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