Deal would turn down Race to the Top millions. If he plans to return “magic” to schools, I hope he can pull money from a hat.

I have a hard time believing any governor would turn down a possible $400 million in Race to the Top dollars but that is what GOP candidate Nathan Deal said today at a breakfast event.

When I heard Deal at the Georgia School Boards Association debate this summer, he pledged to restore the “magic of learning and joy of teaching” to Georgia schools.

If Deal plans to create magic, I hope that he can pull millions of dollars out of a hat rather than a rabbit:

According to the AJC’s Georgia Elections Central:

Former congressman Nathan Deal said that, if elected, he would decline the federal “Race to the Top” money for education that Gov. Sonny Perdue has so hotly pursued.

Said Deal:

“Race to the Top has standardardized curriculum,” Deal said. “I do not agree with anything that has strings attached.”

“I would say it’s probably not worth the money we’re going to receive,” Deal said. “In the overall scheme of things it’s not that much money. It sounds big but when you distribute it across every level of the education system, it’s not that big.”

But former secretary of state Karen Handel said she would accept the cash, if the state wins it:

“As long as we’re paying taxes to the federal government I think I have a responsibility to make sure Georgia gets its fair share,” she said. “We should not turn our nose up at it.”

She said she would want to be sure “the strings aren’t too much to accept,” but later said the strings she is concerned about involve what happens when the money runs out.

UPDATE: I am going to leave the commentary about Deal’s quick change of heart to you folks, but take a look at this Gainesville Times story. I would like to make this personal note about Deal’s spokesman Brian Robinson, with whom I spent many a wonderful early evening talking Georgia politics when he worked for the AJC with me in editorial. At the time, Brian was in his twenties, and wise beyond his years about Georgia politicians from time spent in the General Assembly and from growing up in the state. This story would have left him, Pete and me chuckling. Somehow, I don’t think Brian is laughing right now:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal has changed his tune on federal “Race to the Top” money.

After initially telling business leaders at a candidate forum today that he would reject the federal money for schools, Deal’s campaign said Tuesday afternoon that the candidate spoke on bad information.

Georgia is one of 18 finalists in the second round of the federal school reform grant competition. The state could share in some $3.4 billion if selected.

Originally, Deal thought the grant program would force the state to adhere to national education standards and said he wouldn’t take it.

Deal’s campaign spokesman, Brian Robinson, likened participation in the program to taking free drugs from an illegal drug dealer.

“The thing with this federal money is it’s like a drug dealer: the first one’s free and then they’ve got you hooked and you play by their rules,” Robinson said.

While Robinson said Georgians deserve their fair share of federal tax money, he said it should not come with strings attached.

He said Georgia’s teachers are “adamantly opposed” to a “one-size-fits-all Washington bureaucrat solution.”

But later, the Deal camp reneged, saying Deal had learned the money did not come with a federally mandated curriculum.

“He is not going to return the money,” Robinson said. “That program will already be in place when he takes office.”

107 comments Add your comment

bootney farnsworth

August 3rd, 2010
12:30 pm

Deal is an idiot.
Sonny 2.0

EnoughAlready

August 3rd, 2010
12:35 pm

Deal and Handel need to learn that BEGGERS can’t be choosey. And I take issue with any governor who is willing to turn down money that will help my child. They are making enormous cuts in education and then have the audacity to turn down funds.

WHO are these people? One doesn’t have kids and the other can afford private school.

d

August 3rd, 2010
12:38 pm

Maureen – honestly, what will we get for that $400 Million that’s worth it? RTTT is flawed and even though there is no way I would ever vote for Nathan Deal, he’s right on this one.

d

August 3rd, 2010
12:42 pm

Also, when school districts have budgets approaching or exceeding $1 BILLION, how much good will this money do? $400 Million is less than half of DeKalb’s operating budget and it’s not like DeKalb would even get a significant amount of that money.

Teacher #3

August 3rd, 2010
12:42 pm

I’m sure Mr. Deal had the magic when he was teaching…

I know he used some black magics while he was a congress man …

bootney farnsworth

August 3rd, 2010
12:47 pm

I’m not saying RTTT is worth it, but to just reject it out of hand..?

bootney farnsworth

August 3rd, 2010
12:49 pm

maybe if RTTT would kick back to Deal’s family business he’d be
more inclined to support it.

In The Arena

August 3rd, 2010
12:55 pm

If we accept this money, Georgia schools lose control of their own curriculum. Washington decides. There’s no magic or fun in that.

Maggie's Daughter

August 3rd, 2010
1:06 pm

Crack cocaine, heroin, meth. It’s Obama’s addictive substance to lure the states into his arms — and the federal government. Removes the last vestige of state independence and local say over what is taught our kids. But are we a collection of states anymore anyway?

Teacher Reader

August 3rd, 2010
1:11 pm

Race To The Top money will cost districts more than they will get from any grant. We see this time and time again with the mandates given to schools through federal dollars. I don’t care for Deal, but he is right on with this. Until the government gets out of telling states how to educate our children, our education systems will never improve.

EnoughAlready

August 3rd, 2010
1:16 pm

The people running the states are idiots, so much for blaming the federal government. 97% of the issues in Georgia were created by our local government. 99% of the issues in education are created, substantiated and encouraged by our local politicians as well.

Dr NO

August 3rd, 2010
1:17 pm

Nathan was once a Democrat. Love Handels isnt my prefered candidate butt better her than King Lipstick and Fence straddling Deal.

Dr NO

August 3rd, 2010
1:18 pm

This is just more ObaMagic. Dont take the cash!!

d

August 3rd, 2010
1:21 pm

@EnoughAlready — the problem is that we don’t let the people who actually know what is going on to run our own profession. Politicians haven’t been trained or taught the finer intricacies of childhood development or pedagogy, yet they love to tell me how to do my job. That being said, why do we let this happen to one profession and not all? Can you imagine the AMA putting up with this? I’d love to see the response if, for example, the politicians decided that open heart surgery should happen via a patient’s back….

oldtimer

August 3rd, 2010
1:22 pm

The money will not necessarily improve schools. It will give the federal government even more say so in our school with more and more mandates. We already have to many undeerfunded federal proposals.

ccaquabat

August 3rd, 2010
1:55 pm

In case you guys haven’t heard, our state curriculum is changing to a curriculum where many states have the same curriculum. Sonny Perdue chaired this committee and changes are being instituted within 1 year. Washington does not and will not control our schools, sorry. It is controlled by our DOE and the governor. So, thank them when it comes to the new math curriculum.

Classroom Educator

August 3rd, 2010
2:32 pm

Good for you, Mr. Deal. It is about time that someone stood up for the classroom educators. The RTTT money is pure bribery. Your stand for teachers is refreshing!

Teacher Reader

August 3rd, 2010
2:37 pm

The federal government has created the standards that the states are adopting. Yes, they are dicating what is being taught in our schools and our children continue to suffer from an inch deep mile wide curriculum.

Cpt. Math

August 3rd, 2010
2:39 pm

You guys are uninformed, as an educator myself, the RTTT will not change anything in Georgia. The Common Core Standards Georgia is adopting in 2012 will have all of requirements needed to collect under RTTT.
I’ll simplify it for you. Let’s say you work making Sarah Palin bobblehead dolls, you make 10 bobbleheads dolls an hour. A new boss says if you make 10 or more bobblehead dolls, you’ll get a $50 bonus. Do you turn down the money?

The works already been done and changes applied. Take RTTT and help get our class numbers down below 36.

Teacher #3

August 3rd, 2010
2:40 pm

I get this sneaky feeling that all those people who are against the “common” curriculum are the ones that insist we only use English since we are the United States of America. Why bother with a common language – let each state choose their own language???

Teacher Input

August 3rd, 2010
2:40 pm

That money has strings tied to it. Smart politicians will say, “No thanks.”

Cpt. Math

August 3rd, 2010
2:48 pm

The strings have already been taken care of. The only reason Deal’s not talking the money because its an Obama initiative. Thanks Deal, placing politics above the needs of our kids is not what we need.

Maybe if he could attach a string all the way to his garage, he would take the money.

Nothing We Can Do

August 3rd, 2010
2:53 pm

I’m pretty sure John Barge is against taking the money too.

South Ga Teacher180

August 3rd, 2010
3:04 pm

Go read HB 907, HB 400, HB 1209, SB 427: These bills collectively ensure a solid architectural design to allow the Obama Administration’s ( and every other past president) urban education agenda. This allows the federal government to convince our state education leaders that money will always “be there” to educate the children of GA. These bills (all together) allow our classrooms to be nationalized without any real research on student achievement…they would rather use words like UNIFORMITY to those that are not teaching to brainwash you all in thinking that taking the money is good….And who researched all of this you might ask? Why the “EXPERTS” did…and remember most of them have not taught in a K-12 class before and more importantly, in the NCLB era.

I hate to know that most of the people will probably accept these UNIFORM (whatever!) standards are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing and then the Obama administration and the rest of the urban education elites will be right in our classrooms….I guess rural GA does not have a chance because the only state that exists is bordered by I-285.

GA Teach

August 3rd, 2010
3:05 pm

RTTT is only going to be used to implement RTTT…..Period….The money is over a four year period…..Only little over 100 million a year……We do not want RTTT period…..The founds will not directly help students or be able to be used to hire teachers….the end..

Mom of 3

August 3rd, 2010
3:05 pm

This is the first thing I’ve heard from a politician in a long time that actually makes sense! Schools have way too many “hoops” to jump through. We need to get back to teaching our kids to be thinkers, not how too bubble in on a test, so that the schools can check off 1 more gov’t criteria.

williev2000

August 3rd, 2010
3:24 pm

Wow, so many people don’t know the facts about RTTT. The Common Core Curriculum (standardized curriculum) is SO in line with what is already going on in Georgia. In fact, Georgia is the leader!!!

Most teachers are afraid of what some call “merit” pay. Teachers, have you heard of unique Student Test ID numbers? Georgia already has the ability to track the teachers that are making progress with students. “JQ Public” is supportive of teachers being held accountable for the progress that their students and supporting those teacher that make through via some kind of merit plan. Teachers are still blaming parents for students not making progress and do not look inward to themselves.

AJinCobb

August 3rd, 2010
3:25 pm

@Teacher Reader,

“The federal government has created the standards that the states are adopting.”

Sonny Perdue specifically says that’s not the case. The new standards were created by a consortium of states. What’s your evidence that Perdue and the other governors are lying?

Attentive Parent

August 3rd, 2010
3:35 pm

Ga Teach is correct except that the state itself can only keep 50%. The remainder gets divided up among the participating districts based on size and Title 1 formulas.

That $50 million per year at the state level will go to fund the programs described in the application and creating new software to track student performance.

Plus since Common Core through its Model Teaching Standards is pushing the kind of learning tasks whole classroom, teach yourself activities that have turned Math 1,2, 3 into such a nightmare,

where will Georgia get the millions needed to remediate when the consequences of building the entire curriculum around a discovery model become clear?

Nikole

August 3rd, 2010
3:36 pm

Common Core standards are the future. There is no harm in expecting all students to meet the same standards.
RTTT money will not help us lower class sizes or help us as individual teachers in any way.
Take the money, but don’t expect the state of Georgia to do much good with it. Our issues with funding are our STATE’S fault.

Writer Gal

August 3rd, 2010
3:37 pm

What possibly could it hurt to have strings attached. I mean, really. If the feds are in charge of state cirriculum, won’t we be able to get rid of the NEW MATH in the high schools since no other state uses it? All those millions and a chance to get rid of Kathy Cox’s fuzzy math? Sounds like a dream deal to me. From what I have seen a cirriculum change is greatly needed. The current one in place everywhere actually rather–excuse my language–sucks!

catlady

August 3rd, 2010
3:43 pm

RTTT will not filter down the the children. Not accepting it will have no effect on the kids, just the DOE syncophants/camp followers and local BOE “consultants.”

Nathan Deal will say anything to get elected. Takes notes from Roy Barnes in his best “throw mama under the bus” policymaking.

To return magic to the schools, Mr. Deal will probably demand that “TEACHERS work harder!” That won’t cost a cent, and we will fire the ones who don’t do it!

Robert Ripley

August 3rd, 2010
3:44 pm

“I have a hard time believing any governor would turn down a possible $400 million in Race to the Top dollars”

Yeah and I have a hard time believing a crackhead would turn down a payday loan, but I’m sure as heck not going to criticize them when they do.

RTTT is nothing but the moral equivalent of a payday loan and as such should be rejected.

Teacher #3

August 3rd, 2010
3:45 pm

Common Core State Standards are not created by the Federal Government. They are simply what we should expect students to learn at each grade level (K-8) and by the end of HS (9-12). There is nothing in the CCSS that suggest a particular way of teaching.

Sticking up for Georgia

August 3rd, 2010
3:46 pm

Race to the Top is a federal takeover of our state school system. I am surprised that Obama thinks that he can buy us for $400 Million. He is attempting to deceive Americans by saying that he is providing money to improve the education of our children. He is placing in with the one- time short lived infusion of casha permanent theft of our rights. It is our right to educate our own children in our own schools.

HS Teacher

August 3rd, 2010
3:56 pm

Oh come on…. is anyone really shocked? The republican agenda regarding public education has been out there for a long time. They plan to totally ruin it ‘by any means necessary’ in order to convince voters to turn to their voucher system.

So, Deal would turn down the money while Handel would not. However, both of their agendas regarding education is the same. Remember that ALL republican candidates are required to take a pledge to adhere to the republican platform.

VOTE FOR ANYONE BUT A REPUBLICAN!

Maureen on the run

August 3rd, 2010
4:00 pm

Maureen you begged off the tough questions yesterday, citing a long day. Yet a new day arrives and again you dodge.

-You said you do not believe this investigation will be a whitewash. Given that almost half the members of the blue ribbon panel that “investigated” were people who did business with APS, and given that at least one board member publicly stated it was “impossible” that Dr. Hall knew of cheating, do you stand by your statement that no whitewashing took place? Are you ready to state categorically for the record that no one involved in this investigation is compromising the truth in an effort to minimize the damage to Dr. Hall?

-You routinely bashed the Clayton County school board in the past for acting “unprofessionally” and being “unethical” because they couldn’t get along.

But what about an APS board that gets along, and in a cool, calm, “professional” manner stacks the deck of the blue ribbon panel with people who have a built in conflict of interest, due to their business dealings with APS? Is it ok in your book for them to act in this manner, as long as they are “professional” about it and in agreement with an ethical shortcut?

As bad as the Clayton board didn’t get along, isn’t it bad that every APS member “went along” with stacking the blue ribbon panel with people who serious conflicts of interest?

Yet why haven’t you called for even so much as a sanction, or even an investigation into the APS board, much less a resignation?

You claim you are free to comment as you wish with no interference from above. Yet if you won’t use your editorial voice to call for at least a sanction of the APS board, for acting in unison to stack the blue ribbon committee with people your own paper reports have a conflict of interest, aren’t you making a mockery of your claims that your focus is what’s best for children?

Please state, for the record how stacking the deck with people who do business with APS is any less an “outside influence” than what happened in Clayton.

HS Teacher

August 3rd, 2010
4:04 pm

@Williev2000

You totally miss the entire point about why teachers don’t like merit pay. Please try to understand this rather than be blinded by the total BS.

A great and wonderful teacher may use all of the latest and greatest techniques in their room. They may sing, tap dance, whatever. However, if the students in her room are not motivated to learn for a variety of reasons (haven’t been fed dinner for a week, parents are fighting and about to divorce, whatever) then it doesn’t matter what she does. And, you expect her pay to be dependent on the results of the student’s test results?

Name one other job that does this – please!

A medical doctor gets paid whether his patient lives or dies. A dentist gets paid whether the tooth lives or dies. However, would you support giving them ‘merit pay?’

Teachers have no control over anything outside of the classroom. Some influence CAN be there but it is certainly not 100% of what causes a student to become motivated to learn. Yet, you want to hold the teacher 100% accountable?

Is it ‘fear’ that teachers have for merit pay? No. It is reason and a sense of what’s fair.

HS Teacher

August 3rd, 2010
4:06 pm

@Williev2000

Here is another profession that isn’t paid merit pay: a stock broker. They get their commission regardless of the performance of that stock. A customer could lose out on tons of money, but that stock broker will get their commission when that stock is bought AND when that stock is sold.

HS Teacher

August 3rd, 2010
4:09 pm

@Maureen on the run….

Haven’t you been here long enough to know that Maureen refuses to own up to anything she believes yet cannot prove? I think she graduated from the Rush and Hannity school of journalism.

Georgia Teacher

August 3rd, 2010
4:12 pm

Why would anyone turn down a big boost for education? If expectations and standards are “strings attached”, then let’s hope Mr. Deal never has a real job where he has to obey rules and procedures to succeed. The idea that Georgia knows any more about education than 49 other states, especially given its poor academic rating, is just ludicrous. Even Republicans should be able to see beyond their rhetoric of “individual/states’ rights.” Let Mr. Deal refuse to drive on federal highways, send letters through the US Postal Service, and turn down Medicare and Social Security when his time comes–then he would at least have a coherent position.

oldtimer

August 3rd, 2010
4:24 pm

I would be willing to bet the RTTT money will go to high payed administrators to manage the money.

The Truthinator

August 3rd, 2010
4:25 pm

There are 2 two versions of the Common Core Standards. States can choose the traditional Algebra 2 Geometry and other classes, or they can jumble them up like the Georgia DOE did. Either way the standards are aligned and the money is there for the taking.

I do not agree that he is doing this because he wants to get elected. I think he’s playing to the GOP educational program which is to graduate students that can only qualify to work a low wage job thus enslaving them to their big money corporations.

Maureen on the run

August 3rd, 2010
4:34 pm

@HS teacher

I’m sure it would disgust her to consider the possibility, but when it comes to holding herself accountable for defending her point of view, she does have a lot in common with Hannity and Limbaugh.

It was Maureen’s own words that said this investigation would not be a whitewash. Now that we know the committee was stacked with members that have a “fatally flawed” conflict of interest because they do business with APS, will Maureen stand by that statement?

Maureen also talked repeatedly that school boards should be held accountable for their actions. Now that her own paper has pointed out the conflicts of interest the APS board willingly engaged in, will she be consistent and call for sanctions?

Or will upper echelon AJC politics get in the way? And speaking of upper echelon, will Julia Wallace come on here and state for the record, that none of the higher ups at the AJC have had any communication with Edu-PAC members, or members of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce concerning how the AJC will report on this story?

Mike

August 3rd, 2010
4:38 pm

This is funny!

Our boy wonder superintendent up here in Hall county, Will Schofield, who is Deal’s friend, neighbor as well as his wife’s boss, has already signed Hall County up for Race to the Top if it comes through. In fact Schofield was on the team that developed the RTTT application. Wonder how that is working out?

Why ask why?

August 3rd, 2010
4:50 pm

“Why would anyone turn down a big boost for education?”

Why Georgia Teacher? The same reason people turn down crystal meth. The long term consequences aren’t worth the temporary high.

This in the moral equivalent of crystal meth, except that at least with crystal meth, you don’t have to fill out a bunch of BS forms.

Real Education

August 3rd, 2010
4:53 pm

Karen Handel and Roy Barnes support a federal takeover of our schools, giving Washington control of the curriculum and placing much more emphasis on merit based pay, evaluated based on a significantly increased amount of testing.

Nathan Deal wants to put the control in the hand of the local school districts. How could local control possibly hurt when Washington has all these destructive plans in place for Georgia schools?

john konop

August 3rd, 2010
5:00 pm

WHICH DEAL IS IT?

……If You Didn’t Like Nathan Deal’s Principled Stand Against Race To The Top Dollars, You’ll Be Delighted To Know It Only Took 8 Hours For Him To Take A Different One……

http://www.peachpundit.com/2010/08/03/if-you-didnt-like-nathan-deals-principled-stand-against-race-to-the-top-dollars-youll-be-delighted-to-know-it-only-took-8-hours-for-him-to-take-a-different-one/#comments

who is more destructive?

August 3rd, 2010
5:01 pm

A. Republicans – local ones, not necessarily those in DC. B. Local School Boards? Or C. Obama administration?

I think A and B have already proven that they ARE very destructive of public education.

td

August 3rd, 2010
5:03 pm

I knew all the liberal teachers on this blog would throw their own profession under the bus instead of voting against your party. You will get what you deserve and please do not come on here, or anywhere else, when you can not do not get any raises because the kids do not dramatically increase in a test score. Money will be tied directly to numbers and the leadership will be able to manipulate the numbers to fit their own agenda and not pay the teachers.