Georgia’s schizophrenic politics of education

Lee Raudonis is a former teacher and former executive director of the Georgia Republican Party. He is a communications consultant and writer for an education publication. He coordinates the STAR program for the PAGE Foundation. (The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program honors Georgia’s outstanding high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development.)

This is his first essay for the blog. Welcome.

By Lee Raudonis

I admit it. I am confused. I do not understand the method behind what certainly appears to be the madness of Georgia education policies. O.K., maybe “madness” is too strong of a term to use, but there is no doubt that many educators—and parents— consider our state’s approach to education policy over the past decade to be both confusing and maddening. There is not much doubt that it has been schizophrenic.

Think about it. Early in the new century Georgia was one of the first states to embrace the policies of No Child Left Behind, including increasing accountability and testing. At the same time, the legislature significantly raised education spending in order to lower class size, and the governor pushed to strengthen the curriculum. And then, toward the end of the decade—even before the recession—the state imposed significant budget “austerity” reductions that have lead to increased class sizes, and, in many systems, to shortened school years (some systems hold classes less than 150 days a year).

With large numbers of the state’s schools forced to fire or furlough teachers, as well as cut back on education programs, including art, music, physical education and others, many legislators began to ramp up their criticism of the public schools for “teaching to the test” (but not scoring high enough on the same tests), having class sizes that were too large to provide individual attention, and having “poorly-trained” teachers who were “failing” to educate far too many students.

The real failure has been that of the elected officials who have failed to connect the dots between their legislative policies and many of the conditions that exist in the public schools. They have also failed to understand how these unacceptable conditions in the schools might be addressed.

Rather than attempt to find additional funding to lower class size and keep the doors open, the critics began to devise a myriad of plans to help students “escape’ from their neighborhood schools to private or charter schools. This has led to even more schizophrenic policies.

One that comes readily to mind is the state’s recent push to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education while simultaneously devising a clever system to provide state-funded scholarships for parents to send their children to private religious schools where theories such as Darwin’s Theory of Evolution are treated like something scientists dreamed up while taking mind-altering drugs. No doubt about it, teaching the Biblical explanation of creation over that of the scientists will go a long way to boost Georgia’s reputation in the STEM community and the nation’s top colleges and universities.

Meanwhile, as most schools continued to struggle just to keep the doors open for a full school year, the politicians jumped headlong into another federal program called Race to the Top. This latest federal “cash for cooperation” plan calls for even more testing and accountability and could eventually cost the state billions of dollars it obviously does not have. Do the politicians really plan to implement any of the Race to the Top programs, such as Pay for Performance, or did they just see a way to get their hands on federal dollars to replace some of the state funding they had cut?

Is it any wonder that so many of us are confused? How can anyone understand the seemingly schizophrenic policies pursued by our elected officials over the past decade?

Unfortunately, there are no signs of a cure in sight. Even now, legislators are attempting to “fix” our public schools by taking even more money from them to fund state charter schools against the wishes of education officials in local communities. Isn’t that a curious policy for those who claim to support “local control” in education?

If you are as confused as I am, ask your legislative candidates to explain the state’s education policies to you. Their answers should be entertaining if not enlightening.

– From Maureen Downey,for the AJC Get Schooled blog

144 comments Add your comment

Tina Trent

September 26th, 2012
3:02 am

Consultant and writer? For whom, exactly? When it comes to education policy, it really is all about the money trail. So I’m not particularly inclined to believe a vague narrative like this one when I’m not offered an admission of professional interest. Represents public school teachers is what I’d guess. That would explain the weird diatribe about creationism, offered with no evidence of the actual scope of such a problem. I don’t disagree with everything said here, but, for one example, is it really true that class size matters as much as Mr. Raudonis claims? If you’re going to lobby for a particular policy, have the respect to let us know you’re a lobbyist, and then make an argument with facts.

Mary Elizabeth

September 26th, 2012
3:19 am

I am not confused at all. It is my opinion that Republicans who control Georgia’s legislature are in lockstep with a national Republican ideology that is intent on transforming traditional public education into a business enterprise of the private market. I do not believe that it would do any good to ask Republican legislative candidates to explain the state’s educational policies to me because I think that I would only get political spin as an answer, which would be neither entertaining or enlightening to me.

A poster on another thread posted this after midnight tonight. I think it is worthy of being reposted here:
=============================================

“Foolish Teachers and Parents…You keep voting for them…..I did too…but never again….

Here is what your Republican government reps. have done to ‘make education better’ for the past ten years.

1. Take more money out of the public schools. That will make them better.

2. Increase the class sizes of public schools. Those test scores will go up and education will improve.

3. Have more testing. Those tests will make the teachers better, and who needs to teach when we have day after day of testing, meetings about testing, and test preparation.

4. Add laws and rules that make the public schools worse and then blame the teachers when students don’t perform well on the tests that they want to use for a basis of pay and school performance.

5. Use those same scores to explain failing schools to usher in charter schools.

IT’S BRILLIANT! They are heading towards the outsourcing of teachers and public education by the decisions that they, your Republican representatives of Georgia, have made for the past ten years.

We keep voting for them, and they keep damaging the classrooms of our kids.

I voted straight Republican in the last election as I have for every election, but it will never happen again.

We are being duped by the Republicans WE are voting into office.”

David Hoffman

September 26th, 2012
3:54 am

To Tina Trent, The article states: “Lee Raudonis is a former teacher and former executive director of the Georgia Republican Party”. When your own party’s members consider your policies bad, you might want to reconsider staying with those policies.

BehindEnemyLines

September 26th, 2012
4:14 am

Rather disingenuous to avoid revealing Raudonis’ relationship with PAGE. http://www.pagefoundation.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=66

If his meandering attempt at writing didn’t destroy his credibility, that little tidbit you so carefully sidestepped certainly does.

Jezel

September 26th, 2012
5:53 am

Tina Trent….Go teach for a year…then come back and tell us about the importance of class size.

MiltonMan

September 26th, 2012
6:37 am

“1. Take more money out of the public schools. That will make them better.”

The lib solution to everything – just dump more and more money at the problem and eventually it will be better. North Fulton schools get half the funding as do the schools within the APS yet perform significantly better yet libs cannot explain that one. And blaming the republicans for this problem??? How soon they forget that none other than their chosen clown Roy Barnes started the “blame teacher” game.

HS Math Teacher

September 26th, 2012
6:37 am

I don’t think the Educrats in our State DOE are much better. Combine all these wizards with strange-looking tools, all climbing up under the hood trying to fix an engine. It’s a damned mess.

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
6:51 am

pity so many posters immediately went to the old and and tired cow of blaming the republicans instead of thinking. but that’s a major reason we got into this mess. quick jingoistic responses and not enough thinking

Jezel

September 26th, 2012
6:54 am

If we were to cut the county offices and state dept. of ed. by 90 percent…how much money would be available for adding teachers?

Who profited from the whole language approach to the teaching of reading and who profited from the integrated math program? Both were/are failures. Did anyone really expect them to be a success? How much did it cost to prove they were nonsense?

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
7:01 am

while this is a multi layered problem, I think much of it stems from a “natural” pendulum swing in politics. at the beginning of the decade, the influence of Zell Miller was still very strong. and Zell was an unusually aggressive proponent of education, while being a strong person at the same time.

4 years of King Roy – BTW Mary Elizabeth, a DEMOCRAT – and 8 of Sonny Perdue , neither strong leaders but strong politicians, combined with a near meltdown of the economy at the same time the political pendulum was due to swing….

here we are….from visionary to blind

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
7:04 am

more and more, Sonny Perdue and company remind me of the Long family who dominated the political landscape in Louisiana for decades. screw the state, I want power.

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
7:12 am

what’s even more disturbing is so many Georgia educational systems are in trouble with the lax standards of SACS.

GPC
Clayton
APS
DeKalb

and there are so many more at issue in some degree with SACS it would take too long to list them.

something is fundamentally wrong.

Annie

September 26th, 2012
7:18 am

Jezel, the line item in education funding called “central administration” which includes central office, school psychologists, social workers, makes up 8% of the total education budget. Cutting all of those people would not help very much in over-all funding. Plus, teachers in the classrooms and administrators in the school would not receive any funding if central staff was not performing the administrative tasks and compliance that generates funds. Without school psychologists, the federal requirements for special education would not be met. The general public may not realize that if central staff in a school system does not perform their job, then federal and state funding will cease. That being said, there are school districts that likely are top-heavy, and that should be examined. Remember that the legislature, both federal and state, not the school district, makes the rules for reporting and monitoring requirements that are performed by central office personnel.

Fred ™

September 26th, 2012
7:19 am

Most respectfully Mr. Raudonis what you are seeing is the fruition of YOUR Republican Party ideas of how a school should be run. The decade you are wondering about is THE decade of Republican rule. As the Executive Director of the Republican party I can safely hold you directly to blame. This is what you wanted ands this is what you got. No shifting of the blame here.

How to fix it? We can’t. As you can see by MiltonMan’s comments your attempts to completely indoctrinate your electorate that anyone left of Attila the Hun is a “librul” and therefore evil has been more successful than you can imagine. You have taught them that teachers are lazy scum who teach because they aren’t smart enough do any “real’ work. You have taught them that local school systems and school boards are populated by evil “libruls” who just want to spend spend spend, even as you Republicans failed in your State Constitutional duties to fund the schools.

In short sir, YOU loosed this monster on us. And your current Republican solution/ Gut the schools even mre by creating “charter schools” so you can steal what little money is left and funnel it to your buddies disguised as “non profits.”

Shame on you. Man up and take responsibility, don’t write trite little essays. Reign in your broken party. Take ownership of the mess you made, don’t sit on the sidelines now and point fingers. Those fingers point directly back at YOU and YOUR policies.

Annie

September 26th, 2012
7:21 am

Bootie, there are 180 school districts in Georgia. Put the blame on the school boards of those that are in violation of SACS requirements, not the other 175 who are doing a pretty good job.
If the legislature wants to shore up those systems, then put requirements on them and leave the rest of the state alone.

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
7:21 am

@ Fred

can you explain DeKalb county?
or King Roy?

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
7:25 am

something kinda pathetic is occurring here.

instead of dealing with the message, certain elements are determined to push a political narrative full speed. this won’t do crap about fixing the issues, but I guess it will make them feel better about the direction of their lives.

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
7:28 am

a question for Dr. John if he shows up:

what would happen on a nuts & bolts level if Georgia stopped participating in the latest federal educational fads? if somehow we got off the train for a few years to reboot our system

Inman Parker

September 26th, 2012
7:37 am

As a long time educator I too like small classes too. However, that being said, there is NO evidence that, beyond the primary grades (Pre-K to 2), class size has any impact whatsoever on student achievement. It is a waste of taxpayer money to spend millions on reducing class size when there is no reason to do so.

Chris Murphy

September 26th, 2012
7:53 am

“….the state imposed significant budget “austerity” reductions that have lead to increased class sizes, and, in many systems, to shortened school years (some systems hold classes less than 150 days a year).”

I’ve heard of systems going to 175 days, vs. the ‘normal’ 180, but where have they scheduled less? Less than 150 days?? Where? I may not be an eagle-eye on all education matters everywhere, but it seems that having a school year of under 150 days would be a hard-to-miss story.

Can’t *anyone* in this state- or country, for that matter- discuss a matter pertaining to education and not rely on tenuous “facts?”

dc

September 26th, 2012
7:54 am

remember, to some blindly narrow minded people, it’s all the fault of one party or the other. That’ll likely never change, as they are fully stuck on the plantation, and can’t see their way out.

The sad reality is, monopolies that have access to OPM (other peoples money, in this case, the taxpayers), will never be efficient, nor innovate. Their proposed solution will always be “NEED MORE MONEY”. And some voters will want to continue to feed the beast (increase funding), because that’s the non-thinking easy way of feeling like we are “doing something for the children”.

taco taco

September 26th, 2012
8:04 am

Can someone answer Jezel’s questions above?

Fred ™

September 26th, 2012
8:12 am

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
7:21 am

@ Fred

can you explain DeKalb county?
or King Roy?
++++++++++++++++++++
“King Roy’ was over ten years ago bootney. Was Dekalb in this mess 10 years ago?

Lee Raudonis

September 26th, 2012
8:22 am

Where to start? Things were so peaceful when I went to sleep last night. To answer Ms. Trent’s concerns, YES, I work (as a consultant, NOT employee) for an education organization, but I write for a magazine and work on an academic recognition program. I have nothing to do with making policy for the organization and, therefore, do not wish for the organization to be blamed for my opinions. (This, I am sure, is why my wife kept her maiden name, too —so she won’t be blamed for my rantings.) Just to be clear, I am not a lobbyist. Frankly, I am bothered by the low-level of this rebuttal, because it mostly involves attacking the author, not the ideas. Would it make my ideas any better if I told you that I taught 11 years in religiously-oriented PRIVATE schools? Does that change the value of my opinions? One of the reasons we as a society have difficulty solving problems is that we engage in too much of this ad hominem rhetoric instead of dealing with the real issues. Among the two issues that Ms. Trent did bother to mention, I can only say from my experience in the classroom (not as a lobbyist) that in terms of class size, smaller is definitely better. As far as my “diatribe” about creationism, I do not pretend that it is a major issue, but it does bug me that my tax dollars are being used to subsidize such “science” when we as a state are trying to become known for an emphasis on STEM education. To conclude for Ms. Trent, you would be much better served not to attack the writers of opinions, but to engage in a healthy debate about the issues.

Now, I would like to address Fred. First, I was involved in the Republican Party in the 1980’s – a long time before the decade we are discussing. Secondly, has anyone in either political party focused on the fact that the “schizophrenia” to which I refer has occurred over a period that began with Republicans in Washington and Democrats in Georgia and then shifted to having Democrats in Washington and Republicans in Georgia? In short, I am holding both parties responsible for the schizophrenia.

The thrust of my argument is that we need to quit jumping from fad to fad and focus on how to improve all of our schools.

P.S. I would love to hear Ms. Trent’s ideas (seriously, I would) on how we can make all of our schools work better for our children That would certainly be more helpful that attacking my motivations.

Fred ™

September 26th, 2012
8:22 am

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
7:25 am

something kinda pathetic is occurring here.

instead of dealing with the message, certain elements are determined to push a political narrative full speed. this won’t do crap about fixing the issues, but I guess it will make them feel better about the direction of their lives.
++++++++++++++++++++++

Your failure to understand does not make the message less clear pal. The author of this little piece helped engineer the problem. Yet he acts as if he were some outsider looking in with a magic fix it button. To deny there is politics in education is to bury your head in the sand. This guy wasn’t just some functionary, he was executive director of the Georgia Republican Party and the decade he is talking about is one which he helped create. It’s like the Captain of the Titanic blaming the Captain of the RMS Carpathia for hitting an iceberg.

OT, but may be of interest to readers of this blog

September 26th, 2012
8:23 am

Bill Moyers is doing a show entitled “The United State of ALEC” – sure to be good.
http://billmoyers.com/

Beatings will continue until morale improves

September 26th, 2012
8:30 am

@taco

If you cut the central office by 90%, you could add more teachers. Shoot, some of them have teaching certificate, give them a teaching contract, and ship them off to the schools

Our former super in my county under SACS investigation has a salary that could easily create 3-4 teaching jobs at the T-5 level. We had to cut teachers, but move the RT3 bureaucrats into our school who do nothing to contribute to the school.

On another note, I love how this “education nation” BS that NBC is doing is 90% education bureaucrats 10% teachers. So much for innovative ideas. I will say it once, and I will say it again, if you are in a position of leadership in a school and have less than 10 year experience as a teacher, then you do not get my respect. You just saw teaching as a rest stop on the way to administration. If DCSD can get administrators Ph.D’s paid for with RT3 blood money, then something is not stirring the pudding.

I loved watching the shouting fest on WSB yesterday at the Capitol over school charters, sans the 7th grader getting some of the brunt too. Schizophrenia educational policy is a spot on for how this state operates its schools.

My current thought on charter schools (Im still undecided)
Why trade for one tyrant 3000 miles away, when you will now have 3000 tyrants one mile away? – Mather Byles to Nathaniel Emmons during the American Revolution.

Beatings will continue until morale improves

September 26th, 2012
8:31 am

Oh darn, I hope Bernard the grammar Nazi/teacher advocate doesn’t come and get me. I just noticed a typo

Solutions

September 26th, 2012
8:49 am

I do not see how paying all teachers more money will improve their performance in the classroom. Paying new teachers more if have at least a Masters degree in the subject they are teaching might over time improve the classroom performance, but across the board raises accomplish nothing. The old method of “see one, do one, teach one” is a proven method of instruction that incorporates the three areas of learning, information input (seeing, hearing), mental understanding, and information output (verbal, written or physical manipulation). Sitting in class all day listening to the teacher drone on is what passes for information input in the public schools. I suggest a more active approach to learning that includes the student writing down what they have learned, and perhaps teaching another student the concept. Reading the material prior to class would be a big help too, that is what successful students do. Forget all the “policy maker’s” fancy programs, just ignore them (better yet, tell the policy maker to go to H).

Batgirl

September 26th, 2012
8:55 am

@Chris Murphy, students in my district are in school only 160 days. However, like you I’m not aware of any system going 150 days or less.

sheepdawg

September 26th, 2012
9:05 am

Perfect!! Worth posting again!! This one is worth posting daily!!!

“Foolish Teachers and Parents…You keep voting for them…..I did too…but never again….

Here is what your Republican government reps. have done to ‘make education better’ for the past ten years.

1. Take more money out of the public schools. That will make them better.

2. Increase the class sizes of public schools. Those test scores will go up and education will improve.

3. Have more testing. Those tests will make the teachers better, and who needs to teach when we have day after day of testing, meetings about testing, and test preparation.

4. Add laws and rules that make the public schools worse and then blame the teachers when students don’t perform well on the tests that they want to use for a basis of pay and school performance.

5. Use those same scores to explain failing schools to usher in charter schools.

IT’S BRILLIANT! They are heading towards the outsourcing of teachers and public education by the decisions that they, your Republican representatives of Georgia, have made for the past ten years.

We keep voting for them, and they keep damaging the classrooms of our kids.

I voted straight Republican in the last election as I have for every election, but it will never happen again.

We are being duped by the Republicans WE are voting into office.”

stats

September 26th, 2012
9:12 am

Murray County students attend school for 160 days. Teachers are furloughed for seven days. There are two pre-planning and one post-planning day. There aren’t any real professional learning days. There are not any substitutes. In the middle school students have Band, P.E./Health, Technology, Agriculture, and Fast ForWord as connection classes. There are minimal staff in Central Office. Teachers are stressed and over worked but students are learning. Times are tough and money is short. Budgets have been cut in every department due to flex spending. But teachers are teaching and students are learning. Test scores, though I hate to use them as an example, are higher every year. Poverty is high in Murray County but thankfully teachers are making it work.

Jezel

September 26th, 2012
9:18 am

Annie I am quite sure there are stats that say class size affects student achievement..just as you say there are stats to prove the contrary.

If class size does not affect student achievement..why don’t we just have one algebra teacher, one English teacher, one biology teacher…etc..for each school. Knock down the walls between class rooms..use closed circuit tv….get the picture?

Of course the teacher student ratio has an affect on learning. Money for new programs will not improve student achievement…but money for more teachers will improve student achievement.

Nice job of defending central office people.. but I do not buy it.

Beatings will continue until morale improves

September 26th, 2012
9:29 am

My class went from a nice 18 to 37 two weeks ago.

my class of 18 had no one failing no C’s and test averages were in the mid 80s with students requiring IEP services and those needs being met.

My class of 37: More C’s and failing averages test averages are a dismal 73%, with me now struggling to meet my IEP kids needs.

So tell me again how class size does not affect student performance?

I wonder if your a Central Office junkie with a drive by Ed.D

@ solutions

September 26th, 2012
9:32 am

How do you get a kid to read material before they come to class? Good luck with that. BTW, I agree with you on telling these “policy” makers to go to H. I have a degree in my field I teach, and I rarely use the textbook if not for just supplemental information, because its boring. You think teachers droning on is bad, check out some of these textbooks.

Mary Elizabeth

September 26th, 2012
9:39 am

@ sheepdog, 9:05 am

I, also, valued those comments. I, like you, reposted them on this thread.

“One Teacher’s Voice,” is the poster who penned those comments at 12:19 am – early this morning – on the thread entitled, “Another view on charter amendment: Goal in Georgia ought to be cooperation, not competition.”

Dr. John Trotter

September 26th, 2012
9:51 am

Lee, it’s all about the money…or the lack thereof. It’s really not about the the kids’ or any real attempt to improve public education. In fact, I don’t think that the Georgia General Assembly would know educational improvement if it hit it right square in the face. Under the Gold Dome is where QBE (Quit Being an Educator) was hatched in 1985. What a complete failure! I campaigned against this doomed effort to improve education when I ran for the State House as a Republican in 1986 against then 30-year Democratic incumbent Bill Lee. Everyone else on the campaign trail in Georgia was singing its praises. All of the dumb-a$s programs to come down the pike since QBE have done more harm than good in public education. By the way, folks, these are the same folks to actually think that Michelle Rhee or Mark Elgart actually know what they are talking about. Do you remember my original list of the Four Biggest Educational Hypocrites in Georgia? Crawford Lewis, Beverly Hall, Edmond Heatley, and Mark Elgart. (I composed this list way before Lewis was indicted, Hall’s cheating scandal was nationally exposed, Heatley abruptly resigned in Clayton County thinking that he had a job in Berkeley, California, or a fairly thorough examination by the AJC of SACS’s somewhat dubious practices was published a couple of years ago.) I think that I have been proven right about the first three, and sooner or later the public is going to find out more and more about the hypocrisy of Mark Elgart and SACS. SACS is just a union for the superintendents and an enforcer for groups like ALEC and others who are well-connected. Perhaps those like Glenn Brock?

I noticed in today’s AJC that Mark Elgart is snooping around again in Clayton County. He is concerned about “divisiveness” on the school board. (This man just doesn’t seem to like the democratic process.) Also, what came out was apparently his real concern…the school board is thinking of doing its own search for a superintendent and not using education attorney Glenn Brock’s “search” firm. Do you blame them? Glenn Brock gave them Edmond Heatley! Ha! Mark Elgart actually had the nerve to say that the school board did not have the “ability” or “skills” to select a superintendent. Wow. What hubris of this wannabe elitist! Perhaps he and Glenn could dine on seared Salmon and asparagus at the Piedmont Dining Club and choose another “great” superintendent like Edmond Heatley, Barbara Pulliam, or Joe Hairston. All three of these former Clayton County superintendents were selected by “search” firms and were disasters in Clayton County.

I also noted from the comments made under the article that I am being blamed again for things going on now on the Clayton County Board of Education. Well, well, well… If the public only knew! Ha! I was being accused on controlling Trinia Garrett. Wow. I have never even spoken to this lady either directly or indirectly…via email, telephone, balloon, letter, Western Union, or in person. But, yes, I am the Big Bad Wolf. Boo! I haven’t lived in Clayton County in years, and I am currently in South America but I am so concerned about the goings-on of the Clayton County Board of Education that I am “controlling” it. Life is funny! Actually, perhaps Glenn Brock and Mark Elgart think that I am encouraging this school board via long distance (yes, the computer and Magic Jack phones are amazing!) to make its own selections. Well, I hate to disappoint these money-grabbing lads, but I haven’t even given it a thought. It literally hasn’t even crossed my mind. I was simply glad to write perhaps a dozen articles against Edmond Heatley and his administration, and I noticed that the California newspapers quoted me rather extensively.

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

Bootney, it’s raining down here, and I will spend a lot of time writing today. Lots of time. Perhaps I can work in “The Taxi School Solution” that I actually composed in congested traffic in a taxi last Friday night. These iPhones are great when you get bored in a taxi. Just take it out and start composing in the Notes section. This was meant to be somewhat whimsical, but in actually, the five points of The Taxi School Solution is, in mind opinion, a sound and practical curriculum and one that does not involve a plugged nickel of federal dollars. Yes, I think that we should disengage from the suffocating federal programs and breathe life back into public education. Freedom and creativity is what we desperately need.

William Casey

September 26th, 2012
10:42 am

@Milton Man: “North Fulton schools get half the funding as do the schools within the APS ” I find this statistic difficult to believe. I’m willing to stand corrected.

Fran Millar

September 26th, 2012
11:08 am

Maureen, I don’t know where this gentleman gets his information,but we are making progress in improving academic achievement. Look at 4th and 8th grade reading and math scores, ACT results (#2 in SREB states), and the most recent SAT report. Furthermore we are giving young people meaningful options besides 4 years of college – BRIDGE bill, HB186 and career pathways. All he seems interested is is more $$ and obviously that hasn’t proved to be the answer – see Atlanta Public Schools. This is the same old rant with no emphasis on student results.

Fran Millar

September 26th, 2012
11:08 am

Gave wrong address -sorry.

Lee Raudonis

September 26th, 2012
11:28 am

I am learning a lot on my first venture into “Get Schooled.” From BehindEnemyLines, I have learned that one can save a lot of energy and useless activity of the brain by simply dismissing someone’s ideas as irrelevant, based on his or her professional connections, work history, or style of writing (maybe on race and gender, too). Undoubtedly, the key to improving our education system is to engage in personal attacks, rather than spend all that effort on debating ideas.

Fran Millar

September 26th, 2012
11:28 am

Really – I was being factual.

DeKalb Teacher

September 26th, 2012
11:45 am

Funding – Nancy Jester does a good job of explaining state and local funding. State funding for each county uses the same formula.

Local county millage rates (2011 rates by county – http://www.nancyjester.com/county-millage-rate-comparison-2011.aspx) are different which directly affects the amount of funding for education.

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
12:59 pm

@ Fred

guess you didn’t care for having your lack of deliberations and emphasis on snark pointed out to you
did you

“pal”?

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
1:00 pm

@ Lee

you seem to have grasped the reality here on the first try.

Lee Raudonis

September 26th, 2012
1:07 pm

I’m not sure if Sen. Millar thinks my 11:28 comments were meant for him, but to be clear, I was referring to earlier comments from a participant called “BehindEnemyLines.” The senator makes some good points about several positive things taking place in Georgia schools, but pointing to the amount of money spent in the city of Atlanta school system does not eliminate the concern that many school systems are suffering from a serious shortage of funding.

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
1:08 pm

@ Dr. John

if we really wish effective and long term educational reform here, the very first thing (IMO) we gotta do is disconnect from the Federal teat. the less connected we are to them, the more latitude we have to actually try to fix things.

right afterward, we gotta impose some sane rules on BOE service, and who qualifies.

then, we need to sit with reasonable people (sorry Fran, we’ll send you notes) and outline
1-realistic expectations
2-realistic goals and benchmarks
3-realistic implementation plans for 1 & 2

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
1:09 pm

@ Fran

how about you focusing on us seeing some actual results from under the dome for awhile?
start by showing us how you have streamlined your staff and functions, and how much of
a pay cut YOU took.

bootney farnsworth

September 26th, 2012
1:12 pm

seems to me we are overstaffed with unproductive, self serving, unaccountable state legislators.
all just sucking the state funds and giving us what in return? and how many days do THEY actually
work?

time to RIF a whole hell of a lot of those people.

fran millar

September 26th, 2012
1:29 pm

Thank you Lee. Bootney my salary is about $17k and I share a secretary.I do receive per diem and have an expense account of about $8k. I don’t work in Washington.