It wasn’t quite a debate, but Governor Nathan Deal and his Democratic challenger Jason Carter made a joint appearance in Atlanta this morning to speak to educators at the Georgia Educational Leadership Conference. Dave Williams with the Atlanta Business Chronicle was there and filed this report:
This year’s $535 million increase in k-12 spending represented the largest in seven years, money Deal entrusted to local school systems rather than dictate how they should use it.
“They did exactly what I hoped they would do: eliminate furlough days for teachers, go back to 180 days [of school instruction], and – in some districts, give teachers raises,” he said.
Carter, a state senator from Decatur, pointed to other statistics he said show the state’s commitment to public education has deteriorated on Deal’s watch.
Carter said there are 9,000 fewer teachers in Georgia public schools now than when Deal became governor yet more students, while 98 percent of school districts have increased class sizes and two-thirds have reduced instructional days.
At the event, Deal listed the initiatives he has led during his first term as governor, including reworking the HOPE scholarship to provide full tuition to top students in the state’s technical college and university system, along with his funding of internet connections to schools across Georgia.
Carter repeated his pledge to create a standalone education budget and to recruit more and better teachers for the state’s schools.