Georgia’s schools need courageous reform, not bingo cash

Repeat after Thurbert Baker: We need more money for education, but I don’t have to pay for it. We need more money for …

Now snap out of it. Both premises are false, and the second one illustrates how we got into the fiscal mess we face.

Baker, Georgia’s attorney general and a Democratic candidate for governor, last week unveiled a plan to introduce state-operated bingo and spend the proceeds on public schools.

Within a decade, Baker says, bingo could pump $2 billion annually into Georgia’s schools. That’s more than twice what our existing gambling monopoly, the state lottery, provides. We’re led to believe that this astounding sum won’t cannibalize the lottery or (further) endanger the HOPE scholarship.

But spending more money on schools, until the last recession, has not been a problem in Georgia. Adjusted for inflation, Georgia’s education spending rose from just under $6,500 per student in 1991 to almost $8,600 in 2005, according to the Center for an Educated Georgia. That’s an increase of almost a third. From 1980 to 2005, spending doubled.

The result? Our high school graduation rate fell 6 percentage points to 9 percentage points from 1991 to 2005, depending on which data you use.

So, a Georgia kindergartner in fall 1991 was less likely to finish high school, after a two-decade spending surge, than his cousin in the Class of ’91.

Twenty-one states, ranging from California to South Dakota to, yes, Alabama, spend less per pupil than we do (adjusted for cost of living) but have higher graduation rates.

It’s time to stop judging our commitment to education by how much we spend on it. Money only matters if we have the right educational model to produce more and better-prepared graduates.

Real political courage lies in asking if we have that — and what to do if we don’t.

There are many ways to improve our schools. We could make better use of virtual education to broaden the academic subjects and learning methods available to students in a cost-effective way. We could encourage the opening of more creative schools, and help more students access alternatives to traditional public schools.

We might also ask if Georgians are well-served by having more than 180 school systems — with the attendant high-paid administrators — even though some of them have fewer K-12 students than do many metro Atlanta high schools.

Get the model right, and then we can talk about money.

But even then, we shouldn’t send the bill to bingo players. While promising people something for nothing is probably as old as politics itself, we have turned it into an art of late.

Republicans support lower taxes and Democrats more spending. Combining the two is just about the only act of bipartisanship you’ll see. But we can’t afford that mix any more. And I doubt elected officials can find much more money in fees and fines and stealth taxes, although I’m certain they’ll try.

If you advocate lower taxes, name the expenses you’d cut. If you say education (or transportation, or whatever) needs more money, have the courage of your convictions and tell voters that they have to pay for it.

I don’t mean to pick on Baker. His opponents’ school-funding plans include dubious claims about uncollected sales taxes (Dubose Porter), rhetoric about closing the Capitol (Roy Barnes) and, well, something (John Oxendine).

Find the candidate willing to do more than rearrange the desks in Georgia’s classrooms.

61 comments Add your comment


June 18th, 2010
8:27 pm

Kyle: But spending more money on schools, until the last recession, has not been a problem in Georgia. Adjusted for inflation, Georgia’s education spending rose from just under $6,500 per student in 1991 to almost $8,600 in 2005, according to the Center for an Educated Georgia. That’s an increase of almost a third. From 1980 to 2005, spending doubled. The result? Our high school graduation rate fell 6 percentage points to 9 percentage points from 1991 to 2005, depending on which data you use. So, a Georgia kindergartner in fall 1991 was less likely to finish high school, after a two-decade spending surge, than his cousin in the Class of ’91.

Kyle how much of that money goes to the “child” and how much is squandered by the School Board? (e.g.: Cobb with the “Creationism” stickers, etc). Money on Education is NEVER wasted — money on political idealism is.

Legend of Len Barker

June 18th, 2010
9:51 pm

One hundred eighty school systems are pretty much what you get when you have 159 counties. And this number is greatly reduced from what it used to be. And would you believe that Georgia’s system is actually more efficient than some other states? County boards of education is pretty much exclusively combined to the South. From what I know about northern schools, they pretty much operate on a town-by-town basis. And their graduation rates are higher than ours.

Your suggestions about opening more “creative” schools would actually increase spending.

I’m currently looking at 2005 and 2006 graduation rates, courtesy of the GADOE (it’s the first result that popped up on Google).

If you notice, graduation rates for the most part seem to have a correlation with a county’s wealth. The Legend’s home district reported 57% in both years. It also has a per capita income of about $25,000.

You know, we should open a “creative” school. That would get those grad rates a-poppin’! You know what? We don’t have the money. We cannot improve the educational opportunities for our children without the money. I would wager most of our kids haven’t visited Atlanta. Valdosta is the spot for high culture.

The only thing the state has provided for rural schools over the past few years is that we’re gradually closing our deficient, ancient buildings. Bacon County got its first new school building this year since the late 1950s.

Michael H. Smith

June 18th, 2010
10:46 pm

“Twenty-one states, ranging from California to South Dakota to, yes, Alabama, spend less per pupil than we do (adjusted for cost of living) but have higher graduation rates.”

“wasted — money on political idealism”

Bet there is a correlation in there somewhere?

Just saying


June 18th, 2010
11:18 pm

If we had educational success, then kids would become adults smart enough not to buy the lottery tickets that we need to fund education. Why in the world would government want a smart public?

[...] Georgia’s schools need courageous reform, not bingo cash Saturday, June 19th, 2010 Georgia’s schools need courageous reform, not bingo cash Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) Repeat after Thurbert Baker: We need more money for education, but I don’t have to pay for it. We need more money for … Now snap out of it. … [...]

Mid-South Philosopher

June 19th, 2010
5:03 am

Good morning, Mr. Wingfield,

Your column, this morning, like the rhetoric of the sewer of politicians, seeking to move into 391 West Paces Ferry Rd., NW, defines the problem of public schools quite well, but as for the solution…why does the adage “lost ball in high grass” keep coming to mind?

Peter Smagorinsky

June 19th, 2010
6:30 am

Kyle, school districts across Georgia are laying off thousands of teachers because of the budget crisis. Are you really saying that they’re overfunded, and that raising taxes to finance education is just throwing money at the problem?


June 19th, 2010
6:41 am

Peter, if the money has doubled, yet teachers are being fired, I would say the schools are being run poorly. More money won’t fix that. It’s like putting a coat of paint over moldy drywall. Hides the problem. Doesn’t fix the problem.


June 19th, 2010
7:36 am


Okay, let’s try to straighten this out a little bit. Vouchers and other forms of payment for private schools takes money from public schools without significantly reducing the operational cost of the school.

How can that be? If students leave with vouchers, won’t fewer public school teachers be needed?

Not necessarily. Let’s use Johnson’s estimate of 5% of public school students taking advantage of vouchers and use a typical 800 student elementary school to apply this to.

That would mean 40 of 800 students would leave, less than one student per classroom. No savings there as no reduction in teaching staff. Utility costs would remain the same. Office staff, media center staff, custodial of school food service would remain the same. Transportation services would not be reduced.

So…….these 40 students would take their public school funding to their private schools and the public school would be stuck with reduced funding and no reduction in the opeational cost of the school.

Republican newspaper writers and republican radio entertainers know this but don’t care. Public education is not a priority for republican politicians because public schools have a significant minority enrollment and republican politicians are never going to win a significant number of minority voters.


June 19th, 2010
8:09 am

The problem is that people who claim to write legitimate articles trust the Center for an Educated Georgia, ignore the increased costs of running schools system (e.g., gasoline costs more), and champion the increased demands (e.g., testing, parenting, etc.) placed on school systems over the last 20 years.


June 19th, 2010
8:13 am

School vouchers do not always go just to private schools. Many charter schools and magnet schools would grow. Often times in a county there are one or two high schools that shine. As a teacher I had the ability to choose the best schools for my children. They were public schools and they were ecellent with wonderful teachers and very good administrators. Other parents deserve the same choice.
Good writing Kyle. Your column and Boortz’s column provided good reading.

Gerald West

June 19th, 2010
8:18 am

Good article, Kyle! In Georgia, at least, government is the problem. We have too much of it: too many counties, too many school boards, too many elective offices, and too many politicians.

As you point out, our politicians have no solutions to the poor performance of our students. They call for more spending or less spending without regard to methods and results. Comparison by states shows little correlation between education achievement and classroom sizes or expenditures per pupil. It is the case that the states with the most prosperous and educated adults have better schools than the states with the least prosperous and educated adults. In other words, a child’s education depends more on his parents than on his school.

“Local control” of Georgia public schools is a farce involving hundreds of counties, cities, and districts, and thousands of elected politicans. Let’s set up a politically-independent management structure consisting of a board of directors of distinguished citizens to administer public education statewide. For administrative purposes, let’s divide the state into manageable education districts without regard to county and municipal boundaries. Then let’s set school policy and curriculum on a state-wide basis.

Federal interference is an impediment to education, although federal funding assistance is welcome. The “No Child Left Behind” nonsense has sent public education in the wrong direction. It channels money and attention to the least-promising students, to the neglect of the most-promising. It promulgates a wrong set of responsibilities. The school administration should be held responsible for the physical facilities, the curriculum, and the teaching aids. The teacher should be held responsible for teaching the prescribed curriculum. The pupil should be held responsible for learning, and should be able to demonstrate his knowledge. The parents should be held responsible for seeing to it that the child performs to the extent of his ability.

There are no promising solutions to the bad performance of American education because there is no definition of good performance. What is the curriculum for Grades 1-12? Where are the teaching aids such as textbooks, training videos, and computer drills to support the curriculum? They don’t exist!

We need help that is not available from American educators or politicians. We should consult with educators in countries like Finland and Korea, which demonstrate high academic achievement with modest expenditure.


June 19th, 2010
8:49 am

If Georgia wants to solve its budget problem, elect Eric Johnson for Governor. He will push strongly for a full, no limiting, voucher program that will result in massive savings for all of Georgia’s families, a substantial increase in the quality of Georgia’s education options and a substantial rise in the fate of Georgia’s poorest families. Once a family returns to the rightful position of truly being responsible for the children’s education, they will no longer be enslaved to the wasteful, harmful and petty actions of bureaucrats at every level of school management in Georgia.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 19th, 2010
8:50 am

Kids in Finland and Korea are probably expected to WORK a little bit in school and maybe even do real homework. In the US, parents complain when the kids have real homework; they don’t want to have to look up from their People magazine or have Entertainment Tonight interrupted by their spawn asking for help.

Gator Nation

June 19th, 2010
9:12 am

Mr Wingfield,

I think you will find that the Georgia highschool graduation rate will rise significantly from 2005 to 2010. I feel that much of this can be attributed to the revamping of the state education system and focus by Kathy Cox, some of the requirements of NCLB, and the graduation coaches put in place by Gov. Purdue. Sadly, much of these changes that showed positive outcomes have been eliminated for the 2010-2011 school year. With more cuts to come for the 2011-2012 school year. So while I do agree that their needs to be bureaucratic shrinkage in rural Georgia school systems (and in some metro school offices), I also feel that Georgia is still vastly underfunded when it comes to education. By the way, I bet you will see significant reduction in central office spending this year.

Gator Nation

June 19th, 2010
9:21 am

@ Lil Barry Bailout,

To true my friend. When I was a middle school counselor, we were told that homework could not count for more than 10% of the final report card grade for any student. What a fantastic message to send to the students! Your quizes and tests are everything, but the daily preparation required to excel at them is worthless.


June 19th, 2010
9:44 am

Eric Johnson is a major threat to all Georgia’s children. He is out to help a select few, and he has no idea about the purposes of public education. Maybe a consultation with our hallowed founding fathers may help him understand. Doubt it.
@rascal, public education is designed to prevent slavery (as you call it). Only until Americans understand and accept their responsibilities to their neighbors will our Repubic/democracy flourish. If public schools were freed from the bureaucracy of reforms/testing, the need to defend themselves against people like Johnson, and a relentless media which has dogged education since Sputnik, then people might have better opportunities to learn.


June 19th, 2010
9:50 am

@Gerald West, you understand that Finland has copied our model of education, right? They have an homogeneous population that supports public education. We have neither such a population nor such support. European models have been moving to comprehensive high school, away from the segregated, private models that dominated aristocratic Europe and still linger. It is hilarious that people want us to consult those who are replicating our system.

Road Scholar

June 19th, 2010
9:52 am

One of the problems that is not addressed by spending is the parents roll in educating their children. Not just supplying tax dollars, but providing the children with discipline and reviewing their progress and involvement in school. Why is it that schools with higher parent participation tend to achieve better grades and a higher % of students going and completing college? Because they explain to their children that school is their job! They create expectations of achievement and conduct, with ramifications for the lack of effort and achievement. Parents, stop trying to be their best friends and become their parent, mentor, and if neccessary, their disciplinarian.


June 19th, 2010
10:27 am

“Find the candidate willing to do more than rearrange the desks in Georgia’s classrooms.”

Kyle I have been voting in Georgia since 1960. I wish you all the luck in the world in finding your candidate. I believe that candidate is a myth.


June 19th, 2010
11:15 am

We should all be concerned about education, not public education. Public anything neccessarily means lowering the bar so all can participate.

Kyle the hypocrite

June 19th, 2010
11:50 am

Kyle, you claim to be the “conservative” voice, yet NOT ONE WORD about discipline?

Kyle you claim to support the concepts of “rule of law” and “personal responsibility” yet NOT ONE WORD about giving teachers the AUTHORITY to hold students accountable for either?

But your money where your mouth is Kyle, or better yet put your money where you CLAIM your principles are, and tell us how you expect to do more than “rearrange the desks” without first and foremost restoring DISCIPLINE?


June 19th, 2010
12:28 pm

Perhaps if Kyle wrote a 50,000 word column he could cover every issue with the schools, including discipline. But that’s what we call a “book.” Sheesh.

“school-funding plans include dubious claims about uncollected sales taxes[..... ]and, well, something (John Oxendine).”

Please aquagirl

June 19th, 2010
12:32 pm

Aquagirl, you embarrass yourself if you claim you have to write 50,000 words BEFORE you get to the subject of discipline when it comes to what’s wrong in the public schools.

Gerald West

June 19th, 2010
12:43 pm

@historydawg: Finland and Korea may have copied our philosophy of free education for all, but they certainly didn’t copy our practices. And their results in math, science, the arts, and physical education are far above the best of any of our 50 states.

Even a superficial glance at their schools indicates a vast difference. The schools are small and situated in neighborhoods. They have nothing like our county schools where children are bused to a huge complex outside the town.

When you are at the bottom, and want to move up, shouldn’t you learn from those who have already managed to rise to the top?


June 19th, 2010
1:10 pm

Well Kyle the Governor’s office should be the starting point, and so perhaps getting rid of a Republican Governor, might be a good start…….. Has Sonny done anything to promote a better education in this state ?

Hillbilly Deluxe

June 19th, 2010
1:40 pm

A century or so ago, every little community in Georgia had it’s own one room school house. Kids walked to school or they didn’t go. At that time few went to high school. High schools were in towns and if you didn’t live close enough to walk or have the money to board in town, you were out of luck.

Then cars and buses came along and people started to get a little more mobile, it became more cost effective to consolidate schools and bus the kids to them. More kids starting going to high school because, now, they had a way to get there. That’s why many counties to this day still have one high school. They don’t have a big enough student population to be building schools all over the county.

Rural schools, suburban schools, and city schools are all different animals. We need to find solutions that fit each one’s unique problems.


June 19th, 2010
1:45 pm

Where is the money going? From January to May teachers in GA teach how to pass the CRCT. Is it any wonder that test scores and grad rates sink lower every year. The kids are bored out of their minds. But the crazy politicians and the people who support them keep collected their bloated salaries while touting education reform. HA – GA is crazy.

APS Teacher

June 19th, 2010
2:55 pm

North Atlanta High School’s policy is for all teachers to count homework as %10 exactly.

Churchill's MOM

June 19th, 2010
3:17 pm

“Georgia’s education spending rose from just under $6,500 per student in 1991 to almost $8,600 in 2005″

If the cost of a teacher is $60,000.00 & they have 23 students then the teacher cost is $2609 per student. the other $5991.30 goes to overhead which is mostly waste. Up here in Clark county we are laying off para pros(the most cost effective spending in education) & teachers while adding to administration. Zig Zag Miller tried to address the waste in administration by cutting state funding for administration but it’s cost is growing and out of control.


June 19th, 2010
3:40 pm

If you want a truly educated population, stop the ‘No child left behind’ nonsense. No rewarding middle of the road performance. Stop dumbing down the entire system to benefit students that can’t or won’t learn. Raise the bar instead of pandering to the lowest common denominator. When nobody can be failed, why try? Someone has to do the low paid jobs.


June 19th, 2010
3:56 pm

Historydawg, give me a break. Funny how the only “history” you tend to grasp is the supposedly “positive” things government does. Most of which are misrepresented and sorely overhyped. You seemed to miss the history lesson about how free markets and capitalism were the driving force behind the most technically advanced and highest living standard in the history of the human race. Why do you history buffs fail to properly award the honors on those the truly made the differences in society vs those with “good intentions”? Government programs are filled with good intentions. Public schools are full of undereducated teachers(the lowest average SAT scores of any “profession”), with big hearts, good intentions and no chance of succeeding due to a bureaucracy driven by selfish, money and power hungry bureaucrats. Why would a person with a historical view of the successes of humankind ignore the contribution that free markets bring? Oh yeah, it does not fit your perfect world, perfect community, perfect society view where we are all equal and we all have the same exact rewards for simply being alive. That might work in your dreamland, but it is not real and does not work with human beings, driven by a natural urge to survive and succeed. I ask you to use your substantial education in informing the readers of all the government programs that you find in the history of the country, where the goals of the program were met and done so at the budgeted costs? I await your response

Rafe Hollister

June 19th, 2010
4:21 pm

rascal: The liberal media in America would do just about anything to keep what you wrote from the dumb masses, but I think it is Pulitzer material.

Mountain Mom

June 19th, 2010
4:27 pm

The bulk of the increased spending per pupil cited here can be attributed to significant increases in teacher salaries during this time. The graduation rates are worst among low-income at-risk students– who are not likely to have computers and Internet access needed for a virtual school, and whose likely single parent does not have the time or knowledge (or in some cases, motivation) to investigate a “creative” charter option– or provide the transportation required for the child to attend.

Kyle the hypocrite

June 19th, 2010
5:11 pm

Kyle claims to be outraged at spending, yet he is completely silent about the current APS multi-million dollar E-Rate scandal, where criminal indictments may very well be forthcoming due to bid rigging.

Looks like that “courage” that Kyle is calling for to discuss funding is suddenly found wanting in Kyle when it comes to Kyle taking on APS, Beverly Hall, or EDUPAC.

Kyle the hypocrite.


June 19th, 2010
10:18 pm

Roads Scholar has it right “Parents, stop trying to be their best friends and become their parent, mentor, and if necessary, their disciplinarian”. Learning starts in the home. If parents are lazy, don’t read, watch tv all the time, ignore the kids, then the kids will follow their lead. I knew if I got in trouble at school, I would get into 3x the trouble when I got home. I gather that doesn’t happen anymore. I see some awfully poor parents in public places these days with their kids. The parents act apologetic when they are correcting their kid. Why? They have a duty to raise them well, not be their best friend. Truth is, the kid doesn’t respect a parent like that. Respect seems to be lacking just about everywhere these days.

Kyle the hypocrite

June 19th, 2010
10:34 pm

But did Kyle the hypocrite mention anything, even a single word about giving teachers the AUTHORITY to hold students accountable to the “rule of law” as far as behavior, or to the “personal responsibility” for doing their work, even though he always talks about those as core principles of conservatives?

Kyle the hypocrite.


June 19th, 2010
11:09 pm

How about you spending a week teaching in a Georgia High School? Everyone who doesn’t teach always has all the answers to improvement of schools and student learning. Put your body where your commentary is…then get back to me…if you can survive the week.


June 20th, 2010
7:34 am

I taught at public universities for 16 years (my subjects English literature, English composition, Technical Writing, Public Speaking, and the occasional film and drama course). Here’s my take on what’s wrong with the public school system:

1. Too many students aren’t prepared to learn. Their attitude towards learning is wrong; they don’t expect to have to do much to get an “A.” In fact, for the most part, a good number of students behave, and often say explicitly, that they believe they ought to get an A unless you prove to them they don’t deserve one. I would say this is true for more than fifty per cent of students. Unless families get actively involved in student learning, and unless more students come to believe they really have to work for their grades–but more importantly, they really need to focus on actually learning something–their performance won’t change much, no matter what amount of money is poured into the system.

2. The school system has become a dumping ground for families’ problems. If your kid can’t behave in class, it shouldn’t be something that brings the whole class to a stop. Here again, families need to teach kids how to behave; they need to be taught to be polite, focused on the task at hand, and they need to be taught to respect other people. Because they’re kids, they are inclined to play, so this part is difficult to handle–but it’s the jobs of families to do a decent job of preparing their kids to be sociable while not squelching their natural playfulness. It’s pretty evident a good many families don’t do much to socialize their children; by the time the kids get to be college-age, this can get pretty ugly.

3. There are a great many teachers who are no darn good at their job. This is true for a simple reason: schools of education in colleges and universities are churning out lousy teachers. Teacher training for public school teachers is, by and large, wretchedly inadequate. For all that, it’s better than what teachers get in public colleges and universities, which is, 99% of the time, nothing at all. That’s right: the teachers at the highest level of the public education system get no training at all and minimal guidance or supervision. Here’s what can happen as a result: When I was teaching at a local public university–teaching basic English composition and rhetoric–one of my colleagues designed a basic freshman writing course around the idea of using rap song lyrics as texts for his students to explicate. These poor students were robbed, in my view. They weren’t alone.

4. Whenever the question of how to improve the school system comes up here in Georgia, it seems to me that one thing we rarely do is ask and then seriously discuss the following question: Where in the country are there school systems that work well for the students, and how to they accomplish what it is they accomplish? There are, in fact, a few good public school systems in Georgia–Oconee County’s is one of them, I understand. Elsewhere in the country, there are systems in both affluent and poor areas that do well. Can’t we look at what they do, figure out how to do it ourselves, and not let ideology get in the way of adapting it to help our own students?

Most of what’s wrong with the school system has to do with individuals–students not prepared to learn, families not prepared to guide, and teachers not prepared to teach. None of that is really about money; it’s about honesty and integrity.

Michael H. Smith

June 20th, 2010
10:48 am

On points 1,2 and 3 MichaelinAtlanta, I would agree with you. Point 4 is debatable and here is why I some what agree to disagree. To much focus is put on the system, the monopoly education system that is … No, make that “the entrenched Guv’ment monopoly education system”, which has no real competition or reason to perform any better to produce any better results. The good teachers are fighting a losing battle with this “the entrenched Guv’ment monopoly education system”.

I absolutely agree on this point, in regards to the proverbial “good teachers” : None of that [or this] is really about money; it’s about honesty and integrity. Nor, is it about benefit and retirement packages that are better in most cases than can be obtained via private sector employment. On the other hand, to the proverbial “bad teachers”, the politicians and many other non-teaching educational employees within the system it is strictly about money, power and control.

Roy Barnes is just one such politician. His latest political ad on education is a pathetic joke!

He did absolutely nothing that improved education in Georgia when he was previously governor. His lousy past deeds speak louder than his present worthless – I’m going to spend more tax money for education – words.

As you said and said it correctly MichaelinAtlanta:

None of that is really about money; it’s about honesty and integrity.

Redneck Convert (R---and proud of it)

June 20th, 2010
10:49 am

Well, we could have more students graduating if they didn’t make it so tough to do it. I mean, kids got to pass tests and go to class and everything. I say raise the graduation rate. Get rid of tests and class attendance policy. Just let the kids sign up at the beginning of the school year and then promote them to the next grade at the end of the year. Most of the kids don’t want to be there anyway.

I’m no expert. My senior year was the 5th grade. But seems to me we could have more students graduating if they didn’t have to go thru all this stuff to get a diploma.

Oh, and spend tax money on private schools. I hear they’re alot easier and don’t need to do all this testing and such. They pay their teachers less and the teachers don’t need to go thru all this stuff to get a teaching job. And in a private school our kids don’t need to mix with Those People and be taught librul stuff.

Have a good day everybody.


June 20th, 2010
11:40 am

Road Scholar – June 19th, 2010 – 9:52 am

I agree with your post. However, considering the subject matter,
I feel I should point this out – it’s “role”, not “roll”, of parents
educating their children – no offense intended.


June 20th, 2010
12:09 pm

Kyle the Hypocrite & Please Aquagirl:

– I suspect that classroom discipline is not just a problem
in Georgia – although it may be the most significant problem,
it probably is not the only factor in the state’s low SAT scores
and graduation rates compared to other states.

Having said that, the real issue may be this: how to get parents
to stop thinking on a local level as far as their children’s education
is concerned (i.e. the school and the education board bureaucracy)
and start dealing with the challenge posed by global competition.
Finland and Korea were mentioned in the forum – but they are not
the only contenders in terms of producing the world’s best and

For all of the posters who say “our kids are over-tested”:
this is an example of what is in store for the current generation of
K-12 schoolchildren when they enter the global marketplace.
They will be clashing horns with students who are the scholastic
products of the gao kao:

Kyle the hypocrite

June 20th, 2010
12:38 pm

dewstarpath, the problem is with the hypocrisy. Kyle I’m sure marches in lockstep with conservatives talking about “personal responsibility” and the “rule of law”.

Yet, like so many other conservatives who seem more interested in demonizing teachers than supporting them, he says NOTHING about giving teachers the authority to hold students accountable for the core principles he supposedly holds dear. Yet he asks for “courageous” solutions to the education crisis?

At least Wooten is consistent when he makes no bones about getting the disrupters out.

And if Kyle is really as concerned about government waste and corruption as he says he is, why has he said nothing about the multi-million dollar bid rigging scandal that was featured on the front page of his very own paper?

Kyle the hypocrite

June 20th, 2010
12:49 pm

dewstarpath, maybe the real problem, the one that neither side of the political spectrum wants to deal with, isn’t that our kids are “overtested” maybe that it’s that they are “underaccountable.”


June 20th, 2010
1:05 pm

Kyle the hypocrite –

– Maybe children being “underaccountable” – I presume you mean
problems that manifest themselves as adults, particularly with all of
the scandals such as the one in Dekalb County you mentioned –
is one of the factors I mentioned in an earlier post.

In order to solve that problem, IMO, Georgia children need more
exposure – not necessarily to other countries and languages
(although it would be prudent due to some of the issues I raised
in that same post), but definitely to industries and careers other
than what the state has to offer. Don’t get me wrong – Georgia has
an abundance of resources and careers to choose from, but the
choices seem to be isolated from what is needed for this country
to compete on an international basis.


June 20th, 2010
1:08 pm

In other areas we’ve tried government-owned and -operated facilities and have always realized it is not a good thing and have gone to vouchers that feed into the private sector. Consider Section 8 housing vouchers vs the “projects” and food-stamps vs a government-run food bank.

I believe that publicly funded education is probably a good thing. But government-owned and -operated schools are very often not adequate to the task. It seems that the time has come to shut down these education “projects”, sell them all off, and let the market provide. Set some realistic minimum requirements (think building-codes, not union shop rules) for providers to be allowed to take vouchers, and let them provide.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

June 20th, 2010
2:28 pm

The problem I have with this column is comparing spending in different years without offering inflation comparisons, yet alluding to “the cot of living” on another set of figures: this smacks of not citing the figures because they refute or at least do not prove the point attempting to be made.

No More Progressives!

June 20th, 2010
4:10 pm

Kyle the hypocrite

June 20th, 2010
12:49 pm
dewstarpath, maybe the real problem, the one that neither side of the political spectrum wants to deal with, isn’t that our kids are “overtested” maybe that it’s that they are “underaccountable.”

Exactly how do you “overtest” a kid? A kid will tell you any test is being overtested; a liberal will tell any test is unfair, and doesn’t take into account life’s lessons, self esteem and all the other psycho-babble code-talk of the left and the NEA.

The question is what is it that private schools do that public schools won’t?


June 20th, 2010
6:34 pm

So much money is wasted even now. Our system recently “found” money that “had” to be spent on staff development….They are paying teachers and paras $250 dollars to attend a 1 day seminar. Just one example of wasting taxpayer money! Also, our whole little city system has just 1700 students…TOTAL! And we have a superintendent AND an assistant superintendent drawing big bucks!!!!