Archive for the ‘education’ Category

On the link – seriously – between student performance and school bathrooms

Over at Saporta Report, my former colleague Tom Baxter has this excellent column about a mutual state Capitol friend, Tom Keating, who has drawn a link between student performance and hostile school bathrooms:

“It is the most basic educational work that I’ve done, including being called the Dropout Doctor, including lobbying, including getting world languages into the Decatur school system,” he said. “Health, education and citizenship – all of that is tied up in poop.”

…A key element in this particular scheme for making the world a better place is, obviously, getting people to discuss something they seldom talk about directly. He has a variety of strategies for bringing the subject out in the open, including showing up at meetings in yellow rubber janitor’s gloves.

“Out of every 10 middle school and high school kids, four of those 10 avoid the use of the restroom every day,” Keating said. “Nobody has ever told me about the health costs of that statistic, …

Continue reading On the link – seriously – between student performance and school bathrooms »

Your morning jolt: Zell Miller dips into 9th District race

Last night, Doug Collins sent out a list of endorsements in his GOP race for the new 9th District congressional seat.

Former U.S. senator Zell Miller, left, and state Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville/SPECIAL

Former U.S. senator Zell Miller, left, and state Rep. Doug Collins of Gainesville/SPECIAL

Topping the roll call was 80-year-old Zell Miller, the former governor and U.S. senator, who now appears only rarely on the political circuit. Loree Thompson, spokeswoman for the Collins campaign, says Miller will appear with Collins at “a few events” before the July 31 primary.

But Thompson did toss us a photo of the pair, taken last week.

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At last night’s fund-raiser at Cobb Energy Centre, one pool reporter, Trip Gabriel of the New York Times, was allowed in to witness Newt Gingrich’s introduction of former Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney. Gingrich first flayed President Barack Obama, then patched things up with the man who skewered him in Iowa and Florida, according to Gabriel’s report:

“You have I think a tremendous nominee. I can say this from …

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Libertarian wins spot on Marietta school board by default

From Charlie Harper, aka Icarus Pundit, at PeachPundit:

When candidate qualifying ended last week, Brett Bittner was the only person who put his name on the ballot for an open seat with the Marietta School Board. He is now presumptively elected to serve the school system in the Cobb County city northwest of Atlanta.

Uncontested local races are generally not political events from which headlines are made. Bittner’s situation is unique in that he is the executive director of the Libertarian Party of Georgia. While the race is officially non-partisan, he is believed to become the third member of the Libertarian Party to hold office in Georgia.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Senate Democrat: Deals for jobs, appointments, fueled passage of charter school measure

In the wake of passage of HR 1162, which will put a proposed constitutional amendment for state-ordered charter schools on the November ballot, state Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, accused Republicans of engaging in “corruption” to get four of his Democratic colleagues to switch sides for the required two-thirds majority.

From the press release:

“Republicans will cripple our public school system, the future of our children, their constituencies and the future economy of this state in order to gain a title. Deals have been made for jobs, appointments, redistricting and more. What they have proven in the debate of HR 1162 is that the State Capitol is for sale. It is corruption in every sense of the word,” said Fort.

The senator offered no specifics. Nor did he out Democratic colleagues who allegedly took the favors.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Your morning jolt: Vote identifies arms to be twisted in charter school fight

If Wednesday’s House vote on charter schools was intended to smoke out the opposition, consider it done. Supporters of the proposed constitutional amendment fell 10 votes short of the 120 needed for a two-thirds majority.

At the Georgia Report, Tom Crawford identified the defectors in an otherwise partisan affair:

[S]even Democrats voted with most of the GOP majority for HR 1162: Alisha Thomas Morgan, Rahn Mayo, Margaret Kaiser, Stacey Evans, Sheila Jones, Karla Drenner, and Ralph Long….
There were some defectors in the Republican ranks as well.

Lawmakers from rural districts, where it’s a struggle to keep public schools in operation, consider charter schools to be a metro Atlanta issue and are concerned that HR 1162 would harm their local schools.

There were nine Republicans from outside metro Atlanta who voted against HR 1162: Tommy Benton, Ben Harbin, Mark Hatfield, Susan Holmes, Tony McBrayer, Tom McCall, Ed Rynders, Kip Smith, and Jason Spencer.

Republicans Jason …

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Your morning jolt: A ‘small depression’ among black voters could devastate Obama, says Atlanta mayor

Polls out today, including one from the Washington Post and ABC News, show President Barack Obama in dire re-election circumstances.

More than 60 percent of those surveyed say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the economy and 43 percent now approve of the job he is doing overall, according to the Post/ABC survey:

The sense of deflation is particularly apparent among Democrats, with nearly two-thirds saying things are pretty seriously off on the wrong track. The percentage of Democrats saying things are headed in the right direction has cratered from 60 percent at the start of the year to 32 percent now.

Among those trying to stem any panic – and tamp down criticism from Obama’s left – is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. From an interview last week with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, on the topic of African-American disaffection:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Said Reed:

”We do need to acknowledge that it is more difficult …

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Your morning jolt: Senate Republicans uneasy about shifting T-SPLOST vote

With a deal struck among Republicans on congressional maps, attention is quickly turning to the remaining issue facing the Legislature during its special session – passage of a measure shifting next year’s regional T-SPLOST votes from the July primary to the November general election.

Last week, Gov. Nathan Deal met in private session with House Republican members to argue for passage. But he may need to do the same with GOP senators.

We’re told that – right now – the bill wouldn’t win a majority of the Senate Republican caucus vote. That’s especially important when Democrats in the chamber – specifically members of the Legislative Black Caucus – are still in a pique over the Senate Republican effort to take control of local legislation affecting Fulton and other counties.

No gubernatorial counseling session has yet been scheduled – but keep an eye out for it.

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Regardless of when the regional transportation tax vote is held, proponents have their work …

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Your morning jolt: New FBI unit takes aim at corrupt state judges, lawmakers in Georgia

A unique way to greet the return of the Legislature to the state Capitol this morning, from Greg Bluestein and the Associated Press:

The FBI has assembled a new squad to investigate corruption among judges and legislators in Georgia, though the top federal agent in the state is being tightlipped about what cases are developing.

Brian Lamkin, who heads the FBI office in Georgia, [said] he decided to form the team after months of reviews and a look at the bureau’s long-term priorities.

Georgia’s FBI office has long used a single squad that handled the brunt of corruption cases, from law enforcement officials to government officials. But Lamkin set up a special team to look into wrongdoing by police and other law enforcement officers and landed string of recent corruption charges. That team will still check out officers while the second new corruption squad will have a different goal, he said.

“It impacts the everyday system. It’s not just a dirty law enforcement officer that …

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Cherokee GOP wants a new litmus test: Charter schools

The past 30 years have seen the creation of a long list of litmus tests for Republicans.

A license to practice as an orthodox conservative in Georgia now mandates opposition to abortion and gay marriage, a firm belief in tax cuts as the driver of economic growth, and an antipathy toward federal regulation.

Two young girls take tour of Cherokee Charter Academy in Canton. The new charter K-7th grade school opens Monday, with just under 1,000 students, on the premises of a failed private school. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

Two young girls take tour of Cherokee Charter Academy in Canton. The new charter K-7th grade school opens Monday, with just under 1,000 students, on the premises of a failed private school. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

But days ago, the Cherokee County GOP nominated still another test. It passed a resolution that demanded four county school board members reconsider their opposition to the local funding of charter schools or “renounce their affiliation with the Republican Party.”

School choice, the local party declared, is no longer a negotiable issue.

Pay attention to this. This clash between the philosophical and the practical could be headed the way of your …

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A YouTube greeting for new Cobb school chief

Some new school superintendents got a nice welcome-to-the-job bouquet this week. Not in Cobb County. Not Michael Hinojosa:

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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