It’s Time To Put Students First

This is the latest entry in our ongoing series from Georgia’s gubernatorial candidates on the state of education

There’s no quick fix to enhancing educational outcomes in Georgia.  Despite what Democrats claim, there’s no amount of money either that can magically make all students – regardless of zip code – reach their full potential.  However, there are several things that I will immediately do as Georgia’s next governor to move the needle and ensure a bright and promising future for local students.

Let Teachers Teach

The public education system remains saddled with regulations and mandates.  It’s time to take a chainsaw to the rules and regulations that hinder progress.

Growing up, my teachers were energized, enthusiastic, and passionate about education. Now, they are saddled with paperwork, standardized testing, and unpaid duties.

While often well intentioned, more rules don’t make better teachers.

Unfunded mandates and legislative attempts at applying standardized solutions to local issues have done more to hurt public education than to help.  It’s no surprise that many of our best and brightest teachers are retiring early.  They signed up to be educators – not government bureaucrats.

Support Local Control

Education policy should always revolve around the fundamental concept of local control.

To improve educational outcomes in Georgia, we must look to local school boards and stakeholders – not state government. By eliminating burdensome mandates, bureaucracy, and ridiculous regulations, we can empower local school boards. Through engagement with community leaders and stakeholders, we can ensure that students in failing schools have choices and a way to get out.

Right now, state government plays a huge role in public education. That needs to change. We should set high standards and get out of the way.  Let local school boards lead, let teachers teach, and let parents ensure that learning happens outside of the classroom.

Expand School Choice

In the private sector, choice enhances competition and ultimately gives consumers the best product at the lowest price.  The same can be true for education. Through school choice, we can give Georgia students – and parents – the learning opportunities and educational environment they want and deserve.

As a State Senator, I co-sponsored one of the early charter school bills. During my two terms in office, I fought to enhance educational outcomes through school choice.

As governor, I will build on that record by doubling the SSO tax credit, supporting equitable charter school funding, and piloting an ESA program with military families.

School choice means trusting parents and putting students first. As a father of 3 teenage daughters, I never want my children – or anyone’s children – to be trapped in a failing school or a bad situation.  We must always have an education system that trusts parents and allows us to decide what’s best for our kids.

Strengthen Rural Education

Your zip code should not determine your potential. Rural students deserve the same opportunities and experiences as those who live in highly populated counties. As governor, I will work to give the future generation – in all parts of our state – the tools necessary to learn, grow, and thrive.

Early in the race for governor, I released a comprehensive plan to strengthen Rural Georgia. A core component of that plan is education.

As governor, I will support and grow virtual learning opportunities for rural students, which includes challenging courses for high achieving students and remedial opportunities for students that need a different environment in order to achieve.

We must work with non-profit organizations to fund after school programs that teach soft skills and prepare tomorrow’s workforce.

By bringing High Speed Internet to rural Georgia, we can embrace tele-classrooms and make sure that students always have a fast pass to the information super highway!

Elect A Courageous Governor

To actually accomplish these – and countless other education initiatives – we need a governor with courage.  We need less grandstanding and politicking on the campaign trail and more progress under the Gold Dome.

In the Senate and as Secretary of State, I have a proven record of fighting – and winning – on issues that matter most to hardworking Georgians.

As governor, I will fight every day to put hardworking students, parents, and educators – not the status quo – first.

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