2014 Voter's Guide
State Superintendent

Editors’ Picks: We have been getting a large volume of emails asking us to make a recommendation for State School Superintendent. We decided to make a recommendation in both primaries. (A complete guide to races around the state can be found in the 2014 Voters Guide.)

Nancy Jester (Republican) – The Editors believe that Jester has the strongest skill set to make important and lasting changes at the state Department of Education. Face it, the job requires an interesting mix of number crunching, analysis, managerial know-how, and political instinct. To be successful, the next State School Superintendent will need to match those requirements with savviness and communications that have been missing in this office for quite some time. Nancy Jester fits the bill. She gets the nod from Georgia School Watch.

Alisha Thomas Morgan (Democrat) – We believe that Morgan deserves to win her primary because she is the only candidate that supports school choice. The other candidates will have no chance of working well with all the players at the state level. Morgan crossed her own party to support the charter school amendment. She is the only democrat that won’t be in the back pocket of the establishment 100% of the time. She gets our nod for the Democratic primary.

2014 Voters Guide
May 19, 2014 – Georgia voters head to the polls Tuesday to pick their party’s nominees for statewide offices, state school superintendent, state legislative seats, congressional seats and scores of down-ticket races. It’s the first statewide primary since Georgia Republicans took every statewide office in Georgia in 2010, and Democrats hope to regain a foothold.

Metro schools see renewed interest in Latin
May 19, 2014 – Schools in the metro area and Georgia are seeing a renewed student interest in Latin, joining a resurgence in schools across the country of the language once considered “dead” and outmoded.


Atlanta Press Club Debate – Republican State Superintendents

May 19, 2014 – The nine GOP candidates for state school chief came out swinging last night. Any real hits?

Professional Race Baiter Phil Kent Wants You To Fear Mexican Culture When Choosing School Super
May 16, 2014 – I had a brief twitter exchange with Phil Kent a couple of weeks ago. In it, he had tweeted about a “black Cobb County GA state house candidate” that had changed his name. I tweeted back asking why it was important to label him as black, to which Mr. Kent responded that it was a “journalistic identification tool”. OK, sure thing, right. ”Tool”.

Bonus for Gwinnett Teachers
May 16, 2014 – Gwinnett County Public Schools employees will get a bonus equal to two days’ pay after a vote Thursday by the county school board.


Why Isn’t the 21st Century Here Yet?

May 16, 2014 – Technology is awesome and transformative, and will completely change the way we do business in schools and in the classroom. So why hasn’t that really happened yet? Why aren’t we all working in high-tech, super-duper computer driven schools yet? I think I know, and it has nothing to do with philosophies of education or resistance to change.

Ga DOE Urges Poor People To Read To Their Children Over The Summer
May 16, 2014 – Summer means an extended break for Georgia students. No homework. No tests. But for many Georgia students — particularly for those who are poor — summer also means a dramatic drop in reading skills.

CRCT 2.0
May 15, 2014 – CTB/McGraw-Hill is in line to develop the new standardized test that will be offered to Georgia students this coming school year, according to documents released by the state today. The company — which crafted the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test Georgia is moving away from — is close to receiving a $107.8-million, five-year contract to develop the CRCT’s successor, the Georgia Measures of Academic Progress.

Moving toward School Choice 2.0
May 15, 2014 – State after state has implemented school vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and, in especially innovative places like Louisiana and Arizona, course choice and education savings accounts (ESAs), respectively. More students than ever before have access to private school choice options.


US DOE Ambassadors!

May 15, 2014 – We have learned that many of you weak, lying, sad excuses for parental units would rather talk about “love” and “support” and your precious baby than give the child the rigorous ass-kicking he probably needs. So this federal program will put an additional federally-funded parent in your home to monitor your proper use of motivational techniques and to oversee homework production.

Georgia’s movement to opt out of high stakes tests gains momentum
May 15, 2014 – A small but increasingly vocal group of parents in Georgia are urging state leaders to give their children the choice to “opt out” of taking the high-stakes tests in schools without being penalized for doing so.

Georgia set to replace CRCT with harder test
May 14, 2014 – For 14 years now, Georgia parents have sweated out their child’s performance on the state’s standardized test, the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. But the close of this school year brings to an end the Era of the CRCT. Don’t celebrate just yet, however.

Brookhaven hopes to create new charter school
May 14, 2014 – Frustration with distant county bureaucracies has spurred the creation of new cities in metro Atlanta, but the smaller new governments have been unable to provide one crucial service: schooling.

The Next Education Governor
May 14, 2014 – A state schools superintendent, a small-town mayor and the husbands of two teachers are in the race for governor. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that education has emerged as the focal point of their campaigns.

How Far School Choice Policies Have Come in Two Decades
May 13, 2014 – It’s amazing how far school choice options have come in a little more than two decades. From Milwaukee’s first-in-the-nation school voucher option in 1990 and the first charter school opening its doors in Minnesota in 1992, parental choice in education has advanced considerably, and innovation in school choice policy has taken shape in ways that were inconceivable in those early years. Today, 39 private school choice programs operate in 18 states and Washington, D.C.

Wait lists growing for Georgia charter schools
May 13, 2014 – As the school year comes to an end, students and parents begin contemplating next school year and the changes they will face. For a growing number of them, that means attending a new charter school — or waiting to.

Top Stories From Around The Country for 5/13 2014

PolitiFact – Elena Parent on the HOPE Scholarship
May 13, 2014 – State Rep Elena Parent “supported Governor Nathan Deal’s plan to slash the HOPE Scholarship” Georgia Senate candidate Kyle Williams said in a campaign flier.

Muscogee County School Board Hears Recommendations
May 13, 2014 – In a newsy work session Monday evening, the Muscogee County School Board heard superintendent David Lewis’ recommendations.

Grover Norquist Endorses Nancy Jester – State Superintendent
May 12, 2014 – Nancy Jester has already received support from radio talk show host Eric Erickson, Georgia State Senator Josh McKoon and former State Senator Eric Johnson. Today Ms. Jester received support from Grover Norquist.

Erick Erickson Disturbed by Ashley Bell Quote
May 12, 2014 – Erick Erickson found our phone conversation between GA Charters and Ashley Bell as disturbing as we did.

Three Education Innovations That Could Increase Economic Mobility
May 12, 2014 – According to the American Diploma Project, more and more employers find high school graduates lack basic skills needed to succeed in the workforce. And government regulations that reduce the flexibility within public schools may be part of the problem.

Underwhelmed By Allen Fort, State Superintendent candidate
May 12, 2014 – Maureen Downey, Get Schooled at the AJC, asked the candidates for state school chief to share their vision. Allen Fort posted his vision last week to an underwhelmed audience.

Low turnout feared for crucial DeKalb school board election
May 12, 2014 – Down near the bottom of the ballot, just above a manufactured goods tax exemption in the tiny city of Clarkston, is an election with serious consequences for the parents of 100,000 students — not to mention anyone who pays taxes in DeKalb County.

Atlanta Public Schools settle pay inequality case
May 12, 2014 – The two highest-ranking women working in Atlanta Public Schools, paid much less than top male executives, recently received big raises and back pay so the school system could avoid potential lawsuits over salary inequity.

Erick Erickson says do not vote for people like Kira Willis – Willis Responds
May 12, 2014 – Erick Erickson said on his show, “Whatever you do, do not vote for people like Kira Willis who defend Common Core by largely admitting we screwed it up before. Do not vote for these people. They are ruining our kids’ lives.”

Erick Erickson Endorses Nancy Jester For State Superintendent
May 10, 2014 – Conservative radio talk show host and RedState blogger, Erick Erickson, endorses Nancy Jester for State Superintendent saying, “I’m going with Nancy Jester. She’s opposed to Common Core. She gets the problem.”

State Superintendent Candidate interview
Who: Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao
When: Friday (5/9) @ 8:30pm
Where: This Post

State Superintendent Candidate interview
Who: Nancy Jester
When: Friday (5/9) @ 8:30pm
Where: This Post

State Superintendent Candidate interview
Who: Kira Willis
When: Friday (5/9) @ 8:30pm
Where: This Post


Is Common Core curriculum or not?

May 9, 2014 – As angry villagers storm the Common Core Castle with pointy sticks and burny things, CCSS defenders keep repeating the curriculum/standards explanation over and over.

Ex-GPC president’s lawsuit blames his ouster on conspiracy
May 9, 2014 – Former Georgia Perimeter College President Anthony Tricoli filed a racketeering lawsuit this week against several college and University System of Georgia officials.

Republican State Superintendent – Another Obama Supporter – Fitz Johnson
May 8, 2014 – A feud has been brewing in the Republican Primary for the State Superintendent seat.  The latest series of hits on Facebook and Tumblr show how Fitz Johnson supported Obama, allegedly.

State Education Board moves to replace CRCT
May 8, 2014 – The state Board of Education voted today to have a firm develop a standardized test to replace the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, which has been given to Georgia students for the past 14 years.

STATE UPDATES on School Choice
May 8, 2014 – Updates across the country on states and their progress on school choice.

 

George Will Demolishes Common Core
May 7, 2014 – Conservative pundit George Will delivered a fierce attack on Common Core Sunday night, characterizing the educational standards as a way for progressives to further promote their political views.

Effects of poverty show up in Georgia’s school report card
May 7, 2014 – Analysis of Georgia’s new system for grading schools found that the new system says as much about poverty as it does about academic performance.

Indiana Faces Consequences From Federal Government For Exiting Common Core
May 7, 2014 – On Friday, the U. S. Department of Education sent a letter to Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, threatening to revoke the state’s waiver from No Child Left Behind – because Indiana exited the Common Core national standards last month.

APS defendants seek judge’s removal
May 6, 2014 – A number of the remaining defendants in the Atlanta Public Schools test-cheating are asking that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter be removed from the case on allegations he made improper phone calls to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

School Choice Expanding in North Carolina
May 6, 2014 – A state legislative subcommittee wants North Carolina students to be able to attend any public school in the state, allowing them to cross district lines without having to pay tuition or receive permission from the school system they’re leaving.

Georgia – Hearing set on in-state tuition for immigrants without legal status
May 6, 2014 – FULTON COUNTY, GA – Nineteen states have laws or policies allowing people who meet certain criteria to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of their legal status. The lawsuit is seeking in-state college tuition for immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as children.

DeKalb School’s Budget – It’s a Miracle, Allegedly
May 6, 2014 – DeKalb Schools will be able to eliminate all teacher furlough days, give a 1% raise and still put a little something away in the savings account.

Superintendent Candidate Common Core Breakdown
May 5, 2014 – Breakdown of the Republican Georgia State Superintendent candidates views on Common Core.

 

 

Common Core coloring the superintendent’s race
May 5, 2014 – Those national standards — reviled by tea party activists as a federal intrusion into state control over public education and backed by education and business groups as a necessary improvement – is the most incendiary topic on the campaign trail.

DeKalb teacher got job despite Florida court history
May 5, 2014 – He was banned for life from teaching in Florida after being charged with sexually abusing a student, but Horace Morris managed to get a classroom job in Georgia.

Charter school’s strategy breaks barriers of poverty
May 5, 2014 – When the glass and white Drew Charter School opened in 2001, it was the pristine hope for an Atlanta neighborhood stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of poverty and violence. It started as the city’s lowest-ranked elementary school, with most students far behind in reading and math.

Time to Restructure Testing?
May 2, 2014 – When used appropriately, testing analyzes strengths and weaknesses, gaps in knowledge and progress toward the ultimate goal of graduation and success. In a perfect world, the results inform educators who then use that information to improve how they teach.


Sorry, Newsweek, You’re wrong About Louis C.K.

May 2, 2014 – My first thought when I read Alexander Nazaryan’s response to Louis C. K.’s Common Core tirade was, “Wow! What an ass!”

Common Core Pushback Grows in the Tar Heel State
May 1, 2014 – A North Carolina legislative committee has just recommended that the state drop Common Core and replace it with a new set of learning standards that will “meet North Carolina’s needs.”

Greg’s List – Trust, but Verify the Candidates
May 1, 2014 – The State Superintendent race has 9 announced GOP candidates, including another newly minted Republican, Ashley Bell. Bell, has a long and storied history of achievement as a Zealous Democrat who underwent a miracle conversion a few years ago and has now re-emerged as a self-described “Constitutional Conservative.”

Top Stories From Around The Country for 5/1 2014

Louis C.K. Blasts Common Core
May 1, 2014 – C.K. sent out a series of tweets about his daughter’s struggles with homework designed to align with the Common Core. C.K. says New York public school students are among those who’ve found the implementation of the Common Core a struggle.

Ashley Bell Reveals Himself
APRIL 30, 2014 – The conference call reinforced our concerns about Ashley Bell’s understanding of educational issues in Georgia. His perspective is limited and narrow. He doesn’t seem to know much about education outside his world on the board at his local charter school.