Friday, July 16, 2010

So, who will be our next state school superintendent now that Brad Bryant won't be a contender?

DeKalb's own Brad Bryant, recently appointed interim state school superintendent after Kathy Cox's exit did not get the needed 44,000 signatures required to add his name to the ballot as an Independent. So, where does that leave us?

The AJC recently posed these four questions to the candidates. You can read their responses on Maureen Downey's "Get Schooled" blog by clicking on their names below.

1. How would you manage a mandated 10 percent cut in education spending?
2. How will you restore public confidence in test results?
3. Do you support vouchers for public education?
4. Do you support pay for performance for teachers?


Republican John Barge

Born and raised in Cobb County, John has earned three advanced degrees, a master’s degree and a specialist’s degree from The State University of West Georgia and his doctorate degree from the University of Georgia.

Currently, John serves as the Director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction with the Bartow County School System. John is the only candidate in this election who brings leadership experience in rural, urban and suburban school systems in addition to experience at the state level with the Georgia Department of Education as the State Director for Career-Technical and Agriculture Education to the table.

Visit John Barge's website by clicking here.


Republican Richard Woods

Born in Pensacola, Florida, Richard graduated from Fitzgerald High School in 1980. He holds a Bachelor's degree in secondary education social studies from Kennesaw State University and a Master's degree in educational leadership and supervision from Valdosta State University. Since 1988, Richard has been a part of the Irwin County School System. He taught in the classroom for fourteen years, coached various sports, and was awarded the honor of being the 1992 Irwin County High School Teacher of the Year by his peers. During that time as well, Richard had the opportunity to make presentations around Georgia on social studies content, technology in the classroom and peer mediation. He served as an assistant principal, principal and the K-5 curriculum director of Irwin County Elementary School for seven years. Richard is currently the principal over the Pre-K, alternative school, home school, and hospital homebound programs fro the Irwin County School System.

Visit Richard Wood's website by clicking here.


Democrat Joe Martin

A Georgia native, Joe served in Vietnam, where he worked for the central intelligence command. He was promoted to the rank of Captain and received the Bronze Star Medal for his service. Joe then returned to Georgia and launched a successful business career that has centered on the development of major public-private real estate projects. He worked to promote economic development as President of the Atlanta Economic Development Corporation and later as President of Central Atlanta Progress. He then coordinated community improvements related to the 1996 Olympic Games. Joe has been inducted into the Georgia State University Business Hall of Fame. As a young parent and a leader in a neighborhood effort to improve the local schools, Joe ran for the Atlanta Board of Education in 1977. He was elected and went on to serve for twenty years, including a stint as President.

Visit Joe Martin's website by clicking here.


Democrat Beth Farokhi

Dr. Beth Farokhi is a native of Augusta, Georgia where she attended public schools. She double majored in Elementary Education and Health and Physical Education at LaGrange College, received a M.A.T. from Emory University, and a doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Georgia. Beth taught elementary school in Cobb County for six years while completing her graduate degrees in education. Following the completion of her master's degree from Emory University and her doctorate degree from the University of Georgia, Beth began a career as an administrator in the College of Education at Georgia State University where she was honored for exemplary long-time service and dedication to the college. In 2004, Beth created the Georgia State University Leadership Academy for Women, a year long program focused on professional and personal skill development. She was a Co-Principal Investigator for the Integrating Gender Equity and Reform grant, a National Science Foundation three year collaborative with five Georgia higher education campuses.

Visit Beth Farokhi's website by clicking here.


Democrat Brian Westlake

Brian is an award winning high school social studies teacher with over a decade of experience in Georgia public schools.Brian enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation from high school. He worked in military intelligence where, among other accomplishments, he led a team of American and Norwegian military personnel on a NATO exercise above the Arctic Circle. Brian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Master of Science degree in sociology from Florida State University. He also received a Juris Doctor degree from Georgia State University’s College of Law and a Master of Public Administration from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

Visit Brian Westlake's website by clicking here.


A Mother said...

I don't get to vote but okay, I get to pretend. They all managed to give politically correct answers without straying too far from their opponents' answers in questions 2-4. On question 1, they were all sufficiently vague that I can interpret their answers to mean whatever I want them to mean.

They are all going to do more with less. I didn't find the kind of meat in any of their answers to make a clear decision. It seems that question 1, handling the very real 10% budget cut, would be what separates them if I had to make a decision on just this information.

Barge would reduce state's level of involvement - That's a NO for me.

Woods talks about an audit and effective spending - Good answer, tell me more.

Martin talks about more efficient use of resources - Good answer, tell me more.

Farohki will work very hard on increasing the budget for education (Good answer to that part)but nothing about the answer to the question of how will you handle the very real budget cut.

So, I would want to hear more from all of them, especially Martin and Woods. I really can't make a decision without hearing more from these two.

It's late. Maybe I will research all of them tomorrow and see how I would vote based on the information that is out there on them right now.

I get to change my mind as things progress.

Anonymous said...

For the last 8 years, in my opinion, we have had a state superintendent of education who has been one of the most politicized elected officials at the GA capital. She spent the first 6 years of her terms kowtowing to the Bush administration and the monster formally known as NCLB. Anything to garner attention from the people in DC seemed to be her motto. Then, when her personal financial situation unraveled, I believe she began looking for a safe place to land with a high salary. She couldn't have returned to the classroom and made the kind of money she was making as state super.

I haven't yet figured out who I am voting for state super yet. Heck, I don't even know which primary I am voting in yet, republican or democrat.

What I do know, though is that from a public education perspective, I believe the most important race is actually that of Governor. Unless we have someone who is willing to admit that we have a revenue shortage, things will be to grim for to many more years.

Anonymous said...

I'm supporting Farohki. She is the only candidate that admits mandatory testing has not improved education and it not a solution for poorly performing schools.

Anonymous said...

Not to discount the State Superintendent's race, but has anyone heard how the search for Dekalb's Superintendent is going?

I just did a Google search on "Outstanding School Superintendents", and here are some of the names that popped up.

1) Dr. Jerry D. Weast, Ed.D-- Montgomery County Public Schools,MD

2) Dr. Mary Czajkowski, Ed.D--Agawam Public Schools,MA

3) Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr., Ed.D--Bridgeport Public Schools,CT (this gentleman sounds very interesting!)

4) Mr. Ed Pratt-Dannals--Duval County Public Schools,FL

Ya think the Board might consider checking out these individuals?

A Mother said...

I didn't see Westlake until later. He talks about responsible cuts and common sense solutions. Sounds good but tell more.

I would add him to my "Ones to Watch" list and find out more of what they mean by what they are saying. These 3 have potential but we are not there yet.

I'm sure they will have lots more to say.

Anonymous said...

Why do these people have to run as a democrat or republican? for the money I guess...

Last time I checked I dont think a Pre-K student classified themselves as a Rep. or Dem.

I teach all students whether they are both or none of the above. So why do we have to affiliate ourselves with being a Rep or Dem?

The kids are all getting screwed if we dont put the right person in office regardless of political affiliation. I just dont want an Sock Puppet for the Federal Government

Be True to Your School said...

@ Anonymous, July 16, 3:12 PM

Here's why I am NOT supporting Beth Farokhi for State Superintendent:

I sent this question to "Tell Beth" on the Open House section of her website:
"Here's what I need to know -- what can you and will you do about the DeKalb County School System? Please be very specific. My vote hangs in the balance -- and I will forward your answer to everyone I know."

After a long wait, here's the empty answer she sent back:
"As State School Superintendent, specific issues would be looked at and resources made available to assist where needed. There are several statewide organization that can also provide support and resources to work within the Dekalb System, e.g. as the GA State Schools Board Association.

"Sincerely, Beth Farokhi

"Dr. Beth Farokhi
2010 Democratic Candidate
State School Superintendent"

Clearly she is uninformed about Georgia's third-largest school system and perhaps the biggest education issue going on in Georgia right now. She also sounds uninterested. And clueless. I did tell her in advance that I would share her answer with everyone I knew.

Politically "correct", vague non-answers are no longer correct and, especially this year, they just won't cut it.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we have a candidate that has business experience and educational experience? That seems to be the best of both worlds. Why is one necessarily exclusive of the other? I had extensive experience in both (now retired). My business experience gave me great insight when I returned to teaching. I focused on what skills (social and academic) that students needed to be successful. I don't see a single candidate that has straddled both the business world and the educational arena. This is very disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Be True

There is nothing that the state Board of Ed or superintendent can do right now. Laws and policies must be changed to empower them. A new law that goes into effect would allow the Governor to ask the State Board to get involved at the local level if SACS accreditation is impacted.

Any candidate that answers you differently isn't being truthful.

By the way, I don't support Farokhi at all. She is to much of an administrator for my tastes...

Anonymous said...

I hope that DCSS gets a great superintendent. Not one of the candidates for the state superintendent makes me swoon!

Anonymous said...

Be true...the Georgia DOE has very little control or say-so over local boards of education.

Be True to Your School said...

@ Anonymous 8:45 PM

Yeah. I know you are right about that. Clearly some changes are warranted. I guess that I was just looking for evidence of concern and a more thought-filled answer. Her answer felt like a brush-off.

It's a moot point now, though. I read Get Schooled and could never vote for Beth Farokhi.

Anonymous said...

And then there is this, the Friends and Family plan exists everywhere.

From the AJC.

With appointment of cousin, Perdue's stamp on ports board to last years

Gov. Sonny Perdue recently appointed a cousin to the board of the powerful Georgia Ports Authority. Perdue’s former chief operating officer also became the ports’ vice chairman. And the new GPA chairman, also a Perdue appointee, once served as the governor's campaign manager.

See the full article here

A Mother said...

I was starting to lean toward Westlake but he's out of the race. We'll be deciding between Barge and Martin.

They'll both have a lot to say before November.