ATLANTA, GA. – Obtaining formal education is so important to the future of our great country that it cannot be underestimated. An educated public is a more reasonable public. They are more willing to listen to reasonable arguments and to interact positively with those they disagree with, for the most part.
President Obama has said he is in favor of providing more incentives to students for the furtherance of their college education, and he recently put important economic issues to the side to give a speech at a local school. Both Georgia gubernatorial candidates-Democrat Roy Barnes and Republican Nathan Deal-spoke to the topic of education in Georgia today, each emphasizing what education meant to them. They insist they are as supportive of education as the current administration in Washington.
As a former University System of Georgia employee and one previously employed in a college of education program, I was eager to see how each man felt, specifically, about education. Would they be on the same bandwagon as President Obama-pro education and the need to properly fund and keep teachers-or would they see it as an area needing to be further reduced. I did guess that they would both at least say they were pro education and would spend money to that end.
Democrat Roy Barnes: first in family to obtain college degree
Former governor Roy Barnes, a democrat, shared how education had impacted his family, personally. He told of his brother being the first to actually graduate high school in his family, providing insight into a background similar to many rural families of the South in previous years. This showed he could empathize with less learned individuals and the hard road it is at times to obtain an education.
He went on to say that he had the distinction of being the first in his immediate family to obtain a college degree. Personally, I can relate to that, as I hold that distinction within my family, too. But being able to relate to a candidate due to a similar life experience is not the best measure for deciding which candidate to vote for on the issues at hand.
Republican Nathan Deal: two parent teacher home background
Nathan Deal, the republican candidate in the gubernatorial race is the better candidate, in my opinion, in regards to Georgia’s educational future. Deal hails from a family that boasts two school-teaching parents for the state. He has the advantage of having grown up in an educated home in which he learned first-hand the challenges that face teachers in Georgia classrooms.
I can easily envision Deal ending his school day listening to his parents talk at the dinner table about their challenges that day in the classroom. He likely witnessed his parents grading papers of students not making the grade and of their concerns for students with potential to learn in spite of their economic disadvantages. Nathan Deal has one more advantage over his competition for governor that makes him a more worthy candidate as far as I am concerned, too. Deal’s wife is also a school teacher.
Best candidate for Georgia: Experience really is important
That means Nathan Deal didn’t just grow up with two school teachers as parents, living a life all about education. Deal lives the same life at home now. So who better to understand the challenges that still face furloughed teachers than the man who has one potentially in his own home? I believe education is too important for us to not keep it a priority in Georgia.
Both candidates for governor say they will, but Roy Barnes may just be talking the talk. Nathan Deal can’t afford to do that: his wife’s career depends upon his making good decisions for the educators in our state. His respect for his retired teacher parents-and all they taught him-will just cement his commitment to Georgia’s educational future. Our children certainly deserve no less. Their very future will depend upon it. I know my own daughter’s does, as she has continued the tradition: she is employed by the University of Georgia System, now, herself.
Source: Barnes and Deal square off on education, AJC.com