Having seen Karen Handel outline her education plan at the Georgia School Boards Association meeting in Savannah last month, I was underwhelmed. More relevant to this election, so were many of the school board members I talked to after the panel, most of whom were from outside metro Atlanta. They weren’t really clear what Handel was going to do to help their systems, if anything, based on her comments to them.
As I reported at the time, Handel said, “I am not going to lay out my legislative agenda here today. But my pledge to you is that I will have your leadership at the table. But I can tell you one thing I won’t do; I am not going to have the budget balanced on the backs of teachers and furloughs.”
In fact, Handel and her run-off opponent Nathan Deal had the least concrete plans of any of the GOP candidates on the panel, which I found odd since they were speaking to the elected officials from across the state whose only focus was schools. (Eric Johnson had the boldest idea, vouchers, but it was the least attractive to the school boards.)
Perhaps aware of her shortcomings in education ideas, Handel just sent out this release, although nothing here jumps out at me and yells “Big picture vision for education.”
You may see more innovation in her ideas than I do: (You can read her ideas in greater detail here.)
Former Secretary of State and candidate for Governor Karen Handel today rolled out her plan for 21st Century education reform in Georgia.
“We must all unite to ensure that every child has access to a high quality education and the opportunity to graduate from high school and be prepared for whatever is next – whether that is college or technical school or another path toward workforce preparedness,” Karen said.
The Handel Plan focuses on:
- Creating 21st Century classrooms that leverage technology and partner with community organizations and the private sector to enhance learning
- Recruiting and retaining the best and brightest as teachers by reinstating the Master Teacher Program, recruiting top candidates for teaching positions and rewarding teachers for success.
- Declaring a “state of emergency” on Georgia’s drop-out rate using teachers and technology to detect at-risk students and bringing technical college programs into middle schools to provide an alternative path for those students who will not be pursuing a four-year degree path.
- Reforming the system through local flexibility and choice.
- Creating a 21st Century workforce
- Using transparency and cost savings to focus educational dollars on classroom education
- Creating a new funding model for education in Georgia
“Education will be a top priority as Governor,” Karen said today. “We will fix education in Georgia in a way that will become a model for other states and our children top competitors in the 21st Century economy.”
Handel has previously released detailed plans on ethics reform, job creation and economic expansion and permanently cutting the state workforce.