Tax Jesus Meets The Press

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While being one of the most engaging, lively speakers I’ve heard lately (and trust me, being out on the campaign trail, I’ve heard more than my share of snoozers), Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson (commonly refered to as Tax Jesus here on PP) emphasized his GREAT Plan as a way to try to begin to approach the appalling situation that is Georgia public education. (Don’t ask me for too many details as I was Twittering during the Atlanta Press Club luncheon while TJ spoke; details are on Twitter, not here.)

In a nutshell, GREAT would even-out the whopping discrepancies between poor school districts and the wealthier ones. Richardson said some districts get  X amount of dollars while others get XXX — for the SAME curriculum.

Seems that “same curriculum” is what needs fixin’, as the Speaker trotted out the appalling stats about our drop-out rate: 51% of our schools here in GA fail to graduate 40% of their students. Not exactly a big selling point to, say, large Asian technology companies, for example. Talk about the batty aunty in the attic no one likes to mention…

He’s right to do so though. Education in Georgia should be our focus. We lose billions in potential revenue with so many dead-beats dropping out/hanging out instead of being productive citizens.

To emphasize just how much education should be on our minds here in GA, Speaker Richardson spent approximately 12 seconds today talking about water. Maybe another one minute on Grady. Virtually zip on traffic.

He then took a few questions from the audience via index cards, and a few more from a press gaggle, whereby his handler got annoyed and made him leave the heat of that little fire.

Tune-in to the 5-o’clocks for their fleeting video, although I did snap a phone shot just for my beloved PP readers.

33 comments

  1. is Glenn’s weight gain coming from Lobbyist meals, alcohol or poor camera angles? Is his fist always clenched like that or is he holding on to the lower part of his jacket like a security blanket? Is that a tan or does he need to consider BP meds?

  2. shrike071 says:

    Oh – and he was clenching his fists to avoid throttling the reporter who was grilling him about a DOT board nominee.

  3. Still Looking says:

    So let me get this stright. We’re going to improve education by substituting a sales tax for a property tax?

    Wow, fixing education was easy! Another miracle from the Tax Jesus.

    When are Republicans (and Democrats if they have any influence) going to get serious about improving education, water and transportation? Let’s talk about solutions first and then funding.

  4. Rogue109 says:

    “51% of our schools here in GA fail to graduate 40% of their students.”

    Sounds like a good reason to try vouchers on a broader scale!

  5. Bill Simon says:

    “51% of our schools here in GA fail to graduate 40% of their students.”

    Why is this? BECAUSE 100% of our schools are run by people who, in the majority, graduated from UGA with a sub-sub-SUB-standard education, and therefore are completely clueless when it comes to educating ANYONE.

    And, thus, the cycle of plain dumb ignorance continues for generation after generation after generation.

    But, hey, “Go Dawgs and to hell with education, we got ourselves a FUTBAWL TEEM!” in this here state.

  6. tedsimmons says:

    TJ’s fist is clenched because he’s wound up tighter than a two-dollar watch (1970 dollars). If a reporter was questioning him about the DOT board, then the reporter was doing his/her job better than TJ does his. GREAT is imbecilic. How did members of the House vote this guy Speaker?

  7. eburke says:

    Giving the State more control over education by centralizing the revenue and redistribution formulas will not really do anything for the quality of education in the state. Also with the tendency of the current house leadership to want to punish those who don’t do thier bidding, most of the poor counties with Democrat legislators will have less funds than they do now.

  8. I think i understand Glenn’s pink cheeks now, he was blushing. Dr Gena Abraham caught him and some good ole boys with their pants down last night and my favorite Mid-Ga Rep, Allen Peake was sitting right in the middle of them:

    http://www.insideradvantagegeorgia.com/restricted/2008/January%2008/1-23-08/Gena_Over_Promised12319644.php

    “(1/23/08) Gena Abraham made her first appearance as DOT commissioner Wednesday before the joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee, and faced hot questioning about why she cancelled a local road project her predecessor had approved.

    “I LOVE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN GEORGIA, BUT I DON’T LOVE ANYONE ENOUGH TO GO TO JAIL FOR THEM,” she said, arguing that in the past, the agency over-promised what it could deliver to local governments in a given year, hoping many of them wouldn’t acquire the necessary right of way in time to ask for the bucks. “I HAVE TO HAVE THE MONEY TO BE ABLE TO SIGN A CONTRACT,” she said.”

    oh how the times they are a changin boyz…

  9. fishtail says:

    Gena may be onto something. Lots of fraud in the past…how do you think former DOT Board Member Johnny Gresham made a living as a “consultant’ to real estate developers needing help from State DOT? Good thing for him he got defeated last year…but the statute of liumitations is 5 years.

  10. Dave Bearse says:

    It says a lot when the Speaker doesn’t seem to realize that that one school district getting X and another XXX is changed by revising the distribution formula, not collection of revenue….

  11. Redcatcher says:

    Boys and girls you could take the entire Georgia budget and spend it on education and you would get the same results you have now. If the importance of education is not stressed in the home, then you get what you get.

  12. Bill Simon says:

    Hat tip to Redcatcher for getting it correct…which brings me BACK around to my original assertion, GrandOld Dawg: You folks don’t give a CRAP about education, thus the use of the word “Dawg” as part of your moniker.

    You worship and respect football more than you do educating people. You don’t give a sh*t about quality or standards, just winning a football game. That pretty much explains everything about why this state has been run so crappily for DECADES.

    Don’t tell me to “shut up,” Tinkerbell.

  13. Kirk Carter says:

    Bill, I hate to bring down the hobnail boot of truth here…

    The UGA school of education is ranked #26 in the country according the US News and World Report. Its #17 among public institutions… and its the #5 school for education in the South (behind Vandy, Texas, UNC, and UVA).

    I’d hardly say that the teachers UGA produces are underqualified. You must be a Tech fan who is still bitter about almost a decade of football beatdowns.

    The thing to blame for the education disparities is the lack of funding in rural counties and their lack of qualified teachers (from schools such as Georgia Southern, GCSU, Georgia State, and all the other small colleges across the state).

  14. GrandOleDawg says:

    I started to go with “GrandOleAcademic”, but thought that was a bit long. “GrandOleBookworm” doesn’t really command much respect. “GrandOleUndergradwho’sreadmanyleatherboundbooks” was my personal favorite, but it’s was longer than “GrandOleAcademic”, so it was out.

    And for the record, in my 12 years of pre-college education, I had exactly 3 teachers from UGA. All 3 were outstanding educators.

  15. Icarus says:

    I think we may have found the root cause of Bill’s irritability:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,325461,00.html

    A Cambridge University study has found that the more sex partners students have, the lower their grades, the Daily Mail reports.

    The online study was published in the student magazine Varsity and compiled results based on more than 1,000 Cambridge University students’ answers.

    It found that medical students were among those with the most sexual partners, on average eight, in contrast to mathematicians, who had the least, with almost half being virgins.

    “It’s obvious that the mathematicians haven’t found the winning formula yet,” said Mark Fletcher, Students Union president at Cambridge. “But it’s good to see that Doctors and Nurses is still a popular game.”

  16. Bill Simon says:

    Kirk,

    Interesting statement you have regarding school funding. The problem is that in order for that claim to be valid, you would have to prove (i.e., demonstrate to me via documented studies) that the states that are in the top 90-percentile bracket of producing students that DO score well on exams AND complete college at higher rates than Georgia, are ALL funded at a higher dollar per capita of students than Georgia right now.

    My beef, you see, is not a comparison on a county-by-county basis within Georgia. That is, actually, a ridiculous exercise to engage in.

    My beef is why does Georgia continually rank in the bottom 10% in this country compared to other states?

    Instead of the knuckleheads who sit in the state education department OR the legislature OR the governor’s policy office just examine financing disparities among the 159 counties of Georgia, they SHOULD be spending their time examining why the states at the TOP of the academic success totem pole do so well, and why? What standards for teaching do THOSE states have in place that allow them to produce such stellar achievement in their public schools?

    You seem to believe if you just throw enough money at a problem, it will get fixed. That’s typical of the same short-sightedness prevalent in our government (regardless, by the way, of whether the Dems or the GOP is in charge).

    You (and our esteemed elected officials) love to make assertions, but they are not based on anything concrete. Just assertions that “sound good” and get printed in the newspaper.

  17. Holly says:

    Sigh. Bill. I think I’ve said this before, but here it is again:

    Georgia reports all SAT scores for the “rankings.” The top states only allow a certain percentage to take the SAT. The big test for them is the ACT, which is not popular here. But if Georgia only allowed it’s brightest kids to take the SAT, we’d have better scores, too.

    Georgia does have lots of good things going for it education-wise. Demonbeck will soon be here to call me a socialist, union-supporting Democrat, but here are some bright spots:

    1. Georgia has the 7th most difficult curriculum in the country.
    2. We’re number one in computer availability in public school classrooms.
    3. We have one of the best gifted programs in the country.

    Silly us, thinking public education was about giving everyone an opportunity instead of only showcasing our elite population.

    Now, understand me. I’m not saying that Georgia education has no problems. It does. But it’s not like Georgia kids turn out dumber than the rest of the country.

  18. Bill Simon says:

    Holly,

    How does all that explain the DROP-OUT RATE from college, especially the 50%-plus who drop-out/flunk-out after supposedly making the “B-average” for HOPE?

    I doubt the stats that the “Georgia has the 7th most difficult curriculum in the country” are based on the actual curriculum, but the results of the exam-takers (i.e., what percentage of test-takers pass and fail). Too many of these studies base themselves on the outcome and not the actual input into the curriculum.

    Sorry…don’t mean to argue with you. I know you make good cookies that I do not want to ever be denied from being given a chance to try. 🙂

  19. Icarus says:

    I think Holly is implying something along the lines of “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

    It doesn’t matter what the curriculum is if a student either doesn’t want to learn, or if the parents and the student’s other influences don’t care if he or she learns.

    I’ll save the specific socio-economic arguments for people who care enough to look up some stats.

  20. Holly says:

    No.

    The truth is that Zell Miller’s HOPE grant was a wonderful idea, but greed has killed it and turned it into little more than an entitlement.

    Parents and, by effect, students, think they are entitled to this program merely by being Georgia residents and having their children show up for classes. If a student is underperforming, it can’t be because the child hasn’t turned in a single homework assignment or passed a single test during the grading period. No, it must be because the teacher’s grading standards are too tough.

    Parents pressure the administrations, who in turn tell the teachers to loosen up on the students, so now days must be spent in English classes reading books that should be assigned for homework – but the only way to ensure the students “read” the books is to read them out loud to them in class. And then, grade on a curve to make sure that all those students who weren’t paying attention when the book was read to them still have a fighting chance at a decent grade. Oh, yes, and don’t do anything tricky like give a fill-in-the-blank or essay test! They can’t handle that, you know. Oh, and find something that will interest them. Like group coloring projects. Wait. . . why are you trying to teach them Latin and Greek roots? Those aren’t approved vocabulary words. Stick to the lists! Have you given them their required character education of the week? That’s got to be at least one-half of one class period this week, you know. We must make sure they know what “responsibility” means. . .

    And the majority will get Bs for their efforts!

    And that, my friends, was my college prep class.

    And we wonder why they can’t cut it in college? Seriously?

  21. GOP Girl says:

    I’ve been looking for Demonbeck too. I emailed him and didn’t get a response a while back. I think he’s MIA.

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