ATLANTA, Ga. – As a former member of the educational establishment in the state of Georgia, I’m familiar with terms like vouchers, furloughs and the like. So when Nathan Deal and Roy Barnes began discussing those topics recently during their gubernatorial race, I was all ears. And I knew enough about the subject matter first-hand to know which candidate made the most sense.
Former governor Roy Barnes, the democratic hopeful seeking to regain the coveted seat in the state capital, stressed how much he felt Georgia’s educational system had suffered during the past eight years.
“I think what we’ve done in shorting education over the last eight years is not just depriving a generation of children out of opportunity, but it has harmed our economic development as a state and as a region.”
Just in case you don’t know it, Georgia has had a republican governor for the last eight years, and it is the same one who beat Roy out of his second term possibility. Thus I let that quote by Mr. Barnes fly on by, as I didn’t feel it had much merit. I’ve known too many people who have benefited educationally in Georgia over the past eight years, my own family and friends included. I don’t think Georgia has shorted any child educationally since Roy wasn’t in office, and I resent his implying as much.
Democrat Roy Barnes wants to end $50 million in vouchers, divert funds elsewhere
Roy Barnes also discussed school vouchers. Barnes wanted to end $50 million such vouchers to public schools and divert the funds elsewhere, such as in the prevention of additional furloughs of teachers. But the problem with that position is two-fold. First, school vouchers level the playing field for parents with children enrolled in public educational systems. It allows them to have another option if that particular school isn’t up to par in educating their child. Second, eliminating the competition never makes you better. But eliminating the incentive for teachers and school systems to do better can adversely impact students.
America’s free market system works because it allows such competition. Public school vouchers achieve the same result. They enable parents who want to encourage their child to do well in school to have the financial means to send them to other schools that will support that desire if their current school isn’t trying hard enough. If the school doesn’t become more attentive to the educational needs of their child the parent can shop elsewhere and the school won’t “make the sale.” I’ve personally seen where this has made the difference for a child, educationally.
Barnes wants power out of parents’ hands and in his
Barnes wants to take that power away from parents. He wants to limit their options so he can ensure teachers and other educational staff that they will not have furlough days any more. Personally, that is the exact opposite of any successful company. You don’t reward poor performance by a teacher or school system and take away a student’s educational future to do it. That’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, and doing it when Paul may not deserve your effort. To make matters worse, those parents pay the taxes for the school funds dished out each year to them via vouchers any way. It’s their money to begin with.
My daughter is personally affected by furloughs within the educational system. But she would rather do without that one day’s pay to know that a child is getting a good education. I went to the school of my choice, as did she. Shouldn’t other Georgia children be afforded the same ability?
Nathan Deal deals fairly with parents and educators
Nathan Deal acknowledged he was concerned about teachers having to be furloughed. But Deal drew the line about eliminating a parent’s ability to decide where their child is educated just to try and put a bandage on Georgia’s bleeding economic wound. He logically surmised that sooner or later you have to find a more concrete solution to combat furloughs than robbing Peter (vouchers) to pay Paul (teachers). And he is right.
Source: Do jobs fuel education, or does education fuel jobs? AJC.com