“State of Georgia is undermining our public schools”

Joe Martin is still fighting the good fight with regard to school funding in Georgia.

But I think this has become a quixotic battle. At best, the Legislature is lukewarm toward public education, and local politicians don’t have the stomach to suggest local tax increases to counter the deep state cuts.

Here is an essay Martin wrote on the desperate plight of local schools, evidenced by the number of systems raising class sizes and cutting teachers. Martin is head of the Georgia School Funding Association.

By Joe Martin

The severe cuts now being made at the local level reveal a new reality in the financing of Georgia’s schools. Many systems were once able to cover the decline in state support through rising property taxes, but this fallback is now gone.

The required cuts go far beyond belt-tightening. There will be larger class sizes, fewer school days, and reduced programs. Furloughs and lay-offs will continue.

State officials consistently say, “We’re doing the best we can.” But there are two flaws in this excuse.

The state’s legal responsibility to support k-12 education is a “primary obligation” under the Georgia Constitution. It is unconditional. The inability of local systems to fill the gap does not relieve the state of its responsibility.

Second, the state is systematically reducing its revenues through a wave of tax cuts and exemptions. The lack of funds is self-fulfilling prophesy. Our legislators cut taxes again this year without ever asking how the State will meet its obligations.

The state of Georgia is undermining our public schools. This may seem like an exaggeration, but the facts are clear.

State allotments to local systems have decreased by 24.8 percent on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis over the last decade. Because of an unrealistic formula with another $1.1 billion in “austerity cuts,” the loss in state funds comes to more than $30,000 for a typical class this year.

Moreover, the formula to assist the least wealthy systems in Georgia was quietly cut by 41 percent in the last session, and even the reduced amount was not fully funded in the final budget.

We are harming our children, sapping the vitality of our economy, and relegating our state to an inferior status. Three out of every 10 students in Georgia are not graduating from high school with a regular diploma. Is this the path to a prosperous future?

Good schools must have capable teachers, effective leaders, active parents, and sound policies, but they also need adequate resources. Georgia spends considerably less per student than the national average. Administrative costs have been slashed in most systems, and the only way to make further reductions is to decrease salaries and increase class sizes.

No sensible person would ever advocate spending more without expecting results, but it’s equally foolish to pretend that our schools can perform their vital mission without paying our teachers a reasonable salary (and praising their dedicated efforts), assisting the students who need extra help, and offering a full curriculum.

The concepts of “choice” and “flexibility” are touted as easy answers to the challenges facing our schools. Of course, parents should have more choices, and our schools should be freed from unnecessary regulations. The real question is how to serve all of our students and not just some.

During the last session of the General Assembly, the most heated issue was a fight over who gets to authorize charter schools, but this is a distraction from the larger story. Charter schools can be effective, but they are not a substitute for improving all of our schools.

Some are calling for vouchers that would benefit the students who are accepted by private schools and can afford the tuition not covered by the voucher. Georgia taxpayers are already allowed to “divert” a portion of their tax payments to entities that support private schools, with very little accountability or disclosure.

Our state is slipping backward, and many of our children are not getting the education they need and deserve. Changes will have to be made in our schools, but the need for adequate support by the state cannot be ignored any longer.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

209 comments Add your comment

Newton County Parent

May 26th, 2012
6:30 pm

I don’t blame the legislature one bit. When you have failling schools like the one in this article and teachers and parents complain and a high school principal SUES them for free speech it is time to shut all of it down. Go charters! AJC won’t even crawl out of the perimeter and cover this mess: http://www.newtoncitizen.com/news/2012/apr/26/alcovy-principal-sues-over-website-comments/

Newton County Parent

May 26th, 2012
6:34 pm

You’ve got parents like these writing letters an entire community in uproar over a nutcase principal and she calls the parents and says I WILL SEE YOU IN COURT. No wonder they are all SICK of public schools: http://www.newtoncitizen.com/news/2012/may/24/0525_blackletter/

http://www.newtoncitizen.com/news/2012/may/10/0511_blackletter/?opinion

http://www.newtoncitizen.com/news/2012/may/15/0516_taylorletter/?opinion

A Teacher, 2

May 26th, 2012
7:35 pm

But, we are NOT all like that. Please stop painting everyone with the same brush!!

N GA Teach

May 26th, 2012
7:36 pm

The people of Georgia must decide, consciously, whether they believe in democracy or NOT. Georgia’s legislature, along with ALEC, and for-profit, charter schools, are exploding incendiary devices, demolishing the idea that an educated populace will govern by, for and of the people. Money reigns supreme, and those without will be non-mobile. America’s ideals are lost. Teachers are embattled, and without unions, no one speaks for the people who know what is going on in our classrooms and schools. Teachers have no voice — goodbye, Ruby Tuesday.

Newton County Parent

May 26th, 2012
7:52 pm

I agree N GA Teach teachers are embattled and it is teachers that this horrible principal specifically targeted – read this link related to the ones above. You would think a newspaper AJC and blogger (Ms. Downey) would be eager to slam an attack on FREE SPEECH: http://www.covnews.com/section/12/article/28763/

Why fear choice?

May 26th, 2012
8:22 pm

Almost no where lavishes more on K12 education than the local Washington D.C. school district. Yet, the Obamas couldn’t find any public school there they’d trust with their own kids. Ditto the Clintons and ditto the Gores.

Legislatures nationwide are considering innovative reforms because the education establishment has lost credibility, and elements within it have branded themselves as obstructionist and/or partisan. Perpetual attempts to demonize “profits” only serves to identify the obstructionists.

Teachers, embrace parental choice—if for no other reason than it will silence critics and allow new ideas to either prove or disprove themselves.

Union bosses and their paid astro-turfers on this website will of course never accept potentially reduced union revenues without a fight. But with the exception of the most corrupt & unionized (mostly northern) cities—education’s not about them.

bootney farnsworth

May 26th, 2012
8:23 pm

it would be criminally irresponsible for the state or any county to raise taxes 1 cent until a sweeping change in done in how the systems to business.

the problem is not the amount of income we get, but the profound levels of waste and corruption at every level of the system.

when Beverly Hall, DCSS admin in masse, GPC management in large doses, ect are either in jail or being compelled to repay misused funds, and football coaches are paid at the same level as VPs.

then, and only then, will I even consider one new cent in new taxes. not before

bootney farnsworth

May 26th, 2012
8:25 pm

bootney farnsworth

May 26th, 2012
8:26 pm

paid astro turfers?

bootney farnsworth

May 26th, 2012
8:28 pm

@ N Ga teach

dial the hysteria down a notch. the lower tax rates are democracy in action.

the problems are from corrupt systems, not dollar amounts

Free to choose

May 26th, 2012
8:33 pm

@bootney: At $700-$1000 yearly per paid teachers’ union member, you can bet IT IS about money with the union bosses.

Free to choose

May 26th, 2012
8:36 pm

… And, please—the NEA is a union, just as it states on their website: http://www.nea.org/home/18469.htm

KIM

May 26th, 2012
8:39 pm

Every person who thinks money is wasted in a school district like Gwinnett needs to be better informed and that includes the legislators who have gone to the dome and have not supported public education. We need well educated thinkers and problem solvers who really have public education as a priority and not the tax support of charter schools.Harrell, do you read this? Not just you, but practically every current legislator from GC has betrayed public education. It does not take a charter school to have outstanding public education. It takes new people at the decision table, people who know what running schools really means. It dismays me when I read so many criticisms from the average person who knows absolutely nothing at all about finance, economics or running an organization. They easily talk about “waste of money”. How do you think teachers feel? Not making the same amount they made five years ago: no raises, furlough days, more students in classes and with the next year, they will have more special needs students mainstreamed into their classes with fewer para pro supports available. So, you think they should suck it up (like everybody else?). Well, let me tell you, they have been sucking it up for decades. But for the love of education they have stuck it out, listened to the constant berating from the public and gone back to school every year to be better trained to teach your children you send them…yes, your children who you have taught to be disrespectful, to lie, to cheat, and to be profane. But, the teachers see potential in the most unlovely. Schools do need the public’s support. Charters are not the answer. But fewer unfunded state and federal mandates would be a great start, Beaudreau, Balfour, Clark, etc. It will be interesting to see how you campaign next time around.

RealityChek

May 26th, 2012
8:40 pm

The state is run by Republicans….what do you expect???

Miss Scarlett

May 26th, 2012
8:51 pm

What is the endgame?

Free to choose

May 26th, 2012
8:57 pm

@Scarlett: The “endgame?” Parents with real choices and schools free to really innovate?

Don I-I.

May 26th, 2012
8:58 pm

@Scarlett: The “endgame?” Parents with real choices and schools free to really innovate?

Dekalb taxpayer

May 26th, 2012
9:00 pm

Bootney, as always, is right. Money is not the problem, at least not in Dekalb. You could pour another billion dollars into the system annually and the corrupt “leaders” would funnel it to their buddies while the underpaid teachers continue to battle ill-prepared students and uninvolved parents. I would rather my tax dollars be burned for fuel than see any more of them put into the hands of these people.

Tony

May 26th, 2012
9:04 pm

There is no doubt that our state’s leaders are doubling down their efforts to starve public education of the funds needed to provide the learning opportunities our students deserve. They are too busy putting money into their own pockets and handing out tax exemptions to their buddies to care about our children’s future.

Megan

May 26th, 2012
9:06 pm

This is the state that “created” jobs last year by allowing the removal of trees for billboards. The politicians must think gas station jobs are what we want. We need an educated workforce to attract better jobs. Pay for education now or prisons later.

yes i am worried

May 26th, 2012
9:18 pm

I am hearing that major corporations are bypassing GA because of our poor education system. I hear Governor Deal is panicked about this but yet he did nothing, as our state leader, to address the issues, whether it is funding or poor school board leadership. He heralds the big fishes we land, but doesn’t disclose the many misses.

Recently, a company choose not to relocate after the employees said they wouldn’t come because of the state of our schools.

Newton County Parent

May 26th, 2012
9:21 pm

I love reading Bootney so Bootney tell me what you think about the free speech crap in Newton.

John in Canton

May 26th, 2012
9:25 pm

Enter your comments here

John in Canton

May 26th, 2012
9:29 pm

Sorry about the prior post. previous comment regarding the.intent to starve Public.Education is spot on. Cherokee Co. parents of children ib CCSD have been abandoned by their elected officials. But that will be changing:)

Michelle-Middle School

May 26th, 2012
9:40 pm

After 20 years as a teacher in Gwinnett County, I have retired, not because I do not love teaching, but because I am tired of being the scapegoat for everything wrong in our country’s and state’s governments and the lack of support from my community. Teachers are now the easy target for all the ills of the country. Legislators have absolutely no idea what they have placed on the shoulders of the teachers, even as they cut teacher pay, refuse to pay for higher education degrees for teachers, hand out furloughs like candy, and fund private and charter schools whenever they can. Individuals like Balfour should be ashamed to show their faces in public. If these idiots think they can get just as much learning out of a class of 32 middle school children as they can out of a class of 24, they should try teaching 32 students, many of whom have little value for education in the first place. I doubt they would last one day in the classroom. Gwinnett is supposedly heading for an “all computer” education in one to two years. What are they smoking? I feel Gwinnett is going down the same path as Dekalb County Schools, from one of the best 20 years ago to one of the worst today. What are we doing to our students in Georgia? We are giving up on the future of our children, and nobody seems to care. Forget about the stupid TSPLOST and pass and EDSPLOST to ensure that our kids receive the schooling they deserve and the schooling we are obligated to give them. Trust me, “It ain’t gonna happen in this state.” The good ole boys rule!

Mary Elizabeth

May 26th, 2012
10:22 pm

Georgia is run by Republicans, and has been for the last decade. The Republican ideological agenda has been to dismantle public education and to create a market place for private education in its place. This is foolishness. We are talking about the education of all students in Georgia, not just a few. You do not dismantle public education for the abstract ideology of “starving government.”

Private education is profit based. It is not service based, as is public education. Money and power go hand-in-hand. Thomas Jefferson was a strong proponent for public education. Notice in a repeat post of mine on this blog (5/24/12), how little Jefferson valued power relative to how much he valued education.

“On his tombstone Jefferson had engraved that he had been the author of the Declaration of American Independence and of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia. He chose not to have on his tombstone that he had been the U.S. Secretary of State, Vice-President of the United States, and President of the United States.

With those choices engraved on his tombstone, Jefferson made a permanent statement as to his priorities and how much he valued education and its intertwining with freedom. He was, also, a strong proponent of public education for all citizens’ children, in order to create a literate and aware citizenry.

When Benjamin Franklin left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a woman asked him what form of government had been established for the people – a republic or a monarchy. Franklin answered, ‘A republic, ma’am, if you can keep it.’ Jefferson recognized that without a well educated public, the United States would not continue to be the democratic republic that it was intended to be, created by our Founding Fathers for the people, into perpetuity.”

And I posted these words yesterday, at 10:30 am, on Jay Bookman’s blog:

“The real truth, as I see it, in this educational plan of Romney’s, is to privatize public education throughout the nation. The powerful and very wealthy who financially back Romney’s campaign for president support this plan for privatizing public education in the states and across the nation. (ALEC has it as a major goal.) This will mean using public tax dollars for private interests and personal financial gain. (Savvy and unethical politicians have been stealthily getting away with using public tax dollars for their own private financial self-interests and personal financial gain for decades, but this practice should not continue, and it certainly should not exist within the arena of education.)

More specifically, if the federal mandate gives each state educational power (to continue taxing its citizens within its state for educational purposes) but also gives states authority to use vouchers for private education, such as in private charter schools, then business magnates (on the national level) will come into the states and create their private charter schools, using state public tax dollars, through vouchers, to give them their profits.

I could write a chapter on how this turning of public education to private education, via public tax dollars, will hurt education throughout this nation, but I will simply say that it would be a sacrilege to every ideal Thomas Jefferson ever had regarding liberty, freedom of thought, and education in America. Heaven help this nation if Romney is elected President of the United States, for this reason alone, if for no other.”
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The Republican power structure in Georgia is doing much harm to public education and, thus, to the children of Georgia, in their fervor to turn Georgia’s long-standing plan for educating the public through public schools into a business-based market place for private schools in which corporations, not educators, will run education. This will not be good for Georgia, and it will not be good for this nation. Our founding fathers were wise enough to know that public education is the key to our republic’s survival.

NW GA Math/Science Teacher

May 26th, 2012
10:34 pm

So, what do we do up here?

To someone’s question above about endgame, I think it’s probably a shift to a pseudo-(at least)-private system. That leaves me wondering what becomes of kids in the more rural parts of the state. I know that in Alpharetta and Dunwoody you can’t swing a poodle without hitting a private school. But, we have Darlington in Rome (Great school, but exclusive), Oakwood in Dalton (tiny), I think a Catholic school in Rome, and what else? Will there be enough pop-ups to fill the void?

I’ve taught for private and public schools. The private school (in Roswell) was a great experience (Thanks Richard). The public schools so far – not so much! Of course, neither statement is monolithic, bad times at the private and some good things at the public, but on balance.

I wish there were good options – I would gladly teach at a good school for less money rather than make more at a public school and be in a worse place. Maybe I just haven’t found the right public school yet?

itsbrokeletsfixit

May 26th, 2012
10:55 pm

With all the vitriol, hyperbole, and gross misinformation about public schools that is rampant in these blogs, it is hard to get in any rational discussion of the facts. Here are a few: 1. Public education is the very foundation of our nation’s success and as it fails, so fails our country. 2. Charter schools and private schools are actually minor players in education who cherry pick their students, maintain small classes (one of the key factors in successful education), and some (not even close to all) get great results for the right price. Mostly they graduate arrogant rich kids who must later learn that the world they live in is not all peaches and cream. 3.The world has changed radically in the last 50 years, but the education SYSTEM and the way we measure success in education has not changed to keep pace. 4. Using standardized tests and the testing system in general is great for profiting the Test Industry but terrible for measuring the success of students. We are measuring the wrong things to determine success in education and then punishing the schools, teachers, and students. It has all become crazy. 5.Public school teachers have now been given an impossible task and get punished because they cannot magically accomplish it. With the current budget crisis it is rapidly becoming worse. 6. Parents become frustrated with this impossible situation and are constantly at war with the teachers of their children, the front line troops of this crisis.
This is a disaster building that is far worse than any war, and far more dangerous to the welfare of our country. So, please, please, put some thought into your comments and try to think of what we can do to survive.Making thoughtless and accusatory statements that just anger people is not helping anything.

woodrow

May 26th, 2012
11:00 pm

The state of GA is failing our children. Vote every last one of these yokels out of office. I think we should try Democrat for a change. Maybe they won’t steal money from our children’s schools.

HS Math Teacher

May 26th, 2012
11:04 pm

I’ve read in the news where the state’s revenues have steadily increased when making month-by-month comparisons to last year. So, when will the hardest hit school systems (rural) get some relief?

Fred ™

May 26th, 2012
11:04 pm

Who the hell needs education, let’s go fishing……….

itsbrokeletsfixit

May 26th, 2012
11:15 pm

Here are some positive thoughts to discuss. First, lets think about what should be measured to determine a successful education. A graduate should know and be able to ….1. read well, write coherently, and do some basic math. 2. Function reasonably well in our society by understanding our system of government, knowing things like where to go for basic information about food, clothing, local ordinances, how to clean and take care of things, and other fundamentals. 3. Use their own initiative to solve problems. 4. Understand how their local government works, where to vote, pay the water bill, etc.5.The importance of learning in their lives …just to list a few things. We need to figure out how to successfully teach and measure these things as well as a student’s success at absorbing a myriad of facts and then regurgitating them on a test.

Lee

May 26th, 2012
11:25 pm

Sorry, public schools, like most government agencies, have a SPENDING problem, not a FUNDING problem.

My daily commute takes me past three school buildings that have been abandoned in the past decade. In their place are brand new, state of the art schools – the high school complete with athletic facilities that would make a professional athlete proud. All this at a cost of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Schools pay premiums for teachers with graduate degrees, but have yet to convice me that they are necessary or increase the level of competency of the teacher. Especially so since the majority of them appear to be from “mail order” internet diploma mills. PE teachers with Phd’s, anyone?

You don’t have to be a CPA to figure out that the level of spending by public schools was, and is, unsustainable. Sadly, it appears that our public officials have yet to realize that undeniable truth.

roylee

May 26th, 2012
11:36 pm

All these poor, mistreated school teachers, their life is an unremitting hell because the legislature is Republican and won’t bow down to their union. They complain about “democracy” being in peril but they are so blind and brain-washed they can’t see that the legislature is made up of the duly elected representatives of the people.
If you don’t like them then go out and defeat them at the polls. Otherwise, may I suggest that you move to a state more in line with your advanced ways of thinking. New Jersey comes to mind. There you and your union (along with the other public sector unions) can bankrupt the state to your hearts’ content.
Please stop demanding that I pay more money to the govt because you made a lousy career choice.
If you think you are entitled to six figure salary for teaching school then you most certainly should pack your bags for the Garden State. That way you won’t have to deal with these ignorant taxpayers and their corporate lackeys in the legislature.

Public HS Teacher

May 26th, 2012
11:38 pm

@Lee – You are so off base with your comment it is just sad. Most schools don’t even have PE teachers any more. There is not even a PE certification in education.

Why do you make up such crap? Can’t you find real facts to support your (wrong) position?

Public HS Teacher

May 26th, 2012
11:39 pm

@roylee – What turnip truck did you fall off of? THERE ARE NO TEACHER UNIONS IN GA!!!!!

Public HS Teacher

May 26th, 2012
11:40 pm

Sorry for spelling wrong…. no, I don’t teach English.

Anonmom

May 26th, 2012
11:46 pm

Mary Elizabeth — you research your facts and you obviously care — a lot — but with all due respect — you are very naive to what is really going on in the metro school systems: “Private education is profit based. It is not service based, as is public education.” The metro school systems — APS and DCSS in particular are just as, if not more, “profit” motivated, than the private schools I’ve been involved in — it’s just more “under cover” — the administration works to get their “friends and family” employed at grossly inflated salaries at the expense of children sitting in over stuffed classroom with “friends and family” as teachers (not all of them, just a lot of them) and principals and assistant principals, purchasing supplies and programs from vendors, who are also “friends and families” with kickbacks and commissions — the profit is all over the place and little if any of it actually benefits the kids. At least with private school or a voucher system there is more (and there could be a way to design it for even better) transparency and accountability so that if the education doesn’t happen (e.g. with the cheating scandal), then the money marches to a different school. Right now, billions of dollars are spent in our public schools with no transparency, no forensic auditing, no on-line check and p-card registers and no one really looking out for what is best for the kids. I agree with the earlier post — we could put another 2 billion dollars into DCSS and administration would still find a way to build a bigger palace and to employ more “friends and family” and the kids would still not benefit from the money because no one is putting checks and balances in place to see to it that the money actually benefits the children. Stop with the preaching about Jefferson and his ideals and take a look at what is actually happening in today’s reality.

Another Math Teacher

May 26th, 2012
11:52 pm

Public HS Teacher : “@Lee – You are so off base with your comment it is just sad. Most schools don’t even have PE teachers any more. There is not even a PE certification in education.

Why do you make up such crap? Can’t you find real facts to support your (wrong) position?”

http://www.gapsc.com/application/GATeachingFields.asp

Health and Physical Education (P-12)

Public HS Teacher, you make teachers look bad. Please don’t post garbage like that again.

Steve

May 27th, 2012
12:32 am

Maureen, appreciate that you posted this, but I don’t think it’s fair to just write off Joe’s efforts as you did in your second paragraph. We can’t cave on school funding just because the anti-tax, anti-funding people are really loud. We have to fight the good fight and keep putting out the message that schools can’t take these kinds of cuts. There is absolutely money to be had to fund schools, if the legislature weren’t so keen on tax breaks for their cronies, and we the people need to let the legislature know that education cuts aren’t acceptable.

roylee

May 27th, 2012
1:05 am

Hey Steve, maybe you have not noticed but “we the people” have spoken time and again by electing a conservative legislature. Being a public school teacher, you may not know that the legislature is made up of the the duly elected representatives of “we the people.”
Those of us on the “anti-tax” side are not winning because we are “loud.” It turns out that our ideas are pretty popular in this state. Maybe if your party would put forward some idea other than “more taxes will solve everything” it might find itself a little more popular.

Arff

May 27th, 2012
1:31 am

There is such an undercurrent of hate and bigotry in a lot of these comments and the actions of our public officials. You can hate the poor and people of color all you want but your tax dollars are either going to educate them or incarcerate them. With this being the South it isn’t surprising that way too many would rather their tax dollars be spent on jails. Either way you’re going you are going to be lighter in the wallet.
One more thing, contrary to all of the stereotypes that are spouted out on these blogs, there are tens of thousands of parents of color that support , love and nurture their children throughout their K-12 experience. As much as you hate to hear it children all over Atlanta that are darker than you study and excel in the classroom. Most bigots won’t believe that though because it’s much easier for them to watch and believe the stereotypical coverage communities of color receive from FOX news, WSB-TV and the AJC.

roylee

May 27th, 2012
2:05 am

I’m very sorry you dislike it here so much, Arff. Maybe you would feel more at home back in your native New York where all is sweet harmony, equality and goodness. Then you would not have to deal with these ignorant southerners who have somehow come up with the ridiculous notion that people should be allowed to keep most of the money they work for and that people who commit crimes should be in jail.
But I know your kind Arff. You would not go back for all the tea in China (sorry Arff that was not meant to against “people of color”). You’ll just stay here and complain and complain and complain. But you will never go back. Meanwhile, more and more of your type continue to pour into this terrible benighted state.

Mary Elizabeth

May 27th, 2012
2:52 am

@Anonmom, 11:46 pm

“Stop with the preaching about Jefferson and his ideals and take a look at what is actually happening in today’s reality.”
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Anonmom, what you are sadly overlooking is that the present is inextricably tied to the past. Jefferson’s thinking laid the foundation for our democratic republic, and it is only by sustaining our founders’ vision for America in today’s world that our nation will be able to perpetuate, for our children and their children, the individual liberties, and freedom of thought, that Jefferson held so invaluable.

I have no doubt that there may be corruption in public schools. To the extent that that corruption exists, then those violations of the public trust should be corrected or prosecuted. But, not to see that the possibility for even more financial corruption could exist in schools that are based on a profit agenda is an exercise in denial, in my opinion. Public schools, with whatever problems they may have, are funded through taxes on the general public for the common good of the public. At their best, they should function on that level. They do not use students, directly, to sustain their livelihood and their existence, or to make profits for their owners and for their investors. Moreover, what I did not mention before, is that if private schools are owned and run by those with a business ideology, then the curriculum in those schools could be designed to foster their ideology and those schools might only hire teachers who would perpetuate their ideology. That kind of “education” would certainly not foster freedom of thought. Fostering freedom of thought is one of the main reasons that public schools are so invaluable to our nation’s future. There should be no hidden agenda or ideology to perpetuate within public schools that are paid for by public taxes – only the education of every student enrolled.

Here are some words about Jefferson that I think you would be well to internalize. They are written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Gordon S. Wood and are taken from page 107 of his book entitled, “Revolutionary Characters” :

“The importance of this domesticated modern virtue to Jefferson’s. . . thinking can scarely be exaggerated. Unlike Classical virtue, it was not nostalgic or backward-looking but progressive and indeed radical. It laid the basis for all reform movements of the nineteenth century as well as for all subsequent modern liberal thinking.”

And, high on the walls of Jefferson’s Memorial in Washington, D.C., above his tall and elegant statue, are engraved perhaps Jefferson’s most passionate words: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

As conscientious citizens of today, all Americans must make certain that no private power and wealth, and no corporations owned by those of power and wealth, have the power – through their private control – to exercise “tyranny over the mind of man.”

Ideas remain alive, even when the people who penned those ideas do not. I recommend that you study Jefferson’s ideas regarding America’s raison d’etre and what he envisioned for our nation’s future. Some ideas are timeless and eternal. I believe you would understand why I have such a commitment to public education, where I taught for 35 years, and how public education is inextricably linked with America’s freedoms – which will have influence on the world’s future, if those freedoms are sustained into America’s future.

Beverly Fraud

May 27th, 2012
3:20 am

The sad fact is that (most) teachers deserve it, children (as a whole) deserve it, but school systems as a whole do NOT deserve it.

Starting with DCSS, APS, Fulton and Clayton, the Four Horsemen of the Incompetence, moving to “award winning” systems like Gwinnett (falsified discipline data with but a slap of the wrist) Cobb (the laptop debacle) Bibb (hired someone so completely insensitive to the taxpayer’s dollar he ordered a $5000 desk for himself) and on…and on…and on…

They can look in the mirror if they want to see who is the cause of their funding woes. If they were WORKING EFFECTIVELY there is no way the voters would tolerate the massive cuts, but the voters KNOW they aren’t. (They’ve just been brainwashed by the privateers to believe in mainly “the teacher’s fault” completely unaware that teachers are being set up to fail, (NCLB and RTTT) then being blamed for the failure so the privateers can take over)

Of course the legislature is, as a whole, lacks for integrity much like the public school systems, but Joe Martin is all but saying “Shame on one organization that lacks integrity for not supporting another one that lacks in integrity” (One that has PROVEN it cannot change from within)

Bottom line is voters are going to have to do a better job, despite the enormous obstacles facing them to get the legislatures and school boards to behave.

bootney farnsworth

May 27th, 2012
5:00 am

@ free,

as you already know, but choose to ignore, we are barred from unionizing in Georgia. (wonder if that would hold up in court?)

the NEA has as much impact in Georgia as the Communist party.

but again, you already know that but have no desire to set your own strawman afire

Two Cents

May 27th, 2012
5:08 am

I have been blessed with terrific teachers for eight years – they are teaching because they care for the kids. Problem lies with Sonny Perdue, Nathan Deal and the Republican Legislature and that folks is the bottom line. Charters are not the answer – the answer is making sure every child has the opportunity to receive the best education possible.

bootney farnsworth

May 27th, 2012
5:25 am

@ Newton Parent

sorry to have been away so long – dinner and I had a disagreement and dinner won…:)

the situation in Newton is insane, and a classic example why we should have a loser pays
court costs requirement in Georgia. LaQ. (who on earth names children like that anymore?)
can not win these suits, and if she has anything resembling quality representation she knows
it.

She’s a public official and it is clearly within our rights as citizens to comment on them. even
call them poopy diapers if we want to. the only leg LaQ has to stand on is if someone said they KNOW she’s a crook/disco fan/watches Dr. Phil/ect. opinions on/about public officials are more
than fair game.

based on the articles I read, my guess is she is indulging in two very proven tactics in metro educational politics 1) intimidation and 2) race. I could be wrong in my assumption of race,
but I’ve never met anyone outside of a particular ethnicity who gives kids names like LaQ.

I don’t know if it will work in Newton, but it does in DeKalb, Fulton, City of Atlanta all the time.

LaQ is either crazy like a fox or deranged to bring this suit. especially since in defending them-
selves people will be able to bring evidence to support their claims. Newton edu. would be wise to clamp down on her hard before everyone’s dirty laundry comes to light.

I urge everyone who she sues to counter sue her for court costs. And slander. maybe even use an
ACLU lawyer to do it.

why the AJC hasn’t covered it? IMO it doesn’t fit their agenda. at GPC we were howling for years about not one but two presidents who were spending us into oblivion. it wasn’t until we found ourselves in debt between 16-24 million the AJC took notice.

bootney farnsworth

May 27th, 2012
5:29 am

@ 2 cents,

not to burst your bubble, but APS and DCSS are dominated to near exclusivity by democrats.

to say our elected leaders have failed us is more than fair, but to try to hang it on a single political
party is somewhere between stupid and deranged.

actually, I am content to burst that stupid bubble. its ignorant and counterproductive

bootney farnsworth

May 27th, 2012
5:35 am

@ arff

to quote a wise old white male southern philosopher Louis Grizzard

“Delta is ready when you are.”

if you can’t afford the ticket, please let us know so we
can take up a collection for you.