James.qxp July August 2018 web - Page 43



Governor,” has outlined the most detailed plan of any candidate, producing a nine-page issue brief on her website
that focuses on:
1. Investment in early care and learning;
2. Targeted investments in K-12 that support kids,
teachers and parents, including full funding and
the development of a more comprehensive education funding formula;
3. Expanding opportunities beyond high school,
including strengthening access and financial aid to
post-secondary programs.
In the battle for the Republican nomination, Lt. Gov.
Casey Cagle promoted the education ideas he articulated
in his book Education Unleashed. In addition to supporting parent choice through charter schools and various
voucher-type programs, Cagle endorses:
1. Local control of school systems through charter
contracts and flexibility in exchange for
accountability;
2. Individualized learning plans for all students;
In
early 2018 an Atlanta-Journal Constitution survey of Georgia voters said education was the
“single most important issue facing Georgia today,” followed by health care and economy/jobs. This November,
Georgia voters will elect a new governor whose responsibilities will include setting the direction for a state
education policy agenda. Which direction are we likely
to be heading? It’s difficult to say.
As he completes his second term, Gov. Nathan Deal
is leaving the public education system in significantly
better shape than when he inherited it, helping the state
build a stronger workforce for the future. What remains to
be seen, however, is how Georgia’s next governor will
move beyond Deal’s accomplishments and advance a
new, holistic vision of public education.
For all the rhetoric throughout the primaries, and
through the Republican runoff, the candidates for governor have remained relatively quiet on their plans for public
education. Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, who
recently adopted the moniker, “Georgia’s Public Education
3. A restructured high school experience via the
College and Career Academy network, a program
of 46 schools that combines college courses with
tech school training.
Cagle’s Republican opponent, Secretary of State Brian
Kemp, introduced a platform including support for:
1. Expanding school choice;
2. Improving local control;
3. Strengthening rural education.
While each candidate’s education agenda is readily
available online, there has been limited public discourse about the purpose and vision for public education. Outside of isolated discussions related to school
choice and needs-based aid for post-secondary education, there has been a lack of candidate commentary
about expectations of our public schools and what
types of investments they believe are required to
achieve and sustain success. continued on page 44
J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8
43

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