Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's the Polls, Stupid!

When elected officials put their own re-election ahead of doing what's right for Georgia, it amounts to a cowardly abdication of the public trust. Politicians put a lot of weight in opinion polls, but taking a poll to determine appropriate education policy is like taking a poll to decide how heart surgery should be done. That would be nuts, right? Yes, but that's exactly what the Perdue Team is up to.

Referring to the 65% deception, a Middle Georgia legislator said, "I hope ya'll do run on that. Have you seen the polls?" So, there's the problem. Not only do politicians seem to think that upon election they instantly become experts on education, but it's not research or the experience of veteran classroom teachers that drives education policy: it the polls.

I should've known.

The research does not support the conclusion that 65% is a magic number, and every education group in Georgia opposed this law. Of course, we all think that more money spent in the classroom is a good idea, but it is the definition of "in the classroom" where we part ways. When coaches count, but principals do not, the priorities are all wrong!

We need real leadership on improving education in Georgia, not politicians who stick their finger in the wind and then decide how to vote. We need policy that works for our children, not sound bites that are election year ready. Sorry for ranting on this again today. It's just so very important that those who opposed this horrible bill extend the conversation through the election. They are banking on us shutting up or giving up, but our schools are too important. Let's don't allow them to speak on this unanswered.


cmob said...

It is easy to point out what is wrong with what ever strategy is in place on education or with other topic one might choose. However when all one does is complain and criticize without offering up a better solution then it’s just hot air and politics.

If those who have been elected are not doing right by your education standards please put forward a better solution.

It is typical of those who disapprove to throw muck at a wall but please offer the solution. That is what’s needed not a bunch of rhetoric.

Amy Morton said...

I notice that when you are confronted with an issue that your Republican leadership bears responsibility for, you don't respond directly, but simply adopt the Limbaugh-esq. approach of criticizing those who criticize. Nice job, cmob.

So, I wrote, extensively, about the issues with this law in February. Have you done your homework? Are you saying that you support this awful piece of election year legislation? Further, are you saying that you support the funding cuts to education in Georgia? And exactly what responsibility does Gov. Perdue the decades of Republican leadership at the State School Superintendent's office bear for us lagging nearly last on SAT scores? Some? None?

When Sonny ran he promised to be the "education governor" and return control of dollars to local districts. Now, four years later, we have made zero progress and have fallen further behind in some areas. His idea of support for neighborhood schools is to cut funds and remove local control. Gee, I wonder why that hasn't worked?

The solution to the education crisis is complex- as in, not able to be reduced to a sound bite, but it starts with not having cut 2.3 billion from education funding, cuts that caused 100 counties to raise property tax. (Are you good with that?)

Also, a good move would be implementing class size reductions on schedule rather than three years late, and getting policy advice from experts in education instead of from junk dealers who have an expertise in martial arts.

The sad reality is that the unspoken agenda of some Republicans is to simply "starve the beast" and dismantle the public school system so that taxpayers can pay for a few select children to attend a few select schools.

Democrats, on the other hand, have always had a strong commitment to public education, and to the painful reforms needed in Georgia. From the proposal to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to require reduction in class size to the HOPE scholarship and Pre-K, Democrats have led, and when we take back the Governor's office and the House in November, we will, thankfully, be a position to once again move forward with a positive agenda for our schools. This Governor has set us back decades.