Friday, January 18, 2008

Nothing Against Atlanta, But...

Georgia does not stop just south of the I-20 perimeter, but ever since Sonny Perdue moved out to West Paces Ferry, he seems to have forgotten where he's from. Well, except for that little fishing project. During his State of the State speech this week, Governor Perdue said:

“The triumphant drumbeat of our progress proclaims a new anthem and a new era for Georgia. Not just as the capital of the New South, not just another great American city – but an international leader – an economic . . . cultural . . . technological capital,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “We Georgians are not content to stand on the achievements of the past –
no, we are eager to create a better future for our children, and our children’s

It's Atlanta, and the Capitol building in particular, as it was constructed in post-reconstruction Georgia, that bears the monitor, "Capitol of the New South." Too often growth, development and prosperity in Atlanta and it's suburbs and exurbs has happened at the expense of rural Georgia. Unchecked and unmanaged growth has contributed to the drought crisis. Rural schools have drawn the short straw while Governor Perdue funds his sound-bite-ready pet projects at the expense of the most basic needs of these school systems. (Parental Recruiters? Are you kidding me? Is that even correct grammar? I think that "Parental" is an adjective modifying recruiters, making the recruiters the ones who are parental. I guess that's about right.) We have a health care-access crisis everywhere, but try being indigent and uninsured in rural Georgia where there are fewer programs to stand in the gap.

My point? Rural Georgia has a lot to offer and the ability to grow a competitive workforce-if the General Assembly would stop starving our schools. When we talk about the Capitol of the New South, we need to think out the the "Atlanta" box.

I wish I lived in the Georgia Sonny Perdue says exists.


Tina said...

Until something happens to address the problems of poverty and limited access to good health care and nutrition in rural Georgia, student achievement will not go up.
Too many kids in our rural areas come from distressed homes. Too many have untreated problems with dental and physical health, as well as untreated vision and hearing problems. To value education families have to a vision of their children's future, and it is hard to be visionary when you are living check to check to day to day.

Open+Transparent said...

Amy, that was probably your smartest post since you started GWV.

Good post by Tina too. However, the thing about education in Georgia: More spending on education means very little. Funding does not equal results. There is an incredible amount of administrative bloat in too many school systems.

But Tina nails it about dental, vision, hearing and health care for children...that has such a huge effect but is pretty much ignored. Talk to a dentist with mixed income patients, and you'll learn a lot.

Tina said...

Having spent 23+ years in the public schools, I will disagree the statement about administrative bloat.
I worked at a school that had about 600 students. For most of my career, there was a principal and two part-time assistant principals (one teaching 3 periods, one teaching 4 periods) The principal had a secretary/bookkeeper and an aide who answered the phone. As counselor, I had a secretary and a student aide for 2 periods (office training program). The only degreed adults in that building who were non-teaching full-time were the principal and me ! Now can you imagine a BUSINESS with 600 employees operating that way? Shoot, no !
Toward the end of my career there was an additional supervisor in the vocational department who also had a secretary.
I really can't say that our Bd. of Ed. was bloated with staff either, considering the immense amount of paperwork, maintenance, transportation, testing etc etc.

Open+Transparent said...

Beg to differ. The DeKalb and Fulton Boards of Ed. have become job programs, and they still spend a ton on consultants. Would be interesting to track their amount of employees over the past 20, 10, 5 years. Until some recent bad publicity, Dekalb had a bunch of former administrators on the payroll as consultants, many without any kind of performance measures.

Trust me, there's administrative bloat and waste. The Clayton Co. Board of Ed. proves it daily.

Tina said...

Maybe the larger systems are more "political" ?? I dunno.