Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal would let teachers promote students mid-year, tackle obesity with local veggies

Republican nominee for governor Nathan Deal, though slightly late, has formally joined the chase for the votes of Georgia’s classroom teachers.

From Walter Jones of Morris News Service:

…Deal wants to let teachers decide when to give required standardized tests in their classrooms and to promote students midyear if they’re ready.

In comments Wednesday afternoon to State Farm agents and executives, Deal also said he favors greater efforts by schools to tackle childhood obesity by serving locally grown vegetables and requiring more daily exercise.

The proposals were the first two planks of an education platform he said he will announce in full next week….

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle visits with first grade students, including, Jeda Niyomkul, left, at Morningside Elementary School in Atlanta last week. The children were eating cucumber salad.  Jason Getz

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle visits with first grade students, including, Jeda Niyomkul, left, at Morningside Elementary School in Atlanta last week. The children were eating cucumber salad. Jason Getz

Deal said his education ideas grew out of conversations with teachers….

The midyear promotions would combat students’ boredom that leads to dropouts and allow teachers to focus more attention on struggling students, he said.

“I envision it having a blended curriculum at that point where a student who has already passed the criteria for, let’s say fifth grade, could then move on into six-grade type of teaching,” he said.

“Generally, a child who is more advanced does not require as much hands-on supervision as a child who needs more help on a personal basis.”

The obesity angle may sound a little odd for a political campaign, but it’s an issue that’s already alive within Republican circles. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, in a bid for re-election, last week launched a “healthy kids” challenge aimed at curbing obesity and encouraging physical activity.

The best part is that an anti-obesity program isn’t a high-cost promise that a candidate might not be able to deliver on come January.


InsiderAdvantage and Channel 2 Action News unveiled a poll on Wednesday that indicates President Barack Obama poses a major liability for Democratic nominee for governor Roy Barnes. From the IA web site:

Some 718 registered, likely voters were asked if they would base their vote for governor on whether they believed President Barack Obama and the national Democratic Party were doing a fair or a poor job.

Sixty-seven percent said “yes” while 24 percent said “no.”
Given that 64 percent of Georgians disapprove of Obama’s job performance while just 35 percent approve, that’s a big problem for Barnes, said InsiderAdvantage CEO and WSB-TV political analyst Matt Towery.

“This has nothing to do with Roy Barnes and nothing to do with the Democratic Party of Georgia. It is a national problem that is seeping down and infecting the Democratic Party in the state of Georgia,” the pollster told WSB-TV’s Lori Geary.


In the same vein, the last thing U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, D-Macon, wanted on Thursday was to wake up to a Wall Street Journal article featuring him as a poster child for the woes of congressional Democrats:

[I]n a reflection of his party’s fortunes nationwide, Mr. Marshall’s prospects have dimmed of late. The three-term congressman now faces an energized foe and the focus of the national Republican Party in a race that polls indicate is increasingly tight.

His change in fortunes is part of a larger trend in which eroding support for Democrats is roiling dozens of House races and boosting Republican confidence that the GOP will retake the House in November.

Citing the bad economy, President Barack Obama’s unpopularity and a generally sour mood among voters, pollsters and nonpartisan analysts have recently downgraded the prospects for Democratic incumbents in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio and other states.

Among those seats now regarded as up for grabs are more than a dozen—including Mr. Marshall’s—that analysts from both parties saw as safe as recently as June.

Marshall faces state Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, a former candidate for governor – who this spring considered dropping into the contest for lieutenant governor. But who is now very happy that he is where he is.


At the risk of beating a dead horse, we offer one more morning analysis from Larry Sabato, the political guru of the University of Virginia. From his Crystal Ball blog:

Given what we can see at this moment, Republicans have a good chance to win the House by picking up as many as 47 seats, net. This is a “net” number since the GOP will probably lose several of its own congressional districts in Delaware, Hawaii, and Louisiana….

In the Senate, we now believe the GOP will do a bit better than our long-time prediction of +7 seats. Republicans have an outside shot at winning full control (+10), but are more likely to end up with +8 (or maybe +9, at which point it will be interesting to see how senators such as Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and others react).


On Friday, DeKalb County schools will be closed for a teacher furlough day. It is not an occasion to celebrate, but it is an occasion.

Joe Martin, the Democratic nominee for state school superintendent, says he’ll position himself at Druid Hills High School at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow to discuss the impact of furlough days with any students, teachers, parents or TV cameras that happen to pass by.


Earlier this week, we told you about U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston’s legislation to allow members of the military as young as 18 to quaff a beer or sip a glass of wine while on base.

The Savannah congressman’s idea has quickly become an issue without a political downside. At least on the coast. Writes Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News:

Kingston can expect support from Chatham County’s other congressman, John Barrow of Savannah.

“I agree with Jack,” Barrow said Wednesday. “I think if soldiers are old enough to fight alongside their fellow soldiers, they’re old enough to have a beer with their fellow soldiers.”

Barrow’s GOP opponent, Ray McKinney, is also on board.

“It only makes sense that people who are willing to die for their country should be able to have a beer or glass of wine on base, especially in time of war,” McKinney said.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

37 comments Add your comment

Woman in DeKalb Co

September 2nd, 2010
9:57 am

Joe Martin is running for School Superintendent, not Jim Martin.

Bill Todd

September 2nd, 2010
9:58 am

It’s Joe Martin who is running for state school superintendent, not his brother, former legislator and DHR commisioner, Jim.

Fulton Resident

September 2nd, 2010
10:04 am

Deal: “Oh Cagle is visiting schools promoting healthy living and Barnes is reaching out for teacher support? Those are great ideas – let’s do that.”

Road Scholar

September 2nd, 2010
10:15 am

Having students eat vegetables is good, but why don’t they reinstate mandatory exercise periods/gym class? Many students will loose weight when they don’t eat their vegetables, esp if that is the only thing offered!


September 2nd, 2010
10:18 am

Well, I have to give credit where its due. I whole heartedly support both ideas presented here.

However, even if I agreed with every position Deal has, he would never get my vote. His proven record of using political power for personal financial gain is a deal breaker.

Jim Galloway

September 2nd, 2010
10:23 am

Whoops. Sorry, Joe. It’s fixed.

Lone Star

September 2nd, 2010
10:28 am

With the way the economy is going, obesity may be a self-resolving problem.


September 2nd, 2010
10:41 am

What an idiot Deal is…and a crook.


September 2nd, 2010
10:43 am

Great picture of Casey Cagle at what appears to be an inner city school. Surely one of the schools that needs our attention most. Way to go where the problems are Casey!
I hope he can avoid the gang problems associated with that type of school.

Here is a statistic I heard on CNN this morning.

“Half of all Highschool Drop Outs come from 12% of the Nation’s highschools”

green green

September 2nd, 2010
10:44 am

Casey looks so awkward in that pic.

Noo Corrupt Deal. Nooooo King Roy

September 2nd, 2010
10:49 am

Corrupt Washington Polotician… Raw Deal
Failed Governor………….King Roy Barnes
None Of The Above………………….John Monds

I’ll be voting NONE OF THE ABOVE

Noo Corrupt Deal. Nooooo King Roy

September 2nd, 2010
10:50 am

That should have been Corrupt Deal not Raw Deal


September 2nd, 2010
10:52 am

what about that picture makes you think Morningside is an inner city school–as in blighted neighborhood? Not sure, but I think that is a relatively wealthy section fo the city. the picture deosn’t suggest is is poor.


September 2nd, 2010
10:52 am

Sorry, if that was sarcasm


September 2nd, 2010
11:07 am

Imno, you’re right! Some of those kids are in fact wearing the colors of the much-feared “tye-dyed t-shirt” gang; and the rest of them look like members of the “white t-shirt gang.” Eating cucumber salad is part of both gangs’ initiation rites; Mr. Cagle is a brave man to have joined them at such a moment, fraught as it is with overtones of …

OK, the sarcasm machine has run down. I need to read more political news to recharge.


September 2nd, 2010
11:21 am

Bo, don’t kid yourself. Morningside is a breeding ground for street gangs. Half of the kids in that picture would just as soon slit your throat for a dime bag of weed before they’d open a text book. The kids sitting next to Cagle are looking over their shoulders so they don’t get shanked. Cagle betta watch his back if he is going to keep visiting these types of schools.


September 2nd, 2010
11:24 am

Actually, I notice that Cagle is sitting next to an Asian kid. He probably asked the principal, “What do you got in the way of minorities? Got any blacks or mexicans? An Asian? Like India Asian or Chinese Asian? Well, I’ll take whatever you can get me. Lets just make sure the minority is close to me. I need to connect with those people”

Legend of Len Barker

September 2nd, 2010
11:31 am

Mr. Deal, you might want to take the time to learn a bit more about schools.

The state has just had a massive cheating scandal involving standardized tests. You want want to give them MORE leeway in this department? Depending on performance, schools can adjust the dates of the test within a two-week (or so) window. Letting it get outside the window just promotes more inequality and a ton more issues.

Suppose Junie comes from a system that decided they were ready to test in early March. She tests at Generic Ridge Elementary School. For whatever reasons you can come up with, she transfers to Generic Heights Elementary in another county. They weren’t ready and decided to test in April. Junie is the only regular ed child that has taken the test. Not only does the school now have to do something with her on the days everyone else is testing, she also might let slip some of the material on the test. Cheating. Inadvertent, but cheating nonetheless.

Mid-year promotions also create a huge set of problems with standardized testing. You’re now expecting a child to take a test on standards s/he has not been taught. Or even exposed to, if you’re talking about middle school where the science department, in particular, covers different areas each year. Granted, this a smart cookie of a kid, but these tests often find the most inane, weird questions to ask. If the first half of the kid’s year is spent learning about simple machines in 6th grade, it’s unreasonable to expect him/her to know the details of plant reproduction that was covered in the first half of the 7th grade textbook.

Of course, I’m in favor of a complete overhaul of CRCT, but that would be too easy.


September 2nd, 2010
11:43 am

I strongly believe that between obesity and drug and alcohol addiction we aren’t going to have to worry so much about long term care for the elderly.


September 2nd, 2010
11:51 am

Promoting kids mid year? I’m just thinking that would be a friggin headache to figure out logistically. Why introduce more headaches instead of trying to solve the ones we have now?


September 2nd, 2010
11:51 am

Oh great, can you imagine the pressure the parents are going to put on the teachers to move their child prodigies up to the next grade because the little genius complains about being bored?

I bet that whoever had to clean up after the photo op found bits of cucumber hidden everywhere around the bench.


September 2nd, 2010
11:57 am




Puddin Tain

September 2nd, 2010
12:07 pm

With all our problems in education, Mr. Deal comes up with this? Please go spend some time in a classroom, Mr. Wanna-be-governor. Totally out of touch with reality.

Thanks, Legend, at 11:31. Excellent post.


September 2nd, 2010
12:10 pm

Does anyone else find it hilarious that Roy Barnes, a career lawyer, is questioning the ethics of Nathan Deal? That’s like Charlie Manson being critical of Jeffrey Dahmer!! I’ve dealt with Barnes for years. Nathan Deal has more integrity in his little finger that Barnes has!! Pleasssse fokls, not 4 more years of Barnes. Teachers, if you now believe Barnes promises and vote for him, I question whether you are smart enough to be teaching our children!


September 2nd, 2010
12:22 pm


Is it hilarious that a ‘GRAND JURY’ is investigating and questioning N. Deal (NO DEAL)??????

And contrary to your opionion, Georgia teachers are educated and proffesionals. Show a little respect!

Oh Well

September 2nd, 2010
1:10 pm


Is this the BEST Deal can come up with?

Given the party line votes here in GA…we already know how this will turn out…DESPITE the fact that Deal is CLEARLY out of touch with this State (other than the checks that he gets from his, um, no-bid contracts)….

And at the end of the day, Georgia will give in to soundbites and vague statments/ideas like the ones above…

and then will wonder why things will be worse…(smh)

ps – I concur with the person that posted Cagle looks awkward…are we now counting Morningside as “inner city” because of it’s location?!?!?


September 2nd, 2010
1:11 pm

Deal is saying the kids that are dropping out are the smart, advanced ones, and they drop out because they’re bored? Really? In my neighborhood, the kids hanging out on the corners during school hours don’t look like they were the highly intellectual ones.


September 2nd, 2010
1:36 pm

No Deal, you are so right. David is obviously one of our right wing friends who has his head in the sand about Deal. Deal is being investigated by a Grand Jury for unethical and illegal activities. Won’t it be a hoot if he is indicted, tried, and goes to prison when he is our governor?! Oh, well, the very fact that Deal is the Republican nominee speaks volume about the ignorance of our voters. This is one Handel supporter who will be voting for Barnes. At least we won’t have to worry about him going to jail.


September 2nd, 2010
2:01 pm

why not STOP grouping children by age? That seems more reasonable than arbitrarily deciding to have them be promoted.
Or here’s something WAY more radical.
How about TEACHERS figure out the best way for schools to be? NOT a politician? How about schools decide curriculum?
And then have parents decide if they like them or not (school choice)?
This top down experiment has been shown to be a complete and utter disaster…

I can see Russia from my house

September 2nd, 2010
2:26 pm

We don’t need none of that fancy book learnin’.

Tired of BS

September 2nd, 2010
2:35 pm

School choice, separate students according to academics and ability, non english speaking should be in special classes that teach them the language as rapidly as possible, no more subsidies for lunch programs by feds, teach basics…. let parents pay for extra’s, any parent with a child in school should pay school taxes. I’m tired of apartment dwellers using and abusing the system.

Remove education from under the Governor’s thumb. Right now the state has all the rights, parents and educators are fighting a loosing battle.


September 2nd, 2010
2:57 pm

Federal funds to abortion clinics: Check
Resigning from Congress*: Check
Interbasin water transfers: Check
Race to the Top funds: Check
Casinos in GA: Check

What’s next?

*may be better described as waffling, you decide.

The Centrist

September 2nd, 2010
3:44 pm

Deal wants to let teachers decide when to give required standardized tests in their classrooms and to promote students midyear if they’re ready? I thought he was running for Governor, not Secretary of Education. Contrary to some opinions, the Secretary of Education does not report to the Governor. However, if the Secretary wants to be beholding to the Governor or their political party, that is another topic for discussion.


September 2nd, 2010
4:21 pm

Deal wants more schools to serve locally grown vegetables? Is his family in the farming business now?

Bobby Anthony

September 2nd, 2010
6:48 pm

Students in High School already are promoted to the next grade at midyear if they meet all of the requirement for the next grade level. Grade levels should be abolished after elementary school. When a student earns the required level of units they should graduate and not be held back to meet a grade level requirement. Some students could graduate in 3 years if they take Summer courses. Other student could go longer than four years.

Bobby Anthony

September 2nd, 2010
6:53 pm

Centerist we do not have a Secretary of Education in Georgia. That is a Federal job which should be abolished and leave education to the states where it belongs.

Ole Guy

September 3rd, 2010
4:44 pm

I just returned from a “chore trip” around town, made that much longer due to the fact that the school bus at my 12 would start and stop every coupla 100 feet or so. Never mind that the distances between stops had wide side walks, and could easily be monitored by the throng of waiting mommas, repleat in sun hats and oozing with that maternal “I’ve been waiting for you all day, my little darling” look.

We can demand all sorts of governmental action, wait for some politician to act as though he really cared about you, and continue to post blame, for our continuing failures, on anyone and everyone. The bottom line, you lazy people, is you gotta start taking the initiative.

You wanns combat childhood obesity…freqin fat kids…? There’s absolutely no reason in the world why those mammas couldn’t have gotten together with school officials, and formed some sort of an “alliance”, if you will. One mamma could easily observe the troops as they got off the bus at ONE location. This way, the troops could actually WALK, thus attaining a modicum of exercise under the watchful eye of the observing momma of the day, while the other mommas anxiously await the arrival of their precious little ones. At the very same time, the bus fleet, over time, would benefit from less stop/starts. BUT WAIT A MINUTE…THIS WOULD NEVER WORK! This would mean individuals taking responsibility for arriving at solutions. No way! We are so GD lazy, we must wait for someone else to come up with solutions, only to lambast and poke holes in the solutions because they, in one way or another, don’t agree with our desires.