Updated at 12:20 a.m. to note John Barge’s victory.
Former APS school board member Joe Martin handily won the Democratic nomination for school superintendent, while Bartow County school administrator John Barge won a close GOP contest.
Now, voters have a clear choice in November. Nothing shows the differences between the two candidates more clearly than their stands on the federal Race to the Top grant program, which Georgia is competing for this summer:
The current leadership did not help its image recently with their announcement that they would be pursuing $200 – $400 million in federal grant monies through an initiative of President Obama’s called Race to the Top…. I’m sure you will find as many around the state have found, this will put FAR TOO MUCH power in the hands of the federal government to control our school systems.
I have this one question: Is the less than 1% of our total educational budget for a year worth selling the education of our children to the federal government? I say no.
I support the Race to the Top funding, but don’t think Georgia’s application was prepared in a cooperative way or based on accurate representations. The only way to make sustainable change is to involve everyone in a team effort. That certainly hasn’t been the approach in this process thus far. And some of the text is close to being a fairy tale. For example, where is that great student information system touted in the application?
I agree with the four assurances (high standards, great teachers, reliable information, and reform of struggling schools) that are the goals of Race to the Top. I also believe everyone in education has to be evaluated on the success of their schools in educating our students, but I don’t support a pay-for-performance system that is tied to standardized test scores.