Nathan Deal: Is he ready to move on to the state’s education problems? Read his policy paper to find out.

Nathan Deal unveiled his education plan today, but Georgians have seen a lot of it already.

Nathan Deal unveiled his education plan today, but Georgians have seen a lot of it already.

With GOP legislative leaders standing behind him in the Capitol today, gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal outlined an education plan that no one will dislike.

Not even his opponent Roy Barnes.

For one thing, several key Deal initiatives already exist in Georgia, including charter high schools with a math and science emphasis, a “Move on When Ready” program for accelerated high school students and incentives to sway more teachers into math and science. There wasn’t much new in Deal’s vision, which was broad enough to be applicable to any state and any party.

I asked him about his notion that we should adapt the Move on When Ready concept to elementary school students by giving them the CRCT when they are “ready” and moving them to the next class if they pass. I asked how he envisioned schools dealing with five or six third graders who passed the CRCT in December.

Would we walk them down the hall and deliver them to the fourth grade teacher?  Passing the CRCT doesn’t mean a student can drop into the next grade mid-year and succeed, but Deal contends that smart superintendents and principals will figure out the logistics of how we move young kids when “ready.”

After his presentation, I spoke to two very smart women, state school board Chair Wanda Barrs and Martha Reichrath, deputy state superintendent for standards, instruction, and assessment, who thought that a move on when ready policy, as applied to younger kids, may more likely take the form of differentiated accelerated classwork within their same classroom.

Ideally, I agree that students should not be bound by their birth dates, and that schools should be routing kids all over the building for classes depending on their abilities. So, a bright second grader may go to third grade for math and fourth grade for reading. The problem is that schools lack the scheduling dexterity to assign children by skill set rather than age, and instead we get promises of differentiated instruction within the traditional confines of age-dictated classrooms. (This is not the time or place, but I think truly differentiated instruction is a rare occurrence in today’s overcrowded classrooms.)

Deal’s other big plan was reviewing how Georgia funds schools, which was a big plan for Gov. Perdue as well. But after four years, the Perdue IE2 Commission came back with a flexibility plan rather than a new funding formula, largely because the state didn’t have the money to support a funding formula that assessed what each student needed and paid accordingly.

Deal pledged that his funding committee would be more effective because he would not let them meet endlessly, but would hold them to a deadline of June 2011. He didn’t deal with the snag that any new funding formula would likely cost a lot more since we are now underfunding even the existing QBE formula.

Afterward, I talked to state school chief Brad Bryant  who pointed out that the level of detail that I wanted is not what most people are seeking in education policy.

I thought about that in the context of Roy Barnes’ grasp of education, honed by eight years of working on school issues on a national level. If you want details, Barnes has them. But does the public want an education wonk as governor or are they content with someone offering a broader, albeit vaguer, vision?

And is there any real need for the governor to even have a well-crafted, well-articulated education policy since Georgia is now following a federal script?

I talked to Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield at the event – he and Deal are neighbors. He noted that the era is over when a governor can be a Michelangelo with vast expertise across disciplines who can fashion state policies on his own. Deal would surround himself with strong people in education, Schofield said.

Saying he had surveyed teachers to draft his policies, Deal opened his presentation with the statement that teachers told him, “Just give us time to teach and don’t make us teach to a test.” I think that train torpedoed out of the station when Georgia adopted the Common Core State Standards that will bring common tests to our schools. Tests are not going away.

Deal also said teachers told him that they were delighted to be asked their views since no one had ever done so, a statement I was surprised did not lead Perdue top lieutenants Erin Hames or Bert Brantley to leap to their feet in protest since the governor did his infamous teacher survey last fall. (Hames has just joined DOE, but she was Perdue’s policy director and his education ace.)

Take a look at the Deal plan and let us know what you think.

108 comments Add your comment


September 7th, 2010
11:41 pm

Did Deal speak with parents during his due diligence?


September 7th, 2010
11:43 pm

More lip service, more smoke being blown up the yazoo and even more lies… Words sounds good. More rhetoric


September 7th, 2010
11:47 pm

I think Dr Barge has said that we should do away with seat time requirements for HS students and if they can pass the EOC test then they should get credit and move on to the next class.

We elect a person as Superintendent of Education. Why do we want our Governor to be a education policy wonk? I do want him to understand the basics but he has a lot more to do with the job then to focus on details in education. The Governor should set the vision and it should be overseen by the board he appoints working with the Superintendent we elect to come up with the details.

I do like the idea of offering incentives for service to teach in the lowest performing schools. I am wondering if other teachers might think this is a good enough incentive where they would think about accepting?


September 8th, 2010
1:12 am

td, you are amazingly perceptive. Let the governor be the governor and let the state super be the state super. Just that simple. Now off to eat some Vidalia Onions before I go to bed!

Public Teacher

September 8th, 2010
4:26 am

Deal = Perdue = republican platform towards education = destroy public education at all cost in favor of a voucher system that can be used at private schools. The most wealthy are looking for another public tax payer hand-out to help them pay for their little child’s private school education. A voucher alone will never be able to pay for middle income folks to send their child there – and that suits the most wealthy just fine.

Public Teacher

September 8th, 2010
4:29 am

Please, please – in the State of GA vote for anyone but a republican.

Republicans have been in total control of this State for about 8 years. Look around at what they have done.

GA has one of the highest unemployment in the Country. If you want jobs, then voting republican will get you the opposite.

GA public education is a laughing stock in the nation (see Clayton Co. and DeKalb Co. and APS and ….). If you want to improve education, then don’t vote republican.

I cannot think of any single thing that has IMPROVED during the last 8 years in GA while the republicans have been in total control. Can you?


September 8th, 2010
6:10 am

at td, Barge is placing tremendous faith in terribly-constructed and poorly-written Ga EOCTs. Is allowing all kids to skip classes because they can pass such exams the final verdict–all that matters is the multiple choice exam not the learning in the classroom. I guess we will send a whole generation to college never having written anything of substance or thought critically about any subject.

The General

September 8th, 2010
6:15 am

@ Public Teacher

And until this decade, Democrats were in charge every single year since reconstruction. So, it’s all the Repubs fault? I think your desire to blame Republicans though they had the governors mansion for only the past eight years (and the state house for the past six) rings rather hollow.

Your can-do-no-wrong democrats have actually done plenty wrong. You are either too ignorant or too partisan to admit it.

The General

September 8th, 2010
6:24 am

@ Public Teacher

I forgot to address this gem of yours, “GA public education is a laughing stock in the nation (see Clayton Co. and DeKalb Co. and APS and ….). If you want to improve education, then don’t vote republican.”

If ignorance is bliss, you must live your life in ecstasy. ALL those school systems to which you refer are headed, staffed and serve the most liberal of Democrats that draw breath. You need to educate yourself about the facts before you try to spout your foolish dreck to an informed public.


September 8th, 2010
6:25 am

if he is elected we all better move to canada or mexico


September 8th, 2010
7:16 am

Well, when my two oldest kids were in school in the mid-80s, at a small country school in the very rural mountains of N GA, our school DID send kids to different classrooms some. My kids, as kindergarteners, went to 4th and 5th for reading (they were very good readers). And we had one part in the instructional day where all kids went for 30 minutes for instruction in reading skills based on their demonstrated skills. So I had 5th graders in with kindergarteners (BTW, those 5th grade parents, when they found out, got BUSY and helped their kids!). I can see it being a scheduling nightmare, but I also see kids’ parents being mortified and getting involved.


September 8th, 2010
7:20 am


Your argument will be fine as long as the secretary of education knows about education. I’m not sure if Mr. Barge does. On the other hand, I think it may not be a bad idea to have a shrewed politician as a secretary of education because education is political. We need someone who can effectively manuever politically since you can always get education “experts” to develop an idea.

Educrats Can't Make Up Their Minds

September 8th, 2010
7:26 am

Are we going to track kids by their abilities or we going to make them sit in classes with lower performing students to accommodate the latest fad of inclusion? Granted the lower performing students benefit, but the higher performing students do not make the gains they could in an accelerated class. The dumbing down of the American school system.

Doble Zero Eight

September 8th, 2010
7:47 am

Public education has not improved in the last 20 years regardless as to
which party held the governorship. I do believe that it did get worse under Perdue. Perdue campaigned on improving education and said he would make no excuses regarding the results. Education should be Deal’s
number one priority. His approach would likely create more paperwork
and bureaucracy, and afford teachers less time for teaching. It will
also place more emphasis on testing and less emphasis on critical thinking. You can take the teachers from some of the top performing systems like Gwinnett and Forsyth, and they would likely have no measurable effects on the test scores in APS or Clayton. Why? Because
many parents in these two systems accept no responsibility for their
child’s progress. It is always the teachers fault that their children
are not learning. Parents have an obligation to review their children’s progress, and get involved in their schools by attending PTSA
and volunteering. Discipline is usually not an issue in schools that are
performing well. Discipline is an issue for many under performing schools. Teachers do not have time to deal with discipline issues.
Unfortunately, discipline is an issue in many under performing schools.
Deal’s proposed plan will place more emphasis on schools and children that are performing well. Based on the 2010 test scores for APS, the time spent on advancing students that are exceeding their performance
objectives will be miniscule.

Deal should set some concrete measurable goals such as improving SAT/ACT
scores and graduation rates. Just getting GA out of the bottom 10 for
SAT scores would be a drastic improvement.


September 8th, 2010
8:15 am

One question regarding the “Move on When Ready” for elementary students: if a 3rd grade student moves into the 4th grade in December/January for the remaining of the school term (after passing the CRCT); will the 4th grade teacher start the new student from the beginning or right where the current 4th grade class is covering material at the time?

This proposal is all smoke and mirrors for the unintelligent followers.

And his proposal to give a $4,000 tax credit for private school doesn’t do a thing to help education in Georgia; it only benefits those who can currently afford to send their children to private schools. It might pull over a few more middle class parents, with less than two kids. Otherwise, it’s just a slap in the face at poor and lower-middle class parents; and especially those with three kids or more. A good private school cost $12,000 and up for one student.

Grade Acceleration is a Success

September 8th, 2010
8:25 am

I live in Cobb County, where they have an administrative rule already established to use the Iowa Acceleration Scale (IAS) to evaluate kids for partial-grade acceleration or full-grade acceleration. Even with this established administrative rule, I had to fight like crazy to get my three kids evaluated and advanced a full grade. The hang-up? Well, it seems that the administrators all bought into the hogwash that differentiation would work (it doesn’t!) and that the social aspect of advancement would be too damaging. What a crock of s%^t! I had to remind them that they needed to look at my children as individuals, not footnotes on some education major’s research paper. Also, I supplied additional research by respected educational authorities that showed that social issues were a rare occurrence and that the accelerated kids outperformed their new classmates in most cases (achieving academic scores in their new grade within the top 10% on average).
It has been years since my kids were advanced and I am happy to report all is well (even though GA’s non-rigorous curriculum is still not challenging enough). My point? Deal’s “Move on When Ready Program” will be just a soundbite unless he involves the right groups (i.e., Georgia Association for Gifted Children, parents of gifted and highly-able children) to help reverse years of brain-washing by the self-esteem crowd.
Students need to be challenged to be successful. Teachers are so stressed trying to meet the needs of the middle to lower level ability students that the top tier often gets sacrificed. Every kid deserves to learn something in school every day. By moving a student who is ready to move, the teacher can focus on a more homogeneous group of students. This should make their job a little more manageable.
I’m going to date myself here, but when I went to elementary school, we were subdivided into four different classrooms based upon ability (by subject material) for our grade level. We were even allowed to move to another grade level for that subject if our pretest showed we already were meeting/exceeding expectations. It can and does work. Think about it. This is what is done in MS and HS now… with advanced/enriched content, etc. Why should gifted ES students be subjected to boredom every day? Research shows that if these kids are not challenged, they will mentally check-out long before they reach MS.
As for Deal’s other soundbites, nothing was concrete enough.


September 8th, 2010
8:39 am

Great questions and answers within this article. The Deal platform is just re hashed Hall Co speak. The state of Ga needs to be very careful about following the Hall Co model, just compare the performance of like schools in Hall Co with similar schools in Barrow, Gwinnett, etc. Yes, the advanced students in Hall do very well. Now look at the drop out rate for students with special needs in Hall along with CRCT passing rates.

Deal’s plan could have been rolled out weeks ago but that would not have allowed these headlines after Labor Day. Thanks for taking the politics out of the policy.

What's Best for Kids?

September 8th, 2010
8:47 am

Looks a lot like what Sonny had planned for education four years ago.
Same old, same old.


September 8th, 2010
8:48 am

Ah, shame on all these supposedly smart people in our state who are making a shambles of our public school systems. Just have a couple of questions I would like to put forth to anyone who might be able to answer with an open mind and facts to back up the answers…….1) In the 1950’s (pre Brown v BOE), what was the dropout rate in the State of Georgia in both white and black schools (list separately)? and, 2) what is the dropout rate at present in our integrated school systems?

V for Vendetta

September 8th, 2010
8:49 am

Public Teacher and The General,

People like you are the reason our country, and, to a lesser extent, our state, is in the weeds. When will people wake up and realize that all of the neo-con Repubs and pinko Dems are simply two sides of the same coin? The Dems seek to enslave your wallet; the Repubs seek to enslave your mind. Why would we want either of those options?

Ask yourself a simple question: since the dawn of the twentieth century, has the government done anything but GROW? No matter which political party was in office, the government has grown by leaps and bounds to its current state. The party in control does not matter: FDR (Dem), Reagan (Repub), Clinton (Dem), Bush (Repub), Obama (Dem). All of the aforementioned presidents created VAST new government programs or initiatives–the cost of which was passed along to the rest of us.

As a teacher, I’m frustrated. All I hear these days from friends, colleagues, admins, supers, politicians, and candidates is more and more empty rhetoric from people who want to be career politicians. I’m afraid we’re at a crossroads, and we’re about to find out the direction this country will take for decades to come. I think the window for substantive change is shrinking, but it’s still there.

But you won’t find any positive change in either of our political parties. You’ll just find more of the same.

Richard Woods

September 8th, 2010
9:01 am

“I talked to Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield at the event – he and Deal are neighbors. He noted that the era is over when a governor can be a Michelangelo with vast expertise across disciplines who can fashion state policies on his own. Deal would surround himself with strong people in education, Schofield said.”

Is Schofield referring to himself as one of the strong people in education? He is one of the big supporters of RttT. How much influence did he have on moving Deal’s acceptance of the RttT funding? If we don’t want Michelangelo as a governor, why not let Dr. Barge craft the educational policy? Why not let Dr. Barge be the primary spokesperson on this issue? He is running for the position of State Superintendent of Schools, not Schofield. I did not see a reflection of Dr. Barge’s policy statement in this article. I hope Mr. Deal does not leave him out of the loop.

The acceptance of RttT, Common Core Standards, and the institution of the proposed merit pay system will only further entrench the burdensome testing environment. If these policies were created after surveying teachers around the state, I am beginning to wonder if I was campaigning in the wrong state. The policies mentioned above seem to have more of a thumbprint from politicians and central office policy wonks, not from classroom teachers. Unfortunately, this stated plan will do little to improve education as it does not address the foundational issues of curriculum, basics mastery, safe and orderly school environment, teacher training and parental involvement.

If this is an example of what to expect as advice from strong people in education, we should fasten our seat belts.

As for Roy Barnes, “If you fool me once, shame on you. If you fool me twice, shame on me.” We do not need this political retread back in office.


September 8th, 2010
9:17 am

We need to accept the fundamental truth of public education: it is a mass education system, and we cannot provide for all individual differences. Schools should try their best to accomodate the differences, BUT, some accomodations simply just can’t be made. Teachers are not tutors who work with individual students in a collective format.

Former Hall employee

September 8th, 2010
9:18 am

So Schofield was there to help unveil his, I mean Deal’s, educational ideology huh? Big surprise. We have been subject to this mess up here for several years now and all we have seen is a focus on the political over the educational and the marginalizing of our at risk and lower performing students.

Was the Hall County practice of transferring students who don’t pass graduation tests to the Career Academy a day or two before graduation to improve the home High School’s graduation rate artificially (some might call that cheating on AYP, whatcha think?) a part of the Deal platform too?

How about the shoddy HR practice of coercing teachers to resign with threats of nonrenewal and telling them they will never be rehired if they go with the nonrenewal and then having the Superintendent call them all ineffective teachers in the local paper?

Or have county administrators call past employees new bosses in attempts to cast them in a poor light and then create blog libelous posts under fictitious names as retribution for something negative the former employee might have said about the administration?

Or the practice of paying good friends 10 thousand dollars a year in travel money to drive from work to home and back as a ‘bonus’?

Was the closing of successful Hispanic elementary schools and sending the children to a school that didn’t make AYP so you can use the building for something else even though the super and the board swore the were only closing the building down to save money ( while of course leaving a board member’s dad on staff as the building’s ‘caretaker’, part of the discussion?

If Deal is taking that kind of advice then I’m voting for the other guy.


September 8th, 2010
9:24 am

Isn’t Hall County implementing the Singapore math, the program a lot of anti-GPS people will hold up as the savior of the GA math program? If Schoefield is smart enough to pick the Singapore math, he must be smart enough to advise Deal on education issues.


September 8th, 2010
9:43 am

Might I ask what teachers did Deal ask? It seems to me that he is only trying to do what Barnes had already done months ago. And, I ask the question of Barnes, what teachers did you ask?

Deal has a plan that number one he has no idea of what he is talking about (you surround himself with those of expertise in education-wow). He does not have any idea of what it would take to put such a plan into motion much less maintain. Teachers have enough issues in one hour classroom settings than dealing with a revolving door every hours (Deal say that he did not have a plan on how this would work it would be left up to the school administrator – WOW – but he has a solution). We already have more paper work to do with little to no real teaching time. Deal’s plan will only create more paper work because teachers would have to maintain separate records to monitor the student’s progress or regression.

But, he has a plan that no one will dislike – I know this is sarcasm or am I wrong.

Again, we have so many know it all’s with no reality in sight.


September 8th, 2010
9:55 am

PPPPP – One of Hall’s Asst. Superintendents was the main force behind GPS while she was at the DOE if that tells you anything. Several others in the central office and a principal or two are also ex DOE higher ups from the GPS roll out era.

Ivan Cohen

September 8th, 2010
10:19 am

His(Nathan Deal) plan resembles a wish list. The question is who ends up with the biggest portion of the wishbone.

Just Wondering

September 8th, 2010
10:30 am

It’s hard to call this a vision or a plan as it has no goals. It’s empty and hollow with the promise of give me 4 years and we’ll figure it out in time for another 4 years. If he wanted to make a statement provide universal access to ACT and SAT prep and test to get more kids taking the test and raising the scores. Create a technical assistance team to assist districts in implementing Move Up in the district or in individual schools if requested. Sustainable funding plan for HOPE and Pre-K or creating an independent fund for professional development of teachers in math, science, and technology.

Just wondering, how important will education be to Georgia voters in November if they’ve been unemployed or are worried about their jobs? Georgia has never voted a Guvna in office that is smart about eduction (Zell gets a pass because he helped create HOPE). Will this year be any different?


September 8th, 2010
10:33 am

Angela, Hopefully Deal only asked conservative teachers that support his campaign and left out all the liberal ones that want Barnes.


September 8th, 2010
10:43 am

Well documented. Sonny gave a survey last year. Sonny did not look at the results. He just made up his results the way he wanted them with the spin he wanted. Typical edudummy.

Attentive Parent

September 8th, 2010
10:43 am

I noticed the STEM emphasis which sounds good but in effect means a lot of taxpayer dollars being transferred to technology companies.

Don’t politicians understand why these companies are pushing the idea of “21st Century Learning” so?

CoSN-the Consortium for School Networking- is giving programs around the country telling district Chief Technology Officers that they are the people with the knowledge and skills to be running school districts in the future. Does that trouble anyone else as going from the frying pan into the fire?

When you hear a politician talk about STEM, assume they know little about the genuine issues in public education, have heard such advocacy is an easy way to get federal funds, and have been told it is the buzz word du jour.

If you are a politician reading this and you do not understand why I would make such assertions, expand your reading and circle of advisors. You are in a closed loop.


September 8th, 2010
10:50 am

Just Wondering, How about electing a governor that says the basics are important and understands all students are not college material and we should have a technical and career path for them? All children can not go to Harvard or Yale so why do we want all of them pushed in that direction like they all can go to one of those universities? If there is not a parent at home helping and a child that is striving to go to such a university then they will not get there. Matter of fact I bet there are a great many students trying very hard to get into a Ivy league school that will not make it just because there are not enough slots. Why are we not offering a path for the children that want to work with their hands, become a small business owner and actually fix things or build something?


September 8th, 2010
11:02 am


The GPS and the Singapore Math are two very different ideas. The Singapore Math, as the name suggests, are one of the textbook series used in the Singapore.

So, is the Hall County really implementing the Singapore Math in their elementary schools? If so, I, too, am curious who was behind that idea.

HS Teacher, Too

September 8th, 2010
11:22 am

@The General and others…..

I never proclaimed to be Democrat. However, within the State of GA, I am most certainly anti-republican.

I cannot speak to what happend 10 or 15 years ago. However, I can certainly speak to what has happened to our State during the last 8 years while the republicans have been in charge and made decisions on the State level.

These decisions have forced school systems (like APS, DeKalb, Clayton, etc.) into a cornor with respect to what education can and cannot do in order to recieve funds. For example, and I am NOT making excuses at all…. the cheaters in APS likely felt like that HAD to cheat in order to get the funding from the republican State officials to keep the schools operating – call it fear.

Again, I am not an advocate for Democrats, but I am most certainly anti-republican!

The General

September 8th, 2010
11:33 am

@ V for Vendetta

I must not have been clear. You are correct about the growing size of government, regardless of party, and I agree with your sentiment about it. I was trying to point out to ‘Public Teacher’ that Democrats are not the saving grace which that poster seemed to intimate.


September 8th, 2010
11:41 am


According to Hall Co upper administration Singapore fits perfectly with the GPS.

This is what they keep telling teachers and others even though anyone with any sense knows it really isn’t. Teachers wind up teaching both. The district has sunk a lot of money into it and even sends people to Singapore to study it apparently.
I believe it was the Elementary Director and his father (a gifted teacher in the county I think) that brought it in.
The person from the DOE is the Asst. Super for Teaching and Learning. Sort of a strange, but they swear it is directly in line with the GPS.


September 8th, 2010
11:48 am

@ Public Teacher

Since Democrats controlled Georgia government until 8 years ago, I assume you must think Georgia’s educational system was top-notch prior to 2002????

The fact is that Georgia is becoming widely recognized across the nation for its gains in education over the last 8 years. Our new curriculum is rated very highly by educators. Many national leaders rank it among the 5 best in the country.

@HS Teacher

Oh my. Your statement regarding cheating and funding displays a lack of understanding of the CRCT and AYP. Demanding high scores on the CRCT is a result of NCLB (a federal, bi-partisan law) and the need to make AYP. Any pressure to do well on the CRCT would come exclusively from local officials. In APS’ case, and mine as well, all of those local officials would be Democrats….or non-partisan local education folks. Making AYP has nothing to do with funding.

Like you, I am an Independent….but I hate to see people spread ignorance.


September 8th, 2010
11:50 am

I like his plan okay. I really like the universal pre-k part. I am a little worried about “prioritize HOPE.”

It really doesn’t matter what he said. He has my vote simply because he isn’t Roy Barnes.


September 8th, 2010
11:53 am

@ Me,

If you want to remain on the “good” side of the current math war in GA, you’d better like the Singapore Math. There are different versions of the Singapore math textbooks available in the US – the original one, which came out shortly after the TIMSS study that showed the Singapore as #1 in the world in math (but no one in the Singapore uses it since it is so old), a version that matches the California standards (this is an indication how anti-reform side of the math war likes the Singapore materials), and another version. I think there is a version for the US written by the Singaporean author(s?), too. I believe Attentive Parent said she had taught with the Singapore books – not sure which – and, as you probably know, she is clearly an anti-GPS voice.

Actually, I do think the Singapore books up to about Grade 4 are pretty decent – much better than most typical US textbooks you see from the mainline publishers. If teachers in Hall Co feels they have to teach “both,” clearly they are not doing a good enough job in helping teachers understand the program.


September 8th, 2010
12:12 pm

Public Teacher is suffering from wealth envy.


September 8th, 2010
12:12 pm

When I was in elementary school we had this janitor that looked exactly like John Trotter. We called him textize.


September 8th, 2010
12:14 pm

So, as for education, we can either elect a know-nothing or a know-something as our governor. Why is this even a debate?


September 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

Asking either of these 2 for good ideas on education is like asking Sonny Perdue to be a good listener.


September 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

@ Vince, site your sources please.


Old Physics Teacher

September 8th, 2010
12:18 pm


“Our new curriculum is rated very highly by educators.” WHAT??!!! Since when?? What educators? Maybe you can find somebody to back it; Perdue did when he got his puppet teachers to design it. It’s still a piece of trash. I’m reminded of the old saw about Lincoln rhetorically asking the question, “if you call a horse’s tail a leg, how many legs does a horse have?” The answer is FOUR. Calling a horse’s tail a leg doesn’t make it one. Calling our “new curriculum very highly rated by educators” doesn’t make it one.

And now we’re planning to change it again to some nebulous “National Standards.” We’re trying to teach upper-level mathematics to kids who have to have a calculator to add even simple sums. We need to go back to the basics and make sure every child can add, subtract, multiply and divide ON PAPER before they are given access to a calculator. The only way to fix a problem is to correctly identify what is wrong in the first place. Well, identifying it is easy. It’s lack of parental involvement. Educators can’t fix that.


September 8th, 2010
12:29 pm

@ Old Physics Teacher,

In the “good old days,” students who can’t calculate without calculator (which they didn’t have) just quit schools and went to work. We never had an education system where we were able to educate all (or most) of our students to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide on paper – only those who could went on to upper level schools.

Do we want to go back to those systems?


September 8th, 2010
12:30 pm

Its past time for the candidates for governor to tell us what they will/won’t do for education, taxes, employment, transportation and growth in Georgia. I don’t know about the rest of the blogging public, but I am so tired of the candidates telling us what is wrong with the other guy that I am thinking of writing in “Mickey Mouse.” Everyone loves Mickey. These TV ads are sickening. Everyone knows the candidates dislike each other. What we care about is the plan for our future, not how much hate for the opposition they can spew. At least Deal is telling us SOMETHING about his thinking on education. The jury is still out on that idea. (Educators in charge? What an idea!) We all know what Roy thinks since he had the governor’s chair for 4 years and look what happened to K-16 with him in charge. To the candidates: tell the voters your plans (planks!) for education, etc. so we know which one we SHOULDN’T vote for. We are waiting and Mickey is looking smarter by the day.


September 8th, 2010
12:59 pm

Old Physics Teacher

September 8th, 2010
12:18 pm

Many of the failures in our education system are not the reflections of a lack of parental involvement. I’ve been deeply involved with my daughter’s education and see huge issues with our education systems and that includes teachers, administrators, politicians and (YES) parents. We all are responsible for many of the issues.

I’ve met parents, teachers and administrators with “don’t care” attitudes. I’ve seen teachers skip material (they don’t deem important); especially in history & social studies classes. I’ve experience teachers who teach children to solve math problems with calculators, without the use of their brain. I’ve experienced language arts/English teachers who rarely give assignments, require vocabulary building, test or research papers. The children may be assigned to read one or two books for language arts within a school year. My daughter’s 8th grade math teacher was out excessively due to real health concerns, but I blame the administrators for NOT assigning someone to her class, who actually could teach math.

My daughter has been fortunate to have excellent Physics, Chemistry, Spanish teachers last year. I would rank them among the best in the country. My experience with all of her elementary school teachers exceeded expectations and I would deem them all “the Best of the Best”. I’m also pleased with the teachers I have encountered this year (AP World History, AP Biology and English).
I have met some excellent teachers and I have a few in my family; but I will not let people believe for one moment that parental involvement is the root of many of the issues in education. The issues in education go both ways.

AND yes, I have meet and know some parents who should not be allowed to have children. They definitely have bad parental skills and don’t participate in the education of their kids. They do not push or punish their kids for bad grades, grammar or attitudes. They think it’s cute when their kids use profanity or suggest we are taking away their individual style when uniforms are proposed.

Yes, our problems in education go both ways.

Attentive Parent

September 8th, 2010
1:00 pm

I have the original Singapore math elementary books with Singapore money and word problems about durians and other unfamiliar fruit. When I first started in about 2000, it was still being run out of someone’s home and their answering machine.

LLL-I spoke with Kathy Cox at a luncheon a few years ago as to why the Singapore textbooks were not on the state approved list. She got that “deer in the headlights” look. queried her staff and then said to get 2 district supers to recommend and they would add it.

Comparing Core Plus and IMP which are on the list to the Singapore texts that were not was the first clue to me that integrated in Georgia was quite different from integrated math texts from Asian and other high performing countries.

I initially assumed it was just a matter of not knowing better among involved decisionmakers. That was before I discovered the terms of the PRISM and related grants and how they dictated implementation of the GPS in Georgia.

If the GPS was about teaching the content, that’s wonderful. Let each teacher use the techniques, textbooks, and instructional materials that provide the best results with their students.

Please understand though that most of the documentation, textbook templates, grant terms, bragging by Ga officials of what their intentions are, meeting minutes, etc all indicate that Georgia changed its math curriculum in the way they did to chase after federal grants. Many well-intentioned people bought into the rhetoric about excellence and assumed if things were bad, any change must be for the better.

Not exactly, especially when the math and science citadels being assaulted by GPS turned out to be the high functioning programs for motivated students except apparently for lucky AJinCobb who has a high achieving child in an unnamed oasis of math excellence.

I would love to know if Hall County actually uses the Singapore textbooks or if they purchased them as a PR stunt to make the math GPS look good.

That’s especially important if Mr Deal’s model for education is Hall.


September 8th, 2010
1:03 pm

I can’t believe I am saying this, but Mr. Deal’s education ideas are actually good. The “Move on when Ready” concept helps all children by sorting classrooms into ability. If the age/maturity gap is too great, then formulate smaller groupings with a little wider ability ranges so that not too great an age range is represented. But really, a few years age range in a well-managed classroom is not that significant (Montessori classrooms thrive with that concept and my mom started her teaching career in a one-room school house that had grades 1-8, with everyone working at ability level). Teaching to a more or less uniform ability/preparation level is a blessing for teacher preparation – kids with more preparation (call ‘em “gifted” if you wish) aren’t held back, kids with less preparation or special needs don’t get excessive pressure to “get up to speed.” If the standardized testing could be adjusted to reflect what kids in a level-classroom should know (like EOCT rather than CRCT, which is rock bottom minimum), then Mr. Deal might be on to something that will help teachers, children, and in the long-run the budget (because those “gifted” kids will be out of high school a couple of years early).