Jason Carter on Education



Restore billions slashed from public education

Governor Deal's administration has slashed billions of dollars from public education, resulting in teachers being furloughed, larger class sizes, and less individual attention for struggling students. While Georgia schoolchildren are getting shortchanged in the classroom, many Georgia families are paying more in property taxes. In fact, dozens of districts raised local are property taxes to make up for the Governor's cuts to education.

Jason proposed a separate Education Budget--essentially a trust fund for education that will prevent politicians in Atlanta from mortgaging our future to pay for other things. Today education funding in Georgia is a shell game. A separate Education Budget will ensure that investing in education is Georgia's top priority.

Source: 2014 Gubernatorial campaign website, CarterForGovernor.com , Mar 3, 2014

Separate out education budget from General Funds budget

Q: How will you balance the budget in your proposed budget to the General Assembly?

A: We are going to balance the budget no matter what. My biggest budget proposal that I think is the most important thing we can do for our state is to change the way we budget for education. Right now, we have a complete shell game. We say education is important but then we cut the same way we do everything else. I think that if we bifurcate the budget and have an education budget that is separate and the rest of the General Funds does everything else, then the politicians in Atlanta will be forced to vote yes or no; that this is the education system that we want to provide for our state. If we do that, you will enforce education as the top priority of the state. Then you have to balance the budget on everything else. I don't think you can ask the people of Georgia to pay more from a revenue standpoint given the budget in process that we have now.

Source: Atlanta Progressive News interview: 2014 GA Governor's race , Feb 13, 2014

Public schools need best-trained, well-supported teachers

Q: What is your plan for improving public education in Georgia?

A: At a minimum, money is not the only answer. In my opinion, we have to focus almost exclusively on everything we do through one lens, and that lens is ensuring that we have the best trained, most well supported highest quality teaching workforce you can have. That requires us to recruit and retain the best teachers and treat them well and support them and give them the tools that they need to improve and move forward to develop professionally. Right now, we are not doing that and we have a serious morale problem in the teaching workforce and a lot of small indignities that go along with being a public school teacher that should not be there. My wife teaches at Grady High School and those little slights weigh on her and weigh on me. That is very personal to me and I think we have to focus on.

Source: Atlanta Progressive News interview: 2014 GA Governor's race , Feb 13, 2014

Charter schools useful as laboratories for innovation

Q: What is your position on Charter Schools?

A: I think charter schools are a tool that can be used to support the public school system, but they have to be part and parcel of that public school system. The way charter school can be helpful is, if they allow themselves to be laboratories for innovation and finding best practices. That has to be done with an eye toward improving and providing a good school for every kid not just kids that are in charter schools. I represent some of the best charter schools in the state. Anybody that looks at Drew Charter School, for example, will see a school who is doing exactly what we want schools to do from a student standpoint.

Source: Atlanta Progressive News interview: 2014 GA Governor's race , Feb 13, 2014

1998: Peace Corps educator in South Africa

I lived in a small rural village in South Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. The Peace Corps was helping Nelson Mandela's government implement a new education curriculum designed for the new post-apartheid South Africa. I worked at 3 schools in the area with teachers like Nhlanhla, who taught math and science at Lochiel Primary.

I was the only white person for miles. But the Peace Corps trains all of its members to speak the local language, and the grounding I received in Siswati and Zulu allowed me to put black South Africa at ease and to participate in their lives to an extent unheard of for most of white South Africa.

Source: Power Lines, by Jason Carter, p. xviii , Jun 1, 2003

Third World schooling presents extraordinary challenges

I had a job that spanned 3 Third World schools. The schools themselves were riddled with problems. Most of the parents of the children couldn't read or write. Many children walked for miles to school.

All the schools were poor enough to qualify for government subsidized lunches; 2 pieces of bread and cup of milk. For some this meal was the most substantial of the day.

The area's schools were overcrowded. Sometimes 90 children sat in a single 3rd grade classroom. No child had his or her own desk, and many even shared chairs.

Apartheid's residue coated these schools from top to bottom.

I had come to South Africa to battle hardships in schools. I regarded the challenge with a sense of optimism and relished the idea of making progress.

The challenge of educating children in this environment was extraordinary.

Source: Power Lines, by Jason Carter, p.101-3 , Jun 1, 2003

Teachers are means to vanquish South African apartheid

I had been in South Africa for a year, and I stayed busy in Lochiel. Some of the now familiar obstacles at work frustrated me, but I was inspired to work around them. I truly believed that the tasks facing the teachers were the most important in South Africa's struggle to vanquish apartheid. In my struggle against the lingering oppression wrought by apartheid, almost daily I had new projects and ideas. Numerous teachers told me that they could not improve their teaching results because the students received no support at home. We engaged the secondary school to set up a big brother/big sister tutoring program to motivate both the younger and older students, especially those who showed potential for excellence.
Source: Power Lines, by Jason Carter, p.201-2 , Jun 1, 2003

Worked with rural African teachers on new curriculum

The educational system in South Africa had been an integral part of apartheid's plan. For black people, Bantu Education, as the government policy was called, was designed to teach them how to follow rules, how to respect authority, and how to prevent ambition from clouding their minds.

While the old curriculum would have given specific instructions, and an exact lesson plan for what to do on the 3rd day of 2nd grade, the new post-apartheid curriculum would simply tell the teacher what the children should be able to do at the end of the year. Most teachers saw this not as freedom but as a lack of guidance. How were they supposed to proceed?

Our job as volunteers was to work with teachers in rural areas to help them implement the new curriculum and reform other parts of their school organization to better fit the new educational environment. It was a well-designed project, and we all felt as though we were on the front lines of one of the most important battles of the post-apartheid struggle.

Source: Power Lines, by Jason Carter, p. 17-18 , Jun 1, 2003

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