The worst political reporter in Georgia digests Nathan Deal’s initial education plans:

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Nathan Deal wants to let teachers decide when to give required standardized tests in their classrooms and to promote students midyear if they’re ready. […] Deal also said he favors greater efforts by schools to tackle childhood obesity by serving locally grown vegetables and requiring more daily exercise.

That’s pretty thin gruel for a subject that consumes 56% of the states budget (pdf warning), in a state where teachers are being furloughed. Although, for someone who has devoted a paltry 137 words to education on the “vision” section of the campaign site, assuming any expectation at all for Deal on this subject is kind of silly. For comparative purposes, Deal devoted 341 words to illegal immigration – something he would have very little influence over.

On the substance, though, the early promotion idea feels at best irrelevant and at worst just plain stupid as a formal policy statement. For instance, my wife and I had our oldest daughter promoted a grade level over a decade ago after moving into a new school district. The old district had a split curriculum, and our daughter was going crazy covering the same materials she had already learned. If the local school systems have that flexibility today, exactly what does Deal’s plan do?

Also, the rationale as described in the article – to keep kids from becoming disinterested and dropping out – doesn’t apply at all (to my situation or the 5th/6th grade example Deal himself uses in the story). Actually, I could think of a number of reasons that cause kids to drop out of school, and being too smart for the grade level doesn’t seem likely to be on the list. Perhaps I’m just missing something.

If this is a preview of what to expect when Deal brings “teh educashun”… color me unimpressed.


5 Responses to Promote me or I’m dropping out?

  1. How come Walter Jones is the “worst political reporter in Georgia?”

  2. JMPrince says:

    Sure I’m a big fan of flexibility, and yes, the entire educational process & prospect is being severely distorted by the needs, requirements & production of the damnable newer testing regimes.

    Still I’ve got a ‘traditionalist’ way of addressing some of the horrible drop out situation. And helping the unemployment situation a bit too. Any student who does not pass the tests AND who is failing their final formal grades not only has to make it up in summer school, but is required to act as a ‘para pro’ for the next upcoming class until they do so. That might move quite a few of them on a bit more sprightly. No, not all, but this is also one of the much forgotten & hidden secrets of all those storied traditional/old fashioned 19th century ‘one room school houses’ out on the prairies & rural areas etc. One harried teacher did not teach all of those multiple classes of kids, their older students Helped! And thus improved their own knowledge and imparted some to their younger siblings and neighbors too. Tell a ‘slightly’ marginal or unmotivated student that they’ll have to remain behind to help do a thankless job they know they’d probably not sign on for? Everybody will now be better motivated to see that they succeed. And yes, they’d be paid a ‘training wage’ while doing so. Which with close to 20%+ youth unemployment would create a win & win all around perhaps. JMP

  3. EGaluszka says:

    Yeah, I don’t see any reason to prohibit further flexibility when it comes to grade-level in primary school, but when you reach High School everything is credit-based to meet national education standards. Drop-out rates have nothing to do with it.

  4. Loraine S. says:

    Over 15 years ago I experienced the exact same thing the commentator wrote about. Fortunately, Governor Roy Barnes was able to try and do something about it , but some Georgians voted against their best interest and Governor Purdue turned back the clock on education. We cannot allow Mr. Deal to continue the downward spiral in education: Health Care, Jobs, etc… We must vote for former Governor Roy Barnes

  5. Peter Tondee says:

    Note to the editor: We’ve got to fix this apostrophe spacing issue. It’s driving me crazy!