Archive for the ‘election2010’ Category

Our PolitiFact Georgia team looks at John Barge and charters: Not much of a flip.

AJC PolitiFact Georgia was asked to examine whether state school chief John Barge flipped-flopped on charter schools with his stunning announcement last week that he did not back the charter school amendment on the November ballot.

Some of his critics have been sending links to a speech that candidate John Barge gave to a conservative group as proof of his flip-flop, but I have to go on record about that 2010 video clip: Barge said nothing different in front of Tea Party supporters in the burbs than he did in front of intown parents at a campaign debate at Inman Middle School that I covered for the AJC.

In fact,  a liberal-leaning policy analyst was sitting two rows in front of me, and he was shaking his head in dismay at almost all of Barge’s responses. Barge seems to be an elected official who does not tailor his message to the crowd. He has consistently decried too much state-level bureaucracy and wasteful spending, so it is not surprising that he would oppose the creation …

Continue reading Our PolitiFact Georgia team looks at John Barge and charters: Not much of a flip. »

A major is not minor: How what you study affects what you earn

Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys or counselors — if you want them to eat and pay their bills.

A new study on how a person’s college major impacts earnings found that an undergraduate degree in counseling psychology offers the least financial return.

Using never-before-available U.S. Census data linking earnings to college majors, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce was able to show what the market values — and it isn’t the helping professions.

“The people who make the most money are the most productive, although not the most socially productive,” said center director Anthony P. Carnevale. “People who help people make the least money.”

The study, “What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors,” examines earnings of full-time workers. The Census information enabled researchers to look beyond the earnings of recent undergraduate degree recipients to an individual’s full life cycle.

“We found a [yearly] …

Continue reading A major is not minor: How what you study affects what you earn »

Deal taps education standouts to serve as advisers

Gov.Nathan Deal

Gov.Nathan Deal

Gov. Nathan Deal has created a statewide Education Advisory Board that includes superintendents, principals, teachers and school board members.

“With the members of my Education Advisory Board now in place, I look forward to meeting with them on a quarterly basis to discuss how we can continue to improve educational outcomes for Georgia students,” said Deal. “The Georgians on these panels are leaders in their fields, and they are giving of their time and talents to help our state strive for educational excellence.”

I recognize several names on his list, including teachers who have won some notable awards.  Given all the people on this board, Deal is going to have to hold his meetings in the Dome.

Here is  the list:


Susan Andrews, Superintendent of Muscogee County Schools

Matt Arthur, Superintendent of Rabun County Schools

Dr. Gayland Cooper, Superintendent of Rome City Schools

Dr. Edmond T. “Ed” Heatley, Superintendent of Clayton …

Continue reading Deal taps education standouts to serve as advisers »

New DOE chief: We will do more with less in Georgia

 New Georgia school chief John Barge met with the press today.

New Georgia school chief John Barge met with the press today.

In his first big media appearance since taking office, new State School Superintendent John Barge said two priorities this year would be creating multiple pathways to the state’s single diploma and responding to concerns about the math curriculum. (He said DOE had math teachers in last week — they could not come in this week for a second session — to participate in a “precision” review of the math curriculum.)

Barge made his comments at a media symposium sponsored by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. I will update this blog all day as new speakers appear.

Right now, we are hearing about Race to the Top from Erin Hames, formerly with DOE and now with the governor’s office, and Teresa MacCartney, RTTT implementation director with DOE. MacCartney just introduced Kathie Wood, a teacher who recently joined the RTTT team — she was a state teacher of the year finalist and taught at Marietta Middle …

Continue reading New DOE chief: We will do more with less in Georgia »

Here’s Deal’s speech: End furloughs, preserve school year.

Here is a large chunk of Gov. Deal’s State of the State speech that he just delivered at the Gold Dome:

The address I deliver today is historically referred to as the State of the State. It is designed to convey my assessment of the condition of our State and its people with special emphasis on the budgets I present for your deliberation. With regard to our State and its citizens, I concur in the description found in the 1885 publication entitled The Commonwealth of Georgia, prepared under the direction of Georgia’s second Commissioner of Agriculture, J.T. Henderson, which poses the following question:

”In general productiveness, in salubrity of climate, in the incomparable blessing of good water, in facilities of transportation, in educational advantages, in the moral tone of her people, and the almost unbroken good order of society, what State of our day and generation can justly claim a happier condition or a higher civilization?”

Gov.Nathan Deal says he will end teacher furloughs and keep kids in school for a full year.

Gov.Nathan Deal says he will end …

Continue reading Here’s Deal’s speech: End furloughs, preserve school year. »

Want reform? Why not ask teachers for ideas?

With Gov.-elect Nathan Deal set to take office today — despite the weather that has shut down schools and most businesses — I thought this was a good time to share this piece by Peter Smagorinsky, a professor of language and literacy education in the University of Georgia College of Education:

By Peter Smagorinsky:

“Hoping to attract and keep top teachers in public schools, Georgia is changing the way educators are hired, paid and rated through a new evaluation system with far greater emphasis on student performance.” So began Jaime Sarrio’s recent article in the AJC on the latest effort to grade teachers, and post those grades to the public, based on students’ standardized test scores.

Tying teacher performance to test scores is one of several efforts to grade teachers’ performance, and is the centerpiece of the $400 million Race to the Top grant awarded to Georgia in the hopes of improving teaching and learning. Because the money has been awarded and linked to …

Continue reading Want reform? Why not ask teachers for ideas? »

Prospect of teacher ratings sparks debate, criticisms

report cardSince teacher ratings are of such great interest on the blog, I wanted to share part of an e-mail from a teacher to me and the legislators considering this idea, state Rep. Edward Lindsey’s response to the e-mail and then the letter that New York Chancellor Joel Klein wrote to his teachers explaining why he agreed to release effectiveness ratings there once the courts cleared the way.

I think all three give a pretty good summary of the pros and cons of this highly explosive issue. I think it is fair to say from the hundreds of response to the blog and personal e-mails to me that this is not an idea that Georgia teachers will easily endorse.

And teachers have not done so in Los Angeles where the LA Times released teacher ratings this summer that led to protests in the streets. Teachers are fighting release of similar effectiveness rankings in New York where the media want to see them and the school system wants to provide them under the rationale that parents deserve more …

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Legislature can’t ignore the HOPE crisis any longer

The cost of graduating a Georgia college will be higher if HOPE is reduced.

The cost of graduating a Georgia college will be higher if HOPE is reduced.

With the HOPE scholarship bleeding money, the Legislature only has two choices to save the popular program. It can either slash the number of HOPE recipients or the amount that each student receives.

Neither will be politically popular, which explains why lawmakers long ignored the gathering storm clouds over HOPE until the winds nearly blew off the roof of the Capitol.

As early as 2003, legislators were warned that the Georgia Lottery would have a hard time keeping up with the two education programs it supports, HOPE and universal pre-k. This fiscal year, the lottery will be short $243 million. By 2012, the shortfall grows to $317 million.

Seven years ago, the state assembled a commission that made recommendations for deep cuts to HOPE, but a better-than-expected haul in lottery proceeds convinced lawmakers that the state could afford to wait to eviscerate HOPE.

So while the 2004 Legislature …

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Deal’s young hotshots: Erin Hames lands a key role

Erin Hames will now advise Gov.-elect Nathan Deal.

Erin Hames will now advise Gov.-elect Nathan Deal.

When the AJC met two weeks ago with the Department of Education leadership team about Race to the Top, Erin Hames led the discussion, which was interesting as incoming school chief John Barge was not keeping her at the agency.

Hames had joined DOE earlier this year to help oversee RTTT after serving as Gov. Sonny Perdue’s policy director.

At the meeting, current school chief Brad Bryant, who is staying at DOE as legal counsel, said he hoped DOE  could find a spot for Hames because of her critical role in crafting and winning Georgia’s $400 million RTTT grant.

For the record, I thought it was crazy to let Hames go as she is the state’s authority on RTTT, and it seemed counterproductive and costly to send all that background and knowledge out the door. She also knows all the players in Washington, which is important as this four-year grant will require ongoing contact with the U.S. DOE and Arne Duncan.

But Hames, a …

Continue reading Deal’s young hotshots: Erin Hames lands a key role »

And end to the DREAM for now. Senate nixes bill.

The DREAM is over. The vote today in the U.S. Senate on the controversial bill was close but it failed 55-41.

In his conference call yesterday with the press to urge passage, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the Obama White House would try again but this was the best chance to gain passage of the DREAM Act given the Republican dominance of  the Congress come January.

The bill created a legal path to citizenship for young people brought to America illegally by their parents. It applies to illegal immigrants who entered the United States before their 16th birthday. To qualify, they  must graduate from high school, enter college or into the military and stay out of trouble.

Duncan argued that the children of illegal immigrants should not be punished for the sins of their parents, and their ability to attend college was important to the economic viability of the nation.

The GOP senators weren’t buying. Opponents countered the bill amounts to amnesty for …

Continue reading And end to the DREAM for now. Senate nixes bill. »