The five candidates for State Superintendent this year all have at least one thing in common: they all say they want lawmakers and the governor to put more money into education.
The three Democrats include Sid Chapman, a former high school teacher and president of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE), Otha Thornton, Army veteran and former president of the National PTA and Sam Mosteller, a pastor and former head of the Ga. chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Otha Thornton was a vocal part of the school takeover opposition. He referred to Deal’s school takeover plans as “really deceptive” and said they “cross constitutional lines.” Thornton wants to increase school funding because he says the current formula has not kept up with the standard of living.
Sid Chapman was also part of the opposition and persuaded the GAE to fund the school takeover opposition. He also pointed out that many Ga. teachers live below the poverty line and wants to change that. Chapman has also criticized the staggering amount of standardized tests Ga. students must take each year.
Sam Mosteller echoes frustrations about schools being underfunded. He also sees illiteracy in 3rd grade as being a major issue and wants to open reading centers around the state, though he hasn’t explained how he would pay for it.
The pair of Republicans running include John Barge and incumbent Richard Woods.
Barge has a history of tense relationships with the people with whom he’s supposed to closely work, including Gov. Deal. Barge was elected to State Superintendent in 2010 as a Republican without the support of the GOP and refused to support some of Deal’s education changes, including diverting public school funds to charter schools.
And finally that brings us to our current state Superintendent, incumbent Richard Woods. Woods has been in the spotlight throughout his tenure for a variety of things ranging from diverting funding for Georgia’s poorest children to for-profit corporations, refusing to protect transgender students to trying to find alternative ways to test students. Most notably, he refuses to stand up to Deal and is in favor of school takeover, two things that have proven disastrous for Georgia’s school children.
School safety continues to pop up in the Superintendent race. All three Democrats strongly oppose more guns in schools in any capacity, but the two Republicans have both stated that arming teachers should be a district decision.
However, it is already legal for teachers to carry firearms in Georgia and a district recently became the first to do so.
Make sure to get out and vote for this overlooked but highly important office today, May 22nd.