For Sale: Georgia’s Educational System
March 9, 2010
For how much money is current State School Superintendent Kathy Cox willing to sell the education of our children to the federal government?
On January 19, 2010 The Georgia Department of Education submitted a grant application to the U.S. Department of Education to be considered for the federally funded Race to the Top grant. If “selected” to receive this grant, the state stands to receive $200 – $400 million over the next four years ($50 million – $100 million each year) to drive massive education reform in the state of Georgia.
Let’s do the math. For Fiscal Year 2010, the education budget for the state is $7.4 billion. On the low end of the Race to the Top grant, the amount of money we could receive amounts to a mere 0.67% of the state’s education budget for the year. On the high end, the amount increases slightly to 1.35%! If we are in such dire need for this money, surely the state could cut some pork barrell projects to make up for the deficit.
I ask this question, “Is it worth it?” The Race to the Top grant is being funded through the $700 billion dollar American Recovery Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which we all know is not money that the federal government has. It is additional debt owned by foreign investors. In other words, your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have been saddled with paying this debt back.
Apparently, Superintendent Cox has no qualms with saddling future generations with mountains of debt since she is so eager to get her hands on this Race to the Top money.
But wait, in a op-ed piece written and sent out by Superintendent Cox on March 8, 2010 she states, “Georgia law requires the legislature to approve a balanced budget, which I believe is very wise. In these difficult economic times, I do not envy the task they have before them. But just as we should not saddle the next generation with our debt, we also should not take away the opportunity for our kids to receive an education that prepares them for their 21st century world.”
Superintendent Cox, I challenge you, if you truly believe what you said in this op-ed piece, do not accept the federal government’s money from the Race to the Top grant. If you do, you will nullify your own stated belief. More importantly, you will turn control of our educational system over to the federal government in the form of “strings” attached to the money, some of which include:
- Common, national standards
- Common, national assessments to hold teachers/systems accountability for teaching the common, national standards
- A teacher salary schedule that ties teacher pay to how well students perform on those assessments.
There are many other requirements, too numerous to list here. Georgia’s Race to the Top application is 200 pages long.
What’s Georgia’s educational system worth? Apparently, not much to our current administration.
Vote for John Barge, State School Superintendent, in the July 20th Republican Primary and let’s restore hope for our schools.