Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Taylor Repeats and Punts

I thought that you might want a break from discussing whether or not Taylor's choice of Lee Parks as counsel for his campaign raised any questions about Taylor's "transformation" following his decidedly inappropriate remarks as a Georgia Senator. I thought that if I moved on to a discussion of education, it would take us in a different direction, but as it turned out, the issue of race-based redistricting reared its head again, and Taylor's response may surprise some of his supporters.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has done a great public service by asking both Cox and Taylor some tough questions on key issues and then publishing the responses. Today, I read the article Cox and Taylor Stands on Education and was absolutely shocked beyond words (almost) at Taylor's answers.

For starters, in response to the reporter's question about race-based redistricting, Taylor's answer adds a layer of concern to the question I raised this morning. The reporter asked whether the candidates thought schools should consider race when setting new attendance lines and whether they thought that the state should be setting such policies regarding school redistricting.

Taylor's response? "I support neighborhood schools. State government should leave the redrawing of school district lines to the local school boards." What if the lines the local boards draw create largely segregated schools? Should state and federal government stay out of this? As one commenter said today, he cannot possibly believe that Georgia has solved our problems of race, discrimination and disparity of treatment.

Then, in response to a question on the evolution/intelligent design debate and whether these topics should be taught in public schools, Taylor said, "Local school boards should decide." Are you kidding me? Sounds like he's been drinking the Kookie Kathy Kool-Aide. Taylor thinks that the science curriculum should be non-standardized in the State of Georgia? He thinks that if a local school board deems it appropriate, then the science curriculum should include a discussion of intelligent design? What if they think it is entirely inappropriate to teach about evolution? Individual school districts should get to make that call? Oh, my goodness. Is he serious?

To three critical questions, Taylor intentionally gave identical, word for word identical, responses. He thinks that the solution to our drop-out rates, our low SAT Scores and adequate school funding is to stop the financial cuts to education and reduce class size. I am sure that this response polled well, but throwing money at these complex problems and reducing class size will not alone provide solutions. In fact, though it may come as a surprise to most, but there is little if any research that supports the idea that student achievement is enhanced simply by reducing class size. In contrast Cox's answers are detailed, on-point, consistent with the research and very do-able.

Let me be clear. I have made no bones about my support for Cox, yet long before I supported Cathy Cox, I spent many, many hours supporting public schools, and the welfare of our schools is much more important to me than whether or not she is elected. Her answers here reinforce my support for her candidacy. I am stunned by not only the "political correctness" of Taylor's responses but the apparent lack of depth and understanding of the problems. Given that I will be supporting whoever emerges from this primary, I find this troubling. More money and smaller classes are not alone the answer for our education woes. We need a the greater vision and leadership that Cox offers on these issues. I hope that you will read the whole article, if you have not already.


demblogs said...

Comments like the ones Mark Taylor made in this interview are exactly what I'd expect from him.....let the debates begin! This is where CC will gain momentum.

Ed Hula III said...

Schools shouldn't consider race when setting attendence standards. We shouldn't even see race, we shouldn't care whether someone is black or white. Why does it matter?

Its rediculous to say that kids arent going to know about ID versus creationism. Its in the news so much and teachers are going to mention the political situation with it, Ive heard plenty of stories from teachers all over the state that say they have told their students both sides. Its gonna continue. I dont approve teaching ID though even though I am a pious catholic.

Your right there isnot conclusive evidence that reduced class sizes improves education.

Why I am circumspect CC would be effective as a Governor: she had a pretty ordinary career as a legislator and didnt really do too much.

I hope CC gains momentum from the debates. She'll reach maybe 25% of primary voters and will have three days to capatilize on that momentum. If thats what your waiting for good luck!

Robin Hood said...

I think you ladies are trying to read WAY to into this. Why do we pull apart words so much? This is just a waste of time.

Amy Morton said...

I'd rather rely on a candidates response to issue related questions than on their commercials. I thought that these questions were on point, as were their questions on the environment and healthcare. These are important issues. I want to see well-developed platform statements and that what Cox has provided. And by the way, Billy Randall and David Lucas,who both served with Cathy and support her for Governor, talk about her leadership when she was a legislator, so I'm not clear what you're talking about. They were there and know what she did.

Ed Hula III said...

Sure she had leadership. What roles? What are her major pieces of legislation? Edify my please.