Support Change in Atlanta
Comments from the Atlanta Journal Constitution on July 6th and Savannah Morning News June 14th
As governor, my first priority will always be education — not just in an election year. I believe that education is economic development. It creates opportunity, it attracts businesses to the state, and it prepares our students for the best jobs.
A big part of the problem is that politicians in Atlanta promise support while continuing cuts. Since taking office, Gov. Deal has continued that shell game, underfunding public education by an average of $1 billion per year. He likes talking about his election-year funding increase, but the truth is he still missed the mark by three-quarters of a billion dollars. So his promise to “restore instructional days, eliminate teacher furloughs and increase teacher salaries” is simply a sham for far too many families and educators across Georgia.
My plan ends the shell game. As governor, I will propose a separate education budget — a trust fund that will keep the politicians in Atlanta from taking from our schools to pay for other things. The separate budget will hold politicians accountable and force them to put their money where their mouths are.
Of course, money alone won’t solve the problems. We have to stop the visionless political games that keep parents and students guessing with major change after change. And we must have a long-term, coherent focus on what drives educational success: our teachers.
As governor, I’ll focus every day on recruiting, retaining and supporting the best possible teachers for our students. My wife Kate is a public school teacher, and I know our teachers are tired of being treated like they’re the only problem instead of part of the solution. We all need to recognize that the strongest teacher workforce gives us our strongest chance to succeed.
Finally, we will restore the promise of HOPE by making sure we maximize the number of students who can afford to go to college and technical school. That’s an investment that will pay off not just for those students, but for the entire state as we reap the benefits of a highly skilled workforce.
When the bell rings next month and parents drop their kids back for the first day, we’ll all be counting on our schools to give our kids the best opportunities. That bright future is possible, and it starts with electing leaders who know what it takes to get us there.
Jason Carter in Savannah
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