Karen Handel assails Jon Ossoff for posh private school and out-of-state universities. Is that a smart strategy?

Jon Ossoff has an undergraduate and graduate degree. Karen Handel has neither. Should she draw attention to his education?

I get notifications from both the Democrat and Republican in the heated 6th district U.S. congressional race, where education has not been a major theme.  But an email this morning on behalf of GOP candidate Karen Handel from the National Republican Congressional Committee intrigued me because it dings Democrat Jon Ossoff for attending the well-regarded Atlanta private school, Paideia; he was in the class of 2005.

Here is what the note said about his education:

Jon Ossoff has a brand new ad, and his theme remains consistent (unlike his message).

Hypocritical statement #1: “How do we keep metro Atlanta’s economy growing?…our universities and tech schools train our talented young people.”

Ossoff attended a fancy private school growing up, went to Washington DC for college, and got his Masters in London.

This GOP response strikes me as risky. While it criticizes Ossoff for attending a “fancy private school” and out-of-state universities, it also draws attention to his impressive education credentials. (Ossoff has an undergrad degree from Georgetown University and a master’s from the London School of Economics.)

It underscores something Handel has played down – her lack of a college education. I wrote about this issue in 2009 when Handel unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination for governor. At the time, incumbent Casey Cagle, who also lacks a college degree, was seeking a second term, which voters granted him.

I asked a question then that may be relevant today: Does a college degree matter?

What I wrote:

So far, a lack of a college degree hasn’t hampered Karen Handel, who was elected secretary of state in 2006. Nor has it stood in the way of Casey Cagle, who won the lieutenant governorship that same year.

If the pair succeeds this year, Georgia will be led by two people whose formal education attainment ended at high school, an unenviable status according to critics who contend it delivers the wrong message in a state long labeled an educational laggard.

There is no legal requirement that the governor hold a college degree, although you can’t get a job as a teacher in Georgia without one. A task force appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue — who earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia — even briefly considered making a college degree a qualification to serve on a local school board.

A generation or two ago, the book smarts vs. street smarts debate wasn’t as pitched. In 1948, for example, Americans elected a president without a college degree, Harry Truman. However, every president since then has held at least an undergraduate degree. Even Truman — whose poor eyesight kept him out of West Point — attended both college and law school but earned a degree from neither.

 

What do you think?

Reader Comments 0

526 comments
Concerned citizen7768
Concerned citizen7768

The fact remains Karen Handel is an individual who would deny women the right to medical care . She is a hack for the Republican agenda and cares little of the community in which she could represent . It is shameful for someone to belittle the  education of an achiever . Do we want the likes of a Trump supporter who would push the agenda of ignoring climate change,depleting the NIH and CDC of funds to protect our community,to deprive those in need of support. I say NO   Send a message once and for all Vote Ossoff

DawgBB
DawgBB

College degree should be a requirement.

Rickey N Oglesby Jr.
Rickey N Oglesby Jr.

We should never minimize the importance of education, and the ability to complete a high level degree. Their will always be exceptions to the rule, but that is a small %.

Summer Smith
Summer Smith

Well, schools cannot teach common sense and reasoning......proof today of many young adults coming out of college. Schools should teach how to think...not what to think.

Chaz Trammell
Chaz Trammell

Would you want a surgeon performing an operation on you without you going to Med school...which college is a pre-requisite for???!?!?!! EXACTLY

Tom Bigelow
Tom Bigelow

She does not have the attention span. It's like why we like Eagle Scouts. They completed something.

Ashley Mack
Ashley Mack

I think all elected officials should be required to have education higher than a high school diploma. They shape policies that dramatically affect our lives— I don't know about you, but I want the people shaping policy for Georgia citizens to be smarter than the average 18-year-old.

Dolphanie Richards
Dolphanie Richards

I dont know why she has an issue with his posh education. I fiqured most Republicans had money and did not want to help anyone but themselves and their "posh" educated children. So if this Democrat has lived the life of a rich Republican kid i say good at least he is willing to give a hand "up" and not a beat"down" like i have found most Republicans do. Ijs

James Kun Koo
James Kun Koo

Wow Karen.. any education above high school is 'posh' right?

Jasmine McGurk
Jasmine McGurk

I'm voting my #ossoff and #flippingthe6th #flipth6th #flipthesixth #donewithgingrich #nonotliberal #justembarrassed #rightsideofhistory #equalityforEVERYONE

Wanda Logan
Wanda Logan

He's a democrat. He can't be too smart

SilverAtlanta
SilverAtlanta

He's undoubtedly brighter than you and certainly more bright than Ms. 1 and 5.

(Soon to be Ms. 1 and 6)

Wanda Logan
Wanda Logan

Ben Gunby we each are entitled to our opinion !

Ben Gunby
Ben Gunby

Using a broad brush to paint a gigantic sect of society clearly indicates you aren't either.

Yolanda McClain
Yolanda McClain

It's funny how the state of Georgia mandates college degree to teacher or able to seek other jobs, but mayor, republican office you only need s high school diploma. Don't be mad because Jon has a degree or went to the best schools. What does that have to do with anything?

Michele Renee Galloway
Michele Renee Galloway

Common sense helps in changing a tire. Knowing you don't speed in the rain. It doesn't help when your discussing the law and government. Having a financial degree certainly can't hurt when making financial decisions for our state

Ben Gunby
Ben Gunby

Trying to use the fact that someone is well educated as a bad thing indicates a total lack of common sense.

Georgia Hill
Georgia Hill

That's the best she's got? Seriously? The woman who screwed up the voter rolls....

Roberta Cromlish
Roberta Cromlish

Common sense is more important than a degree. I'll tak a plumber over ossoff any day.

Cindy M Sergent
Cindy M Sergent

Obviously \U0001f644 you don't have an education! \U0001f921

Linda Deibert
Linda Deibert

Whose to say the plumber doesn't have that degree too?

Ben Gunby
Ben Gunby

Common sense would be not to try and spin someone being well educated as a bad thing. So she's obviously lacking there too.

Gwendolyn Davis
Gwendolyn Davis

What is wrong with you people what is wrong with being the best you can be and reach for stars. Having education is NEVER a wrong route regardless to where you were to go, and you should always the best for YOU. DON'T hate if you don't have what some else has.

J.r. Rich-Bellerose
J.r. Rich-Bellerose

Congrats to him for earning a higher education at a good school. Handel wishes she could say the same... #NeverHandel #VoteYourOssoff #FlipTheSixth #TurnItBlue #VOTE

Courtney Brown
Courtney Brown

Hold up!!!!! They had this heifer as the education secretary for the state of GA and she only finished high school?! No wonder the state can't get ahead. We continue to elect people who are unable to think outside of their comfort zone!

Ang Walk
Ang Walk

So she didn't go to college?

Courtney Brown
Courtney Brown

Ang Walk nope! And she's shaming him for being a college graduate in a state other than GA.

Lisa LaShun
Lisa LaShun

It's all about who you know in the right place.

Courtney Brown
Courtney Brown

William Washington he dropped out of an Ivy League college. Karen Handle didn't attend college. Karen Handle is shamming Jon for attending private school in Atlanta and college out of the state.

William Washington
William Washington

Bill Gates was an entrepreneur. Washington D.C. is full of College graduates and lawyers. What has that gotten us thus far??

Tony Duke
Tony Duke

Georgia needs to be represented by someone with a college education not by someone that only she wanted out of school was her.

Betty Lambert Winter
Betty Lambert Winter

Doesn't seem like that would appeal to wealthy voters who did the same or did it for their children.

Christine Mcburrows Austin
Christine Mcburrows Austin

It matter to me for my children i worked eight years after i retire to see to my youngest getting his i became a widow when he was still eleven

Alicia Namoi McGraw
Alicia Namoi McGraw

I rather have a college educated person over someone with a BED any day. The Navy doesn't even take people with GED's any more too many ways out. I'm tired of old ads people being in charge

Cindy M Sergent
Cindy M Sergent

A GED say you! A GED she needs to take a seat \U0001f4ba as a matter of fact take several! She has a lot of nerve and calls him privileged. I think you need to take that plank out of your eye. You are privileged to have made it as far as you have on a GED! Most of us cannot get an interview with a Bachelor's! SMDH!

Deborah Levey
Deborah Levey

She doesn't even have a college degree. Jealous maybe.

Robin Levey
Robin Levey

Lack of education and ability seems to appeal to some righties!

Amanda Diegel
Amanda Diegel

I don't want to live in a world where being intelligent and hard working enough to get in and earn a graduate degree from the London School of Economics is seen as a bad thing. Jeez.

HELLNOMARTA
HELLNOMARTA

So, a DC born elitist is criticizing someone born and bred it Georgia. A repub that wants private education OVER public is criticizing a man with a private education. Typical hypocrite.

HANDEL WAS BORN AND RAISED IN DC.