Kathy Cox’s big showbiz break

Don’t forget to watch our School Super tonight on the season premier of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader.” Not everyone is excited at Kathy with a K’s appearance:

“I’m sure she’s smarter than a fifth- grader, but I question the judgment of such a decision and the message it sends about her priorities,” said Tim Callahan, spokesman for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the state’s largest nonunion organization for educators.

Cox said she accepted the invitation to go on the game show because it is family-friendly and promotes education.

“During my tenure as state superintendent of schools, class sizes have been lowered, a more rigorous, relevant curriculum has been implemented and students have more options for learning,” Cox said in a written statement. “The 24 hours I spent filming ‘5th Grader’ certainly did not distract me from that important work.”

Atlanta viewers of the show will get a dose of partisan politics in Georgia.

State Rep. Rob Teilhet is running an ad during Friday’s episode criticizing Cox for being on television “while students are struggling here in Georgia.” The Smyrna Democrat’s 30-second ad calls for smaller class sizes and beefed up pre-kindergarten programs to address the state’s education woes. Cox is a Republican.


  1. Icarus says:

    WSB-TV’s producers aren’t smarter than a 5th grader. During last night’s 6:00 news, they showed a picture of Cathy Cox for this story.

  2. DMZDave says:

    I don’t know whether Kathy Cox is smarter than a 5th grader but I do know the state of Georgia under her leadership has gone form 47th in the nation to 47th in the nation which would seem to indicate that our voters aren’t smarter than 5th graders. That said, the political ad by State Rep Teilhet and the comments from the smarmy little spokesman for the Georgia Professional Association of Educators are not helpful or serious either.

  3. GOPeach says:

    Kathy ( with a K) Cox will win $1million and donate it to the GEORGIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS!!

    This is what needs to be done with lottery money!
    The winners should give it to back to the schools!

  4. Icarus says:

    Actually DMZDave, we’ve gone from 49th, to 46th, to 47th. It’s not something to jump up and down about, but SAT scores aren’t just created during the high school years. Those tests reflect 12 years of school, plus the learning that should occur in the home in the years before formal education.

    Kathy’s first term was spent almost exclusively reinventing the curriculum. It’s been judged by folks that do that sort of thing as being in the top 10 in the country. The implementation of this has only been occuring over the past couple of years, and admittedly, hasn’t gone off without a hitch. But the standards have increased, and the lower level tests scores (K-6) are improving faster than SAT scores. In time, these kids should help push the SAT scores up as well.

    The DOE staff has not been operating as business as usual for the past 6 years. It is now staffed with professional educators, not bureaucrats. While I don’t support every decision that has been made, I still believe that they are doing a good job given what they had to start with.

  5. John Konop says:


    I have had numerous peoples approach me about running against her. The interesting part is they are mainly not associated with a party as much as concerned PTA people across the state. As I told them I have business commitments that have me tied up. Yet I have made it clear I will help out in anyway I can to promote what Casey Cagle ran on not what Kathy Cox implemented.

    We need to promote a joint enrollment program for vocational students as well as college bound students with the appropriate curriculum. I hope and pray someone will step up or Kathy Cox wakes up. I was approached about meeting Kathy Cox about the solutions I have been promoting and told them I would agree and even help her if she was on the same page.

    I hope you understand that winning an election means nothing to me it is about finding solutions. I really do enjoy and fell blessed for what I do for a living. The only reason I do what I do politically is to have a small voice to help our community and country. Even though we do not agree all the time I have come to appreciate that you seem to have the same goal!

  6. EAVDad says:


    Actually, the state of Georgia does have joint enrollment for “vocational” students (they’re called “Career, Technical and Agricultural Education — or CTAE — students now).

    According to the DOE website, about 7,000 students were enrolled in such a program in 2007. Not sure about 2008. It’s called “dual enrollement” with the state’s technical colleges.

    Just FYI

  7. John Konop says:


    You are correct but math 123 makes the vocational students ineligible and puts advance students in math out of the system because it does not follow the University system. We must coordinate our educational tracks with vocational schools and Universities.

    Also if we let the requirements flow by needs of the vocational program for training instead of a one track college bound system the drop out rate will drop. Also SAT scores will rise as well as standard testing because students will be tracking correctly.

    This will also create more tax revenue because students will have better skills for higher paring jobs. It will save tax payers dollars by better utilization of facilities, time and instruction.

    Finally vocational schools are required to hit job placement and graduation rates or they become ineligible for student loan and grant programs. This creates some checks and balances because the vocational schools cannot afford to become a worthless degree factory.

  8. Three Jack says:

    any bets on how far kathy with a k makes it tonight?

    if she follows ga students, she will flunk out by 4th grade.

  9. Three Jack says:

    bonus – kathy ireland is the other contestant tonight.

    wouldn’t it be great if the good looking kathy is smarter than a state school superintendent?

  10. Three Jack says:

    konop for school superintendent? just what ga needs, another big government, big spending liberal running the school system.

    which party would you signup with konop if you graced the state with your educational expertise?

  11. John Konop says:

    Three Jack

    The concept I have been promoting is supported by many on both sides. In fact I really just expanded on what Casey Cagle ran on but my plan just coordinates the idea.

    Increasing graduation rates with better skills and saving tax payers dollars is just common sense!

    As far the job I think it should be appointed by the Governor and we should have one staff not two with accountability in one office.

    As far as party other than you most think of me as pragmatic Republican but this is about what is best for our state. As I said I have not given much thought because of my current situation.

  12. tb says:

    Some things have improved, but a lot of things have not Icarus.

    Special ed, special ed, special ed and IDEA implementation! Where is it? Where is the oversite?

  13. tb says:

    John Konop…what would be your position on corporal punishment in public schools…I am just curious. I am trying to get an open letter to newspapers about this issue. I know I know, I may get in trouble here. But I have never once had to hit my children to get them to mind. I don’t think schools should be allowed to either. Discipline is not easy and I don’t think schools should take the easy way out.

  14. GreenAllTheWay says:

    So she goes on national TV promoting education, is the first to ever win $1,000,000 on the show, thereby making a positive impression for OUR State, and is giving te money to three underfunded schools…and you did what in the last year that approaches this?

  15. atlantaman says:

    I stopped watching after the question, “What two letters are used in the abbreviation for Doctor?”

  16. GreenAllTheWay says:

    Tim Callahan, John Konop, and Rob Teilhet sure have a lot of egg on their face tonight! Teilhet…waste more money on TV ads while she just personlly donated $1,000,000 to public education in Ga. Glad she has the job and you don’t!

  17. atlantaman says:

    I had to go back in and watch. Kathy is the first $1 million dollar winner in the shows history.

    First Palin now Cox, what a great week for the GOP.

  18. atlantaman says:

    Well we can cross $1 million off the list, only 599 million more to go. Maybe Cagle can go on the show next.

  19. Bill Simon says:

    Doesn’t that $1 million have to FIRST be paid to the state revenue department? I don’t believe the school system can have a check written directly to it.

    Maybe Sonny will capture that $1 million to bolster the state reserve fund.

  20. CTAE Director says:

    I certainly hope that John Konop takes a course in basic grammar before HE represents our state schools in any public forum.

    As a CTAE (what Konop continually refers to as vocational) Director, I have seen great strides in the efforts to promote dual enrollment opportunities for CTAE students, which is what I think Konop is really meaning to reference. There is a difference between that and the joint enrollment program mentioned in prior postings. Most of this work has come with the implementation of career pathways in our secondary schools. This career focus has already helped make the case with the University System of Georgia to articulate credit with secondary courses- a form of advanced placement credit, with the first course being in the field of education.

    Before you criticize what’s being done in the school systems in Georgia, investigate the efforts, and be current on the facts! Also, make sure when you make judgement calls, you are comparing apples to apples…. statistics can be deceiving, and the media can twist most any of them to make the story!

  21. John Konop says:


    Many vocational students are having trouble tracking to the algebra 2 requirement. They are either fail the CRCT test or drop out. It also hurts them for eligibility for hope scholarship money. And the repeating of grades, summer school, drop our rate and waiver promotion only hurt tax payers and students in the long and short run.

  22. John Konop says:


    My wife was a behavior adjustment special educational teacher. The problem is similar to the math 123 one size fit all solutions do not work the same with every child. I do think the parents should have to give permission, but I do think it does work with certain kids while it could have negative affects with others. And this is a situation a parent should be involved.

    I also think public schools, private schools, home schools, charter schools, vocational schools and colleges should work together not against each other. I think they could place students in better situations and share resources while creating a win/win situation.

    The best solution is parents who stay involved with their children. The sad part is schools cannot solve the ills of society. Schools provide opportunities!

  23. tb says:

    Well, that’s where I believe paddling has no place in public schools. It’s just odd that it’s not done or allowed in juvenile justice detentino centers but allowed in public schools. Paddling or even the threat of is a throwback to ignorance, more common in lower income families/ communities and really the cheap and easy way that teaches nothing. Positive behavior interventions work. Sometimes kids have no place safe to go to and the only safe place for them is school. By all means, give them consequences, but please tell me how justification can be given to hit a child with a wooden board by an adult. There have been serious injuries in some cases. I worked in e.r. as a nurse and have seen it.

  24. tb says:

    special ed kids are more apt to be paddled, as noted by the united states dept of education website. Is it right to be paddling children who have yet to be diagnosed with autism? Or are undergoing diagnostics for related disorders, and the school is unaware or parent is unaware and allows the paddling and school pushes paddling or implies that if parent doesn’t allow paddling, they are the bad parent. sorry.. disagree..stuff like this happens all the time.

  25. Bill Simon says:

    And so, “Green” demonstrates that he/she is just like the other education socialists that occupy the state legislature and the state school superintendent’s office that BELIEVE that all it takes is more money spent on edu-macation to improve it for the kiddies.

    I’m thinking Greenie is an education lobbyist of some type who will be getting some of that money thrown his/her way. He/She is just a little TOO enthusuastic over much ado about nothing.

  26. GreenAllTheWay says:

    nsaw Bill. I’m just a realist that see a bunch of whinners mad someone did something positive and succeded, verses hiding behind a computer blog complaining and slanting news. Maybe you are just mad it was wothwhile or that she suceeded, or that she is a woman, or all three?

  27. GreenAllTheWay says:

    Nope, not at all. But you can’t even admit that all of the failures in the State do not rest on her either. I guess your solution is to turn the schools back over the the demorcats, like Calyton Co? Oh, but you also don’t want to all the State the power to take over poor districts.

  28. tb says:
  29. John Konop says:


    I posted my solution.

    We must coordinate our educational tracks with vocational schools and Universities.

    Also if we let the requirements flow by needs of the vocational program for training instead of a one track college bound system the drop out rate will drop. Also SAT scores will rise as well as standard testing because students will be tracking correctly.

    This will also create more tax revenue because students will have better skills for higher paring jobs. It will save tax payers dollars by better utilization of facilities, time and instruction.

    Finally vocational schools are required to hit job placement and graduation rates or they become ineligible for student loan and grant programs. This creates some checks and balances because the vocational schools cannot afford to become a worthless degree factory.

    Why do you disagree?

  30. GreenAllTheWay says:

    As long as we allow Unions and Tenured morons to teach our children, none of these solutions will acheive anything. You can give monkeys millions, provide them with computers and free college educations (oh wait we do that one) and NOTHING will change. We must start with individual TEACHER and SCHOOL system accountability. Until then, no program, no Voc TEch, No College, NOTHING will matter.

  31. GreenAllTheWay says:

    First I have no idea what Kathy Cox believes about. Never said I have. Second, I hae run for nothng. So again, John, you prove my point. You assume facts and make up your own truth. Grow up.

  32. GreenAllTheWay says:

    Joh, I am not wasting any more time with you. You are obviously a short sighted politico..spend more money on more programs…government and politicians are the only solution and dumb down everything so more people can pass some test, instead of holding accountable those teaching our children. I agree hold politicans (elected for only a short time by the way) accountable, but also the school systems and teachers. Go back to your government control world John, I am sure it holds a bright future for you.

  33. John Konop says:


    I am sorry you got so upset. I am do not understand your comment. Kathy Cox the person you support or work for is a big supporter for the pork filled failed NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. This was the largest expansion of dollars and control ever from the federal government. In fact most of what I advocate is local control and parents having choices. Also anyone reading this blog or mine would tell you no one has been more outspoken about what a bad idea NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND than me. Please help me understand your last comment.

  34. Icarus says:


    Kathy’s job is to comply with NCLB, not support it. She has no choice. It’s non negotiable. She’s requested waivers, assisted in getting charter status, but at the end of the day, must comply with it or lose funding. It’s time to quit blaming her for federal programs she is saddled with.

    BTW, UGA is kicking the crap out of Tbow light.

  35. GreenAllTheWay says:

    Yet again John your assumptions have lead to misstatements again, which only demostrates why no one should listen to anything you state. Agin, I do not work for Kathy Cox. I do not work as a political lobbiest. I did not support her in her election, I have never met her. I have never talked to her. Stop assuming and stating as fact your lies.

  36. Bill Simon says:


    All you do is “hide behind your computer screen” and bleat about all of the “free advertising” Georgia gets.

    “Free advertising” or “costly advertising” are both worthless if the product you’re selling is useless to people.

  37. GreenAllTheWay says:

    Bill, are you bad because a woman was successful at something? I guess you believe that 100% of a politican’s time should be at work, and in fact in this case, you beleive her job was not promoting public education or securing funding for public education, but I guess this female politican belonged at home with her babies? Or, I guess she should have spent that 24 hours of her time teaching in Swaunee, or Sylvester or Sillycook? Accordin to ratings, 27,000,000 people watched the head of public education for one hour talk about Georgia and education and doing your best and not giving up…yp that is GREAT FREE Advertising…our children are not a worthless product. Sorry you feel that way. The worthless product are the systems at allow teachers to be paid for not doing their job. I guess in yours and Johns world, when a drunk driver kills someone it is car companies fault for not driving that car.

  38. John Konop says:



    Since you refuse to point any lie I told we can only assume you were not telling the truth when you said I lied.


    Kathy Cox publicly supports No Child Left Behind bottom line. Kathy Cox not only implemented the failed and pork filled policy she supported it!

  39. John Konop says:


    Do you understand what or means?

    “Kathy Cox the person you support or work for is a big supporter for the pork filled failed NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. “

  40. GreenAllTheWay says:

    Try and read the above John. Try. It is there. In black and white. I know the truth it really difficult for guys like you, but it is stated as clear as possible above.

  41. John Konop says:


    At the end we can only assume you had no facts and you were embarrassed supporting Kathy Cox on this blog. I will give Icarus credit we may agree on this topic but he does not spew hate instead of debating facts.

  42. Bill Simon says:


    You said this: “Bill, are you [m]ad because a woman was successful at something? ”

    You’re too stupid and a clear embarrassment for the female gender.

    I support (and HAVE supported for a very long time) the following female leaders in this state: Sue Everhart, Chairman of the Georgia GOP and Karen Handel, Secretary of State.

    Kathy Cox is a flaming idiot, regardless of her gender.

    YOU are also a flaming idiot and just as big of a stupid little whining little sh*t like Konop is when he gets on his “racist” soapbox.

    YOU think if a male criticizes a woman that he is “against her gender.” Go burn your bra. Go march with Jane Fonda and Bella Abzug. You’re too damn stupid. Period.

  43. Icarus says:


    There’s a comment from 9/5 @ 9:27 that you may have missed. It was held up in “moderation” as it was from a new poster, CTAE Director.

  44. John Konop says:

    CTAE Director

    I made it clear I am dyslexic many times so making fun of my grammar is rather strange coming from someone in the education field. I would think you would celebrate the fact I have overcome my handicap without any help from the government and became a successful executive in the financial service industry.

    The sad part is as a bureaucrat you avoided my point and do not deal with the direct issue at hand. If you are the CTAE Director and cared about students you should be screaming higher and louder than anyone about math 123. You are either out of touch or just covering up the issues.

    I have talk to numerous school board members, teachers, parents, administrators and all know the problem with math 123 making students ineligible for dual enrollment opportunities, increasing drop out rates and increasing cost via summer school. And you know math 123 failed in NY for similar reasons before you implemented it here. And finally the woman in charge of the roll out of math 123 resigned before full implementation because of all the issues.

    As far as the success of the nationally ranked gifted math program in Cherokee you supported ending I have an interesting sample statistic for you if you understand the concept. My son class took the SAT as a 7th grader. He scored in the top 25% of gifted students across the country and had a middle of the road score for the gifted classes at Freedom middle school. I would say if you understood anything about statistics that you would know that is strong indicator that program is working.

    And I find it even more disappointing your lack of defending your teachers who have unfairly had hate spewed at them on this thread while attacking me instead. In my company the buck stops at my desk! In your world it looks like point fingers, attack and avoid the truth.

  45. CTAE Director says:

    First of all, dyslexia deals with the problems with phonetic awareness. The errors I see have nothing to do with the disability of dyslexia; however, I do applaud you for overcoming the same learning disability that MANY have overcome with great success; for example, Hans Christian Anderson, Agatha Christie, and W. B. Yeats, all famous writers. Saying that, I will admit that I never saw in this stream where you said you were dyslexic. It must have been posted in some of the other hundreds of postings that you have on this site. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to read all of this! Had I not been specifically looking for news about Supt. Cox’s performance on Friday (since I had no time to watch it myself), I would have never had the pleasure of reading your – thoughts??. I must say, however, that curiosity got the better of me, and I did check to see if you’d responded to my posting because I was concerned that someone with so much self-proclaimed political influence had no idea what was going on in the educational system of Georgia, and your response has done nothing to allay my fears.

    As for the math 123 issue, I was not addressing that in my original posting at all. If you will read what I wrote, I was speaking to your view of our “vocational” programs. I just wanted to make it perfectly clear that there is great value in CTAE courses, and great strides have been made and are being made by the DOE, under the direction of Kathy Cox, to improve educational opportunities for our students.

    By the way, in one of your postings you stated, “Many vocational students are having trouble tracking to the algebra 2 requirement. They are either fail the CRCT test or drop out.” I should point out that “vocational” students are not considered “vocational” until they are in the 9th grade- not even then under the new graduation rule. Students stop taking CRCTs in the 8th grade. Once again, your facts and statistics are flawed. Of course, my Doctorate of Education from UGA could have taught me incorrectly in any of the 6 statistical analysis courses I took during my residency in the program.

    With all of that said, I would like to tell you that I don’t disagree with EVERYTHING you’ve said. In fact, I do see lots of problems that need fixing, but it is going to take all stakeholders pulling together to make it happen, and I do see progress in many of those areas. I just wish you’d make sure you have your facts straight before you try to make an argument. Someone who doesn’t know any better might actually believe the things you print.

  46. Icarus says:

    CTAE director,

    Welcome to the Pundit. Hang out with us for a while. We normally try to have a bit of fun with our politics, but anyone that’s new in the last week or so would never, ever guess that.

    ” do see lots of problems that need fixing, but it is going to take all stakeholders pulling together to make it happen, ”

    Most of the folks, including John, will agree with that statement. From what I know of John, he’s a reasonable fellow and enjoys a spirited debate. I’ll look forward to the two of you sharing the facts as you see them, and hopefully help us all better understand and appreciate both where we are with our GA education system, and what opportunities we may have to pull together and improve it.

  47. John Konop says:

    CTAE Director

    You are a flat out liar or cheated to pass. Any honest and trained educator on dyslexia would diagnose my handicap as being dyslexic immediately. I cannot believe you would insult dyslexic people on purpose and miss-diagnose the problem on this thread. You know the biggest problem for dyslexic students is people like you putting us down instead of treating the issue and helping others understand. You should be ashamed of yourself! This is not about who is right but what is best for the students! God help us you have anything to do with children.

    • John Konop // Sep 6, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    At the end we can only assume you had no facts and you were embarrassed supporting Kathy Cox on this blog. I will give Icarus credit we may agree on this topic but he does not spew hate instead of debating facts.

    • John Konop // Sep 6, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    …..Icarus credit we not may agree….
    • John Konop // Sep 6, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    sorry I did it again
    …..Icarus credit we may not agree….

    Also if a student is having trouble tracking and staying eligible from junior high with math 123 one would only conclude the problem would get worse. I guess they did not teach deductive reasoning skills with your PHD program.
    And if you understood statistics why did you not complain about the obvious errors in Kathy Cox’s presentation? We all know now that Cherokee, Cobb and North Fulton are ahead on the national average. Why do you think it was proper for Kathy Cox to use statistics to tell parents in Cherokee the students were behind nationally when in fact she used state wide numbers instead of scores from our community showing them way ahead?

  48. John Konop says:


    I am sorry but I have had this handicap for my 46 years. And when I was in school they called my lazy…..because of this problem. I went through testing and my parents were frustrated with their high IQ child with reading and writing problems.

    My father will tell you I was a child he feared most about ever getting ahead. I for years hid this problem and feared writing memos or anything .

    The best therapy for dyslexia is reading and writing. Which is how I became so well read which helped me get ahead. I also blog for the same reason.Also they say dyslexic managers are good at dealing with people and not micro managing all gifts.

    To make a long story short I started going public when my wife started teaching behavior adjustment students many dyslexic around 16 years ago. I still work with kids via friends because I have been very public about this issue.

    In dealing with the kids the hardest part is the put downs from adults and other students. As I said I feel very blessed because in some ways this problem has been a gift. I am sorry if you or anyone thought I over reacted.

  49. GreenAllTheWay says:

    CTAE there ae a few rules in here. Whatever John and Bill say is true, no matter how many errors in proven. Second, you are not allow to type anything they disagree with. THEY ARE GOD and this is their kingdom!

  50. tb says:

    Incredible story. Do you know kids who have disabilities today are still thought as lazy. Shame, isn’t it.

  51. John Konop says:



    Dyslexia and Writing

    A teacher’s attention is often drawn to a dyslexic child or student by their ‘messy’ work – short words spelt wrongly, poor handwriting, words crossed out, lack of paragraphs, and incomplete work. Unfortunately, teachers too frequently come to the conclusion that the child cannot be bothered to make an effort, or is simply stupid. It can come as a surprise to discover that the child is actually quite intelligent, and teachers often conclude that the child must, therefore, be lazy.

    This is far from the truth. Dyslexic children, teenagers and adults suffer from a range of difficulties which, even with the greatest effort, make writing the most difficult activity they are asked to perform.

    There are four main challenges for a dyslexic child:

    1. Spelling
    2. Sentence punctuation
    3. Handwriting
    4. Sequencing ideas


  52. John Konop says:

    CTAE Director

    Do you plan on apologizing to students, parents, and teachers for abusing your position defending Kathy Cox over telling the truth about dyslexia? This issue is not about you or I and for you to abuse your status to promote incorrect stereotypes about this handicap hurts our communities. And since tax payers pay your salary I would hope you would at least use your position to tell parents and students the truth so they will seek help. Also I would hope you would promote teachers understanding of the issue not stereotypes that make the problem worse.

    The PP is read by many people with a large voice from activist to public officials. I would hope you understand how you have crossed the line of public trust in your position.

  53. tb says:

    CTAE director,

    How about a sitdown meeting with my parent coalition? Would love to pick your brain. I will introduce you to special ed families who have been CUT OUT of georgia public education despite federal laws that mandate these kids get educated. I will also introduce you to good educators who were PUSHED out of the system because they were giving too much ‘help’ to special ed children and those with learning disabilities

    COME ON NOW, you up for the challenge? Bring it on.

Comments are closed.