“Two more weeks to go. . . . First, let me say this: this old hat, a lot of you people have seen it before. It’s the same hat. But I don’t think it is going to last much longer after the 8th of November. I have a superstition about hats in campaigns, and I am going to wear it until midnight of the 8th of November. . . . Well, it’s fine to see, and I’m looking forward to coming down here for the usual Thanksgiving party at Warm Springs, and having a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving with my neighbors again. I thank you!”
Sitting State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge (R) will join State School Superintendent Candidate Valarie Wilson (D) to make a special announcement and host a press conference on Thursday at 12 p.m. in front of Tucker High, 5036 LaVista Road, Tucker.
This brings Republican State School Superintendents who ended their political careers at their own hands to three. If you recall, Linda Schrenko ran for Governor in 2002 and was later convicted of embezzlement; Kathy Cox filed for personal bankruptcy in 2008 and resigned in 2010 to take a job in the private sector. Now Barge, who ran for Governor this year and appears to have spent the rest of his time seeking employment elsewhere without much success.
Two things about this. First is it shows that the election for State School Superintendent is not about who is the best candidate – it’s about the bureaucratic educational establishment retaining control of the Georgia Department of Education. The term “bureaucrats” does not include teachers, though many will follow the lead of the administrators who are supporting the Democratic candidate – by bureaucrat, we mean primarily people who draw a check from the Department of Education or a local school system and do not teach students.
It is the bureaucrats who are threatened by a candidate who will take a carefull look at how much money is spent by DOE outside the classrooms and seek to move more of that spending toward classrooms.
It is within the very large Department of Education, which educates exactly zero students, that Democratic activists will be hired and burrow in to career positions where they will outlast any State School Superintendent and affect education outcomes for years into the future.
It is the state’s educational bureaucracy that has delivered the results we have gotten for our tax dollars. Electing yet another bureaucrat like Valarie Wilson will mean that Georgians continue to get more of the same results.
The second issue is that the State School Superintendency has become a stepping stone – from Schrenko who sought the Governor’s Office, to Cox who left to work in the private sector, and now John Barge, who has spent the better part of at least this year seeking higher employment.
It is well-known that John Barge has been an absentee Superintendent for months, turning the office into a mobile campaign, and now seeking out-of-state employment and holding press conferences with other politicians in the middle of the day on a Thursday, when he should be at work.
So I have two questions for Dr. Barge.
First, what kind of deal did you cut with Valarie Wilson to help her win election as Georgia State School Superintendent. Since your job search appears to be going nowhere – either in Cobb County or in Utah –the most-likely scenario, in my opinion, for your endorsement, is that you cut a deal.
If no deal has been cut, will Barge and Wilson both pledge that Barge will neither be offered nor accept, a position as an employee, consultant, or contractor, with the Georgia Department of Education if Valarie Wilson is elected?
Second, will John Barge reimburse the taxpayers the cost of his job search, including his absences during the Gubernatorial campaign, and the time he’s spent on his job search instead of performing the job he has?
Richard Woods calls for decreasing use of test scores for teacher evaluations
via Press Release from Richard Woods, the Republican candidate for State School Superintendent:
Woods Calls for Major Decrease in the Use of Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations
At Wednesday’s Fall Bootstrap Conference made up of the state’s education community, Richard Woods, candidate for State School Superintendent, called for a reduction of the emphasis on test scores in evaluating teachers in Georgia.
Under the state’s new teacher evaluation system, 50% of a teacher’s effectiveness is set to be based on test scores. Woods is calling for a starting point of 20% with the possibility of making further reductions after a top-down review of the system is conducted.
“Parents would immediately understand the fallacy if 50% of their child’s final grade were to be based on test scores,” said Woods. “That same fallacy holds sure under a system where 50% of a teacher’s final grade is based on test scores.”
In Georgia, standardized test scores count 20% of a high school student’s final semester grade. In many lower grades, standardized test scores are not even included in a student’s final average. Since his run in 2010, Woods has consistently raised concerns over the overemphasis on test scores in evaluating teachers.
Georgia Association of Educators leader campaigns for Democrats
Georgia Association of Educators President Sid Chapman is touring the state this election season in an attempt to “get out the vote” and drum up support for education issues.
Chapman, also the former president of the Clayton County Education Association, visited the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald offices along his tour throughout the state this month.
He recently announced GAE’s endorsements for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter and the Democratic candidate Valerie Wilson for state schools superintendent. Carter opposes Republican incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal, and Wilson faces Republican opponent Richard Woods on the November ballot.
Chapman lauded this year’s education funding efforts by Deal, who procured half a billion dollars more in Fiscal Year 2015 funding for schools. He said there is still much to be done in public education.
“We don’t expect it all to be fixed over night,” he said. “But we need to be moving into the right direction.”
Chapman listed major concerns GAE seeks to address this year, including fully funding education, eliminating unpaid furlough days and getting school district’s back to 180-day calendars.
He said state health care benefits, too, are a concern for educators throughout the state.
Note that none of the GAE’s stated concerns include efficiency, graduation rates, or preparing students for college or technical school. If you want Georgia’s education system to reflect the excellence to be found in the Clayton County school system, this is the guy to listen to. In 2008, Clayton County was the first school system to lose its accreditation since the late 1960s.
Georgia’s 12th Congressional District, stretching from the South Carolina border to the middle of the state, is covered by four television markets. Because portions of those markets cross district and state borders, a lot of money is wasted broadcasting ads to people in other congressional districts and in South Carolina.
The proliferation of set-top boxes to which specific commercials can be sent, and similar capabilities for satellite dish systems, make it possible for campaigns to spend smarter.
“Having alternatives to spending a lot of money is a relatively new concept,” said Elizabeth Wilner, senior vice president for political advertising at Kantar Media, which tracks broadcast ad spending. “But there are more options now than there were even a few years ago for more targeting of voters, like local cable and addressable satellite, or using analytics to at least identify cheaper programming through which you can reach the same audiences.”
President Obama’s campaign used targeting alternatives during the 2012 presidential race. It bought segments of an audience rather than an entire audience, which might contain people a campaign doesn’t care about reaching. But in statewide races with large media budgets, segmentation might not be as much of a concern, as viewers in South Carolina living near Charlotte, N.C., could tell you after the barrage of ads in the North Carolina Senate contest.
Carter has locked in the support of public schoolteachers, whose unions have become hard-hitting political bankrollers, typically for Democrats. The nation’s two largest teachers unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, have said they plan to spend at least $40 million and $20 million, respectively, nationwide on this year’s election cycle. The Georgia Association of Educators – a local affiliate of the National Education Association that represents more than 42,000 members – endorsed Carter’s campaign in August, likely due to his promises of increasing education funding without raising taxes.
The Democrat seeking to become our state’s next governor has been telling voters that Republican Gov. Nathan Deal has “dismantled” education in Georgia.
The only thing being dismantled is the truth.
Gov. Deal absolutely has not “slashed billions of dollars from public education,” as Jason Carter falsely claims.
The fact is that the state’s first Republican governor, Sonny Perdue, increased education funding to a record $7.9 billion in FY2008 but over the next two years was forced to make almost $1.4 billion in cuts because of the impact of the Great Recession.
In his first term, Gov. Deal managed to restore that $7.9 billion funding level — which, by the way, is $2 billion more than when his predecessor, Democrat Roy Barnes, was governor.
According to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Georgia “allocates a higher percentage of its state budget to education than most states.”
And in FY2013 — before Gov. Deal’s two most recent multi-million-dollar funding hikes for schools — Georgia’s K-12 spending as a percentage of total state spending was “the third highest in the nation,” according to the National Association of Budget Officers.
“We don’t want what happened in Dallas to happen here,” said Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald is the Commissioner of Public Health who has been heading up the governor’s task force. She said a lot of coordination to prepare for Ebola has already happened, in part because Atlanta is home to the world’s busiest airport and both the CDC and Emory University Hospital.
Emory teams have now successfully treated three Ebola infected patients flown in for treatment.
Democrat Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn holds 46 percent of the vote, while Republican David Perdue has 44 percent. SurveyUSA said support for Perdue has steadily, yet slightly declined over the past six weeks, while Nunn has gained ground, albeit not consistently.
Libertarian Senate candidate Amanda Swafford polled at 4 percent, not quite enough to determine if her presence in the race will force a runoff election. Seven percent of the 606 voters polled said they are still undecided.
Last week’s poll showed Nunn a little farther ahead of Perdue, with 48 and 45 percent of the vote, respectively.
In the race for governor, incumbent Nathan Deal, a Republican, is down one point from last week, to 45 percent. Challenger Jason Carter, a Democrat, is down three points, to 43 percent. Libertarian Andrew Hunt has 4 percent, and 8 percent of voters are undecided.
SurveyUSA says Carter had 59 percent of the vote in the greater Atlanta area last week, but now has only 49 percent — a significant drop that could account for the recent Democrat slippage.
The race for state school superintendent is also tight, with Republican Richard Woods slightly ahead of Democrat Valarie Wilson. Woods has 46 percent of the vote, Wilson has 44 percent and 11 percent of voters are undecided.
“I’ve helped create and save thousands of American jobs,” Perdue says with a smile.“Regardless of what Michelle Nunn says.”
Perdue’s campaign categorically denies that Perdue himself outsourced jobs, stressing that his responsibilities at companies like Sarah Lee, Haggar, and Reebok were to grow international businesses and open markets for American brands overseas, never eliminate jobs domestically.
“David spent his entire career creating and saving thousands of good jobs here in America,” said Megan Wittemore, Perdue’s spokeswoman. “He focused on expanding operations and sales into new markets to make American companies more competitive, and revitalize American brands.”
GEORGIA VOTERS DESERVE AN EXPLANATION, APOLOGY FROM GREG HECHT
Following a report from Georgia Pundit that liberal Democrat Greg Hecht fabricated a list of Georgia sheriffs that back his campaign for Attorney General, Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett issued the following statements:
“Greg Hecht should be ashamed of himself,” said Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett. “Instead of working hard to earn the support of elected officials and voters throughout Georgia, he’s decided to intentionally lie to the very people he wants to represent. If Mr. Hecht is willing to lie about endorsements, what else is he willing to do for the sake of political expediency?
“Georgia voters deserve an explanation and an apology from Mr. Hecht. Anything less than that is simply unacceptable.”
From GA Pundit…
“I’m proud to support Sam Olens and I am shocked that his opponent claimed to have my endorsement,” said Lanier County Sheriff Nick Norton. “Sam is a friend and has done a tremendous job as Attorney General helping my office of Sheriff here in South Georgia with many criminal cases. Sam has always had my full support and my endorsement.”(more…)
Welcoming the endorsement, David Perdue said, “I am grateful and humbled for the support of the Georgia Life Alliance, and the pro-life community in Georgia. Our nation must do more to protect innocent life, and I will work to represent those values in the United States Senate.”
Georgia Life Alliance Executive Director, Emily Matson, said, “There has never been a more critical time to elect women and men who value the sanctity of human life and will commit to protecting the right to life. As Georgians, we are confident there is a pro-life candidate whose position is clear – and that is David Perdue. (more…)
Attorney General Sam Olens Urges Congressional Support of Legislation to Prevent Online Sex Trafficking of Youth
Attorney General Olens has sent a letter urging members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to support legislation that would help prevent children from being trafficked on the Internet.
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, generating about $150 billion each year. Shockingly, there are numerous cases nationally of children being used in prostitution as young as 12. The FBI estimates that nearly 300,000 American youths are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
“As Attorney General, I have made fighting child sex trafficking a top priority,” said Attorney General Olens. “I was proud to work with the Georgia General Assembly to strengthen Georgia’s sex trafficking law so that the punishment fits the crime. Our law is now a national model. I urge Congress to pass this much needed legislation addressing this horrific crime, which robs our children of their dignity and innocence.”
In a letter signed by 53 attorneys general, Attorney General Olens is asking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for their support of the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act (SAVE) Act (S. 2536), which would provide more oversight of websites that facilitate “adult services,” such as Backpage.com. (more…)
Perdue Highlights Obama’s Lack of Leadership On Ebola Response
The Obama Administration recently announced that they will continue to let people from Ebola-stricken countries travel to the United States through several airports along the eastern seaboard, including Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airport. Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, David Perdue, commented:
“The Obama Administration’s lack of leadership on Ebola keeps Georgia at the epicenter of the Ebola crisis and puts Americans at risk. We have a commander in chief who has failed to take responsibility, and instead handpicked Michelle Nunn’s political advisor who has no medical experience to takeover. The Obama Administration’s latest attempt to put in place enhanced screenings changes nothing: Ebola is still a threat because there is no effective travel ban in place. I believe we need a clear, comprehensive plan to counter the spread of this dangerous disease and protect our citizens. (more…)
Michelle Nunn has been funded by Barack Obama and Harry Reid and now they are doubling down on public support for her candidacy. This signals that she will be nothing more than a rubber stamp for their failed agenda in Washington.
“No matter what Michelle Nunn does to try and distance herself publicly from the president, she is directly tied to Obama’s failed agenda. She voted for him, donated to his campaigns, and supports his policies,” said Perdue spokesman Mark Bednar. (more…)
A rising tide of African-Americans and other minorities has swelled voting rolls, shrinking whites’ share of Georgia’s electorate to historic lows.
The question now is whether they will show up at the polls, as Democrats challenge the state’s dominant Republicans in tight races for governor and the U.S. Senate.
Black voters in Georgia now make up more than 30 percent of the more than 5.1 million active voters in Georgia, according to a new analysis of the state’s registration database by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That’s almost 67,000 more black voters than were on the active rolls for the state’s previous midterm election in 2010, when voter interest historically dips because it is a nonpresidential election year.
It also comes as the number of Georgia voters overall has also increased from four years ago, when only half of the state’s active black voters cast ballots.
White voters, meanwhile, continued to decline to less than 58 percent — down from 61.6 percent in 2010. The percentage of active white voters in Georgia slipped under 60 percent for the first time in state history two years ago.
The Georgia Democratic Party is engaged in vicious race-baiting in a divide and conquer strategy to drive African-American voters to the polls. The above photo originated, I believe, from an AJC scan, but has been traveling across the internet for 24 hours. (more…)