Thursday, June 8, 2006

GAE Picked the Wrong Cox

In 2002, many of us who are advocates for public education in Georgia were left with our mouths hanging open when the Georgia Association of Educators endorsed Katherine Cox, a teacher with little if any administrative experience, over Barbara Christmas, a career educator with a resume that fit the job description. That same year, GAE opted to give no endorsement in the governor's race, and many believe that this act served as a cue to educators to go to the polls and vote against Barnes. To the amazement of many "Kathy with a K" rode the coattails of Perdue and the positive name id of the "real" Cathy Cox to victory in November. To say that Kathy Cox's tenure of service has been less than stellar is an understatement. And Perdue, the governor GAE got because of their failure to get behind Barnes, has been an adversary instead of an advocate for our public schools. Needless to say, GAE does not always back the right candidate.

Today, my phone has not stopped ringing with questions from educators wondering why GAE again endorsed Kathy Cox, yet missed the opportunity to endorse the "real" Cathy Cox. It is clear that many teachers support Cathy Cox and are excited about her plan to improve not only their pay but their working conditions by making sure that they have an opportunity to teach instead of pulling bus duty, and an opportunity to eat lunch instead of monitoring the hallways.

GAE was wrong in 2002, and they're wrong now. Why? "Kathy with a K" Cox sat silent while GAE, PAGE and every other education group in Georgia tried to tell the Governor that his 65% plan was a recipe for disaster. Kathy Cox assumed office in a state near the bottom in every measurable outcome and, yet, one of her first priorities was to try to re-insert creationism into our children's science textbooks. She sat silent while Governor Perdue and this republican-led legislature slashed 1.25 billion from our neighborhood schools. "Kathy with a K" joined Perdue in setting benchmarks so low for standardized testing in Georgia that the national media accused them of cheating students by setting standards too low. And yet, she was given the GAE endorsement while the union passed on the one person, Cathy Cox, who is both an advocate with a plan for our schools and who has a reasonable shot at un-seating Perdue. Go figure.


Ataru Atlanta said...

Krazy Kathy has really annoyed me with her reaction to Georgia's poor showing in math and science tests - platitudes and spin. GAE ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Amy Morton said...

It is really unbelievable that they endorsed her. It's like endorsing failure, isn't it?