Is there hope for Georgia’s education system? Kenny B., with Macon’s Fox 24 Live at Five, addresses that question with Executive Director Bryan Long.
A partial transcript can be found below the video clip.
KENNY B: You’ve mentioned education several times. Atlanta, we know the hammering the public school system took with the cheating scandal. Is there hope for Georgia’s education in this state? Can we turn this corner?
BRYAN: Absolutely we can. And we were not always at the bottom of the rankings when it comes to education.
KENNY B: It’s been a long time. You must admit, it’s been a long time.
BRYAN: It has. But we have proven that we can do it in this state. It comes down our priorities. We somehow found the money in our budget to increase our criminal justice — our prison budget by 20 percent of 10 years. If we found that money, I’m confident that we can put our heads together and find a way to make education a priority. We have to fully fund our schools. K through 12, pre-K — we have to fund that. That is not an option. Otherwise we’re going to continue to look more and more like Alabama, and look more like Mississippi. That is the wrong direction.
KENNY B: Speaking of crime, and you mentioned the prison system, we’re overcrowded. Much like the state of California, we are running out of space. Guy Millner, in 1996, running against Roy Barnes said we need to build more prisons. Do we need to build more prisons, bigger prisons?
BRYAN: I agree with the Governor on this issue. We need prison reform. Our prison system is too expensive.
KENNY B: And when you say prison reform are you speaking specifically of those charged with drug or substance abuse?
BRYAN: 60 percent of our prisoners in Georgia are non-violent offenders. I realize that if we turn them onto the street right now there’s a problem with that. They need jobs. So I’m not advocating throwing open cell doors but we have to take a serious look at [reform] and decide as Georgians that [prisons] are not our biggest priority in this state. We have to find a way to reform [prisons].
KENNY B: And where are you on this part of reform? The governor says we need to find a way to get them out of the prison but he doesn’t offer any kind of hope for any kind of rehabilitation or drug counseling.
BRYAN: That’s going to be a crucial part, otherwise you have a revolving door and people end up right back where they were. I’m glad I’m not governor but it is an issue that we have to look at.
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