Regarding my post a few minutes ago, the state Department of Education has now sent me state School Superintendent John Barge’s explanation for his endorsement of state Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, a leading voucher proponent in the Georgia General Assembly.
Rogers is facing fellow Republican Brandon Beach next week in a primary for his north Fulton/Cherokee seat.
Here is a letter that Barge sent out explaining his decision to back Rogers in this GOP primary race:
I have been contacted today by several friends expressing some concern over my endorsement of Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers in his current primary and some statements Senator Rogers attributed to me.
Please allow me to set the record straight.
Chip was one of the first Republican elected officials to endorse my candidacy for Superintendent. We agree on many conservative issues. One issue we disagree on is vouchers for education.
Unfortunately, it appears that his website erroneously reported that I support “market-based reform,” which sounds like a more palatable way of saying vouchers. This was an unintentional error that he will correct very shortly. I have very clearly stated my opposition to Senator Rogers regarding vouchers.
Reasonable people can disagree on important issues and still see the importance of working together for the greater good. And while I know the cuts to public education over the past several years are crippling to many of you, I maintain hope that, should the Senate Majority Leader win his bid for re-election, we can work together to begin to restore some funding to your struggling systems.
Our students, educators, and all who are involved in our public education system can rest assured that they have a tireless champion and advocate as their State Superintendent of Schools. I will continue, as I always have, to oppose any and all voucher programs that I believe undermine the strength of our public education system.
Dr. John Barge
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog