Archive for the ‘Governor 2010’ Category

Suspended DeKalb school board member: SACS distorted our record and DeKalb’s performance

Deposed DeKalb school board member Eugene Walker continues to challenge his suspension and the reasons for it. The matter has now moved to the state Supreme Court.  Walker says the new appointees named this past week deserve support.

However, Walker maintains the decision to suspend him and five other board members was not only illegal but based on distortions by the accrediting agency. Walker says the record needs to be corrected, on both the performance of the school board and the district.

By Eugene Walker

‘The governor made the unilateral decision to replace six duly elected officers of the DeKalb County Board of Education. As our constitutional challenge makes its way through the courts, these appointees, along with the three elected officers allowed to stay, are in charge and everyone should be supportive of these stewards until the matter is resolved. I agree with the governor that there is a lot at stake and I urge the public and the media to stay involved as we move …

Continue reading Suspended DeKalb school board member: SACS distorted our record and DeKalb’s performance »

Can we simultaneously fix and flee public schools?

artchangeCan we simultaneously fix and flee public schools?

I wondered about that question after meetings with Georgia’s last Democratic governor, Roy Barnes, and House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, R-Atlanta. The men sat down with the AJC recently to discuss education issues in the state.

In many areas, the two leaders — both noted for their interest in education — see eye to eye.

“Just because a child is born in Schley County and not Forsyth County, you cannot constitutionally justify that child is going to receive an inferior education just because of an accident of birth,” said Barnes.

Speaking to AJC reporters a week later, Lindsey said much the same thing. “The fact of where a child is born should not determine whether they are going to have a future or not. Wherever a child is born, we have to concentrate on how to get them the education they need.”

Where the two leaders disagree is over the fundamental definition of public education: Is schooling a collective concern funded and …

Continue reading Can we simultaneously fix and flee public schools? »

War of words escalates in charter school amendment fray between Barge and GOP leadership

There is a lot of back and forth on the announcement earlier in the week by Georgia school chief John Barge that he opposes the GOP-scripted charter schools amendment, starting with an email exchange that I had Wednesday with House Majority Leader Edward Lindsey.

After his strong public rebuke of John Barge, I asked Lindsey this question in an email:

Rep. Lindsey,

Wondering if you have any second thoughts on your  initial response to John Barge?

I plan on writing about this escalating battle of words for the Monday education page. One of my points on criticisms that Barge changed his position: It happens all the time in the Legislature, even to the point of folks changing parties. Candidate Deal himself changed his mind on Race to the Top — in a single day. In the morning, he said he would reject the grant if we won and, later that day, he changed his position.

(I was told that a call from Gov. Perdue was a key factor in Candidate Deal quickly changing his mind on that …

Continue reading War of words escalates in charter school amendment fray between Barge and GOP leadership »

Should we expand gambling in Georgia to bolster HOPE?

In talking to parents of young children, I find many fear that the HOPE Scholarship will dwindle away to pennies by the time their kids reach college age.

The changes to HOPE by Gov. Nathan Deal and the Legislature link the merit scholarship to available lottery funds, so the amount  will now vary year to year. It will likely never pay 100 percent of tuition again, given the growing demand on lottery proceeds.

Did you see the AJC interview with the father of HOPE,former Gov. Zell Miller? In a rare press interview, an ailing Miller told my colleague Jim Galloway, “I don’t think they had any other choice. We knew back in the ‘90s that there would be adjustments. This came as no surprise.”

Galloway reports that Miller is not alarmed at the decision by state lottery officials to approve the sale of tickets through the Internet.

“I’m okay with that. In fact, we wrote the lottery law so you could do that,” he said. But as for that plan to create a casino with machines operated …

Continue reading Should we expand gambling in Georgia to bolster HOPE? »

What in the world is going on in Dougherty? Spending $18,000 on a speaker? Officials lying for free lunches?

There has been a lot of attention on Atlanta schools in the wake of the CRCT cheating scandal, but the second bad actor in this drama, Dougherty County, has garnered less attention. One reason is location: Albany is far from the media center of Atlanta so there has been less press about the blatant cheating there on state exams.

But given what is now unfolding in Dougherty, it seems that close attention to this under performing and troubled school system is long overdue. In fact, this district seems a possible candidate for state takeover based on these breaking news stories.

According to the AJC, the state Department of Education has determined that the Dougherty County School District is not eligible to receive at least $10 million in federal funds because of concerns that the district has inflated the number of students who qualify for federal meal assistance. The agency also said the district has not properly overseen federal grant programs.

An incredible element of this …

Continue reading What in the world is going on in Dougherty? Spending $18,000 on a speaker? Officials lying for free lunches? »

APS cheating report cites “a culture of fear and a conspiracy of silence”

UPDATE: Report is now online.

Gov. Nathan Deal today released the findings from the state’s investigation into the Atlanta Public Schools and cheating on the CRCT.

Here is the statement from his office:

“Nothing is more important to the future of our state than ensuring that today’s students receive a first-class education and integrity in testing is a necessary piece of the equation,” said Deal. “When test results are falsified and students who have not mastered the necessary material are promoted, our students are harmed, parents lose sight of their child’s true progress, and taxpayers are cheated. The report’s findings are troubling, but I am encouraged that this investigation will bring closure to the problems that existed in APS and restore the focus on students and the classroom. As we begin to turn the page on this dark chapter in Atlanta Public Schools, I am confident brighter days lie ahead.”

An outline of the findings of the investigation …

Continue reading APS cheating report cites “a culture of fear and a conspiracy of silence” »

Blogging live from Senate committee: Any ideas on saving charters?

It was standing room only at a Senate committee hearing today on the fate of 16 charter schools approved by a state commission now deemed unconstitutional. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

It was standing room only at a Senate committee hearing today on the fate of 16 charter schools approved by a state commission now deemed unconstitutional. (Phil Skinner/AJC)

I am sitting in a corner on the floor at the Senate hearing on the fate of 16 charter schools ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court because they were established by a state commission over the objections of local boards of education.

The hearing is packed with children in red shirts from Atlanta Heights Charter, one of the schools left in the limbo last month by the high court ruling. (The ruling was 4-3, and the court has been asked to reconsider its decision.)

State Sen. Fran Millar, chair of the Senate ed committee, is speaking now, giving the background on the situation and the options. Millar says he has talked to “people in Washington” about Race to the Top grant funds and whether they can be tapped to rescue these schools and assure them full funding.

“Unfortunately, Race to the Top …

Continue reading Blogging live from Senate committee: Any ideas on saving charters? »

Got HOPE?: Could these be the faces of the 2012 election?

Here is a well done parody of the “Got Milk” campaign that is making the e-mail rounds. Not sure if my reproduction shows it clearly, but the line under the photo is “Remember November 2012.” This spoof is the work of political activist Jan Selman.

HOPE.GOP.NOPE.h[1]

Continue reading Got HOPE?: Could these be the faces of the 2012 election? »

Michelle Rhee to meet with governor, lawmakers next week

Michelle Rhee

Michelle Rhee

The House Education Committee and Gov. Nathan Deal will meet with former DC chancellor and education reformer of the moment Michelle Rhee next week.

Rhee now heads StudentsFirst, a group dedicated to education reform beginning with “evaluating teachers based on evidence of student results rather than arbitrary judgments.” With Georgia poised to reform its teacher evaluations as part of its Race to the Top commitment, Rhee will likely be talking about how best to do that with legislators.

Just received this formal announcement:

In lieu of our regular weekly meeting next week, the House Education Committee members are invited to a luncheon to meet Michelle Rhee, the former Chancellor of Washington, D.C. public schools and leading proponent of education reform in the United States, on Thursday, February 10, at noon at the Capitol.  Prior to our luncheon, Ms. Rhee will be meeting with Governor Deal at 11:00 a.m.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled …

Continue reading Michelle Rhee to meet with governor, lawmakers next week »

Systems can now choose which math to teach

School chief John Barge wasted no time on his pledge to revisit the state’s new math.

The question I have is whether this makes the situation even more complicated for transfer students — one of the concerns originally — as students often move from one system to another within the same state. Now, you could have adjacent Georgia systems teaching a different math program. And will we be paying for two sets of tests now?

Is this the best solution?

According to the AJC:

State Superintendent John Barge, responding to the ire of parents and the governors’ concerns about the graduation rate, introduced a plan Thursday to allow local school districts to choose how they will teach math giving students the same rigor, but different approaches to learning concepts.

The plan allows districts to teach math in the traditional way and do away with the current integrated Math I, Math II and Math III courses, accelerated classes which have been criticized for being too fast-paced resulting in …

Continue reading Systems can now choose which math to teach »