Perhaps Instead of Embarrassing Herself on TV, She Should Be Here Doing Something About Our Craptacular Schools

But that’s just me.

It’s always fun to see celebrities turn up on game shows – and this season of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” offers up plenty of celebs: Jennie Garth, Gene Simmons, Star Jones, Dean Cain, Kathy Ireland, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jack Hanna and Jeopardy! winner Ken Jennings. Look for Kathy Ireland along with Kathy Cox, Georgia’s superintendent of schools, to compete in the two-hour season premiere on September 5.

By the way, I continue to maintain we need a fundamental overhaul of the school system in the state.

I believe the School Superintendent should be appointed by the Governor and removed at his pleasure.

This is not a partisan statement.* We have a situation, Republican and Democrat, where the school superintendent can cause fundamental problems in the school system **cough** Shrenko **cough** and the Governor can get the blame.

If we’re going to hold the Governor accountable for education, and all of us do, he should be able to hire and fire the school superintendent and control the state school system.

It probably should not be partisan, but it is. So let’s let the Governor really exercise control.

*Definitely not a partisan point. I felt the same way when Zell and Roy were on West Paces Ferry. It just makes sense.


  1. griftdrift says:

    I agree. With the slight change of letting the state school board make the appointment instead of the governor.

    Pop quiz: One candidate for SOE had this same position in the last election. Who?

  2. Icarus says:

    The best way for the people to hold someone accountable is by direct elections.

    I would favor returning the county supers to be elected as well. Then systems wouldn’t be bidding on unproven, unfamiliar, shady characters from out of state that demand drivers, consulting contracts for their friends, and 200 days off.

    BTW, I believe that Kathy Cox had the second highest vote percentage of the statewide candidates during the last election.

  3. Rep Hatfield says:

    “If we’re going to hold the Governor accountable for education, and all of us do, he should be able to hire and fire the school superintendent and control the state school system.”

    Really? You really feel that the governor should ideally have the ability to singularly “control” the state school system? Sorry, but I think that a big part of the problem with the education establishment in Georgia today is that it is already “controlled” by just a few, including primarily the governor (although I’m not pointing a finger at any particular administration).

    Simply put, we need the educational leadership structure to be more directly accountable to the electorate. Take the power out of the hands of the bureaucrats appointed by the governor and give the people a real voice in our education system. That’s when we will have the opportunity for real improvement in our schools, because the average Georgian wants his or her child’s teacher in the classroom teaching, not giving multiple standardized tests; not having to spend endless hours disciplining street thugs that bureaucrat administrators refuse to expel; and not filling out endless statistical reports to confirm what we already know — that our schools need improvement.

    As long as we continue to have appointed bureaucrats running things (with the accompanying bureaucrat mentality), the results will continue to be less discipline, more standardized testing, more “programs” and “initiatives,” and more mindless statistical paperwork for teachers, but no real academic progress.

    While I do agree that we need a “fundamental overhaul” of the state school system, I really believe that the overhaul needs to start with the Georgia Constitution. Members of the State Board of Education should no longer be appointed by the governor; they should be elected by the people. The State School Superintendent should likewise continue to be elected, and we ought to be able to elect local school system superintendents as well.

    With many members of the legislature already screaming for universal vouchers, Georgia just cannot afford to continue to allow its public education system to be “controlled” by a few. Let’s give the people a voice again in how our kids are being educated.

  4. John Konop says:


    In all due respect after the latest screw ups from math 123 to giving out the wrong test I do not think Kathy Cox could get elected DOG CATCHER!

    Why do we need a State school superintendent and the full staff? I would shout it down and let each county superintendent control their own district. Why do so many of you think the answer is with a strong federal and state government?

  5. Icarus says:

    Actually, John, Under Kathy Cox, each county can now apply for “Charter System” status, which enables them to get out from under many of the state regs and guidelines. Kathy took this a step further, and used this to get exemptions from many of the NCLB requirements. This gives GA schools the ability to have more local control than most of their peers across the country.

  6. Icarus says:

    I’m personally not a fan of Math 123, but I believe the charter option exists if counties want to take a different approach.

    I can’t explain the SS testing error(s), don’t know the inside story. They’ve changed the curriculum, tests, and a lot of other things in the last two years. Someone, somewhere dropped the ball there.

    The test scores going down reflect that the tests got harder. Expectations are going up. Students will understand that as they prepare for the tests next year, and won’t just “phone it in”.

    When you look at other non CRCT test scores, they are improving across the board, and GA’s rank has moved from 49 to 46 in SAT scores since Kathy took over. Is that far enough? No. But it’s a large ship that is being rebuilt and turned at the same time. It won’t always be pretty, but it is (mostly) moving in the right direction.

  7. Dave Bearse says:

    I agree with Rep Hatfield that an elected school board is an idea that has merit—perhaps eight-nine elected and three-four Governor appointees, the latter to specific terms say three-four years terms, one or two terms of which would carryover into the next Gubernatorial term (to encourage some degree of independence).

    I disagree however concerning election of Superintendents (at the state level two if the State Board is largely elected). I think education is better served by professional educators/administrators than full time/professional politicians.

    Some consolidation of small school districts into larger districts is in order. Geographically relatively tiny Georgia counties that have small populations would be better served by multi-county districts. The larger districts would have more professional and cost effective administration. Note the consolidation does not necessarily mean a reduction in the number of schools, though in some instances that may make sense.

  8. John Konop says:

    We also must think out of the box and promote joint enrollment programs for vocational and college bound students. If we leverage the current infrastructure of the community college, university, Vo-Tech…system we could have students prepared for jobs or better prepared for college.

    Also this would lower the need for a heavy handed State and Federal involvement while placing students with the best programs and instruction. We could also use the internet for rural students or students with transportation issues.

    Both parties promoting this one size fill all education system is the problem not the solution. Also the concept that if every student must have a college bound education is unrealistic and snobbish. The world needs plumbers, mechanics…as well as professional 4 year degree or higher jobs.

    Also the system is now oriented toward teach to the multiple choice test. This works against creating critical thinking skills.

    Finally how Kathy Cox has so-called raised standards is questionable at best. For example with math 123 we lowered the standard with gifted and advance students and raised for 60 to 80 % of the students. Does anyone really think if a student cannot track toward algebra 2 starting in junior high they should be forced to drop out of high school?

  9. dorian says:

    You wanna know what is really craptacular? People who don’t know anything about teaching saying how it ought to be done.

  10. Three Jack says:

    even better, let’s turn it into a private company with shareholders (parents) allowed to vote on chairman and b.o.d.

    also, maybe kathy with a ‘k’ should have to rely on some of the 80% who failed their end of year tests as backup on the show.

  11. Three Jack says:

    “You wanna know what is really craptacular? People who don’t know anything about teaching saying how it ought to be done.”

    craptacular – teachers who don’t know anything about teaching demanding pay raises despite being the highest paid in america while having the worst results.

  12. odinseye2k says:

    Okay, Three Jack, go back and find actually *data* to support your position of teachers here being paid the highest in America.

    Now, may I humbly submit an interesting story. Seems to have some things both sides would like. We keep public schools public while having a kind of Darwinist accountability system (have a surplus of capacity, continuously weed out those that fail to perform):

  13. Mike Hauncho says:

    I sure hope she wins. If not, it could be a career ender for her if the School Superintendent can’t beat a show called “Are you smarter than a 5th grader.”

  14. Bill Simon says:

    “BTW, I believe that Kathy Cox had the second highest vote percentage of the statewide candidates during the last election.”

    Thus the YEARS of crappy public education in Georgia are reflected in the majority of the populace being ignorant to what true competency is.

  15. Three Jack says:

    okay odinseye2k, here you go. from an amos anderson press release referencing a study by the john locke foundation:

    Teachers pay in Georgia ranks #1 in southeast, #2 nationally{my bad, #2, not #1}

    As a former educator and current member of the House Higher Education Committee and Appropriations (K-12 Education) Committee, I have a natural interest in seeing that our teachers are some of the best paid in the southeast and the nation.

    In some of my previous columns about the FY 2009 Budget, I wrote about holding firm on the 2.5% pay raise for teachers ($160 million). This pay raise is in addition to 3% salary increases awarded to more than half of the teachers through normal progression on the teacher salary schedule. Georgia consistently ranks #1 in highest average teacher salary in the Southeast, and this pay raise will ensure that Georgia maintains this ranking. According to the John Locke Foundation, Georgia ranks #2 nationally in average teacher salary when adjusted for cost of living, pension contribution, and teacher experience.

  16. John Konop says:

    A big problem a school faces is math and science teacher. At an average salary of around 45k a year it is difficult for a school to compete with the private sector.

  17. Romegaguy says:

    Note to self… come back on here September 5 to enjoy the snide comments about the questions Kathy misses

  18. Three Jack says:

    konop, you must factor in cost of living and other factors. 45k + + + average is pretty damn strong in the atl (benefits including healthcare, retirement, etc. plus only working 9 months a year).

  19. Three Jack says:

    sorry odi, i cannot accept data from an organization setup to increase teacher benefits. my source used 2007 numbers and is impartial.

  20. Three Jack says:

    so what konop? point is teachers get paid no matter their performance, georgia teachers at the top of the list with results at the bottom. if you suck as an accountant, you wouldn’t make that six figure salary, unless of course the government hires you because y0u can’t get a job in the private world.

  21. John Konop says:

    Three Jack

    My only point is schools have a hard time finding qualified math and science teachers via the competition with the private market. Why do you think I am wrong?

  22. Three Jack says:

    you’re wrong because you think government is the solution.

    privatize the schools to create free market competition.

  23. John Konop says:

    Three Jack

    Let us compare your position and mine.

    1) I am for eleimanting state and federal control over schools and you support candidates that produced unfunded heavy handed, wasteful and lobbyist pork driven state and federal mandates like No Child Left Behind, Math 123……
    2) Also I have been a supporter of vouchers, charter schools and home schools. But unlike you want I am not for the state and federal government controlling the purse strings and mandates I think it should be on a county level.
    3) You support the wasted dollars supporting the federal and state agencies over education. Do you understand they also create more administrative cost at the local level to track the unfunded failed mandates you support.

    As I have said a big government Republican is the same as a big government Democrat. The only difference is which lobbyist owns them. Look in the mirror and you will see why we are 10 trillion dollars in the red and growing.

  24. jeanniegarcia says:

    Maybe they will ask her a question about Jesus’ Horses (dinosaurs).
    I understand that her husband’s home construction business is about to go under- guess that she needs the money.

  25. Three Jack says:

    konop, i wrote “privatize the schools to create free market competition.”

    curious how that equates to more government control of schools. are you really this stupid or just slamming vodka with your cheerios?

  26. John Konop says:

    Three Jack

    With your plan would you not educate students who do have money for the private school? Who would control the certification of the schools? Do you know how much a private school cost?

    I realize from your postings you have not read much about economics, but I will help you for free. The father of free market economics was for free education for people who could not afford it. Do you know why?

  27. Three Jack says:

    adam smith never met kathy with a k or he would have had a completely different outlook on ‘free’ education (which is far from free konop).

    i know it is hard for you to grasp any function not being controlled by big government konop, but it actually can work.

    imagine parents being involved in their schools because they actually pay for it. bet those schools have accountability.

  28. Bill Simon says:

    After reading the back-and-forth of Konop vs. Three Jack, I think we should return America back to the days of Little House on The Prairie where it was a one-room schoolhouse paid for by the community.

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