Governor proposes changes to school funding. Teachers say they’re being ignored.

I am sharing an essay the AJC requested from the governor on his funding formula review efforts. The column by Nathan Deal ran in the Sunday AJC.

Below the Deal essay, I am publishing a response from TRAGIC, a grassroots advocacy group founded by teachers and their spouses last year to fight rising out-of-pocket heath insurance costs and benefit cuts.

TRAGIC, which stands for Teachers Rally to Advocate for Georgia Insurance Choices, played a pivotal role in forcing changes in the health plan last year, which was an election year. The group lists its membership now at 18,000 and continues to advocate for teachers.

First up is the governor.

By Nathan Deal

In the 2014 campaign — my last ever — I promised the people of Georgia that I’d use my second term to accomplish the tough-but-necessary work to modernize our 30-year-old school funding formula.

When it comes to teaching children in a 21st-century classroom, our laws are as out of date as jelly shoes, parachute pants and Commodore 64s. We must find the political will to chart a new, student-focused course that gives local authorities greater flexibility in addressing their districts’ specific needs.

Transforming education is not without its challenges, and we need Georgia’s best and brightest to help us. That’s why in January, I created our Education Reform Commission, made up of teachers, legislators, administrators, community leaders and experts to review our state’s education system.

This upcoming year’s budget, coupled with last year’s budget, represents an infusion of more than $1 billion for k-12 education and a larger percentage of the state budget devoted to k-12 education than in the past 50 years, with k-12 funding increasing 21 percent during my time in office. Unfortunately, Georgia’s student performance has not increased 21 percent during this same time.

Money alone does not result in improved student performance. Nationally, from 1970 to 2010, education spending increased 185 percent while performance on national exams remained stagnant. Our investment isn’t getting the proper returns: Only 1 in 3 Georgia students are reading proficiently by the end of third grade. This is unacceptable.

Our k-12 education system must prepare students who are college-, career- and life-ready; in an increasingly flat world these students must be able to compete with their national and international peers. Reforming Georgia’s k-12 funding formula to create a simpler, more-flexible student-based mechanism for allocating funds to districts is a key part of accomplishing these objectives.

The current formula has a number of shortcomings. It’s not student-focused. For example, some student populations are more challenging to educate, and the funding formula needs to take into account the effects of poverty. Further, it was created and passed based on the unrealistic promise that state money going to local schools would grow at a rate much higher than state revenue projections. As such, the state has never fully funded the Quality Basic Education formula.

The current funding formula does not give local school district leaders the flexibility to differentiate and innovate in many areas of education, such as recruiting and retaining the most effective teachers.

Anytime you have government-budgeted funding formulas, you have entrenched interests, even when it’s obvious that changes are needed. Our responsibility is to think beyond the confines of the current system, to look into the future, and to make changes that will ensure that every taxpayer dollar put toward education in Georgia will support increases in student achievement and positive outcomes, not enable the status quo. Education funding reform will remain one of my top legislative priorities throughout my term in office.

Here is the response from TRAGIC: 

Gov. Nathan Deal recently penned an editorial in the AJC titled “Formula Needs Critical Update” and it will certainly make the Koch brothers and the American Legislative Council proud.

Deal actions reveal a plan to eliminate the Quality Basic Education.  The QBE funding formula has been ignored by the Legislature since 2002 and shortchanged by $5.6 billion during Deal’s administration and by $3.2 billion during Sonny Perdue’s administration.

Deal’s editorial makes clear that he does not just plan on removing the QBE funding formula; he plans on completely remaking education in Georgia through his appointed Education Reform Commission .

According to Deal’s education policy director, Erin Hames, Deal wants to eliminate pay for teachers based on training and experience, much like the North Carolina Legislature did last year.

Judging by key phrases in his editorial such as “student-based mechanism” and “student-focused course,” Deal wants funding to follow the individual student, just as it did in the bill recently passed by the Arizona Legislature. Looking at the two constitutional amendments proposed under Deal’s administration and the composition of his reform commission –where charter school advocates (6) outnumber public school superintendents (5), public school principals (1), and active public school teachers (none)–it is clear Deal wants to grant charter schools the same access to public funds as they have in states such as Ohio and Florida.

The news out of these states is not promising for public education: North Carolina saw 14 percent of its teachers resign in one year, Arizona schools are facing a funding crisis, and Ohio and Florida have seen charter schools waste millions of dollars. It will take these state decades to undo the damage to public education caused by these ALEC-sponsored policies.

The QBE funding formula needs updating, and Georgia stakeholders in urban, suburban and rural districts should have input. Local districts and local schools need greater flexibility to innovate and better meet the needs of their unique populations.

Many school administrators, teachers or involved parents could, if asked, offer suggestions for better serving the needs of Georgia’s diverse student population. Deal has not asked any of these stakeholders, however, and that is a cause of great concern for all Georgians.

Who should have more input into the future of public education in our state, Georgia stakeholders in the public education system, or political initiatives offered by ALEC?

 

Reader Comments 0

209 comments
gateachercm
gateachercm

Gov. Deal is on the right track here and there, but his propositions are too spotty to be anything but questionable for years to come. I agree fully with one statement - this reform commission definitely needs to include people who have their "boots on the ground" inside the schools. But TRAGIC is absolutely correct in saying he has skewed this statement and not lived up to its promise. No one in the commission is an active public school teacher - the very people who deal most directly with the problems he is describing. Why would he NOT include them in the commission? It's absolutely silly and infuriating, and it completely negates his promise that this commission will seriously tackle actual education issues. Clearly he has an agenda that is not concerned with problem-solving in the most effective and expedient manner; it instead silences the teachers working hardest to combat the most difficult problems and alienates the student populations most in need of assistance.

aintnosheeple
aintnosheeple

How much of the budget goes towards testing and technology to administer the tests?  

jaggar1
jaggar1

Governor Deal did not address the issue that our demographics have changed dramatically over the years. We now have thousands of Hispanic children who come from Spanish speaking homes, who receive no help from their parents, and don't put forth the effort of their American counterparts. In addition, the black population has remained stagnant with their test scores, no fault to teachers but home life. If you look at Cobb County School District, they are now a minority majority district with mostly Hispanic and black races being the majority. Teachers are working overtime to teach these children, but they can not go home with them. Politicians, such as Deal, have made teachers the scapegoats for the lack of increased test scores. Let's be honest, everyone will buy into this theory, because parents don't believe it is their job to educate their children. The school is now the provider for free breakfast and lunch, discipline, and learning. Parents don't make their children read or take an interest in their child's education. We know the parents who value education, because their children are doing well in school. Where is the parents\'s and children's accountability? How can it fall all on the teachers? The issue is the politicians who have ruined the reputation of the teachers and parents bought into that theory. Teachers work hard, because they want to make a difference. Soon enough, we will have a teacher shortage. I don't encourage any college students to go into education anymore. The pay is low, benefits are shrinking but premiums increasing, and now pensions are on the line. Why would you bother? Thanks for nothing Governor Deal!

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@jaggar1 Because of where I live, I have had little opportunity to work with many black kids.  However, I can tell you the Latino families I have worked with (as a regular classroom teacher as well as an ESOL teacher), DO care about education and how their kids do.  In all those years, i had 3 non-supportive Latino parents.  (Btw, Hispanic/Latino is not a race).  Wish I had had that few non-supportive white parents!  Many of the parents I worked with needed to be shown HOW they could help their children (with the language and educational barriers they face) but did not lack in supporting me or in their expectations of their children.  If I asked for a conference, I almost ALWAYS got both parents!  If only one parent showed, 9 times out of 10 it would be the daddy.  Wish I could say that about the white kids' parents.  And if I called with a behavioral concern, IT WAS TAKEN CARE OF!


Perhaps you should consider volunteering at a school.

popacorn
popacorn

@Wascatlady @jaggar1

As an 'expert', with little experience no less, perhaps YOU should consider volunteering at a mostly black school. And good luck with that. 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Here's a winning strategy - 1) Contribute to the Gov's opposition, and fight his every move

- then - 

2) Complain loudly when he doesn't include you in the decision making process.

- and once again, for the millionth time - 

3) Scream that we need "more taxpayer money", even after cost per student has tripled (after accounting for inflation) over the past 30 or so years.  


And you wonder why the public has lost confidence in your ability to deliver a quality product at a reasonable cost, and is looking for alternatives to the "same old same old"......


I really wonder if the eduacracy has any sense of reality at all.  

class80olddog
class80olddog

@dcdcdc I have tried to tell teachers how to be more effective in their campaigns, but...

jaggar1
jaggar1

@dcdcdc Education begins in the home. The children whom are doing well have parents who participate in their children's lives. All the stagnant test scores are due to the increasing Hispanic and black populations who do not participate in their children's education. You walk into a classroom with 14 kids who don't speak English, their parents refuse to learn the language, refuse to make sure their kids study, and then decide if your paycheck should hinge on the backs of those students who don't study or care. We will see how long it takes you to stand up for education. 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@jaggar1 @dcdcdc Great excuse for not trying.  Another approach might be "since families are without question disintegrating, making the traditional approach to education ineffective, here are our ideas for how to educate in the new reality".  


But instead, the eduacracy focuses on "more money, and stay the heck out since you aren't teachers".  


Dang, I can't imagine why the public isn't listening to you all.....

Astropig
Astropig

@dcdcdc


From what I read here every day,my dachshund has more political sense that these people. They get ignored because they are so obnoxious in their ongoing demands.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

I wish to alert readers to two front-page newsworthy items in this morning's paper version of the AJC, regarding educational dysfunction in Georgia:


(1) Headline:  "GA Challenge: make charter schools work: Georgia charter schools failing in 2014," 18 charter schools which are failing throughout Georgia are listed in this article by AJC journalist Ty Tagami.


(2) Headline: "Students illegally segregated," by AJC journalist Alan Judd, in which these words are printed:

"Through such programs, Georgia illegally segregates thousands of students with behavioral or psychiatric disorders, often in schools that are dirty, in poor repair and, in some cases, served as blacks only facilities before court-ordered integration, the U S. Justice Department charged Wednesday."

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaryElizabethSings "18 charter schools which are failing throughout Georgia are listed in this article by AJC journalist Ty Tagami"

So, of those 18 - how many were conversion charters (status quo) and how many were start-up charters?  Of the start-up charters - how many were run by "evil for-profit" companies and how many were non-profits?  Inquiring minds want to know.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaryElizabethSings @class80olddog You are correct; I DID assume (yes, I know what that means - it does make a donkey out of me) that your opinion was that of most posters on here who adamantly defend the notion of "least restrictive environment".  I apologize.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@class80olddog


"Least restrictive environment" is not an either/or, or black/white dichotomy.  There are many gradients within that principle in which every student (and adult) will have varied levels of mental illness which can be improved, just like students with learning disabilities will have different degrees of LD and can improve.  The care of each student/adult should be specific and nuturing, where ever placed.  LD students used to be placed in self-contained classrooms with some feeding out into the mainstream classes several days a week until they had improved enough individually to be in the mainstream classes full time, even if some required a LD specialist to attend with them.  I can see the same gradient happening with some mentally ill students and each one should be assessed individually.


The LD students which I mentioned above shared P.E. and lunch time with mainstream students so that they were not isolated all day with other LD students, even back then when I taught.  Some BD students could also handle that interaction with their well-functioning peers.  Some could not.  However, no student is going to improve in his or her mental illness difficulties if he/she is simply "housed" in isolation as in a prison-like facility in a dark, dirty school basement with other mentally ill students.  That is inhumane.


Some of these mentally ill students should be in mental hospitals and not in schools, but Georgia has dissolved most of its full time mental hospitals in order to cut the budget.  That is why more mentally ill people are on the streets today.  Shameful, and tolerating this makes all of us less as human beings.


No need for an apology to me but I certainly accept your apology.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaryElizabethSings Yes - number 2 really makes it look bad for programs that are probably needed.  Why did they not put these students in BETTER facilities?

I am copying an excerpt from a teacher who commented on that article - Elizabeth:

"However, I am a teacher. I have seen children make repeated sexual advances, and commit other repeated violent offenses against other students. After repeated interventions to control, minimize, and alleviate the behaviors......what should school officials do for or to a child that persists in these pernicious behaviors? In the cases I have dealt with.....children with these repetitive behaviors end up inflicting a lot of harm on the other children around them. The victims feel bullied and are afraid to come to school. Some of the students begin to emulate the student with the unwanted behavior. It is as if the child becomes a nuisance  to himself and the students around he or she. I believe it is appropriate to have the GNET facilities......but they need to be monitored constantly for strict and professional standards. I don't believe that a child should spend their entire academic years in a GNET facility, I know that the placement criteria for child the center should be highly scrutinized. 


However, what we really have to come to terms with as a community is that there are a growing population of children that are entering school with severe mental illnesses. I have known children that were so severe they could not even receive instruction in the GNET facility. These children were admitted to a mental healthcare facility. Believe it or not there some students whose emotional and mental states are so dire that their instructional needs are beyond the scope of the public school system. " (bold mine - class80)

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@ErnestB 


Thank you for this link.  This is the very article by AJC journalist Alan Judd, which I had mentioned was newsworthy to readers in my first post of today on this thread. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@class80olddog


"However, what we really have to come to terms with as a community is that there are a growing population of children that are entering school with severe mental illnesses."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


I made no comments regarding that article.  You have assumed I believed that those children should be integrated into the mainstream of public school.  You assumed wrongly.  My intent was to highlight that Georgia is not taking care properly of the mentally ill in this state, whether they are the age of school children or adults.  It is shameful what has been done to cut services for the mentally ill in Georgia. No child in Georgia's schools who is mentally ill should feel that he or she is isolated for the full day in a prison in a dirty, dark basement of a school, as was stated by one in this article. The point is to help  all children improve in their individual growth.  Isolation in this way, with other "inmates" will only increase the problems of the mentally ill.  Please read the article and don't assume.



Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Any debate about school funding is akin to watching a YouTube video of a dog chasing it's tail - kinda amusing for about five seconds, but grows stale quickly.

The fact remains that taxpayers and citizens are forking over a HUGE amount of money for education in this state and I'm not sure anyone knows the exact figure when you consider all the federal funds, state funds, local funds, SPLOST funds, private donations, and in-kind donations.

One of the largest expenditures of any system is for salaries.  Others have noted time and time again about wasteful spending in this area due to bloated central office bureaucracies and "friends and family" hires.  I would submit the entire "years x degree" salary matrix needs to be reevaluated.  You cant compete with the market to hire a math teacher, but you pay a premium salary to the PE teacher with a "doctorate" from an online diploma mill.  Does a Librarian need a "doctorate"?  A first grade teacher?  I think not.

When football stadiums are padlocked and coaches given pink slips, you might convince me we have a funding issue.  Until then.......

JoshuaMarkham
JoshuaMarkham

Thank you for posting TRAGIC's response. Education is not about making a profit and simply seeing how cheaply you can do it. We need educators involved in the decision-making about education- not more lobbyists or private for-profit entities.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@JoshuaMarkham  No, education has become about how many "friends and family" you can employ in the Central Office and how much your Superintendent is paid, and how to hide the truth as much as possible while taking taxpayer monies.

anothercomment
anothercomment

Unfortunately, the teachers in this State along with their families and friends were naive and gullible to believe that Deals election year fix to their insurance plan adding back copays and United Healthcare was anything more than an election year stunts. Why didn't you all vote for Jason Carter and Michelle Nunn. I did.

I will vote against every incumbent republican, every tea party candidate. That is what every teacher needs to do.

Viable candidates like Jason and Michele need to run throughout the State, Jerrymandering of Congessressional districts so they are black or tea party republican and represent no one. You have a choice of Crock # 1 Ellis or Crawford Lewis vein or You have the Deal or Barry Laudermilk ( lies about his military record on my district,)

Teachers you screwed up when you voted against Roy Barnes and 17 kids in the Class room!

Zzyzxman123
Zzyzxman123

I am so sick and tired of being the scapegoat for poor education in this country. My career in teaching is about to come to an abrupt end...

Anotherteacher
Anotherteacher

Thanks for the interesting reading. Has anyone heard when the governor's Education Reform Commission is going to release its report/recommendations? I am interested to hear the specific details of the changes he wants to make...

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Djembe30067 You know - you CAN have children AND profits.  Right now the choice is children or corruption and you know which is winning. 

By the way - I agree with a lot of the other things you say.

Anotherteacher
Anotherteacher

@Djembe30067 - Thanks for the info about the subcommittee.

Djembe30067
Djembe30067

The funding subcommittee was supposed to present by August, but this has been pushed back until December. There were brave members on the subcommittee who insisted that they try to determine what it actually costs to educate a child and start from there, rather than just divide up whatever the Legislature decided to budget.

I see many comments (often from repeat posters) about waste and spending. Undoubtedly this exists in some central offices. I can guarantee you that no classroom teacher wants education funding going to administrative costs and bloated central office salaries. We also don't want to see education dollars going to huge testing companies and bein spent on assessment systems that don't work and do not give appropriate feedback.

If you read closely, teachers aren't screaming for tons of money to be thrown at them. We want proper funding for:

A) a full 180 days of school (yes, there are still districts who can't meet a full school year)

B) manageable class sizes so we can actual teach children and not be in "management" mode all the time

C) instructional time to teach, rather than taking class time and resources on pre-tests, SLOs, surveys, and the myriad of standardized tests that may or may not serve their purpose. And before one of you "gentlemen" jump on me for saying we don't want to test the kids or see how they compare, we do! But we want an accurate measurement, and an assessment that will allow us to tailor instruction, not just rank them without giving any indication of how to help the child.

Most of all, active teachers and parents with children should be a part of this conversation. If you want to see true change in a system, you have to hear the voices from all the stakeholders. As the ERC is comprised, the only voices are legislators and charter school advocates.

Final statement, charter schools are not evil. There are some wonderful charter schools that are allowed to innovate and design curriculum for their students that are remarkable. For-profit charters should not exists. If the choice for a business is children or profits, children will lose every time.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Psst!  Want the know the SECRET to defeating ALEC?


Improve the traditional schools - then they will have nothing to complain about!  Of course, that means tackling those really big problems like attendance, discipline, and social promotion.  But wouldn't it be worth it to short-circuit the voucher and charter movement?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog Afraid it won't work.  ALEC has nothing to do with needing improvement for traditional schools.  ALEC is dependent on lazy leaders who will follow the script.

straker
straker

As always, follow the money.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@straker Right into the corrupt "friends and family" central office of DeKalb County!  I wish I COULD "follow the money" - the way schools report their spending makes it impossible to decipher.  How much is spent per average SPED student?  How much for a regular student?

class80olddog
class80olddog

Boy, nothing gets teachers more "het up" than talking about dollars!  To heck with discipline, attendance, having to teach socially promoted kids, or working with administrators who throw them to the wolves.  I would guess that working conditions have driven more teachers out of education than money issues.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog It's more of a combination, but I agree many would continue if the "big 3" were aggressively addressed.

Exacta
Exacta

@class80olddog 

Instead of "teachers" you surely meant "malcontents." But every occupation has them.

atln8tiv
atln8tiv

@class80olddog I think it's more a case of we're constantly being asked to do more with less. But yeah, when the dysfunction hits one's wallet, well, you'd probably be 'het up' too.

NGaTaxpayingCitizen
NGaTaxpayingCitizen

At issue is the charter school kids receive 100% of the per student funding from the same state coffers that only afford the regular public school kids a fraction of that. WHY!? Slam public schools, but where is the PROOF that charter schools are doing BETTER with the same kids?

Public schools do produce and have improved -- 

And, this is AFTER years of "austerity cuts," that have shrunk the monies per student in every public school.

The money is going to privateers, CEOS who build the onerous tests, that are mandated, that don't measure creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. These tests are killing learning and instruction. And, the legislators, as Governor Deal, want that data to prove public schools can continue to languish with even less.

The tests take too much time to give, too much time for drill and too much weight against the teachers.

Poor kids come away with less in any given scenario.

By the way, there are NO teacher unions in Georgia. None. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

@NGaTeach "CEOS who build the onerous tests"

And WHY are these "onerous tests" required?  Because teachers were giving grades that were not indicative of the student's master of the subject matter.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@NGaTeach Not to mention programs like the diversion of tax monies through the dollar for dollar credit for donating to private schools' "assistance" programs.  I won't say "poor student assistance," since the data I have seen do not indicate that even half the money goes to the poor students.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@AvgGeorgian @class80olddog @Wascatlady @NGaTeach A deduction federally at least.  In Georgia, a dollar for dollar credit that has the potential of giving benefits to students who are not the supposed target, and the rest of us pick up the slack.  Or, something goes without funding because "we can't afford to fully fund all of QBE."

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@Wascatlady @AvgGeorgian @class80olddog @NGaTeach I calculate that each GA household pays an extra 18 dollars to make up for the loss in revenue caused by the $58 Million private school tax credit total. The scholarships to private schools go to mostly wealthy families and the students are not required to attend public school to get the scholarship. 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog @NGaTeach And the question is, why?  I can tell you that for the last 20 years there has been increasing amounts of administration attention on "making" kids successful.  When I started in 1973, that was NOT true.  As a student, you produced or you got a bad grade, and that was YOUR fault.

jerryeads
jerryeads

First off, having done a fair amount of the education penning for a governor in Virginia some time ago, I'd suggest the probability that the governor actually wrote this piece is about the same as getting hit by lightning in the middle of the Mojave on a sunny day. The chance that he actually read it before it was submitted to the AJC isn't a lot higher.

That said, it's pretty clear that this administration, like the one preceding, has no use for the actual hard thinking and work - and resources (not just dollars) - required to make public education better. Completely ignored are the concomitant realities that for far too many parents there isn't even work to be found, that FAR too many of Georgia's kids eat only one meal a day - at school -, and that it's better to let kids die than to support health care. Somehow, this is all the teachers' fault. It's far simpler to dupe voters into supporting vouchers so scam artists can suck profits via no-accountability meaningless alternatives rather than face reality - or actually care about all kids, not just the rich ones.


Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog @jerryeads Good luck on that one, class80.  Talk to DFaCS and the judges that believe parents should be allowed to repeatedly have another chance.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @class80olddog @jerryeads Well, tell me why SCHOOLS should have to make up for society's problem.  If DFACS won't step in immediately, let a couple of children starve to death and you will see some change!  Schools have become enablers of DFACS bad behavior - and that money that is going to feed children whose parents should be feeding can be used for classroom education! 

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog @Wascatlady @jerryeads We have to report (mandated reporters.) DFACS does not HAVE to take aggressive action.  In fact, "family unification" is the rule!


And schools cannot hold DFACS' feet to the fire, as we never know if our reports are even heard, much less addressed!

class80olddog
class80olddog

@atln8tiv @class80olddog @Wascatlady @jerryeads "Do we want to spend the money on schools, or prisons?"

I hear that all the time, but the truth of the matter is that no matter how much you spend on the schools, it will not change the amount going to prison.  Because money can't change the things that need to change.

atln8tiv
atln8tiv

@class80olddog @Wascatlady @jerryeads  Wow, DFACS. Where to begin? There are many social workers who are dedicated, diligent and competent. The problem is the caseload.

"You REALLY don't believe that a parent would not feed their kids and spend their money on something else, do you?" 

Are you serious? It speaks to a fortunate upbringing that one would ask this rather naive question (no offense intended). Yes, there are far too many parents who would spend their money on anything but feeding their child. Food stamps? Sell them for more drugs. It happens. all. the. time. And you're right that it shouldn't be the school's problem to fix, but what entity will fix it? 

"...let a couple of children starve to death and then you'll see some change!" 

Already happened. Children under DFACS supervision have died in GA. Again, one of the biggest problems is caseload. Unfortunately, there are far too many children who are being abused and neglected for DFACS to keep up. And then there are foster parents who are just as abusive as (or sometimes worse than) the parents the child was removed from. 

Some of these children will make it out and make a decent life for themselves. Many of them will end up on the streets, holding you up with a gun, before they go to prison, where they'll get three meals a day, and the opportunity to earn a GED.

So it's our choice. Do we want to spend the money on schools, or prisons?

bu2
bu2

@class80olddog @jerryeads 

Well if they are eligible for free lunch, they are probably eligible for free breakfast as well.

atln8tiv
atln8tiv

@class80olddog @atln8tiv @Wascatlady @jerryeads Well, to some extent, I agree. The issues are much more complicated and intertwined. It's not just our educational system that's dysfunctional. Healthcare, the judicial system, banking, CONGRESS...each affects the others, and they ALL have problems. Personally, I believe the misuse of money is at the root of all of these problems. But hey, you can't expect capitalists to part with their money can you??? Something's got to give. And it will. And it likely won't be what needs to give, and it won't be pretty when it goes. I hope I'm wrong about this last part, but....

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@jerryeads  I agree the governor's staff wrote the piece. However, I think this governor reads the pieces and approves them.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@jerryeads "that FAR too many of Georgia's kids eat only one meal a day - at school"

How can that be?  If you are so poor you can't afford food, you can get food stamps.  You REALLY don't believe that a parent would not feed their kids and spend their money on something else, do you?

This should not be a school's problem - this should be society's problem - if a parent is neglecting a child, take the child away from them.

tenyearsateacher
tenyearsateacher

@class80olddog

I can tell you how that can be. When I was a kid, my mom got cancer. We quickly went from middle class to poor. We were on free and reduced lunch and free breakfast, we had food stamps. Then my dad got a raise of $0.25 an hour. Suddenly we didn't qualify for anything. There were 3 of us kids, our lunch alone cost more than the extra money he was making, never mind breakfast or dinner. I went to bed hungry a lot of nights. Just because welfare should be available doesn't mean it always is. I know the media likes to glorify people on welfare living high on the hog, but in reality, it doesn't feed children the way you think it should.

redweather
redweather

@class80olddog @Wascatlady @jerryeads  "Well, tell me why SCHOOLS should have to make up for society's problem."


For the same reason the POLICE and COURTS do.  In our society there is something often referred to as "the common good." It's one of the reasons, or perhaps only reason, why we pay taxes.