A maverick to the end. Republican John Barge endorses Democrat Valarie Wilson for school chief.

Republican John Barge again breaks with his party and endorses Democrat Valarie Wilson for state school chief.

Republican John Barge again breaks with his party and endorses Democrat Valarie Wilson for state school chief.

Republican John Barge again breaks with his party and endorses Democrat Valarie Wilson for state school chief.

With his noon endorsement of Democrat Valarie Wilson today, Republican State School Superintendent John Barge is leaving his office in the same manner he arrived and served  — bucking a GOP establishment that regards him as an outsider and a renegade.

“Valarie Wilson is the only candidate in this race for state school superintendent who understands the real issues facing our public education system in Georgia,” said  Barge in his statement of support.

“Education leaders also know that, despite the rhetoric, they have taken massive hits to their budgets over the last four years. Valarie Wilson has and will continue to be a staunch advocate for the return of resources to our public schools. Valarie’s commonsense approach to this job is exactly what Georgia needs to continue making improvements in our public schools. That is why I wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy for state school superintendent,” he said.

Barge’s endorsement drew this response from Richard Woods, the Republican candidate for state school superintendent:

It’s been interesting to see my opponent’s stances change during the course of this campaign in line with the positions that I’ve held since 2010. It is no surprise that yet another change occurs today as my opponent accepts the endorsement of current State School Superintendent John Barge.

By accepting Barge’s endorsement, my opponent is endorsing four more years of pursuing many of the failed policies that we’ve seen coming out of the GaDOE. My opponent is endorsing the continuation and expansion of a failed testing model, a teacher evaluation tool that overburdens our teachers and overemphasizes test scores, a broken relationship with the governor and General Assembly, and a top-down approach to educational decision making.

While some focus on enhancing their political fortunes or career opportunities, I am focused on providing solutions to the challenges facing education in Georgia and articulating a plan that supports our students and teachers.

This election is not about Republican or Democrat, it’s about the future of our children, the teaching profession, and education in Georgia. It’s about whether we chose to continue to embrace the failed policies that are negatively impacting our classrooms, or we chose to adopt solutions that set our students and teachers up for success.

I call on my opponent and John Barge to both pledge that he won’t be hired as an employee, contractor, or consultant to the department should she win.

In endorsing the Democrat for the job of running the Georgia Department of Education, Barge again breaks rank with his party. In 2012, Barge came out against the charter school amendment that allowed the state to not only approve charters over the objections of local districts, but to funnel local money to those schools. The amendment had the strong support of the GOP leadership, including Gov. Nathan Deal.

Barge said he could not support the amendment because it diverted funding from schools struggling with years of state budget cuts.

“Until all of our public school students are in school for a full 180-day school year, until essential services like student transportation and student support can return to effective levels, and until teachers regain jobs with full pay for a full school year, we should not redirect one more dollar away from Georgia’s local school districts,” he said.

Barge’s ongoing criticisms of  legislative cuts to education made him a hero to many educators, but he paid a price. He alienated Deal, who controls education spending. The governor decimated the DOE’s administrative budget and marginalized Barge and his agency.

A disillusioned — the governor’s office would use the adjective “delusional” — Barge unsuccessfully ran against Deal in the GOP primary for governor this year. Barge said he ran “to force the conversation on education funding.”

“A number of your districts were close to bankruptcy — very, very close,”  Barge told school leaders this summer at a conference. “And when I posed the question to the governor, ‘Does anyone have a plan what you will do with bankrupt school districts?’ the response was quick: ‘Charters can just take them over.'”

Barge’s independence may trace back to the unique circumstances of his election four years ago. When Barge decided to run against GOP incumbent Kathy Cox, few thought Barge or any of the challengers, including the current GOP nominee Richard Woods, stood a chance.

And then Cox shocked everyone by announcing she was leaving Georgia for a think tank in Washington just weeks before the July primary, leading to the election of a political unknown. But it wasn’t an easy battle for Barge, who met resistance from the GOP leadership. Alarmed over Barge’s anti-Race to the Top stance, Gov. Sonny Perdue, who was instrumental in Georgia winning the $400 million grant, handpicked another candidate. That candidate fell short of  the needed signatures to get on the ballot as an independent.

Barge won the state school superintendent’s post with little help from Republican power brokers. That both liberated and limited him. Yes, he had few political debts to repay, but he also had little political capital to call upon in tight spots.

 

 

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54 comments
Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Awwww.  How cute.  Barge thinks anybody gives a damn about who he prefers.  Barge was a one-hit wonder whose only refrain was mo' money, mo' money, mo' money.

The only reason the politically correct media give him any attention is his quixotic jousting with fellow Republicans.  If Barge had endorsed the Republican, I doubt we would be blogging about him.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

For whatever reasons, John Barge has made the right decisions that will keep public education, and the means of serving all of the students in Georgia as equitably as possible, moving forward.

I support Dr. Barge's thinking, and I support Valerie Wilson for Georgia's Superintendent of Schools.

JKonop1234
JKonop1234

I know and respect John Barge. All the down ticket races have the GOP hopeful up by 8 points....BUT, this race.....The cornerstone issue in this race is common core....I do think common core needs some reform...I think that is what the majority of rational parents think....But this campaign by the anti common core people trying to link it to communism, agenda 21, Muslim brotherhood.....has pushed soccer mom vote by a 16 point swing away from the GOP.

SouthGATeacher
SouthGATeacher

The reality is that as long as we have the QBE the funding will not be what is should.  We need thinkers and leaders that know how to manage what have while solving this problem. Of course, that takes leadership. The progressive policies of tax and spend are generally not the policies we need at the moment. We need real leadership that knows how to maximize a dollar. Those that have been in the trenches know how to do this. Experience matters. Frame of reference matters when you have taught large class sizes and spent your own money on supplies. I think I will vote for the guy that can identify with this. All Wilson has done is sit on a board. 

Astropig
Astropig

@SouthGATeacher


"All Wilson has done sit on a board. '


That deserves amplification. If you put out the candidates qualifications and resumes WITHOUT names or party labels attached, Woods would be the overwhelming choice of educators.

Astropig
Astropig

Let's keep this in perspective.Here's a splash of cold water for you people that think that this is somehow important.


1) Probably 95% of Georgians doesn't even know who John Barge is or was. He was an accidental winner 4 years ago and is notable mainly by his lack of identity.He's not exactly putting his overwhelming popularity on the line by endorsing this candidate at this time.


2) Of the 5% that know who and what he is, fully half are opposed to him for one reason or another.(probably more than half. Republicans have given up on him and Democrats point out that he's still a Republican)


3) Of that small minority, a lot of them were going to vote for the person he's endorsing anyway.



He's a media darling, but not much else.We have to remember that he finished third in a three man race to a candidate that believes that the earth is like, 800 years old.The only people that think that this endorsement will sway votes are grasping at anything to give themselves a little hope.


Now. Even if Wilson wins (A VERY big "if"), she's going to butt heads with the legislature. It will be fun to see who wins that fight. (Hint- it won't be her). Her irresponsible rhetoric towards lawmakers has poisoned the well enough to guarantee that she'll soon find out that politics demands cooperation to get things done.The legislature is pretty used to picking and ending fights with their enemies,so I say, lets get ready to rumble. Wilson is the kind of officeholder that self immolates when she can't get her way, so it would be kind of fun to see her learn her lessons in the school of hard knocks.




dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@Wascatlady In other news, the sun is going to set today.....:)  It kind of reminds me of poor dumb John McCain...who had "respect" from a lot of (D)'s while he was trashing the (R) party.  But then he made the mistake of actually running against their anointed one, and he went back to being the spawn of Satan.

EdUktr
EdUktr

John Barge, Valerie Wilson and the teachers' union. All that's missing in the photo, besides the union, is Maureen.

And at least two of the four will soon be out of a job.

Astropig
Astropig

@ChrisfromGwinnett @EdUktr


I'm sick of this "no union" meme. There's no formal "Tea Party" either, but few Democrats will acknowledge that. There is union related activity, even if there is no collective bargaining or right to strike.If you're trying to hide that,then you must be ashamed of it or trying to deceive the public. The NEA is a union and most Georgia teachers are members, so stop trying to blow smoke about how they're something else.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@EdUktr While Maureen is clearly left leaning in her POV, I have actually come to appreciate the role she is playing.  But sadly, if the AJC continues as it's going, it'll soon be shedding employees, just as CNN is.  


Still amazes me that they are so willing to destroy the lives of hundreds of employees, just so they can continue to carry the liberal water.  A news org that is so clearly and blatantly biased against the POV of most of their community will continue to atrophy, and eventually die.

Astropig
Astropig

@dcdcdc


"But sadly, if the AJC continues as it's going, it'll soon be shedding employees, just as CNN is. 


Hard to stay in business when you tell half of your potential customers to go away and stay away.Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch. 


The_Centrist
The_Centrist

Ccoup de grace to his very short and unremarkable career that quickly crumbled.


He thought he was Charlie Crist in a purple state - not even close.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@The_Centrist next year, most folks will thing Barge is something that floats on water...again.

Astropig
Astropig

@dcdcdc @The_Centrist



"next year, most folks will thing Barge is something that floats on water...again."


I asked 10 of my friends and neighbors this weekend who John Barge is and exactly one knew the correct answer. He's popular on these "inside baseball" forums among news junkies, but to just about everybody else, he's a non entity.

StanJester
StanJester

Funding per student on average in Georgia since FY2010

Source: Source: http://app3.doe.k12.ga.us/


Federal Funding / student

2010 - $1,238

2011 - $1,024

2012 - $746

2013 - $960


Local Funding / student

2010 - $3,818

2011 - $3,686

2012 - $3,542

2013 - $3,438


State Funding / student

2010 - $3,832

2011 - $4,290

2012 - $4,199

2013 - $4,313

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@Peter_Smagorinsky @StanJester 


Another link that shares a truth that some won't acknowledge.  Notice Stan never begins his *data* with the years just prior to the Great Recession.


Data and information without context can tell a misleading story.

StanJester
StanJester

Good Evening Peter and Fred.  I've put together the state, local and federal funding numbers as reported by the Ga DOE since 1996.

http://www.stanjester.com/funding/fundingperstudent/


Anybody interested can see the funding and spending per student for the state of Georgia as well as their individual school district (not adjusted for inflation).


Funding for education has been trending up since these records start in 1996.  Local and State funding went down for 2 years subsequent to the recession.  At that time, the federal government doubled educational funding and tied it to RT3.  Since then, the state and local funding has stabilized while the federal money has dwindled down to pre RT3 levels.


Note:  The spending per student data, by the way, shows how school districts have balanced their budgets on the backs of teachers since the recession ... especially in DeKalb.


http://www.stanjester.com/spending/SpendingPerStudent/

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@StanJester 


Are you purposely ignoring the reduction of revenue for school budgets (specifically through property taxes) that occurred during the Great Recession and not considering the increasing costs of goods and services during that same period?Try telling school districts around the country that their budgets did not go down during this period.In Georgia, the law was changed to factor foreclosures into property values around the same time and this also contributed to the sharp decline of revenue.


Those at DSW tried to make the masses believe that staffing and benefit reductions along with implementing furlough days was only done in DeKalb as a means to balance the budget.As more data became available, more saw this was a remedy not just in DeKalb but across the country. DSW attempted to demonize those that made tough decisions without understanding other school districts that made similar decisions.They were a key source of misinformation regarding the budget.


Data and information without context can tell a misleading story


class80olddog
class80olddog

@StanJester  Thank you, Stan, for the very informative data.  The biggest problem I see with people on this blog is that they believe that you can solve all of education's ills by throwing money at it.  Now I am certainly in favor of full school years and smaller class sizes, but, as I have said repeatedly, if you look at where the money is going, you can do these things with the money you already have. 

NOlongerRepublican
NOlongerRepublican

Thank you Dr. Barge for standing up for Georgia children over political party affiliation. That is what we need in Georgia!

Lynn43
Lynn43

Dr. Barge has been an advocate for the children of Georgia not the Republican Party.  He know that most of their policies are not good for education, and he promoted education for children not money for companies.  He has been a wonderful State School Superintendent and is continuing to stand up for education by endorsing Valarie Wilson.  She has only one agenda and that is the betterment of all schools for all children.  She is a "stand out" for education.  Go Val.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Lynn43  Oh, BS!  Barge is not for children - certainly not for children who would be better served in start-up charter schools.  He also does not want to address the REAL problems of education: discipline, attendance, and social promotion.  He only wants MORE MONEY for his department and for education (and only from the STATE, not from local sources). 

Lynn43
Lynn43

@class80olddog @Lynn43 Are you involved in education to the extent that you have knowledge about what is happening on a day to day basis.  From what you have written, you have very little to do with education.  

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Lynn43 @class80olddog  So if I am not involved in education, I can't have an opinion?  I have to make decisions about hiring these students when they get out of school.  I don't hire kids who can't speak and write a proper sentence, nor do I hire people who cannot do simple math.  It used to be that people with a high school education could rise to be managers - now we have the policy that all managers must have a four-year degree (this was instituted to make sure they could write a comprehensible report).  THAT is the difference between today's high school graduate and one from the sixties.  Sorry, graduate, that diploma is not worth as much as it once was (because of grade inflation and social promotion).  You want a GOOD job, you NOW have to go to college and pay though the nose (even if you have HOPE - books and fees kill you).

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@class80olddog 


As I have pointed out to you numerous times, many of the manufacturing jobs that existed and employed graduates from the sixties are now off shore.Even those without a high school diploma yet with a good work ethic could get those jobs and provide a middle class lifestyle for their family.Do you believe there are as many blue collar jobs in the metro area today as there was in the sixties?All graduates today are competing for jobs that require more education.


Today’s high school graduate has a higher likelihood of going to college than those from the sixties.Take a look at this from the Digest of Education Statistics.There are very interesting trends as you look closer at the data,


http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d99/d99t187.asp


This is giving some context to misleading information provided by some



class80olddog
class80olddog

@FredinDeKalb @class80olddog  You say "jobs that require more education".  Yes, there are fewer "well-paying manufacturing jobs" - read overpaid union auto manufacturing jobs.  But even the "laborer" position at our company pays a decent wage - but we require a high school diploma and we require that the application be filled out in the office - you can't take it home and get someone else to fill it out for you.  We have to do that in order to make sure our employees can read the signs that say "Danger - Keep Out" and can read safety bulletins.  In the sixties, even a high school dropout could usually function at least at an eight-grade level.  Now, some high school GRADUATES cannot function that high. 


You say today's graduates are more likely to go to college - you are right.  As I said before, now businesses require a four-year degree just to make sure an employee can read, write, and do simple arithmetic.  You used to be able to ensure that with a high school diploma. 

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@class80olddog


I do give you credit for acknowledging some of what I said.I agree with you in the job applicants need basic skills to perform tasks of a laborer.My recollection from the sixties and prior is the *good ole boy* network supporting those that may have lacked all the necessary skills to perform a job.They protected their own.


If we had ½ of the manufacturing jobs from the sixties, our unemployment rate would be much lower.In fairness, we probably would not care as much about the high school graduation rate as long as drop outs were able to get employment.Those without ‘book sense’ today have lost hope and lack the job opportunities those in the sixties had.

We’ve all read stories of high school graduates from the sixties and earlier that could not read or write but may have possessed an athletic skill a university could exploit.This is partly the reason why standards were introduced to make sure minimum skills were attained.Many of the regulations added were to ensure everyone really had an equal


class80olddog
class80olddog

@FredinDeKalb @class80olddog  Most companies now have pre-employment drug screening - you would not believe how many applicants fail.  The unemployment rate would be less if less people used illegal drugs.  Also, there is a percentage of people who do not possess the basic skills of a workplace (i.e. reporting to work every day, on time).  Gosh, I wonder where they could have learned THAT (since we know that schools enforce attendance).

TinaTrent
TinaTrent

And this is supposed to make him seem like less of a political animal?


Apparently, in Georgia politics, "maverick" is a synonym for "turncoat," or "petty turncoat," or "I'm going to pitch a tantrum because people aren't paying enough attention to me," or "gee, why do my britches feel so tight?"  From Zell Miller to Jimmy Carter to Roy Barnes to Bob Barr, the disease afflicts across the political spectrum.


HIbought theRefs
HIbought theRefs

All of a sudden, Governor Deal wants to focus all his attention on education.  

Why? 

Because as bank robbers say about banks being where the money is, education is where the votes are.

Teachers and concerned parents will recognize Deal's opportunism and realize that he'll shift his focus to his cronies and making money for himself.  


VOTE FOR CARTER FOR GOVERNOR. We've had enough of Raw Deal. Let's try someone else in that chair.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

He should consider running for Gov of FL next. They have very recent experience with pols who used to say they were (R)., but weren't.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"He alienated Deal, who controls education spending. The governor decimated the DOE’s administrative budget and marginalized Barge and his agency."


More evidence that Deal plays dirty.  No matter that regular Georgians are victims too, Deal didn't show he cared enough until he needed a few more votes.  When votes mattered, he put some funding back and tried to claim a victory. 


Carter is the better choice for education. 

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@Quidocetdiscit 


Amen!  I wonder if class80olddog disagrees with this also.  They seem to be OK with some students getting the benefits of an education while leaving others behind.

StanJester
StanJester

@Quidocetdiscit 

Please explain what you mean when you said "[people] just don't want to actually PAY for [the extras that school now offer]."  Thanks, Stan.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@LogicalDude Georgia State budget for Education increased from $6.3 billion in 2007 to $8,6 billing in 2014.  But somehow that's a cut?  And libs call Fox news viewers "low information".  


Fortunately, the blindly partisan folks who "eat" whatever dog food the (D) party shovels out, as if it's gospel, still aren't a majority in our state.  If they ever are, then Il. and Detroit will have good company.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@MaureenDowney @dcdcdc @LogicalDude OK....but the fact is, the spending increased.  The budget was not "slashed", like (D)'s like to lie and say.  


And this in the face of a massive recession, caused by the Fed Govt promoted housing mortgage bubble.  Along with the sad fact that many of the parents of these "new students" paid little to no taxes.


So...in the face of declining tax income due to the recession, the budget was increased.  But sadly, the truth never gets in the way of a blatant political lie.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaureenDowney @dcdcdc @LogicalDude  And you, like most on here, make the mistake of thinking more money = better education.  If so, then APS students would be tops in the nation.  We spend FOUR TIMES per student compared to the sixties (yes, I say again) and what do we have to show for it?  The problems are not with the amount of money, but with what is DONE with the money.  More administrators (who do nothing about discipline, attendance or social promotion except to make things worse) does NOT make education better.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@class80olddog @MaureenDowney @dcdcdc @LogicalDude


"We spend FOUR TIMES per student compared to the sixties and what do we have to show for it..."


But it NOT just "more administrators".  I was "in school" in the 60's - and we did not have small group support instruction for students struggling in reading or math.  We did not have language support for students who came from families who did not speak english.  We did not have special equipment for visually impaired, physically impaired or mentally challenged students. We did not have targets special education programs.  We did not have programs for the profoundly impaired.   We did not have counselors for students with anger issues or social inabilities.  We did not have elementary music and art programs.  We did not have computer labs and media centers with a variety of electronic media.  We did not have interactive media in the classrooms.  We did not have wheelchair accessible bathrooms and classrooms.  We did not have enrichment programs for gifted students.  We did not have new textbooks every five years.  (We were lucky if we got them every decades.) 


Students who did not fit into the "regular ed" program either  were shipped off to institutions, stayed home, dropped out,  failed out, or were neglected. I often wonder how many talented young people were lost due to the schools inabilities to address their needs.


People LIKE all the extras that schools now offer.  They have come to expect them - they just don't want to actually PAY for them.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@StanJester @Quidocetdiscit


Stan,


How often do you see anyone outside education suggest we put MORE money into education?  Generally, it is all about "overpaid teachers and administrators," "waste" and "pigs at the trough".   I am not saying there is NOT misuse of funds - but that is just ONE reason we have higher costs - however, it is used as the justification to keep from funding education well enough that I don't have to worry about having the right materials to do my job well.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@dcdcdc @LogicalDude  The amount of money the state puts into education has to be seen in the context of enrollment and fixed costs. 

You cannot look at the numbers without also looking at enrollment growth and pension and health care costs, both of which are mandates the state has to fund.

The state spent more over the last few years because there were more students and higher costs associated with pensions and health care, not because of enhancements to schools. No districts saw major infusions of new cash.

As the fact-checking PolitiFact folks noted when they tested the claim of great spending on schools this year:

To get the whole picture, though, there’s a couple of things to take into consideration. Enrollment growth, rising health care costs and pension expenses were the biggest drivers in the education budget increases. (Since 2012, public school enrollment grew by 43,696 students.) 

Secondly, school systems are still living with austerity cuts that began in 2003 and have persisted. As a result, many school systems have been forced to furlough teachers and staff, increase class sizes and compress their school years into fewer days. (About 80 percent of school districts were furloughing teachers in the 2013-2014 school year, many for five or more days) 

Deal is reducing the austerity cut to education for the first time for the coming school year to about $746 million after five years in which the cut topped $1 billion a year.

In summary, the state Republican Party is correct to say Deal increased spending for education every year since taking office. But it’s also important to know that while austerity cuts to schools are being reduced in the coming year by Deal, they still persist. 

It was a huge overreach to say that the state Department of Education was uniquely spared from budget cuts in Deal’s tenure

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Quidocetdiscit @StanJester  We don't want to put "more money" into the same old failing system.  Have you not heard of "throwing good money after bad"?  It does not take money to address discipline issues; it does not take money to address attendance issues.  And, heaven knows, it does NOT take money to address Social Promotion.