Education tops Barnes' agenda this time around

ATLANTA --- Teachers might have helped block Roy Barnes' 2002 bid for a second term as governor, but education has emerged as his signature issue as he tries to win his old job back this fall.

Democratic candidate Roy Barnes supports teacher salary increases, smaller class sizes and a ban on teacher furloughs.   File/Associated Press
File/Associated Press
Democratic candidate Roy Barnes supports teacher salary increases, smaller class sizes and a ban on teacher furloughs.

This time he's promising a more inclusive approach, pushing a platform full of teacher-friendly policies such as salary increases, smaller class sizes and a ban on furloughs. He also wants to bring two teachers into the governor's office to act as advisers.

Critics say the Democrat is promising more than he can deliver in lean budget times.

But Barnes says he can cobble together the roughly $1.2 billion needed to get the state's classrooms back on track, replacing "austerity cuts" made by Gov. Sonny Perdue in the past eight years.

In a recent interview, Barnes said he would get the money by halting or suspending a number of special interest tax breaks. One of those is a tax break worth $50 million aimed at those who donate money to scholarship funds for children wanting to attend private schools. Barnes said he would also change the way sales taxes are collected -- which both Democrats and Republicans agree could bring in up to $600 million in additional revenue.

Barnes said he would erase, at least temporarily, a premium tax break for insurance companies. And though he would not place a tax on groceries or prescription drugs, he would suspend for three or four years tax exemptions on a host of things such as jet fuel -- a 0.4 percent tax on about $10 billion in breaks.

"I think it's tax fairness," Barnes said, balking at the suggestion that such a move would be a tax increase. "Everybody has to bleed a little here. It's just a suspension so that we can get teachers back, get kids back in the classroom and get people back to work."

Barnes has apologized repeatedly for angering teachers during his four years in office, but the former governor isn't backing off the controversial policies that drew fire from educators.

His opponent, Republican Nathan Deal, hasn't outlined his education plan yet, despite having declared he was running for governor more than a year ago. Deal's campaign has promised to release it today but first wanted to collect responses from a teacher survey posted on the campaign Web site.

"Voters start to tune into the election after Labor Day in an election year. That is exactly when we are releasing our education plan -- when people are most interested and most likely to dig into the details," said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson.

Education is about half of the spending in the state budget.

Deal, a former congressman, has spoken publicly about some aspects of his education plan. He told a group of insurance agents in Duluth that schools should serve locally grown vegetables and require daily exercise to help curb growing rates of childhood obesity.

He also said teachers should be able to promote students midyear if they seem ready for the next grade and should be allowed to choose when they give standardized tests.

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bone1
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bone1 09/07/10 - 05:57 am
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i'm sure there are some idiot

i'm sure there are some idiot teachers that will buy what he is selling; when perdue runs again in 4 years i'm sure we'll forget how much he screwed teachers, too.

GaPatriot
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GaPatriot 09/07/10 - 06:15 am
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I am a teacher. All other

I am a teacher. All other teachers, remember the fable about the scorpion and the frog. Half way across the river, the scorpion stings the frog to death after promising not to. As he was dying and the scorpion drowning, the frog asked, "Why did you do that, you promised not to?" The scorpion responded, "You knew what I was when you helped me." I trust Roy OBamarnes as far as I can through Stone Mountain.

sgachief
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sgachief 09/07/10 - 08:00 am
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here's ole arrogant king roy

here's ole arrogant king roy showing his contempt for teachers once more by suggesting that they are not smart enough to see through his charade once again. roy, get back under your rock and stay there.

Hucklebuck
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Hucklebuck 09/07/10 - 11:54 am
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BOTTOM LINE FOLKS PUTTING

BOTTOM LINE FOLKS PUTTING MORE MONEY IN EDUCATION IS A WASTE!! IF THE PARENTS DON'T GET INVOLVED THEN WHAT'S THE POINT. GEORGIANS SEEMED MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FLAG THAN THE FACT THEIR CHILDREN COULD READ OR WRITE. TEACHERS WANT MORE MONEY BUT AGAIN THEY ARE NOT THE KEY THE KEY IS AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT.

Sweet son
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Sweet son 09/07/10 - 03:19 pm
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You go Hucklebuck!!!Parental

You go Hucklebuck!!!Parental involvement has always been a necessary ingredient in the education process. Most parents just want a babysitter in the form of school. My daughter is 25 now and working on a doctorate in education and I know that our involvement as parents helped her to get to this point in her life. We coached her through homework and attended all of her sporting events. I always told her that it was easy to win but we all had to learn how to loose. More pay for teachers and more tests are not the answer to the educational process.

Brad Owens
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Brad Owens 09/08/10 - 06:28 am
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This is just a bad choice.

This is just a bad choice. It seems that Barnes has lucid and complete planks in his platform, Deal wants 'education victry gardens' to fight fat in kids?

The Reichpublicans screwed up when they gave Deal the nod. Roy may be a Clinton-style Democrat, but Deal is an unethical self-server.

Thanks GOP primary voters.

The best thing Deal can do is smear Obama stink-stink all over Barnes and hope the Libertarian doesn't get more than 4%.

Georgia, God Bless you,

Brad

Chillen
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Chillen 09/09/10 - 09:05 am
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Leopards don't change their

Leopards don't change their spots. They just rearrange them temporarily to get re-elected. Don't be fooled.

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