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Jones: Watching political ads can be fun

An impressive exposure of modern day electioneering. I highly recommend this piece for those who think they know something about how the game is played.

posted @ Monday, April 14, 2014 - 20:26

Galis: 'School choice' argument doesn't make sense

Though constricted, you present an interesting perspective. You are absolutely correct that there is more to the reformist agenda than “choice.” Whether cloaked in the language of “choice” or “market based” or “cost savings and efficiency” the intent of the policy shift is to acquire improved results in student preparation. Why?

Globalization or the emergence of a global market economy with its attendant need for global competitiveness gave birth to a new yard stick for measuring the readiness of America’s graduates. The imperative for our young to survive, compete and thrive in this new reality brought a sharper critical eye on our public schools, the primary source for preparing them. Globalization has been defined as “the international transformation of economic, political and cultural life.” This transformation has resulted in a push for another student preparation paradigm. As a consequence, public schools now face outward toward preparing students for the global market rather than facing inward toward their traditional education approaches, save notation about the impact of technological advances.

As with any new approach, only experience will tell about effectiveness. In the meantime, traditionalist yearn for the “good old days” is hindering urgent need for them to up their game.

posted @ Sunday, April 13, 2014 - 09:37

What Others Say: Obama not delivering on transparency promise (The Augusta Chronicle)


Does position on one, two, or three policy issues out of maybe ten totally define a person? Or, does positions on a majority of the ten policy issues define a person's bend on the political spectrum?

posted @ Friday, March 28, 2014 - 10:28

Galis: Trying to make sense of charter schools debate

@dahreese: "Public education is (has been) the backbone of this country."

The reformers want to ensure that public education remain the backbone of America.

posted @ Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 12:09

Galis: Trying to make sense of charter schools debate

Public school education is now in the age of accountability, which not only “pits traditionalists against reformers,” but also brings the nature and substance of the learning process into sharper focus. Experience has informed our understanding of what happens in the learning process. With a few exceptions, we know that students from divergent backgrounds come to school motivated and eager to learn. We know that teacher expectation exerts influence. We know that a teacher’s knowledge of the subject matter exerts influence. We know that diversified teaching methods exert influence. We know that classroom management skills exert influence. We know that quality supervision and mentoring exert influence. We know that student failures tell something about the student, teacher, and school.

I lean with the reformers and to the traditionalists I say the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. The situation demands new thinking and actions.

Charter Schools and Common Core are parts of the reform movement. For information about the Common Core please go to

posted @ Sunday, March 23, 2014 - 09:54

Tant: Protests have proud history of 'moving the needle' on public opinion

I wholeheartedly agree.

Grady L. Cornish

posted @ Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 19:15

Georgia Common Core fight appears settled for now

It's an election year issue because Republican candidates for State School Superintendent have stated their opposition, as well as Republican candidates for US Senate. I can't wait to see how the issue will play out in debates and campaign ads in the general election.

posted @ Friday, March 21, 2014 - 09:42

Black preschoolers more likely to face suspension

"Reason for suspension" should be required data reporting. This data will eliminate guessing, theorizing, and inform action initiatives

posted @ Friday, March 21, 2014 - 09:35

The Editor's Desk: Write a check, help a congressman

There will be a lot of money raised and spent in this US Senate race. In the end, however, the victor will not necessarily the one who raises the most, but the one who is most prudent and wise in their spending.

posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 22:40

Georgia Republicans moving against Obama health plan

@ponsoldt: "meanwhile, republican legislators continue their war on georgia's middle and working class population."

There is some good campaign ad material in your statement. This is a pocket book issue. Well crafted and properly targeted, the ad could have quite a bit of penetrating effect into the rank and file segment of the Republican electorate this year.

posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 21:16

Blackmon: Improving education is simple question of will

@Georgia Boy:

Thanks for sharing this more comprehensive research information about the performance of Charter Schools. It is this kind of solid data that move the discussion and debate out of the anecdotal and emotional realms, which are not as persuasive.

For various reasons there is strong resistance to accountability from public schools and their advocates, which does not bold well for comparative examination of their performance with Charter Schools. Neither does it bode well for limited experimentation. Like the privatization movement of the 90s, the Charter School movement will probably have to run its course to generate knowledge about effectiveness, if any, and the requirements to achieve it.

A more in-depth understanding of the characteristics and trends within and among closed public schools would certainly better inform policy decisions. If I were twenty five years younger I would submit an unsolicited proposal to the Gates Foundation and others along these lines. Instead of lambasting I would try to convince them of the importance of acquiring more solid modeling information about what it takes to improve the performance of public schools.

I will check out Diane Ravitch's book. Thanks for the suggestion.

posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 11:51

Blackmon: Improving education is simple question of will

@Georgia Boy:

Thanks. I am familiar with those sources, which are anecdotal. I was hoping for the results of a national study that examines the issue and presents a national picture. I will suggest to some of my friends in the research business that its an issue worth examining.

With respect to your question about where do students go when a school closes, the alternative of choice being pushed by the Obama administration is Charter Schools. As you perhaps know, they are quasi public, goal oriented with more flexibility. The verdict is still out on their performance, but anecdotal evidence so far is mixed.

posted @ Monday, March 17, 2014 - 16:49

Blackmon: Improving education is simple question of will

@Georgia Boy: "I stand by my statement. Most schools closed nationwide have been schools in poor and minority neighborhoods. It might be a way to save money, but it is no way to improve education."

I am always open for enlightenment. Would you be kind enough share your source for the above assertion?

posted @ Monday, March 17, 2014 - 15:35

Blackmon: Improving education is simple question of will

@Georgia Boy:

The decision to close a school is rendered after all improvement efforts have failed. Improvement efforts usually have a span of three or more years.

posted @ Monday, March 17, 2014 - 14:24

Blackmon: Improving education is simple question of will


Get off your high horse! Your “rejection” of my questions, not premises, does not invalidate them. They were put forth to close the dots in your assertions about what you are “FOR,” most of which I am for. These are questions taxpayers want answers to. A lack of answers to these questions is the main reason for the withering support of public school education.

Missing in all of your assertions is what responsibility the school system bears for the learning process. You speak lofty about teacher preparation but say nothing about the shared classroom learning responsibility of the student and teacher. Its alright for teachers to test their students but not others. I have long believed that student failures not only make a statement about the student but also the quality of teaching received.

You assert that “the biggest barriers to academic success lie outside the jurisdiction of the school. Poverty, domestic violence and lives riddled with the stress of living in high-crime areas or with drug-addled parents play a much greater role in a child’s learning than teacher competence.” This assertion fails to recognize that millions of kids who grew up under those circumstances are now productive, striving, and contributing citizens. It also fails to recognize the “resilient factor” and the fact that a goodly number of students from these backgrounds come to school motivated to learn.

In your response to Eagle you assert that “The "measurement" that "proves" your contention is a slew of expensive, high-stakes standardized tests that measure neither teaching nor learning, simply how well the children can learn to take tests.” However, you fail to underscore or point out the specific measurement issues. This recurring failure seriously undercut your credibility on the matter.

I suggest you get outside of your “love fest” comfort zone and delve more in to the thinking and reasoning of the opposition.

posted @ Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 18:05

Blackmon: Improving education is simple question of will

Are you for teachers, principals, Superintendents being held accountable for student achievement?

Do you believe poor performing schools, as defined by overall student achievement scores, should be closed?

Do you believe student readiness for grade level, college, or career should be performance measures for public schools?

posted @ Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 11:57

The Editor's Desk: Close Senate numbers might just fall in Broun's favor

Both of us speak from degrees of experience. Like you, I have better than 34 years of experience in elective politics in Georgia, co-managed two state-wide campaigns for a constitutional officer, and served as Deputy Director of the State Elections Division, among other things. I too have watched the transition and I know Georgia is definitely a red state. That said, I am also aware that electioneering today has been elevated to almost a science. Survey research and tracking polls are the tools of the trade. With some degree of precision, their results give knowledge about where the opportunities are within the opposition and direct where to target campaign marketing efforts. Why do you think Romney and others were shocked at the results of the last presidential election?

Notwithstanding the “intense dislike that most conservative Georgians have for this president, his policies, and the Democratic Party in general” conservatives, both Democrats and Republicans do not constitute a majority of the state’s electorate. I do not know what the experts told Michelle Nunn about a winning formula but believe me she would not been in this race if she did not think she could win. There are any number of winning scenarios…85% of Dems plus 15% of Repubs., 90% of Dems., plus 10% of Repubs, on and on. These possibilities beg the question of what % of Repubs are moderate and liberal and therefore susceptible to being influenced, what is the projected turn out among those who have voted in the last two or three elections, on and on?

“The national GOP may not embrace Broun warmly, but they aren't going to sacrifice an open seat to a Democrat when they are as close to taking the House and Senate as they are at this point.” This assertion of yours prompts the question…would you invest substantial funds in a project of which you are not sure or had some reasonable expectation of the returns, especially with so much historical volatility associated with it?

Our takes are noted for the record. Let’s revisit the issue on November 5, 2014.

posted @ Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 21:12

Georgia House committee kills Common Core bill

One of the most important actions taken this session.

posted @ Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 22:18

The Editor's Desk: Close Senate numbers might just fall in Broun's favor

@snarkydude: "The national Republican party may roll their eyes at Paul Broun, but they aren't going to withhold campaign funding when the balance of power in the Senate is as close as it is."

You make some good points. However, I remind you that you, me, and all the other posters here are not the typical voter because we are too informed and engaged, which extends to a lot of people we communicate and interact with. A good portion of the electorate will be swayed by the barrage of political ads and unforeseen events yet to come this election season. While your comments have historical context and reason, for a certain segment of the Republican Party in Georgia they fail to account for the voting behavior of that uninformed and disengaged segment. Moreover, the whole Republican Party in Georgia is not ultraconservative or even conservative for that matter, which begs the question of what percentage of that group can be influenced to vote Democrat or skip that race in the General. So much for that line of thought.

When considering Broun's track record of being a party maverick in the House I doubt they will feel he will be more dependable in the senate. It is for this reason that I question your above quoted assertion.

posted @ Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 18:34

The Editor's Desk: Close Senate numbers might just fall in Broun's favor

"With that, it’s not hard to see history repeating itself, Rep. Paul Broun becoming Sen. Paul Broun."

Not likely because the opponents are different and there is a larger pool of voters
in the General Election. Broun has not endeared himself with the Party faithful. It will be hard for the losing candidates to enthusiastically embrace his candidacy in the General. Establishment Republicans view Broun as an embarrassment to the Party and the State, which may motivate them to either sit that race out or vote Democrat in the General. Just another theory. At any rate, its a little early to predict a winner.

posted @ Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 20:46

Thomas: Conservatives should focus on minority children

Well said!

posted @ Monday, March 10, 2014 - 22:26

Galis: Common Core honors founding principles

@MyraBlackmon: "I believe what you and I fundamentally disagree about is how we structure that accountability. The use of test scores as the be-all and end-all in "accountability" is inaccurate, shallow and unfair. And that's before we get to what it does to the children!"

We fundamentally disagree about a number matters as it pertains to Common Core and the other education improvement initiatives. A few are listed below.

1. No where in all of your writings I have read where you admit that many public schools need improvement in their productivity.
2. You do not think student achievement should be tied to teacher evaluations.
3. You do not acknowledge the successes of No Child Left behind Act.
4. You have not demonstrated enough technical knowledge about test and measurements to render an informed opinion about the sufficiency of performance appraisals at all levels in the public schools system.
5. You do not acknowledge that student readiness for grade level, college, and career should be the measures of student achievement.
6. You express disdain for the “over reliance on testing” but present no reasonable alternative measurements.
7. You do not acknowledge the responsibilities teachers, principals, Superintendents, and others have when it comes to student achievement.

posted @ Monday, March 10, 2014 - 19:59

Blackmon: Common Core is just symptom of real problem in education

@MyraBlackmon: "If you have suggestions about how to go about such consensus-building efforts, I would be delighted to hear."

Too late for consensus building because the dye is cast for this election cycle. All Republican candidates for State School Sup., as well as all Republican candidates for Congress have taken their positions against Common Core, and the remaining derivative of Race to the Top public school improvement initiative.
I do not know the positions of the Democrats. Hopefully there will be some education and enlightenment as campaigns unfold.

posted @ Monday, March 10, 2014 - 13:07

Galis: Common Core honors founding principles


Most of what I have read from you on the subject of standards and accountability has been focused on either their deficiencies or problems with how they were conceived. Perhaps I was off the grid when your solution focused pieces were published.

With great anticipation I look forward to reading your suggestions regarding public school education standards and how to account for them.

By the way, some teachers and public school administrators interpret increasing demands for accountability as "beating up on them" because of their past effectiveness in dodging it.

In case you missed it, a charter school in Clayton County was closed last week because of poor performance.

posted @ Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 21:45

Blackmon: Common Core is just symptom of real problem in education

Rally against this bill and that bill until you are blue in the face…it will not make a difference in improving the performance of public schools. Currently, there is a confluence of factors at play in the politics of Georgia’s public school education…the heavy influence of ideologues, unhealthy partisanship, misguided and ill informed advocates, and a segment of vocal employees who fear accountability. These factors have created weird coalitions against substantive education improvement efforts and they spur legislation like SB167.

A substantial paradigm shift is required if Georgia’s education system is to support powerful learning for all students. There must be a strong embrace of standards and accountability. Moreover, education professionals and political leadership of the state and localities must be held accountable for identifying and implementing the systemic changes that improve student achievement. This will not happen until there is more coalition building within and among that portion of the electorate who value a strong and productive public school education system.

posted @ Sunday, March 9, 2014 - 16:40

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  • Andrew

    Blog: Can we please fix the Oscars?

    Summary:  Fun facts: The first-ever Oscar ceremony, held in 1929, ran a brisk 15 minutes. By contrast, the longest was in 2002, clocking in at a monstrous 4 hours and change. As usual, there are things I loved about it and things I didn't. Rather than be snarky or complain, I'll offer a few suggestions on how the organizers might bring the show into the 21st century. Fun facts: The first-ever Oscar ceremony, held in 1929, ran a brisk 15 minutes. By contrast, the longest was in 2002, clocking in at a monstrous 4 hours and change. As usual, there are things I loved about it and things I didn't. Rather than be snarky or complain, I'll offer a few suggestions on how the organizers might bring the show into the 21st century. First, a few thoughts on the winners: read more

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