After being publicly questioned about his new education plan by the state superintendent, Georgia’s highest elected education official, Deal has once again resorted to insults and intimidation.
Deal’s new education plan includes the new role of “Chief Turnaround Officer” (READ: “Education Czar”), who would report to the state Board of Education. The state BOE is appointed by the governor, putting the Chief Turnaround Officer in the governor’s chain of command.
State Superintendent Richard Woods recently questioned that structure. He argues that he and his staff of hundreds should be in charge of the turnaround effort. Also, it seems that since he oversees the state and federal school budget, he would need to collaborate on any turnaround efforts that changed fund distribution.
Rather than discuss these differences, Deal sent a letter, obtained by the AJC, accusing Woods of not doing his job. Deal cited the “downward spiral of failure” in Georgia public schools since Woods took office, as well as noting that “some are contending that you and the Department of Education already possess sufficient authority to turn around chronically failing schools.”
Deal specifically said that “considering that the number of chronically failing schools increased from 127 in school year 2014-2015 to 153 in school year 2015-2016, I would like to know what actions DOE took during those two school years to reverse this downward spiral of failure.”
Woods’ main retort was the fact that he took office in 2015 and he followed up by sending letter referencing bold changes he’s made within his office.
The fact of the matter is that Deal is power-hungry and willing to criticize anyone who dares to disagree with his power grab. Last year, he publicly thanked superintendents who stayed silent on his first takeover push. He also accused and attacked school board members who spoke up against school takeover.
School takeover 2.0 would silence parents and give away control to out-of-state for-profit corporations. The Georgia Federation of Teachers has called the bill a “backdoor approach” that gives the “the choice of drinking gasoline or kerosene.”
Deal’s intimidation schemes and backroom politics are unacceptable. This is one more example of how he silences voters, silences parents and publicly disparages anyone who comes between him and what he wants.