Don’t Take It

This “Race to the Top” money is bad news.

By the end of September, $400 million in federal Race to the Top funding will be allocated to Georgia, but a breakdown of how the money will be divided still is up in the air, state officials say.

“The only thing we know for sure is that half will come to the state and half will come to the districts,” Gov. Sonny Perdue’s spokesman, Bert Brantley, said of the distribution among the 26 state school systems that signed agreements to participate in Race to the Top reforms.

We shouldn’t take it.


  1. Doug Grammer says:

    The less money we take from the federal government, the better off we will be. The problem is that they keep taking money from us, and it’s human nature to want to get some of it back. Bottom line, I agree with Erick on this one.

    • hannah says:

      Not only does the public corporation often referred to as the federal government belong to us, but it’s our money that’s being distributed. Are there not more children to educate and should not teachers get paid?
      What’s your problem? That accepting a grant creates an obligation to actually spend the money as intended?
      Yes, I know–“obligation” is a fearful term. It calls into question the notion that from cradle to grave nobody owes nothing to anyone.
      Just because some people can’t remember who changed their nappies, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

      • Ambernappe says:

        I will keep it brief – what in the name of goodness are our children being taught. Uncle Ob…I mean Sam will nurse them from daycare through graduate school – keep in mind that the White House now controls student loans…..logic (critical thinking here).

    • Doug Grammer says:

      Nope, but I can only speak for myself. I may disagree with Nathan Deal on this issue, but Monds agrees with me. My opinions are probably better known than…what’s his name? Has he got more than $1,000 cash on hand yet?

      • “Nope, but I can only speak for myself. I may disagree with Nathan Deal on this issue, but Monds agrees with me.”

        Still working on that command of the English language, eh? Would you like a moment to use the edit feature? 😛

        • Doug Grammer says:

          I’m fairly certain my grammar is correct, and it looks as if I am correct about your candidate’s having about $1,000 cash on hand. Otherwise you would have said: “Gosh, no! He has $4,000 (or whatever the figure may be) cash on hand! This is the most money a LP candidate has ever raised.”

          • If you go back and read… you say you don’t agree with Monds and you disagree with Nathan Deal. But Monds agrees with you. Maybe you’ve been watching too many George Bush videos lately?

            • BoogDoc7 says:

              Poor reading comprehension there. I completely understood what he is talking about. You’re mangling what Doug wrote.

              There’s nothing about disagreeing with Monds there at all.

              • Not poor reading comprehension… let’s walk through it…

                Me: “In other words, you both disagree with Nathan Deal but agree with John Monds.”

                Doug: “Nope, but I can only speak for myself.”

                So if the response is “nope”, to me that translates to “no” or a negative response. Perhaps it translates to a different answer in another language. I can’t think of one off hand.

                If someone does “disagree with Nathan Deal but agree with John Monds” then why would that person respond in the negative?

                I understood what he was talking about, but just figured I’d pick on Grammer’s grammar. 🙂

                • Doug Grammer says:

                  You said “you both agree…”

                  I replied, speaking only for myself. Erick can speak for himself.

                  I disagree with Deal on this issue and there maybe others that I disagree with him on. However, I’m going to agree with him much more than I disagree with him.

                  I don’t agree with Monds, Monds agrees with me. My views are more widely known than his just from posting here. Monds has no means to get his message out and other than reading what other posters on here state his positions are, I wouldn’t know what he stands for other than by reading the LP platform. His views are irrelevant to me, therefore, I don’t take them into consideration. I am not agreeing with him, he just happens to agree with my position on this issue.

                  • “I don’t agree with Monds, Monds agrees with me. My views are more widely known than his just from posting here.”

                    I’d say that’s incorrect. While you may comment on a small political blog, John has been on tv, on the radio, in the newspaper and in online news. He has a website and social media presence. Just because you don’t see the coverage doesn’t mean it isn’t there. What percentage of Georgians do you really think read Peach Pundit?

                    • Doug Grammer says:

                      I have been on TV, in the newspaper, on the radio, and in online news. I have a website and a social media presence. Monds has about twice as many FB friends as I do, but I’ve met each and every one of mine.

                      I’d also bet you that in a poll of 500 likely voters across the state of Georgia, between Monds and myself, I’d get more votes for PSC, which he ran for and got over 1,000,000 votes. The average voter has completely forgotten about his previous run, if they ever knew about it other than looking on election day. They also don’t know he’s running for Gov. now.

                      The only reasons I’d beat him is not that I am known, but because I have a more likeable name and I would be first on the ballot. If we put an R beside my name and a L beside his name, I’d beat him 2 to 1. You may not like it, but you know it’s true.

                      What % of Georgians read PP? 1% of 1% of 1%, maybe? There might be 10,000 Georgians who hit PP once in a year, if that. I’m not saying that I am anything extra special, I’m just pointing out that Monds isn’t really special at all.

                    • “If we put an R beside my name and a L beside his name, I’d beat him 2 to 1.”

                      You could put Satan on the ballot with an R beside his name and people would vote for him in this state. Surely you don’t think Alvin Greene won his primary in South Carolina because of his qualifications, do you? I would wager that most voters are not informed voters.

                      Secondly, how many times have you been on TV, in the newspaper, on the radio, etc. in the current election cycle? My guess would be not as much as John Monds, as I’ve never seen your name out there anywhere besides here.

                      On Google for both of your names on the first page…

                      Doug Grammer – facebook,, linkedin, twitter and peachpundit for you.

                      John Monds – Vote Monds website, Wikipedia, image results, YouTube results, twitter, independent political report,, facebook, peachpundit and ajc coverage posted yesterday. I didn’t even know you had a website. And yes, while John may not know the 1700+ more followers that he has than you do on twitter, I wouldn’t expect Deal or Barnes know a majority of theirs either. John is the most followed Governor’s candidate for Georgia on Twitter. I guess you can probably claim that you’re the most followed district 9 whatever you are for the GOP on Twitter, but it just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it…

                    • Doug Grammer says:

                      To recap and talk about things that are important in this election cycle: Monds isn’t really special at all.

                    • Monds may not be special, but it takes a special kind of Republican to introduce themselves as the Democratic nominee for Governor…

                      “After a slight slip of the tongue when he nearly introduced himself as the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, the former Democrat turned Republican used his three minutes to highlight a few of the top issues…”


  2. John Konop says:

    The state of Georgia does not have a clear strategic plan to reduce the drop-out rate. All we will do is throw more money at a problem with no real solutions.

    I would suggest the following:

    1) Target at risk kids in 6th grade and give them an option to be put on a skill program track rather than forcing into a college track or out program.

    2) Let the technical schools and colleges use the facilities at the public schools at night to increase access and lower cost

    3) Let the technical schools and colleges set the requirements for graduation

    • Harry says:

      Like a lot of other states, the Georgia educational powers may be planning to use a large part of the grant money to shore up the teachers pension fund….

      • Harry says:

        Of course, they’ll not be so direct about it. It will go to various budget line items that can then free up funds to support their pension plan.

      • NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

        It has to go to such specific things that I don’t think they can do that. If I understand it right, most of it will go to the development of databases to track students and teachers, with half of the money going to more bureaucracy. Not to mention the fact that after 2015 (I think) the states that took the money have to do whatever the feds say or lose every dime of federal funding.

      • Lady Thinker says:


        Teachers get paid for 8 hours a day but work 12 in order to be available for PTA’s, before and after school in-house detention, Saturday detention, phone calls and meetings with parents of non-performing kids, grading papers, and updating ANGEL, syllabuses, and lesson plans. I am sure they have more than paid for that pension fund with donated hours to get the job done.

    • 1) Target at risk kids in 6th grade and give them an option to be put on a skill program track rather than forcing into a college track or out program.

      I agree with this somewhat. 6th grade is too early, however. 8th or 9th is more appropriate, as long as it is before the kids have the option to drop out, but asking a 12 year old to make a decision on their future would be unwise.

      • Jace Walden says:

        Concur. When I was 12, I wanted to be a scientist. Under John Konop’s “decide at age 12” system, I would have ended up going to Georgia Tech.

        Any system that produces such a harsh outcome should never be considered.

    • If it is true that the state of Georgia has no clear plan to address drop out’s, then that truly is a sad state of affairs considering how long Georgia has had major issues with educational outcomes….

      Knowing the relationship between educational outcomes and economic development it says even more about the slate of candidates we have been dealing with….

    • free… with strings attached.

      It’s not much different than someone offering you $1k and all you have to do is cut off your arm. (But you get to pick the arm.)

    • BoogDoc7 says:

      When does the government redistribute money without strings attached?

      Any time the government takes responsibility, it also takes control.

  3. Baker says:

    Are you saying we shouldn’t take it because we don’t really know the destination of the money yet?

    @David: I’m as skeptical of Federal give-aways as anyone on here, but my understanding was that once the money is doled out, the Feds are completely removed from the decision making process on how it is spent. There is some accountability follow-up but as for how schools and the state spend it, it’s up to them.

  4. Baker says:

    I’ll add that part of my fear would be what it always is with Federal money. The state and schools will use the money to temporarily plug budget holes and then when the money runs out we’re right back where we are now. The never-ending budget shell game between states and the Feds.

    • ACCmoderate says:

      From my understanding, and I’m not claiming to be an authority on RTT, the money isn’t going to be used for budget purposes but will be used to impliment new standards, educational improvements, and a greater emphasis on math and science.

      In order to get the money, Georgia had to lay out a plan of how to implement the funds, I’m sure that if they had just told the DoE that they were going to plug budget shortfalls with it, they probably wouldn’t have gotten the cash.

  5. chefdavid says:

    I for one am glad to Carolyn Bradford (sarcastically) speaking for us in Dade.

    The other alleged favoritism issue involved Bradford Painting, which received a paint bid from the system. No favoritism was shown here either, as the only two bids submitted were by Bradford Painting and an out of state company and was lower by $17,000. Also, board member Carolyn Bradford abstained from the vote accepting the low bid.

    “Carolyn Bradford did not vote and without the contract, the school system would have spent $17,000 more of taxpayers’ money I don’t know how you could have explained,” Addis said.

    They Just raised our taxes, hired a bunch of coaches(one David Swader was a board member who resigned just two months before with two years left on his term), talked about signing on to the lawsuit against the charter school system,and now want to hire a new superintendent who will work with the old one for six months before taking the rains. I say bring on the grant that brings some accountability it is obvious that all the citizens must care about is coaches.

    Here is an interesting hulu video on this subject.

  6. ACCmoderate says:

    I agree Erick, lets keep marching our schools backwards!

    I know that its money from the big bad federal government, but if its something that MAY help our children and improve the quality of their education, shouldn’t we give it a shot? It’s not like things can get any worse than they are now.

    • But if most of it goes to bureaucracy (things / people whose costs will remain after the money is gone), do you feel a *possible* short term improvement is worth a long term downturn?

      • ACCmoderate says:

        David, you’re operating under the assumption that all bureaucracy is bad bureaucracy. If the money is used to hire education officials in order to implement new teaching standards or a better curriculum, I’d say that’s worth the investment.

        I’d be more willing to take the risk in the hopes that this money can spur long term improvements to the state of education here in Georgia.

        • I wouldn’t say all bureaucracy is bad bureaucracy… probably most though. I’ll grant you that past results don’t guarantee future performance, but I can’t imagine that with the same types of people at the helm much is going to change.

  7. CobbGOPer says:

    I’m as much for less government as the next guy, but if we don’t take it, they’ll just give it to some other state. It’s not like we’re going to get a tax refund or anything. Have to disagree; if they want to send the money to Georgia, I’d rather have it than see it go to California or God forbid Alabama. Though I admit I don’t know if those states are also competing for this money, just making the point that I’d rather see Georgia get that money than it go somewhere else while we get nothing but a tax bill.

    • CobbGOPer says:

      And I could care less whether it improves the school situation, though of course I would hope that it would do so, even if it’s only a small improvement. But if we’re going to pay taxes, I’d like more of it to come back here instead of some other state.

  8. Progressive Dem says:

    If the basis for Erick’s and other’s reason to turn down the RTT money is this news story in Dade County, they are working with next to nothing in facts. Anyone making a judgement from that article is clueless about the state’s plan for using the money. The state has completed an elaborate set of goals and tasks. The document and workplan that Georgia prepared is very detailed (> 200 pages long). I suggest that before anyone is qualified to say whether Georgia should accept the money for RTT, they read the document and become acquainted with the facts on how Georgia will spend the money, rather than a flimsy newspaper story. Georgia’s education leaders have determined they can put the money to good use, but apparently Erick’s visceral and knee-jerk reaction to public education and federal money trumps professional advice from experts put in place by Sonny Perdue, Kathy Cox, other Republican leaders and the people of Georgia.

    The RTT program has very conservative elements in it. States set their own goals and means to achieve them. The feds are requiring the states be accountable for reporting how they’re progressing and spending the money. It allows states to tailor solutions to fix their specific problems. It allows states to be the laboratory for change, rather than the federal DoE deciding what needs to be fixed, establishing goals and dictating programs. In a state that is consistently near the bottom in educational achievment, turning down this program is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

        • John Konop says:

          That is the problem from both sides of this debate. The failure of No Child Left Behind was that it was a goal without a plan. If you make people write-out a plan most rational people will see the problems. That is why any smart manager requires an implementation plan before funding the idea.

          • Progressive Dem says:

            The feds didn’t say to the states give me a plan to improve graduation rates. They said here are 6 broad areas where we would like to see innovation and reforms; what would you do in your state in these areas that will ensure improved student achievement? They asked states to devise goals, plans and tracking systems in those areas. Although improving graduation rates was not a specific criteria for competing for funding, it is plausible that Georgia education leaders believed that improved graduation rates will be an outcome. I agree that it should be an important goal for Georgia, but there are no doubt a handful of complimentary education goals needed to improve the quality of education in the state.

  9. chefdavid says:

    Easy on Dade County now. I have beat them up enough on a comment awaiting moderation. (I put to many links in it.) The biggest thing that may help our district is the strings attached to it. Maybe then there will be some accountability with the school system and maybe then things will improve. I joke about them hiring so many coaches but at least with coaching if you don’t get results…..

  10. Scott65 says:

    OK…All you guys who think government is so evil, please state what you think government should be.

  11. Pine Knot says:

    DG has more credibility than Monds IMO. He is flagged more in a search engine search because he is running for office in a third party that is interesting, but he doesn’t have a chance. Up here in North Georgia, Monds has no support. No one has heard of him. I have been to various political FR’s and events in the last few weeks including tonight, and whether I am in Blairsville, Blue Ridge, Ellijay, Hiawassee, Young Harris, Jasper, or Clayton (the most Conservative parts of the state) this Monds guy or any other LP canidate has no chance. We do not have a perfect canidate (we rarely do), and it’s either Deal or Barnes. My vote goes to Deal. The state has already thrown Barnes out of office once, and we have redistricting to deal with. (Well apparently I hit the wrong “reply” now my post is at the bottom and doesn’t respond to the correct conversation)

  12. Lone Star Georgian says:

    Erick–you’ve done a poor job of articulating in this post exactly why you think it’s a bad idea to take the money. Even the pull quote doesn’t shed light on it, for me at least. Is is possible you decided Race to the Top was a bad idea before you knew much about it?

    How much more conservative do you expect this program to get? It’s competitive and forces changes that Republicans have been seeking in the states for generations. Also, in case you missed it, the money is being spent in part on a data management system that would identify good teachers and bad teachers. That way, we can fire bad teachers like some metro Atlanta districts have done during recent RIFs.

    Unless you’re an uncompromising ideologue, Race to the Top has few conditions conservatives should be arguing with. Of course, if you’re too rigid to even consider an idea offered by someone you don’t like, maybe the money should be spent on educating you.

      • Lone Star Georgian says:

        Are you joking? If this money came with a plan on how states should spend it, you’d be moaning endlessly about how the federal government is telling the states what to do.

        Unless I mistake your general disposition, you’re for states rights and local control. Well, here it is. A blank check to spend as OUR state sees fit.

        Again, since Republicans control virtually all levers of state government, what are you so worried about?

        • John Konop says:


          How about the state submitting a real plan first before we spend the money? I find it bizarre how both sides complain about blowing money and yet they have no discipline on how to spend the money.

          • Lone Star Georgian says:

            Of course that’s a good idea. It’s just common sense to come up with a plan for spending money before you spend it. I think everyone can agree on that.

            But certainly you wouldn’t recommend rejecting $400 million for Georgia kids because you have technical concerns with how the budgeting process will work, right?

            • John Konop says:


              Yes I would suggest that every part of government needs a rational plan before they spend the money, if not you end up with fiascos like math 123. I heard the same argument about how Kathy Cox got the money from the government for math 123 and why would not spend it. And any rational person will tell you math 123 caused more damage and cost us way more money in the long run than the cash we got from the federal government.

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