Close teacher-student loophole

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● The property tax system is inherently unfair to somebody and sometimes — like now — to lots of people. The fairer way to do it would be to let the homeowner, as well as the assessor, declare a value. Then when the home’s sold, the homeowner would be liable, or get a rebate, on the total difference between selling price and the homeowner’s declarations, plus interest. Sign that contract and all disputes are over.

● But: A homeowner who paid more than $1 million for a house in 2002, puts it on the market for this year for $1.3 million, and objects because it was appraised for $857,500 in 2004, leaves me a tad unsympathetic. With property taxes, the unfairness exists in all directions.

● Good question posed by Christopher Johnson of Atlanta in the AJC’s Letter’s column: Why do teachers miss more work than others? Concludes Johnson: “There is no credible reason why teachers should use sick leave at the rate of 1.6 to 2.3 times that of the non-teacher workforce.” One of these days politicians do need to screw up the courage to give Johnson a rational reason — or change the system.

● No, despite Gov. Sonny Perdue’s national leadership role and the National PTA’s campaign targeting Georgia, we don’t need a single national education standard. Georgia parents should decide what children should be taught and develop standards to measure the school system’s success in teaching them, as we are now. If Georgia and other states set and raise standards, a national “standard” will evolve. If feds set standards, feds will decide what children are taught. We can influence state and locals. We can’t influence the feds.

● Republicans in the Georgia House will be hard put to find a more able speaker than state Rep. Larry O’Neal of Houston County, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The House needs a calm, mature leader without higher ambitions and with a strong sense of where he wants the state to go. That’s O’Neal. He’ll not be turned by the high-life opportunities in Atlanta.

● Headline: “Fort Hood unit deploys despite loss of soldiers.” What, one might ask, is the suggested alternative? Disband it? These are soldiers, for goodness sakes.

● It’s dishonest, disgraceful and a violation of the public trust for President Barack Obama to take $70 billion in unused borrowing authority — money that wasn’t needed to arrest the feared collapse of Wall Street — and spend it “to create jobs.” Nobody knew what sum would be needed in the crisis because nobody knew the scope of it. Too much was allocated. The excess should now go to reduce the spiraling federal deficit. The federal deficit is $12.1 trillion and Congress may increase that cap by $1.8 trillion.

● The White House Project is a feminist group dedicated to finding, training and pushing “women” to run for public office. Wonder how many pro-life or conservative women they found, trained or pushed to run for office. Most groups claiming to represent or promote “women” run for the hills when a Sarah Palin is the woman.

● I was an early supporter of lawyers advertising their services. After watching trial lawyers solicit clients on daytime TV, I’m close to concluding that I was wrong. They make me want to shower and scrub with pumice stones.

● Please. A 36-year-old Marietta high school teacher and a 17-year-old student were “in love” and therefore he claims absolution for initiating a sexual relationship. The judge says no crime. The Georgia General Assembly needs to make it perfectly clear that any schoolteacher, prison guard, or custodian of others who engages in a sexual relationship is guilty of a crime — and should do time. Nobody in “custody” of a school, jail, treatment center or shelter where they lack full independence is free to give “consent.”

63 comments Add your comment

Chris Broe

December 10th, 2009
7:18 pm

Perhaps the teachers are taking more sick days because there are so many truants, and so little time……(jklol)

Road Scholar

December 10th, 2009
8:11 pm

“Georgia parents should decide what children should be taught and develop standards to measure the school system’s success in teaching them, as we are now.”

Yeah, that’s working real well now. Aren’t we 49th out of 50 states? Or have we “succeeded” at becomimg the worst? The students need longer days in class . The addition of PE would also be a plus.


December 10th, 2009
10:14 pm

It was consensual Jim. Now you want to create a new thought crime and just say the girl/boy doesn’t know what he/she is intelligently saying to the judge/authorities? If you don’t like it, raise the age of consent but at the end of the day you’re making criminals out of people who just don’t have common sense. We start down that slope and we may suddenly have no legislators left in Georgia.


December 10th, 2009
11:00 pm

Most groups claiming to represent or promote “human beings” run for the hills when a Sarah Palin is the woman.

Teachers get sick often because they’re around kids–AKA germ bombs—all the time. I wonder if that perfectly credible fact ever occurred to sanctimonious Mr. Johnson?

I’m sure the 36 year old slug disguised as a teacher will take more than 2.3 times the normal number of sick days if the girl’s father gets hold of him. Or maybe my perspective is skewed—Thank God I have a father who would not have left the matter to a judge or General Assembly.

And Jim, no happy comment on the collapse of the Linger Longer deal? Were you planning to retire to one of their hideous beachfront condos on Jekyll?

Recovering Demoholic

December 10th, 2009
11:12 pm

Maybe the issue of a this 36-year old teacher taking advantage of a 17-year old student should be brought to the attention of ObaMao’s ‘Safe Schools Czar’, Kevin Jennings. I just finished reading part VI on his good works.’s-safe-schools-czar’s-teen-conference-literature-pushed-anal-sex-in-parks-with-strangers/

Georgia Conservative

December 11th, 2009
5:59 am

Georgia’s citizens have already decided what standards are schools will have. We want academically poor schools with great football teams.


December 11th, 2009
6:25 am

I thought the vile agenda driven teachers UNION, the NEA, had already manipulated ‘national standards’ , which has left us with UNdisciplined screwls with degreed babysitters? …no?
Get YOUR children OUT of government screwls as fast as you can!

Mid-South Philosopher

December 11th, 2009
6:54 am

Good morning, Jim,

It has been a while since I last posted. Someone has to keep the Bush/Obama economy going, and, for whatever reason, that lot has fallen to me…and others, of course.

Some interesting topics today:

The property tax system in the United States is inherently unfair! It denies the vast majority of citizens, who do not own property, the right and privilege of contributing their fair share to the revenue coffers of the slobbering government hogs who wallow near the public trough. Moreover, property is valued on the basic of some sort of nebulous idea of what it is really worth as apposed to what level of income it actually produces. Your suggestion would make things better, Jim, but the real answer is the Fair Tax!

Why are teachers absent at a higher rate than other “drones” in the workforce? It is obvious that neither Christopher Johnson nor you have ever faced an eighth grade, heterogeneously grouped, math class. You guys might last 30 minutes!

As to local control of the curriculum, if we “taught school” instead of “teaching tests”, your idea would make perfect sense, but since we are involved in the Barnes, Bush, Kennedy, “Bubble-Bubble-Toil and Trouble, Paper-Pencil, Pedagogical Fiasco” known as “No Child Left Behind (No Teacher Left with One) a national curriculum is the only way to go!

Have a Happy Holiday, my friend.

Churchill's MOM

December 11th, 2009
7:03 am

Larry O’Neal is just more of the same, the Georgia Republican Party needs a complete house cleaning and here is a good place to start. Jim you are so out of touch, the current Republican party is as corrupt as the Democrat under Roy Barnes &Charles Walker.

An honest view.

December 11th, 2009
7:19 am

Obama’s just having to take drastic action in getting this country started again, after years of abuse and screw ups by George W. Bush.

Same as above

December 11th, 2009
8:12 am

O’Neal didn’t just help get Pedue a retroactive tax break, O’Neal was the lawyer who set-up two LLC’s that appeared to conceal the fact that Perdue was the purchaser of the properties that the LLC’s bought. Perdue kept his involvement in these LLC’s off of his disclosure statments. In doing so he broke the law. If O’Neal knew that these LLC’s were intended to hide Perdue’s ownership of these properties, he broke the law too.

Peach P

December 11th, 2009
8:13 am

Rep. O’Neal?

Isn’t he the individual who assisted Sonny in the Oaky Woods debacle a couple of years ago?

If memory serves, it was Larry O’Neal who formed the real estate company for Mrs. Sonny so they could purchase 100 acres adjacant to Oaky Woods. It was Larry O’Neal who serves on the board of the bank that loaned Sonny’s childhood friends the money to purchase the 19,000 acres after Sonny turned down the Nature Conservancy’s bid to protect that Wildlife Management Area, wasn’t it?

Who was the Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee when the “Private City Act” was hatched? Rep. O’Neal I think?

Wasn’t that the legislation that would have allowed the developers of Oaky Woods to levy taxes on the citizenry?

Aren’t we lucky that 51% of our voters saw through that scam?

Is someone that entrenched in cronyism the man we want in the Speaker’s Chair?

Rotten Fish Smell

December 11th, 2009
8:16 am

“In 2005, O’Neal, the Ways and Means chairman who helped Perdue buy land in Georgia, pushed through legislation that gave a retroactive tax break for land purchases that saved Perdue $100,000 in taxes owed on the Florida land. Perdue signed the bill into law, saying he didn’t realize until later that he personally benefited from it.“Ethics Issues surrounding Perdue,” Associated Press/, Dec. 26, 2006.(21)”

interested observer

December 11th, 2009
8:26 am

“The Georgia General Assembly needs to make it perfectly clear that any schoolteacher, prison guard, or custodian of others who engages in a sexual relationship is guilty of a crime — and should do time.”

I hope the General Assembly is more clear in its wording than Wooten. I say we let teachers have sex with their spouses — providing they submit a request in writing in advance and promise not to do it in the classroom.


December 11th, 2009
8:34 am

That is some whiny douchebaggery right there. Maybe womens groups think it’s stupid to help women who don’t support womens rights (like choice) the same way it’d be stupid to for the NAACP to promote a black candidate who didn’t stand up for civil rights.

Of course, if they *did* promote those candidates, you’d point to them as hypocrites and single-issue groups who don’t care about anything but (insert race/gender/other characteristic here).

Real answers Wooten, real answers

December 11th, 2009
8:34 am

Jim you want a pretend answer or a real one on teacher absences Wooten?

How many days would you miss if you were held accountable for the performance of 25-30 employees, but those employees could A) refuse to work B) not show up for work C) curse fellow employees D) curse you E) threaten fellow employees F) threaten you G) assault other employees H) assault you? And most important of all, engage in actions A-H with little to no meaningful consequences?

Yet you are told it’s all your fault when production slips, even though you have little or even no authority to enforce consequences that could address actions A-H above.

Think you might miss a day or two Jim? Think you might feel a little stress?

Deal with actions A-H above, and especially deal with the fact that they occur with little to no meaningful consequences for the students who engage in them, and then you’ll be having an honest discussion.

But we don’t want to deal with A-H, because we don’t want an honest discussion. We want to blame our teachers for how we don’t raise our children.

Mid Ga Retiree

December 11th, 2009
8:42 am

I guess teachers’ use of sick time is higher than average is because they have it and don’t want to lose it. There is probably no accountability for using it.


December 11th, 2009
8:43 am

Jim, you’re way off base on teachers’ sick days. Real answers, has nailed it.


December 11th, 2009
9:09 am

I agree w/ the judge on the student/teacher relationship. It’s immoral, gross, dishonest, etc etc…but it’s not illegal b/c she was over the age of consent. Case closed.


December 11th, 2009
9:11 am

Regarding education in GA…….if a student wants a good education they can get it in public school in Georgia. The curriculum is there and the good teachers are there. That is the plain truth. It is time for all parents to take an interest in their child’s education. Student’s whose parents are involved do much better in school. The problem is that not all students and their parents care about their education. It is very hard to compete with that type of attitude. I think it is time to recognize this and allow those that want to fail fail. They will eventually find there way into a job that supports them (one that doesn’t require a high school graduation). Survival of the fittest. Quit blaming others for your problems.

Regarding GA’s ranking, check and see the percentage of students in GA taking the SAT compared to other state’s percentages. I think you will find that more students in GA (bright and not-so-bright) are encouraged to take the test, as opposed to certain other states like North Dakota which has a much smaller percentage take the test (mainly the students who are brighter).


December 11th, 2009
9:29 am

Teachers are out because they get sick more often, especially the ones who teach around small children and new teachers who have not yet built up an immune system to handle all the things you are exposed to. You would have to be an idiot to not know this. Sick days roll over, thus you can retire early, so who would want to waste sick days! Geeeze, moron.

Also, a national curriculum is not a bad idea unless the Dep of Education develops the curriculum or a bunch of nutty professors who never taught in the classroom. It should be a Consortium of the best teachers from each state. WHY? well, we have more students who are transient than ever before. Every time that child moves into a new district, he or she becomes “at risk” because the curriculum varies so much from each geographical area. Have not put much thought into this, and there would need to be a lot, but there are good reasons to look at it and obviously good reasons to stay away from it.

Georgia’s standards are already one of the best. The problem is not the curriculum or the teachers, it is the apathy found in our society. Too many kids graduate from public schools that go unnoticed. How did they become who they are? 1) Good parenting 2) Good curriculums 3) Work ethic 4) Good Teachers/Coaches/Role Models, etc..

Al Bundy

December 11th, 2009
9:36 am

2nd week in a row that Glenn Richardson’s name isn’t even mentioned in Wooten’s ‘article.’ Had Richardson been a democrat_____________ (fill in the blank).

Sonny, a national leader on what? Georgia ranks where in education? How is Sonny any kind of leader on the subject he has done nothing but cut state funding to education, while maintaining funding for his Go Fish program? What priorities he has. National leader, not much.

All I'm Saying Is...

December 11th, 2009
9:38 am

I’m with Al: Not one word condemning the actions of Glenn Richardson? Typical. Wooten ducks the opportunity to show some common sense in a non-partisan manner. I guess Richardson’s actions were ‘Right’ all along.


December 11th, 2009
9:39 am

O’Neal? The guy that got the bill passed through his Ways and Means committee that gave Sonny a retroactive tax break on a tract of land he bought? Any moral authority you may have had over anything just went out the window with that endorsement Wooten.

Sonny is a leader

December 11th, 2009
9:42 am

Why are partisans coming on here and saying Sonny isn’t a leader? Tell me one governor who’s done more for fishin’ than Sonny.

When I think of fishin’ I think of Sonny and Jesus. That’s a leader in my book.


December 11th, 2009
10:29 am

Teachers are out more often because most of them are lazy government employees. Those who can do . . .


December 11th, 2009
10:32 am

Hey Jim..What have you to say about your favorite Mark Sanford these days ?

You mentioned you didn’t care where he was, when he abandoned his post as Governor of South Carolina ?

cranky old man

December 11th, 2009
10:42 am

The statistics showing teachers using more sick leave than the rest of us might make sense, depending on how the numbers were crunched. School is in session 9 months out of the year, which includes the winter months. Cold, flu, and other illnesses are more common during winter. If their absentee rate is measured as a percentage of scheduled work days, of which they have fewer, it is very likely they would appear more prone to malingering. If you are normally scheduled to work 180 days in a year, missing 9 days would be 5%. If you are normally scheduled to work 260 days per year (5×52), missing 9 days would only be 3.46%. Now, if the numbers were already adjusted to account for that difference, then we’ve got some naughty teachers on our hands.


December 11th, 2009
10:47 am

I’m sorry but I have to agree with the State on this one. A 38 yr old teacher has no business messing around with a 17 yr old. You are to be a TEACHER and not take advantage of the position that you are put in. That’s exactly what this guy did! Period! He is a pervert!!!


December 11th, 2009
10:50 am

Ryan, in your case, I’m sure that means “TRY”.


December 11th, 2009
11:20 am

I would like to see Ryan handle a classroom and do the preparation necessary to meet standards. He’d find out how lazy teachers are real quick. Ryan ought to be thrown into a den of hungry teachers.


December 11th, 2009
11:40 am

The problem with the property tax system is there are too many variables. You have the value of the home which is usually going up or down…It’s rarely static. You also have the millage rates set by local governments, and tied to budjets which are also variable….usually up. The problem is that governments fear raising millage rates too much because it’s too visable. Increasing property values, however, allows them to get increases which are under the radar. If they are in a robust housing market, they can even cut millage rates, and still get large increases in taxes. This is politically appealing to politicians.

If we had a system where the value variable was eliminated, at least we could have transparency about how the government raises it’s money.


December 11th, 2009
12:05 pm



December 11th, 2009
12:36 pm

I’m a teacher. I’m out when I’m sick or tired and when I’m sick and tired. It is a wonder I ever show up. Plus the state allows us to earn the days. It is called a benefit in the business world, whom we are supposed to mock. Why are more teachers taking nerve pills than any other profession? Why are newspaper writers the smartest people on earth?


December 11th, 2009
12:49 pm

Alison Ivey was also a school teacher in Baldwin County that won her case after sleeping with numerous boys in her school. She just moved out of town to North Atlanta and started a new life.

December 11th, 2009
12:50 pm

As an educator, I always find it interesting when laymen (non teachers) feel inclined to speak about public. Much of what is said, reported, and widely accepted is patently absurd or misguided. If anyone desires to know why teachers NEEDS more leave than other professions, on average, he or she need only serve as a substitute teacher for one week. This would provide an idea of how undisciplined and unmotivated the average student is. He or she should then work or volunteer at a local school (elementary, middle, or high) for a month to understand how pitifully equipped and overburdened teachers are from spineless administrators; unrealistic, non-supportive parents; hypocritical politicians; and an ignorant public.

December 11th, 2009
12:52 pm

should read: public education; NEED


December 11th, 2009
1:00 pm

I have a real problem with a Male Teacher screwing a student in High School no matter if she is beyond the age of consent. On the other hand, I don’t have a problem with a Female Teacher screwing a High School Male student no matter what his age is. Afterall, what High School boy has not had a piece? Boys are just built differently and the experience is pleasurable, but for girls it can be painful.


December 11th, 2009
1:11 pm

Perhaps teachers take more sick days because they cannot leave their jobs for an hour or two and run to the doctor or for that matter to take care of any other business.If we leave our jobs there has to be somebody to watch the students. People like Jim Wooten are always looking for some way to put down teachers. We are not the bums you make us out to be. There have been many occasions when I have gone in sick,because getting a sub and making plans just isn’t worth the trouble Why don’t you think,before you are so quick to criticize? I have taken a sickday today for that very reason.


December 11th, 2009
1:12 pm

No crime was committed in the teacher-student sex case. The girl consented and was of age. It’s creepy and uncomfortable, but it’s not a crime. I would prefer to see the age of consent raised to 18 years old for adults. This way, the law is clear. If you are not 18 years old, then you can’t have sex with someone who is not 18.

In order to protect teens from going to jail for a long time, and having their names permanently tarnished by being on the sex offenders list for life, I would like to see a separate age of consent for teens, say 15. This means that if you’re not 18 and you have sex with someone 15 – 17 years old, then it’s not a crime. Kids are going to make mistakes. Why should we have to pay to house and feed a kid simply because he/she messed up?

Under my proposal, if a teacher, coach or someone else who is responsible for our kids is caught with an 18 or 19 year old who’s still in school, then the offender would be fired, teaching license revoked for at least 5 years. No crime because the student is of legal age of consent.

Needless to say, if the teacher is caught with an underage student, then it’s statutory rape, and the present law applies.

It’s just my two cents.

Foolish Wing-Nuts

December 11th, 2009
1:18 pm

Ahhh, it’s always nice to see those stodgy, crusty, Depression-era Bible thumpers who hold the South back 50 years come out of the woodwork on a variety of issues.

Legal age of consent in GA is 16. You can thank your cotton farming ancestors for that one because farmers needed the family to work the farm.


December 11th, 2009
1:27 pm

Here is the type of Person Jim Whooten would like to see for the next president…….


December 11th, 2009
1:35 pm

Midsouth philospher: Those that dont own property still pay ‘property tax’ through their rent. If you own an apartment complex and the property tax on the apartment complex increases, you will pass that on to the renter through higher rents. So yes, people who rent (instead of owning property) still contribute their ‘fair share’ to the government.

Jims property tax proposal would not be good for people who own apartment complexes– these people currently pay property taxes based on an appraisal that considers the income that the complex can earn. The property may be worth much more when sold (for tear down to a condo developer). Consider an apartment complex in midtown– rents are probably ~$800/month (which may lead to an appraisal of around $300,000), but the lot might sell the lot for a million. The property owner pays already pays separate taxes when he sells the lot. According to Jim’s plan, the owner would have to pay back property taxes as well.


December 11th, 2009
2:34 pm

Larry O’Neal and his partner in crime (literally) Sonny Puredoo have been fleecing the state of Georgia for about eight years now.

Brian Hunt

December 11th, 2009
2:47 pm

Mark and Grumpy Old Man get this one right for all of the right reasons. It’s beautiful to see some people put logic and reason to work.

All I'm Saying Is...

December 11th, 2009
2:58 pm

Peter: Nice bit of research and it further confirms what we know which is that Wooten is a class AAA hypocrite.

Wooten is silent on Mark Sanford and Glenn Richardson but never misses the chance to be sanctimonious and moralistic if it involves liberals or Democrats. What a joke.

Do us all a favor Jim and retire from writing this slog of a blog. You have zero integrity.


December 11th, 2009
3:38 pm

Georgia has been setting the standards for education in the state for many decades. At present the standards are so low you must walk downstairs to read them.

The greatest thing Georgia can do for education is eliminate the “summer vacation”. One week off each quarter, but keep the schools teaching 11 of 12 months.

A Sage

December 11th, 2009
4:43 pm

OK, so it’s ok for your teacher to have sex with your daughter? If you are over the age of 16? I ask you then, who pays for the baby when the baby is born? The parents of the 16 year old? Where is the common sense here? He is a child molester, and she is mentally not capable of making an adult decision. She is not an adult. If this were to happen in our State, he would be in jail. This is really sad.I hope your State understands why your abortion rate is so high. Your a poverty State, and the reason is because of all your little girls out there having sex with loosers and deadbeats like your teachers. Now you let this guy off, and man just wait and see what happens you ya’ll now. Every pervert in your school system will be having “consensual sex” with your little girls.


December 11th, 2009
6:17 pm

Jim, if you think that Larry O’Neal is the best Georgia could do for speaker of the House, there’s no point in even trying to discuss anything with you.


December 12th, 2009
5:39 am

Mr. Wooten,

Have you been in a high school recently? Any given teacher MIGHT have a particular student in their care for 1.5 hrs per day. Hardly an “institutional” setting such as prison.

Furthermore, current law says that ANY teacher who has sex with ANY student is potentially a felon. Even students who were NEVER anywhere NEAR the teacher – such as in the next county over or even across the State (or Nation!). HB 886, currently pre-filed in the General Assembly, is a reasonable compromise. Under it, teachers can have consensual relationships with students not at their school, but if they have a relationship with a student at their school, the consent defense is explicitly removed.

I completely concur that teachers SHOULD not have sex with 16 yo students. They SHOULD be fired and barred from ever teaching in this State again – but those are CIVIL penalties, not criminal. But 16 is the legal age of consent in this State, and consensual sex should NEVER be against the law.