Teacher groups ask: Why no active classroom teachers on governor’s school funding commission?

Georgia teacher groups are unhappy with the composition of Gov. Nathan Deal’s new commission to review the state’s school funding formula.

No hedIn their disappointment, the teachers join some of the state’s rural districts, which also feel slighted by the preponderance of metro voices on the 33-member commission. While Deal’s commission has educators, the teacher groups maintain it lacks “active” classroom teachers.

Here is a statement from several of the state’s groups, which represent thousands of teachers:

On Jan. 21, 2015, Gov. Nathan Deal’s office released the names of the members of his “Education Reform Commission,” which the governor has convened to “study the state’s education system, including its funding formula, and provide recommendations intended to improve the system, increase access to early learning programs, recruit and retain high-quality instructors and expand school options for Georgia’s families.”

This commission is charged with an extraordinarily wide examination of our public education system. Unfortunately, the members of the commission do not represent a wide array of backgrounds. The Education Reform Commission lacks fair representation from those who would have first-hand knowledge of our state’s public education system. As currently constituted, zero active classroom teachers, one principal, and five superintendents serve on the commission. In contrast, the committee includes 10 legislators and seven representatives from charter schools or education consulting firms.

The commission does not include representatives from our state’s leading teacher organizations or parent representatives whose own children are subject to the “reforms” that might be suggested by this commission.

The undersigned organizations, representing thousands of Georgia educators, parents and students who have a direct stake in the success of our state’s public education system, have established a joint resolution to call for fair representation. We ask that each of the undersigned organizations be granted representation to be placed on the commission immediately.

Our organizations exist to see Georgia’s public school systems remain strong and vibrant, while serving the educational needs of all of Georgia’s children. We believe current and active educators and parents must be included in any discussion regarding the future of Georgia’s schools.

Joint Resolution Signatories and Contacts:

  • Georgia Association of Educators, Sid Chapman, President
  • Georgia Federation of Teachers, Verdaillia Turner, President
  • Georgia Retired Educators Association, Vivian Teasley, President
  • Professional Association of Georgia Educators, Tim Callahan, Dir. of Communications
  • Teachers Rally to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices, John Palmer, Vice-President

 

 

Reader Comments 0

43 comments
TaxiSmith
TaxiSmith

How many politicians are in the teacher unions?

class80olddog
class80olddog

I honestly do NOT remember any teacher giving any specific solutions to the problems of education other than more money and reduce testing (Mary Elizabeth excluded, she gives her one - precise instructional level - I just don't agree with her about the ability of teachers to implement it).


I have given three ways to improve education that do not necessarily involve more money - discipline, attendance, and social promotion, and stand ready with the details on how to implement them.

BCW1
BCW1

Because everybody else other than educators know how to operate and fund schools, you should know that by now.

bu2
bu2

Why should there be any teachers on this commission?  Its not "education" reform.  Its "funding" reform.  That's an administrative issue, not a teaching issue.

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

@bu2  It may be an administrative issue, but it affects classroom teachers and their students via the purchasing of textbooks (print or online), supplemental materials and other classroom needs.  Many classrooms are still working with textbooks from the early 2000s because, allegedly, there is no money for new ones.  Yet, superintendents and their executive staffs continue to get large raises (and no furloughs) while claiming poverty for materials that can help students. 


Why should only administrators be involved when their only decision will be we need more administrators? 

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

Personally, I resent the implication that all teachers in the state support the positions of the teacher organizations.  I know one who doesn't. 


The make up of this commission reminds me of a story where the patient is sick but the doctor is discussing treatment options with everyone but the patient.  Parents and teachers need to be included in these discussions, especially since part of the charge is to work on "recruiting and retaining high quality teachers."  I don't know - experts on retaining teachers might be - uh - teachers! 

Starik
Starik

Deal is an old-style politician, operating in a traditional way. He rewards his friends, sometimes by appointing them to positions they are not qualified for, or by steering State spending to them, or by listening to their opinions and helping them in other ways.  He ignores the interests of those who are not his friends, punishes those he considers enemies.

Astropig
Astropig

@Starik


And your point? Lives there a politician in any high office that doesn't reward his friends and punish his enemies? Please point out an example of a "new style" politician that implements the program that he/she defeated in their election. 


People told me that when I moved to Georgia that the people here could be "backward". I didn't dream that they meant that the politicians worked for the other side.

Starik
Starik

@Astropig @Starik Deal is very obvious about it; after all, after one term people know what he is, and he was re-elected. My point is not that different from your position.  A less arrogant pol would at least try to appear even-handed.

Astropig
Astropig

@Starik @Astropig


I personally think that he's being pretty fair about this commission.It's not their charge to fill some nebulous quota on how many of this group or that group gets a voice or veto.They're supposed to make a recommendation on revamping the funding mechanism and distribution of public funds."Arrogant" would have been just doing it and not taking any input from outside his administration. In a state with no statewide Dem office holders and less than a third of the legislature,the arrogance is being exhibited by the party that lost demanding a veto over the governor's education priorities.

newsphile
newsphile

@Astropig @Starik The education consultants and for-profit charter school managers appointed have much to gain by the commission's decisions.  They were lobbying for education dollars before the election.  This is blatant conflict of interest. 

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@newsphile @Astropig @Starik Do you  understand that those exact same consultants and companies are the the ones that have benefited from millions of dollars in federal School Improvement Grant awards to local districts throughout Georgia? They make far more money from that line of business than they do in the charter school management work, in the majority of cases. The point is, ALL schools are big business.

William1952
William1952

It's because the Georgia Association of Educators and the Georgia Federation of Teachers worked most diligently to defeat Governor Deal in both the 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial elections. I'm not sure about the other two, but why appoint one of the other two when all may have been opponents? This is part of political payback, but don't cry and complain about it because that will be useless. Rather, try to influence those who have been appointed. Payback is an old and often used tool of both Democrats and Republicans in all levels of elected office.

newsphile
newsphile

@William1952  And both parties need to start governing instead of serving self-interests. 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Why does he need one on there, if everyone  in the world knows the ideas that they would bring:


1) stop testing - we don't like accountability

2) More money - yep, that's the answer.  

3) Any of you on this panel who aren't educators don't know what you are talking about, so shut up.  Oh, and send more money.


All he has to do is read this blog, and he can learn all he can from the eduacracy.



Astropig
Astropig

@Quidocetdiscit @dcdcdc


Not really 100%,straight shootin' true. Most of the teachers on this forum call anyone with a different viewpoint ignorant,dishonest or worse.They try to couch base politics in high purpose. I,for one, appreciate the people on here with the courage to call them out.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@dcdcdc


Over and over teachers on this forum have taken the time and effort to express their views in great detail.  They have crafted posts filled with explanations, information and reasoning.  They have explained in great detail the reasons behind their points of view, the detrimental effect certain policies are having in their classrooms, and how they feel these situations could be improved. 


And you reduce all their efforts to three pithy (and misleading) talking points.


Bravo.

pompano
pompano

@dcdcdc Amen brother!  Their only screed - Mo' money, Mo' money!

class80olddog
class80olddog

The panel should set the ground rules early - no increase in net school funding at the State level.  The only question should be how the monies are allocated.

Astropig
Astropig

I think that this panel has integrity.I think that they will do a fine job. The teachers pseudo-unions just want to have a veto. They want to sabotage this effort from its inception.They had their chance,but now it is time for a different approach.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

No surprises among the list of signatories. #DefendersOfTheStatusQuo

MD3
MD3

@DrMonicaHenson Dr. Henson - Is it your opinion that groups representing public school teachers should not have representation on a panel that discusses public education? Do you not allow for the possibility that teachers (not administrators or CO personnel, but actual teachers) may have some innovative ideas? That they automatically, because of their profession, are simply defending status quo and have nothing of value to add? Honest questions here. Your response?

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@MD3 @DrMonicaHenson I'd have no objection to the appointment of representative active teachers with track records of classroom success, as measured objectively by student achievement. Unionistas who are not currently teaching, no thanks. "Groups representing public school teachers" in Georgia exist primarily to support the national agendas of the NEA and the AFT, not the interests of teachers in this state.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@MD3 @DrMonicaHenson I'd have no problem with a successful practicing classroom teacher who is also a member of GAE or any other organization. I'd have a serious issue with a paid staffer of that type of group being appointed. 

DisenchantedVoter
DisenchantedVoter

@DrMonicaHenson @MD3  Elizabeth Rhodes, a retired educator and paid employee of Educators First, has been appointed to the commission. Do you object to her appointment Dr. Henson?


Educators First (which is quite a revealing name when considering the organization's priorities) endorsed Deal in the last election.  

Astropig
Astropig

@DisenchantedVoter @DrMonicaHenson @MD3


Not true. Rhodes works for a non-profit PAC that is voluntary.Same arrangement that the pseudo-unions have with their pet candidates. Educators First did endorse Deal last year,but the GAE endorsed his opponent,so I'm not really sure why you see this as a problem.


This is the very reason I asked this question and you walked right into the trap.Teachers need to realize that actions of a political nature have consequences of a political nature. I for one am happy that the Republicans are starting to play the game a little better these days.

DisenchantedVoter
DisenchantedVoter

@Astropig @DisenchantedVoter @DrMonicaHenson @MD3 


Trap?


Elizabeth Rhodes is a paid registered lobbyist for Educators First. She was at the capitol attending education committee meetings and representing the organization earlier this week.


I point this out in reference to the original concern expressed regarding paid employees of teacher groups who are not practicing educators.  


No one here is naïve enough to think that political actions by teacher groups don't have political repercussions. There are several important groups lacking official representation on the Reform Commission which have no PAC and endorse no candidates. And no matter what your political persuasion, it is folly to form a Commission with ONE practicing classroom teacher when one of the commission's key missions is to study teacher recruitment and retention.

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@DisenchantedVoter @DrMonicaHenson @MD3 Yes, in fact, I do not support her appointment. There is a distinct and important difference between Educators First and GAE and GFT: all dues paid to Educators First remain in Georgia. Another difference is that Educators First is not a Democratic Party shill, like both GAE and GFT. 

MD3
MD3

@DrMonicaHenson @MD3 Thanks for the response. I also believe that there should be representatives who are active educators with successful track records. However, I don't think membership in organizations such as GAE or PAGE should automatically disqualify them from serving. (Now, paid employees of these organizations shouldn't be included, but I don't see a problem with teacher members being represented.) Purposefully excluding people in an effort to control the dialogue seems fishy to me. If we truly want the best ideas we can get, then we need to save a seat at the table for everyone, and let everyone discuss their ideas. Then take a look at the totality of the input and make a determination on the best way going forward. Maybe I'm naive, but I believe people are willing to work together toward a common goal. But to not include one single classroom teacher on this panel... Well, it just seems like they are simply stacking the panel in order to get the outcome they desire without having to worry with the "messiness" of dissent and discussion. That's a shame, because dissent and discussion are often where the best ideas come from. 

newsphile
newsphile

@DrMonicaHenson @DisenchantedVoter @MD3  Leadership in GAE and NEA determine who will get the endorsements; there is no poll to make the determination.  There are many teachers who don't support and vote for the endorsed candidate.  It's disappointing that many commentators lump all teachers into the anti and ineffective categories. 

DrMonicaHenson
DrMonicaHenson

@newsphile @DrMonicaHenson @DisenchantedVoter @MD3 If I were still a classroom teacher in Georgia, I wouldn't join GAE, and I'd be damned if I ever paid money to an organization that would pay part of my dues to the NEA, and the NEA in turn deciding from Washington, DC, who in Georgia needs to be elected to state office. What does that say for "local control"? GAE members are lemmings that support, unwittingly in many cases, the old-school Democratic agenda of the NEA. I say that as a registered lifelong Democrat, albeit a Democrat for Education Reform. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@ ljhays (since any Reply is cut off at the bottom).


Those Regents have been appointed by past governors going back to Perdue, as well as the present one. So any faulty representation is due to them as well. (No Hispanics, although there is one Indian-Asian.)

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

P. S. Most of the 19 Regents are businessmen. 1 has an M.D., 2 a JD, 7 an M.A. or M.B.A., and the rest a B.A. or B.S. except for one who has no degree at all. These are the people overseeing the state's University system.

EdUktr
EdUktr

We had an election in November and the contrasting views of the Governor and his opponent were clear. Voters opted, by a wide margin, for the conservative vision.

Deal with it.

dawgonit
dawgonit

@EdUktr  so now state government takeover of local schools is a CONSERVATIVE idea?  wow

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@dawgonit @EdUktr I suspect "don't worfry about making dramatic changes to what hasn't been working, even if it pisses off the eduacracy", is a very conservative POV.  

Astropig
Astropig

@MD3 @EdUktr


Nonsense. Governor Deal should be allowed to do what he ran on (and what the legislature will allow him-they have the final say here) and let the voters judge the results in 2018.If Jason Carter had won,I'm sure that there would have been absolutely no voice for parent/taxpayers that want more choice or more charter options, and the Democrat retort would have been "win a few elections".

MD3
MD3

@EdUktr So your position is "To the victor goes the spoils"?? So I'm sure that you are great with Obamacare, right? Because, I mean, he won the presidential election and that means that you can just deal with it, right? Sorry, but as a conservative and as someone with the capacity for rational thought, I believe that we ought to look at problems from all angles and seek out common ground and solutions that will bring benefits for all. That means looking at charter expansion where it's needed, but it doesn't mean starving public schools at the same time.

Your argument of "We won, you didn't... na na na na na na!!" is a child's argument. Perhaps instead of telling people to deal with it, you should be telling yourself to grow up...

ljhays
ljhays

While we're questioning the makeup of one of the guv's education-related boards, can we also look at the Board of Regents? According to its picture on the Web site, this 19-person board, selected by the governor, includes only two women and one African American. How Republican.