One of the more important races in Georgia this year is the one for state school superintendent. Georgians have consistently ranked education as one of their greatest concerns, and with good reason. Gov. Roy Barnes education reform has brought nothing but greater confusion and bureaucracy to our school systems, and has led to our SAT scores dropping to 50th in the nation.
What Georgians need is an innovator, someone with a fresh and unique perspective on education to lead our schools out of the quagmire they currently reside in. That person is Rep. Kathy Cox.
Cox is the Republican nominee for state school superintendent, and is currently the representative of the 105th district (Fayette County) in the General Assembly, serving on the Education Committee, among others. She has also been a classroom teacher in Georgia for 15 years, in addition to being the parent of two children in public schools.
hese attributes give Cox the unique perspective of working on educational issues in the legislature, experiencing reform measures in her schools as a teacher, and seeing the effects of our educational policies on her own children. She literally is on the front lines of all three areas.
I am not the only one who thinks Kathy Cox is right for the job. U.S. Rep. John Linder has endorsed Cox, having said she has the leadership abilities and experience that Georgias schools need to ensure the future success of our children. Kathy is also the bi-partisan choice for the job. Dr. Theresa Bey, who ran in the primary for state school superintendent against the current Democratic nominee, Barbara Christmas, has endorsed Cox as well: She has my support because her platform addresses issues that are imperative in order to elevate the public school system. Bey has asked her supporters, who gave her 13.8 percent of the vote in the primary, to support Cox in the general election.
Coxs platform is one that stresses the fact that effective education reform will come from the bottom up, not the top down. She advocates greater local control by teachers, parents and administrators in the local school systems, because the solutions to Georgias problems lie with them. Her job as state school superintendent is to give them the support and direction they need to implement those solutions.
Cox also will work to lower Georgias dropout rate, which stands at one of the highest in the country, through improving technical training and creating more incentives for potential dropouts to stay in school. She plans to revamp our schools system of accountability by setting and maintaining high standards for all state schools and providing resources to local systems to invest in proven academic programs.
And finally, Cox will reduce the teacher shortage facing Georgia through providing improved advancement possibilities for teachers, offering a first-year paid internship for new teachers, and improving staff development to ensure that Georgias children have the best educators available.
Kathy Cox has the experience and the innovative policies to take Georgias children forward. I believe that, and on Nov. 5th, the voters of Georgia will believe that, too.
(State Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, serves Georgias 113th House District.)
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