we’re not the worst state for education in the nation is the existence of Mississippi and Alabama. I think even Arkansas has a better graduation rate. Though I admit I haven’t researched it lately, we could have improved some, but I’m willing to bet we’re still in the 45-50 range in state rankings, and that’s nothing of which to be proud.

But as I said, if you can’t play the politics, you’re money and influence will go to someone else. With some discipline, Kathy could have made possibly a good member of congress or the senate in the end, doing something good for education. Instead, she’ll be a think-tank hack with no political acumen in the biggest shark tank (for politics) on earth, a lobbyist with no feel for the game getting more of nothing done – just in a new town. And being well compensated for it.

Look at the bright side, though: at least she’s not on OUR dime anymore.

franklin

July 1st, 2010
1:22 am

Wow too many commas, just poor punctuation and grammar all throughout. I apologize. Though I was of course educated in this state.

franklin

July 1st, 2010
1:23 am

But a couple of beers will do that too.

Larry Minor

July 1st, 2010
1:32 am

Triple digit IQ. Didn’t know they were measuring IQ to the hundredths place these days.

EducationCEO

July 1st, 2010
2:04 am

Lord have mercy I won’t even comment. Let’s just wait to see how she does in D.C., For those who have never lived North, they will chew her -up and spit her out. They have no need for timid, docile cheerleaders in D.C., The educated folks will find out soon enough what an incompetent puppet she is. This is hilarious!

Steve

July 1st, 2010
5:24 am

Kathy Cox had a huge job. She also knew she could not please everyone. I respect her for that. There are a couple areas I think she could have addressed and improved education. First, every person claiming to be an expert at DOE was allowed to put out their ideas on education without any research based facts. This made teachers jump thru hoops for no good reasons. Personally, I experienced MANY DOE programs that were here today, do a lot of useless paperwork, and gone tomorrow. A lot of time wasted. Second, teachers never got feedback. I personally asked her about releasing CRCT tests like so many other states. I also asked why teachers were not given a list of which questions were missed (specifics) instead of some ambiguous category with number right. That does not allow me to analyze what and why a student had trouble in that area,. When I asked the questions – her reponse was the testing experts at DOE did not feel this was a good idea. As a parent I would have loved to go over a test with my child and looked at what they missed and why. I would also loved to have seen what they were tested on and what the questions were like. I personally believe that by not releasing tests the “wizards” at DOE were hindering progress in education rather than promoting progress. It is like it is a big secret and a coverup. Why didn’t they release the social studies test from a few years ago to show how bad the tests really are as a tool to measure knowledge. I think it is because DOE did not have a comprehensive, cohesive strategy for improving education and no one was in charge. In all my years in the classroom I do not recall anything from the DOE that helped me in the classroom. Last year I sat in MANDATORY meeting on standards based education from DOE. After several days of mind boggling garbage the presenter (a DOE employee) made the comment that this particular program was thrown together and all she got was a few powerpoint slides for a 3 day, 24 hour presentation. Very poor. My opinion – lack of leadership.

john konop

July 1st, 2010
5:54 am

Maureen,

In all due respect Kathy Cox was a complete failure in her job who was more focused on personal gain than what was best for the kids. Kathy distorted the truth to cover her failed plan.

THE TRUTH:

1) If you factor the reduction in cut scores close to 80 % of the kids failed the CRCT. In the real world you cannot change the amount of right answers needed for a test and call it a success, it would be called fraud!
2) Kathy destroyed our only national ranked gifted math programs in Cherokee, Cobb and North Fulton for her ill though-out math 123. And once again manipulated data to sell this failed lobbyist driven idea.
3) Kathy Cox manipulated the drop-out numbers to once again hide one more problem she created. Not counting kids from the day they enter school and only counting kids by the pool that makes it to 12th grade would not be acceptable in any measure in the real world.
4) Kathy Cox created a culture of cheating to cover-up real issues that has destroyed integrity of our system that spread like a wild fire through the system.

How in any measure can this be considered a success? Kathy Cox got her high paying cushy lobbyist job by selling all of us out! Kathy was it really worth it?

Mid-South Philosopher

July 1st, 2010
6:16 am

Good morning, Miss Maureen,

Like most of us, Kathy Cox had her strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately for the people (especially the children) of Georgia, her weaknesses did not include a propensity for arrogance. I agree with you that she truly wanted to do a good job and move the educational system of Georgia toward the goal of becoming the very best.

The one malady that, in my opinion, she was never able to overcome was this asinine conundrum called “local control.” She was never able to completely wrest control of the pedagogical factories from the local fiefdom “school boards” and, consequently, she was never able to move the institution of public education forward to the degree that would have enabled us to “lead the way” toward that mastery of skills and knowledge necessary to adequately compete in a global environment.

I see no one vying to replace her who will do any better.

funny

July 1st, 2010
7:49 am

@frank

to call the DOE eggheads is giving them a bit to much credit

@ EfL

Math 123 is horrible; state officials sent word down the chain of command to math teachers for them not to grade homework, admin pressed math teachers to pass along students regardless (still have to meet AYP); math cut scores were lowered to coverup the fact that students are not doing well in this “flying the plane while we build it” math. state DOE still doesnt know what its going to do with Math 4. GA math curriculum does not align with any other state, out of state colleges havent a clue what it is.

OMG i could go on but dont want to be as long winded as you.