Cherokee Tribune – District 14 hopefuls talk transportation state of education


Cherokee Tribune – District 14 hopefuls talk transportation state of education

CANTON — Voters in Georgia’s 14th state Senate district have only days left to choose their next representative out of a crowded pool of five candidates.

Bruce Thompson, Nicole Ebbeskotte, Christopher G. Nesmith, Dwight Pullen and Matt Laughridge are squaring off in the Nov. 5 special election to replace Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) for the seat covering parts of Cherokee, Bartow and Cobb counties.

One of the issues most often brought up in the brief campaign since Loudermilk resigned for his bid for U.S. Congress has been what can be done to improve the state of education in the district.

Pullen, a Canton resident and former school superintendent, said parents should have access to the school-types of their choice and quality instruction.

“I would support legislation to provide funding for 180 days of instruction for students, provide 10 staff development and planning days for teachers, and to reduce class size to a manageable number,” said Pullen, who said he has been a teacher in all three counties in District 14. “We shortchange our students and jeopardize our future when we fail to provide quality instruction to each student.”

That instruction should come from public, home, religious or charter schools, whichever the parents choose, Pullen added.

A self-described “pro-family candidate,” Bartow candidate Thompson said elected officials should help families to give their children “an education that prepares them to compete locally as well as globally for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

Thompson also said the parents should have their choice of school.

“I believe home-school, private school, charter schools and public schools should be options available to decision-making parents,” Thompson said. “And adequate funding should be provided for each option.”

If elected, Woodstock resident Ebbeskotte said she would work to improve education in District 14.

“I would conduct a comprehensive review of the various sources for education funding at the local and state level to ascertain an equitable and efficient use of education funding at the district and state levels,” said Ebbeskotte, a former Cherokee sheriff’s deputy. “Education funding must be proportional on a per-student and taxpayer basis, not preferential based on lobbying efforts of one county at the expense of another.”

Nesmith, of Adairsville, said improving education is in a large way about funding, which the state of Georgia has grossly cut in recent years.

“Immediately, Georgia needs to correct course away from austerity measures and begin to return education funding to at least (previous) levels,” he said. “Whether we can do this by way of increasing revenue or redirecting money elsewhere in the state budget is difficult to say. (But) fundamentally, we as Georgians need to embrace the idea of investing in our state and our legislators need to break up the club and govern with states true interests in mind.”

Laughridge, of Cartersville, said District 14 can improve education by “localization.”

“We have to reestablish local control in our schools,” he said. “I’ve spoken with a number of educators who simply want the bureaucratic hurdles that the system has placed on them moved out of the way. We need to give teachers the ability to build their own cultures in their classrooms and have the freedom to teach again.”

via Cherokee Tribune – District 14 hopefuls talk transportation state of education.

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