The HOPE scholarship and a Democratic policy of engagement

Gov. Nathan Deal, center, with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, left, House Speaker David Ralston, right, and House Democratic Leader Stacy Abrams of Atlanta behind the governor. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

Gov. Nathan Deal, center, with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, left, House Speaker David Ralston, right, and House Democratic Leader Stacy Abrams of Atlanta behind the governor. Vino Wong, vwong@ajc.com

The most daring political statement at the state Capitol last week was contained within a photograph.

The shutter caught Gov. Nathan Deal in mid-phrase as he outlined the cuts he thinks have to be made in order to preserve the HOPE scholarship program.

The governor was the centerpiece in a sea of white Republicans — with the exception of the face positioned just over Deal’s left shoulder. It belonged to Stacy Abrams of Atlanta, the sole African-American in the frame and the new House Democratic leader.

Abrams’ presence, on behalf of her Democratic caucus, guarantees swift passage through the House this week.

But her endorsement caught insiders and outsiders by surprise. David Lucas, D-Macon, one of the most senior members of the caucus, had already filed a bill that would return HOPE to its 18-year-old roots — as a lottery-funded, college scholarship program for families living below a certain income level.

The Deal plan would turn the HOPE scholarship into a lump-sum grant, covering 90 percent of tuition for high school graduates with a 3.0 grade point average and above. Only graduates with a 3.7 GPA and an SAT score of 1200 would get a full ride.

That’s not a formula beneficial to young African-Americans, who often perform more poorly on standardized tests. “What we have done is give HOPE to the affluent families who can already afford to send their kids to college, and deprive poorer white and black kids an opportunity to break out. Bad policy,” former Gov. Roy Barnes wrote to his contacts.

There is a strategy in boxing and other martial arts that says if a blow can’t be avoided, the next best tactic is to step into it – and absorb the assault before it can achieve its full momentum.

Abrams argues that this is what the situation called for. “A bill is going to pass. I thought it best that we have a seat at the table,” the Atlanta lawyer, who first came to the Legislature in 2007, said in an interview. “This is a Democratic program.”

Republican dominance in the House now allows the GOP to pass legislation at will. But the HOPE program, established under Gov. Zell Miller, is so popular that altering it remains a dangerous proposition.

By giving Deal enough Democratic support to call the effort bipartisan, Abrams said she won concessions on a number of issues. Among them:

– HOPE will still cover remedial classes for those attending Georgia’s technical colleges. Republicans had planned an across-the-board ban.

– “Proprietary” colleges and universities — such as DeVry University and ITT Technical Institute — remain eligible for HOPE dollars. The Deal administration had talked about shutting out these schools, whose local campuses are attended disproportionately by minority students in Georgia.

– The basic HOPE scholarship is still determined by a 3.0 GPA only. No mandatory SAT or ACT scores were added.

– The funding of a 1 percent loan program to help students cover the gap left by shrinking HOPE awards and tuition costs that are certain to rise. That’s important to historical black colleges and universities in Georgia, whose students often aren’t eligible for HOPE.

“The easiest thing for Stacy would have been to sit back,” said a grateful state Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, who is carrying the HOPE bill for the governor.

Abrams said she won her caucus’ approval before she joined Deal on the stage. But a quickly issued press release, saying her support was “conditioned on reaching an accord on key provisions,” indicated some heartburn among the Democratic rank-and-file.

Abrams wasn’t the only Democrat on the stage with the governor. There, too, was state Rep. Calvin Smyre of Columbus, who positioned himself out of camera range.

But Smyre, a former chairman of the state Democratic party, defended Abrams’ approach — and her limited options. “That’s something that external people don’t understand — those outside the Gold Dome,” he said.

With HOPE scholarships outpacing the lottery revenue that funds them, Smyre said the Legislature had only three options: 1) Impose an across-the-board reduction in awards; 2) return to an income-based system; or 3) award scholarships in amounts based on GPA or SAT scores.

Republicans refused to consider Options 2 and 3.

Smyre said Democrats can add more tweaks. He intends to concentrate on strengthening the 1 percent loan program. “In my opinion, we’ve got to keep the dialogue going about the safety net,” he said.

Other Democrats object to the proposed reduction of operating hours for the pre-kindergarten classes fueled by lottery money — arguing that half-day classes would require some parents to quit their jobs to stay at home with their kids.

More objections are likely to be raised in the Senate, where — though again vastly outnumbered — Democrats are led by the razor-tongued and rarely compromising Robert Brown, D-Macon.

His style contrasts greatly with Abrams, who confesses she is no bomb-thrower in the style of Newt Gingrich. Her strategy is to engage and cut deals where she can.

“If you’re going to be a bomb-thrower like Newt Gingrich, you have to be the leader of an ideologically cohesive group. And you have to care more about politics than policy,” Abrams said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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66 comments Add your comment

Ernest

February 26th, 2011
4:13 pm

Making the SAT score a part of the criteria for HOPE eligibility favors those with means thus demonstrates bias to those candidates that may be first generation college students. I thought those were some of the original students HOPE was intended to assist.

tom mitchell

February 26th, 2011
5:01 pm

Zell Miller needs to weigh in on these GOP proposals to change HOPE. Surely there is a better solution than the one proposed by Gov. Deal.

double

February 26th, 2011
5:40 pm

Hope scholarships should remain on 3.0 GPA,but be adjusted to family income,Having an inverse amount based on the higher income.

tim

February 26th, 2011
6:43 pm

HOPE should be needs based, on a sliding scale, with any balance used to lower overall tuition, which has gotten out of hand. I returned to school because I lost my job. I’m older and there was no HOPE for my first degree. Because of pre-HOPE hours, there was no money for my second,. Yet, classmates with degrees from schools in other states qualified! On top of that, the tuition increased by over 30% during my program! For an adult going back to school to have his budget blown by the state…well it was tough. I expect to be working again soon.

catlady

February 26th, 2011
6:44 pm

I am not real happy about the proposal, either. But they rarely ask me (or other people who have expertise in higher ed finance policy). Why not try that? Talk to those who can do the data analysis and evaluate what your ideas will have as a result. Put politics aside and focus on policy.

Nah. Let’s see who we can buy off.

Last Man Standing

February 26th, 2011
6:59 pm

tom mitchell:

Zell Miller is yesterday’s news. His 15 minutes have come and gone.

Last Man Standing

February 26th, 2011
7:06 pm

Let’s just all out and make this another entitlement program. Forget about GPA’s. If you can get into ANY school and you have very low to no income, the ride is free. If you’re in the APS and have inflated grades due to cheating, that’s cool. Just come down and qualify! If your parents work like hell and your family has a little extra, you need not apply.

pn

February 26th, 2011
8:01 pm

Stacy Abrams seems to have more intelligence and common sense than at least 90% of our state leadership.
She has my best wishes (and sympathy) in dealing with the Dixiecrat Republicans.

wild one 13

February 26th, 2011
8:37 pm

It sounds to me that she is one of the few in the dome with a view of the “big picture”.

DB

February 26th, 2011
8:46 pm

Don’t punish the income of parents. Reward the kids with TRUE hope! BTW, drop-outs with a GED get HOPE but a kid with a 2.9 High School GPA does not… Stop making this about color/financial means. Earn it JR!

Scott

February 26th, 2011
9:02 pm

“Enduring” Hope and grim faces tell the story. Changes to HOPE are OK if accompanied by a return to the law. Why isn’t anyone at the state level or in the media challenging Lottery Corp funding levels to HOPE since they remain significantly below the % mandated by law? Is anyone questioning the role of the Lottery execs and lobbyists in the government? It appears as if there is no accountability and a blind eye to the gambling industry.

oldtimer

February 26th, 2011
9:53 pm

The local counties should be paying for remedial education….No one should have 3.0 or better if they need remediation. I have heard of several dismissed from special ed….and should not have bee..They were later reinstated in college..due to special needs….

Question Man

February 26th, 2011
9:56 pm

Hasn’t Stacy Abrams always been a sell-out, and isn’t this move entirely consistent with that past pattern?

Matt Brady

February 26th, 2011
10:15 pm

“…Stacy Abrams of Atlanta, the sole African-American in the frame and the new House Democratic leader.”

And that, alas, pretty well sums up where the Democratic Party is at the moment.

Henry

February 27th, 2011
12:15 am

Here is another kicker.
My son took all AP Honors courses in high school. Because of the AP Honors course load, they added 10 points to each classes final grade. That gave him close to 3.8 average. For Hope calculations, they pull that 10 points back out. The high schools strongly encourage kids to take AP courses because they get extra funding. They don’t tell you about pulling the points later for Hope calculations.
He ended up with a 2.9. GPA. I am paying his tuition in college now. He is on track to qualify for whatever is left of the Hope grant once it is gutted. My daughter will take her 3 AP Honors courses and that’s it.
She is a sophmore and has a 4.0. You ought to hear the counselors telling her that we are doing her an injustice by not insisting she take all AP Honors classes. Fooled me once shame on you. Fooled me twice shame on me.

MattMD

February 27th, 2011
2:42 am

That idiot Robert Brown is just as big a bomb-thrower as Newt but with a small fraction of his intelligence.

It’s not that I really want either in government right now but Brown has never amounted to jack squat.

Karen G

February 27th, 2011
7:02 am

Enter your comments here

Karen G

February 27th, 2011
7:16 am

The reduction in the lottery funded pre K hours will result in:

4200 Bachelor’s degree or higher Teachers losing $10,000 income plunging them from $30,000 to $20,000 per year.

4200 Para Professional pay reduces from approx. $14,000 down to $8,000.00

The Teachers and Para-professionals who have health benefits will now be considered part time and lose all health benefits.

The Nutritional component of the pre k program will be lost. No Breakfast or lunch.

We will have a Pre K “Latch Key” epidemic where parents can not quit their jobs but are willing to run home at lunch and take the child home telling them to “Be good” while alone until a sibling arrives home from school a few hours later or until the parent arrives home in the evening.

And then there are all the Special Needs Children who are in inclusion Pre K classes. They need the extended learning day. Their IEPs are based on a full day pre K .

The ramifications in the reduction of the PreK program are so far reaching. I think it’s time we say “NO DEAL!”

jconservative

February 27th, 2011
7:40 am

I do not understand the reluctance to impose an income test. This is not tax money but the proceeds of a State run gambling enterprise.

Bill

February 27th, 2011
7:41 am

There is a fourth option that no one seems to be talking about. The original HOPE legislation set targets for what proportion of funds would go to HOPE, payouts, and administrative costs. I believe that HOPE was supposed to get 35%. Instead, they have been getting 28%.

The best option is to restore the proportions first.

Bill

February 27th, 2011
7:47 am

Cutting out the for profit colleges is not a bad idea. It is true that they serve minorities disproportionally. I use the word “serve” loosely.

For all the people who think returning HOPE to its original need based formula “punishes” those that have money, give me a break. It is ludicrous to cast yourself as victims.

The only major need based program left in this country is Pell, and it only covers a small fraction. In the last 30 years, colleges and universities have shifted from need based to merit based aid in order to enhance their magazine ratings. The result is that students from families in the top 20% of income receive more aid than students from families in the lowest 20%..

Kathy

February 27th, 2011
7:51 am

Karen G., you must be a pre-K teacher. From someone who never went to Kindergarten, much less pre-K, and still graduated as Valedictorian from high school and with honors from two universities, babysitting should not be a part of the educational system. We make our choices in life. Choosing to be parents should include choosing to rear our own children.

As far as HOPE goes, I never voted for it because I knew we’d eventually come to this point. HOPE is one of the main reasons tuition is so high. Had we never used it as a prop for our educational funding, we wouldn’t have this controversy now. In the past,students who truly wanted an education could find a way to make it work; hopefully, they still can.

At this point, it is imperative that we use SAT/ACT scores for HOPE eligibility as they represent the only comparative grading criteria. Those who don’t make the grade can always get loans or rely on the generosity of taxpayers for PELL grants.

sandman053

February 27th, 2011
8:04 am

Amen Kathy. I have had several discussions with my former legislator about this.
I felt the state should guarantee some type of loan for first year students in colleges. This wouldn’t address funding, but it would make them “buy in” to their education. If after the first year, their GPA was a 3.0, then HOPE would be used to 1.) pay off that first year loan and 2.) pay for the current studies. I felt like a lot of people I know over the past few years got HOPE then promptly lost it and that is simply money wasted.
I also feel that HOPE is one of the reasons tuition has jumped astronomically in the past decades. If you have a customer base with basically unlimited credit, then your prices increase especially as you are the only place they can shop and spend that credit. I hope that analogy makes sense.

Nicole

February 27th, 2011
8:30 am

Kathy, Congratulations on your Valedictorian status, your parents must be very proud. I am also willing to bet that you graduated from high school a long time ago when the norm was that you had both parents living in the same home and only one parent worked. That time is now the minority. There are many single parent families or (like my own current situation) both parents having to work to support our family. Sending your child to Pre-K doesn’t make you a bad parent. It makes you a parent that wants to give their child a head start before school. Or what about the single mom? You want her to quit her job and live off welfare (taxes you would pay Kathy) just so she could take care of her child??

And as far as the babysitting comment, this shows how truly close-minded you are. Tomorrow I would like for you to get up and walk into the nearest Pre-K class & spend the day there. Most usually start at around 8am & finish at 2:30. Please keep in mind that the teachers or babysitters as you like to call us will have already been there 30 minutes and will not be leaving until around 4pm. Spend the day with 20 4-5 year old children & tell me that its just babysitting. My guess is that by the end of the day the words “I don’t know how you do this every day” will come out of your mouth.
Did you know that Pre-K teachers have more paperwork and standards that must be met than elementary school teachers? Did you know that they have to come up with their own lesson plans, not use the ones governed by the county in which they teach?? Did you know that if you break it down, the hourly pay of a Pre-K teacher is less than half of minimum wage and most places do not offer benefits such as health insurance or paid vacation? Wake up Kathy and smell the reality of today’s society.

Bobby Anthony

February 27th, 2011
8:31 am

Paul Broun is a graduate of our educational system and look at how he turned out.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

February 27th, 2011
8:38 am

King Roy is right on target. How dare these evil mean Republicans take “free” money away from poor kids….just because the taxpayers pay for the breakfasts, the lunches, the school districts, the WIC groceries, and so on….

…certainly doesn’t mean that the “poor” kids’ free ride should end when they finish the taxpayer funded high school. Let them continue to receive from the government until Obama takes over their health care and living expenses.

Thank God we have examples like Jimmuh Carter and King Roy, who, having been beaten resoundingly at the polls, feel free to continue to point out our shortcomings whenever we doubt that government is here to solve all problems.

Kathy

February 27th, 2011
9:04 am

Nicole, I have already smelled the reality of today’s society, and frankly, it stinks!! For the record, my parents, who have both passed away, were probably very proud of my accomplishments, although they didn’t gush and preen over me. Neither of my parents were high school graduates, but they expected a lot from my siblings and me. They made tough choices which people don’t want to make today. My college-educated brother and I paid our way through school, never expecting our parents to foot the bill. I learned a lot from that experience.

As for spending time in Pre-K classes, I have spent many hours volunteering in Pre-K and other grades with my children. When I refer to those classes as babysitting, I’m not speaking of the teachers as being babysitters: I know you have a very tough job — one that I certainly wouldn’t want. I’m simply stating that too many “parents” in today’s society want their children there for babysitting purposes. I don’t think that someone is a bad parent simply because they have their child in Pre-K, but I do think there are a lot of bad parents with children in Pre-K.

If Pre-K teachers have more paperwork and standards to meet than other school teachers, then that just illuminates the problems with our educational system. Three and four-year-olds shouldn’t have to be taught with rigid lesson plans. They need to be free to play, explore, and learn from caring family members.

I might be close-minded from your perspective, but I wouldn’t say the open-mindedness of the last thirty to forty years has been a rousing success.

Aquagirl

February 27th, 2011
9:14 am

So, Kathy, why not give those Pre-K children a break? You want to punish them because they have less engaged parents? A nineteen year old can get a job and pay for part of their college tuition. The five year old can’t do anything for themselves.

I’d rather invest in a five year old’s education. Early education help will pay off far more in the long run. That kid may overcome the disinterest of his/her parents and take an actual interest in learning. If you wait until they’re college age, it’s way too late.

ScienceTeacher671

February 27th, 2011
9:16 am

Kathy & sandman053, your comments indicate a basic ignorance of the Pre-K program, which is shared by many/most Georgians. Short, simplistic explanation follows.

Pre-K was not actually designed for, nor is it necessary for, those children who have parents who teach them their colors, their shapes, their letters and their numbers – and this was common in my family and the families of my friends.

Some children, particularly those of low-income and functionally illiterate parents, have never had a story read to them, and don’t have what teachers call “phonemic awareness,” among other skills. They don’t understand that the funny symbols on the page (letters) stand for sounds, words, and ideas. They also frequently don’t know their colors, shapes, or numbers, and have much smaller vocabularies than your children do.

These children start school behind the others, and some never catch up. Pre-K attempts to remedy some of these deficits, to hopefully break the cycle of generational poverty for some children, and raise the standard of education for all children by reducing the number of “way behind” children in early grades.

Although many middle and upper class parents want their children in Pre-K, either to give them a jump on academic achievement or for the free day care, there is research showing that for “mainstream” children, early education is, at best, useless, and at worst, ultimately harmful, and these children would do just as well if they were at home playing during their early years.

For these reasons, I believe that full-day Pre-K programs should be available free for the children for whom they were designed, and available on a sliding tuition scale for others who would like to take advantage of the program (but no complaining that “My children know all of that stuff already!” if you choose to put your children in a program that wasn’t designed for them!)

ScienceTeacher671

February 27th, 2011
9:20 am

Bill, I agree totally that the FIRST thing that should have been done is require the Lottery Corp. to pay the full percentage that the legislature “suggested” but should have mandated. Here’s an article from the Univ. of GA newsletter suggesting that if the Lottery Corp. had paid what they should have from the beginning, the current cuts would not be necessary at all:

http://www.redandblack.com/2011/02/25/lottery-payments-to-education-steadily-decline/

Scott

February 27th, 2011
9:22 am

HOPE is a great program for GA. The real question is why has funding from the lottery fallen to 26% of lottery profits when it was originally designed and committed to providing 35% to fund HOPE.
Meanwhile, we pay large bonuses etc.. to those running the lottery – anyone in that organization should not get $1 of bonus unless the original intention ( 35%) is generated and used to fund HOPE .
The lottery has simply seen costs spiral out of control and go un-managed, but yet those running it get bonuses – it makes no sense. Hold the people hired to manage the system accountable ( tough to do in governement world I know) , and get the Lottery to fund at a 35% level – and then and only then – make changes to the system if required. The leadership of the lottery is getting off way to easy.

Aquagirl

February 27th, 2011
9:27 am

OK, Scott—how much were these bonuses? How much money was spent on this?

Scott

February 27th, 2011
9:31 am

It’s even tougher for me to understand why our new Governor and all his fellow smart Republicans can’t figure this one out ??? Hold the State sponsored institution ( The Lottery) to it’s intended funding goals and objectives – and HOPE will be just fine.

Is it that hard to hold people accountable in our State Government system ??

ScienceTeacher671

February 27th, 2011
9:35 am

The thing is, the General Assembly has known about this problem and done nothing about it. WHY?

http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/senate/columns_10022009.htm

Aquagirl

February 27th, 2011
9:46 am

Well, it’s pretty obvious Scott (and Kathy, for that matter) think their moral outrage somehow multiplies tax dollars. In other words, if it bugs them, it’s the fiscal problem. If Kathy thinks parents are getting over by using Pre-K as babysitting, it should be eliminated, and that’s what counts. Not the effectiveness of the tax dollars spent or what improvements it will make for the children, that’s all secondary to having one’s panties twisted in a wad.

Likewise, Scott doesn’t have a clue what is spent on bonuses, the idea of some fatcat getting a bonus p*sses him off. Therefore, that is his priority.

Grow up, kids. Act like citizens who want to solve problems, not petulant children.

Kathy

February 27th, 2011
9:46 am

ScienceTeacher, you are wrong to think that I’m ignorant of why Pre-K was instituted. I fully understand that it’s there mainly for these poor children that have no parental guidance (or parents in many situations). It’s Big Government’s attempt to solve a problem that it created. Unfortunately, we cannot expect the problem to get much better as long as we have our “cradle to grave” entitlement mentality. Pre-K is trying to treat a sympton of a much bigger problem. I guess it does take a village to raise some children because Mama and Daddy sure aren’t doing it.

Bum Deal

February 27th, 2011
9:51 am

It’s my observation that a majority of the Lottery customers are lower income. Pre-K and HOPE should focus on educating the kids of this population first and fully! Anything left over should be available to the rest of the “B” students on a sliding scale. Back to basics!

AES

February 27th, 2011
10:09 am

@ Henry -you ae exactly correct. I raised this issue in a 2007 parent meeting with a guidance counselor and was shutbdown quickly. With the AP classes, the rule was changed in 2007. The added 10 points is removed and 0.5 is added to the GPA calculation. So, if the student got an 88 +10, his report card would reflect a 98- A. However for Hope, he would get the 88, which is a B. The GPA calculation would be 3.0 +0.5 or 3.5. Still not bad. The problem is when the grade is a 73 or lower. A 73 would be an 83, or a B, on the report card. However, for Hope, the 10 points are removed, making the grade a D. The 0.5 is added and a 1.5 is calculated in the GPA. My daughter took calculus and the class average with the 10 points was an 83. That didn’t loo bad, until you peeled it back and did the math. This rule change was a bad one because it discourages A-B students from taking the most difficult classes. Unfortunately, those very difficult classes are the best preparation for college.

ScienceTeacher671

February 27th, 2011
10:11 am

Kathy, I agree that we have too many entitlements, but if I were going to reduce them beginning with HOPE, like Aquagirl, I’d start with the college students who can help themselves, rather than the 4 year olds who can’t.

mrbill

February 27th, 2011
10:41 am

Since Hope and Pre-K are funded by lottery funds, which are generated voluntarily, not by force of law, it does not seem to me to affect Georgia Taxpayers at all.

Both programs had original admirable goals of helping those less fortunate. I think those founding principals should be guiding the funding choices being made today.

The last statistic I saw showed that only approximately 55% of the children in the Georgia Pre-K program are considered “at risk” children. It seems we have moved away from the original concept of the program. Any cuts should be focused on maintaining 100% funding for the classes that serve these “at risk” children.

Aquagirl

February 27th, 2011
10:55 am

mrbill, would you consider the difference paid in taxes on a Lexus vs. a Ford Focus voluntary as well? How about revenues from booze, cigarettes, State park fees, or twinkies sold at QT? a couple of months ago, I paid sales taxes on fake flowers from Pier 1. Was that a voluntary contribution to the State of Georgia, or taxes?

All of those things are voluntary as well. Nobody needs them. Yet somehow, revenue from the lottery is considered magical money, not taxes, by some folk. The logic escapes me.

mrbill

February 27th, 2011
11:16 am

No, I would not. You have to pay those taxes because the state forces you to pay them, even if you voluntarily purchase the product.

I do not consider lottery money magical money, just that it is solely for the 2 programs under discussion. Do you want to raid these funds for general budget purposes?

mrbill

February 27th, 2011
11:28 am

State park fees are collected only from those who use the parks, and probably supplemented from other general revenue sources. Hope and Pre-K are funded by lottery funds only, no money from the general fund. I wonder how many Georgia citizens have used these programs and never purchased a single lottery ticket?

mrbill

February 27th, 2011
11:29 am

be back later

Daniel

February 27th, 2011
11:32 am

HOPE Funding Metro section February 27 2011: I oppose House Democrate Abram’s position on this issue. Abrams; Can you of all people have done such an unthinkable act? As Democratic minority house leader, you should be ashamed. Is your intent to keep George’s educational rankings in the toilet or just to exclude badly needed funding for low and now, middle Americans? Your “begging for crumbs” because “It’s going to pass anyway” stand, can only be compared to Winnie the Pooh’s friend, E-Or’s comment when the hunt for his lost tail was successful, he stated “No matter it will just fall off again”. What a tired excuse for giving in to such rhetoric. You should ask those who “marched before you” if when things became difficult and just WRONG, should you just give up on those that trusted you to STAND UP for them? This is a slap in the face for Georgia’s HOPE! Try fighting back. Oh by the way, nice “PHOTO OP”, I for one hope ..the HOPE, ultimately is your undoing from politics. Of course you can always switch sides…..please..for the good of Georgia’s HOPE!

Aquagirl

February 27th, 2011
11:41 am

Ah, but HOPE goes to Public colleges, which are supported, like state parks, from the general fund. The money is not spent in the closed system of HOPEland. It’s spent on a public institution. Or private colleges, which also are partially funded by tax dollars and public programs like Pell Grants and student loans.

The State forces you to pay HOPE taxes (payment beyond what the lottery itself costs) when you voluntarily purchase a lottery ticket.

So again, what’s that difference? Mind you, I don’t disagree with spending more in public education for at-risk kids, especially pre-K. I’m just trying to disabuse people of the notion lottery fees are a big slush fund. It encourages sloppy thinking in terms of how those state revenues should be used. Like—I dunno, people who win the lottery and spend it on stupid crap, only to end up bankrupt in a couple of years. Money that comes from a “magic” category seems to encourage cavalier thinking.

Foghornleghorn

February 27th, 2011
11:52 am

Anyone who thinks hope should be need based is a communist and we can thank them for voting for Obama.

Pre K teaches who complain about how much money they make need to step in line behind police officers and social workers. If you are doing it for the money then you suck at picking a career and I feel no sympathy.

On a my cynical note I say we let kids bring guns to schools so over paid teachers know what it feels like to be an underpaid cop.

Randolph Phillips

February 27th, 2011
12:02 pm

The legislature unfortunately gave Zell Miller complete discretion in setting up the Hope Scholarship program. He disigned a program in which ethnic minorities, multinational coreporation and their mouthpiece (the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce) and rapacious public and private colleges played major roles.

No legislative committee made an investihation into this progam until after Governor Perdue took office, and I davise anyone interested read that report. It will not reassure you if you do so. As Representative Calvin Smyre said at the time time, Georgia’s Hope Scholarship Program is “a world wide program”. It is. It has no citizenship requirement, kids don’t have to be graduates of Georgia Schools, and the program has been used to specifically fund scholarships for specific programs in variouls colleges, in order to fund the instituion’s start-up program. Not to mention the fact Zell Miller used lottery funds to build an extravagant Goeorgia Public TV, Radio headquarters in Atlanta, next ot Ted’s CNN network and at Turner’s request.

The program needs major overhauls. and I guess the SAT scores is aimed at one of them. Every college now has a substantial “remedial” program to assist students who have graduated from high school but can’t do the work. This program is aimed at keeping those scholarships at the instituton as long as possible. But despite remedial programs, a huge percentages of the people who begin college on the Hope Scholarship do not get degrees.

BeamMeUp, Scottie

February 27th, 2011
1:01 pm

I certainly admire Representative Abrams for her ability to negotiate concessions from the Republicans. I hope her fellow Democrats are standing behind her. I guess they could have just said “No” and stayed home. I hope the Senate Democrats will fight just as hard.