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Barge wants Georgia to invest in teachers

Georgia School Superintendent John Barge speaks about the strides that have been made in Georgia public education Nov. 1, 2012, at a summit at Albany Technical College.

Georgia School Superintendent John Barge speaks about the strides that have been made in Georgia public education Nov. 1, 2012, at a summit at Albany Technical College.

ALBANY, Ga. -- State School Superintendent John Barge arrived in Albany on Thursday, touting an increase in student test scores over the past year.

"We're had some good news about student achievement in the state of Georgia," Barge said. "We've partnered with the Black Caucus to set up educational summits throughout the state to share this good news."

Accompanied by state Sen. Freddie Powell-Sims, D-Dawson, and state Rep. Winfred Dukes, D-Albany, Barge talked about closing the "achievement gap" between black students and their peers.

Virginia and Florida have recently enacted varying race-based performance standards for Asian, white, Hispanic and black Students.

Barge, however, said that had never been discussed in Georgia, and he did not think that would help narrow the achievement gap.

"I've heard that Virginia and Florida were doing something like that, but I have not specifically talked to anyone in those states about it," Barge said. "I'm not in favor of that, and I think that they could have some OCR (Office of Civil Rights) problems with that later."

The state superintendent said the key into narrowing the gap is not to lower standards, but to hire better people.

"The is no more critical hire for a school than a principal," Barge said. "That person must have a sound educational background and the ability to lead people. He or she needs to know their stuff, because they will chose their school's teachers."

Barge was then asked about the controversial Amendment 1 dealing with state charter schools. He came out recently in strong opposition to the amendment, but was told to not use the Department of Education's website to address the political issue by state Attorney General Sam Olens.

"I am not against charter schools, but I am still against Amendment 1," said Barge. "Most people don't know that the state school board has the power to establish a charter school if it rejected by the local school board. The Amendment is not needed."

Powell-Sims later heaped praise upon the superintendent.

"John Barge is the first state superintendent in 16 years who has put children over political whim," Powell-Sims said.

Comments

RedEric 2 years, 1 month ago

We are trying to hire better people, but there seems to be some opposition to the hope to change.

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whattheheck 2 years, 1 month ago

Well Mr Barge, if the state school board already has the authority to charter schools rejected by local BOEs, and the process is alive and working, why on earth did our legislators ever consider this amendment? Sounds to me like either our legislators aren't too smart giving us unnecessary authority or perhaps the process that can be used doesn't work well. Which is more likely in this case?

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tywebb 2 years, 1 month ago

Possible answer to your first question: because they were given a nice payoff by the out of state companies who will benefit from this ammendment. 2nd question: patuella(sp?) charter is a state charter school. they went through the process so it obviously works.

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Trustbuster 2 years, 1 month ago

Supt. Barge we need to be released from these federal constraints like the Race to the Top. Federal programs stymie school innovation and local control. More money needs to be directed into the classroom instead of the board room!

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whattheheck 2 years, 1 month ago

Didn't DCSS request the Race to the Top money knowing of the strings? Surely agree with the money in the classroom comment when one looks at the layered structure of the DCSS. Too many Deputy Dogs and Asst Deputy Dogs. But perhaps we do need Race Based Performance Standards to help make the classroom product appear more productive.

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waltspecht 2 years, 1 month ago

I know that it was probably stated as a Principal needs to Lead people, but it was printed as leave people. I think it is closer to the truth that they need to leave more people go, and replace them with the better people he wants to hire.

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URWrongAgain 2 years, 1 month ago

I totally agree with Mrs. Powell-Sims statement that Supt. Barge has truly demonstrated that he puts children first. Someone pinch me. I probably won't agree with 100% of his decisions, but I truly like him (in spite of his political affiliation).

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FryarTuk 2 years, 1 month ago

Okay, Supt. Barge, if you want to improve your teaching force start by restoring and funding the State Departments Office for teacher certification and monitoring. Assist the school systems in credentialing all educators. This service was fundamentally dismantled. Require teachers to pass tests relative to their fields of teaching on an intermitten basis. Insist Education Departments in all Georgia university units upgrade instructional quality and testing. Require all degrees including advanced degrees be from legitimately accredited programs/universities. No more of this Argosy junk. Emphasize fewer pupils per class and require school systems to conform to unifirm school construction policy as to cost, facilities and size.

Freddie Powell-Simms and Winnie Dukes are barnacles on the butt of a ship. They care absolutely nothing about their constituents. The are among the chief contributors of poor educational leadership in this community.

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