Sonny Perdue Must Stop Kathy Cox

Georgia’s State Superintendent of Schools, Kathy Cox, has imposed a dramatically different high school math curriculum without properly reviewing it with teachers and parents. She is replacing the traditional structure (Algebra I & II, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus) with vaguely-titled Math 1, Math 2, and Math 3.

There are currently four math tracks available to high school students. They vary in difficulty to accommodate a broad range of math abilities. Under Cox’s proposed change, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will now only have two tracks (Math 1 and Advanced Math 1, Math 2 and Advanced Math 2…). Cox’s new mandate may be well intended-but the devil’s in the details.

Lobbyist-Driven Education Policies

Politicians like Kathy Cox have been promoting programs like this to help fund their political campaigns instead of being straight with parents. David Chastain, Director of Georgia Libertarian Party, claims Kathy is bought and sold by the educational lobbyists who represent the companies that provide the consulting, textbooks, and testing materials needed to implement the new program.

Kids would be better served if we had far fewer heavy-handed state and federal mandates (which they aren’t responsible for implementing or funding), and instead gave more money directly to the local school district and let local voters hold them accountable. In fact, if we eliminated these kinds of pork-filled bureaucratic misadventures we could raise the proportion of education funding that goes to classrooms (versus administration) to 65%. Please click here for more information.

Problem #1: Cox punishes gifted and advanced kids

As part of her new math program, Cox wants to stop giving gifted and advanced middle school math students the chance to earn high school credit in math (algebra). Currently, these advanced junior high courses (that Cox wants to eliminate) make Georgia students eligible for college math courses in their junior year, which helps them get placed in the top colleges.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Cherokee County School Superintendent, Dr. Petruzielo, said this aspect of Cox’s new math program doesn’t make sense. “One of the things Cherokee County is proud of is the number of kids in middle school who take algebra. Next fall we will have ninth-graders in high school taking algebra for credit. Why not have seventh- and eighth-graders take algebra? And if they can pass the end of course test, why in the world would they not get credit?” In fact, 95% of Cherokee County’s junior high Algebra 1 students pass the Cox’s own, state-required, EOCT test.

Problem #2: Students will suffer under unrealistic goals

Cox spokesperson and Georgia’s math program manager Claire Pierce told me that a goal of the new math program is to have 85% of Georgia’s students graduate having completed the equivalent of Algebra II. I believe this goal makes the same mistake as President Bush’s unpopular No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program: not all high school students should prepare for college. As reported by the AJC, it is wildly unrealistic to expect that they should, and it damages the self-esteem of kids that would be better served by a vocational program.

It’s more likely that 85% is the proportion of students she wants to buy new textbooks for, as a favor to her education-industry campaign donors.

Problem #3: Unrealistic goals for the teachers

I support high (yet realistic) expectations. But Kathy Cox’s unrealistic plan to graduate 85% of our high school students with the equivalent of Algebra II will destroy the morale of math teachers. Georgia’s high school classrooms face an explosion of immigrants with very poor English skills, pregnant teens, drug users, and kids with parents who don’t support academics.

Finally, Cox needs to double check her math-if currently 44% of Georgia’s high school students drop out and only 29% (nationally) graduate with math proficiency (which doesn’t include Algebra II), how can she possibly meet her 85% goal? The only way is to hide watered-down standards behind the vaguely titled Math 1, 2, and 3.

Problem #4: A rushed and careless policy

Cherokee County’s Mark Smith says Cox’s new math program hasn’t been reviewed with any colleges except those within Georgia’s state system. Meaning no one knows if or how colleges from other states will accept it. “This is a sea change in the way registrars look at stuff,” Petruzielo said. “I’m not comfortable [with the new courses]. We wouldn’t want our kids to be at a disadvantage.”

The state has also failed address how to handle students transferring into Georgia public high schools. Since the new curriculum is mandatory, advanced students transferring into our systems could be forced to sit through math classes they have already mastered. The same holds true for middle school students who have taken advanced math courses.

What can we do?

David Chastain, who ran against Kathy Cox for State School superintendent, said this will be priority one for the Libertarian Party to fight. Chastain wants to hold Sonny to his word about less government and local control. Click here to help David with his fight to protect our children from bureaucrats with alternative motives.

Please contact Sonny Perdue at 404-656-1776 or click here and tell SONNY to STOP KATHY COX. Please forward this email to other concerned parents.

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Submitted by swmbo on Thu, 04/19/2007 - 9:46pm.

I TOLD YOU SO! Look, I said that woman wasn't worth a flip as a superintendent before the election. I said she didn't have anybody's children's best interests at heart. But the mantra of the Zombie Faithful was "we must vote Republican."

Okay, you got what you asked for -- 4 years of Kathy's patronage to her education industry masters potentially at the expense of your children's admissiblity to colleges and universities.

Your kids may end up in remedial college classes but, hey . . . you got a Republican. Eye-wink Feel better now?

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

Submitted by CDog on Thu, 04/19/2007 - 7:39pm.

If you are truly concerned about your child's education, you will get them out of public school. There is no hope of reforming it. If Fayette County supposedly represents one of the best public school systems in the country, then woe be unto us! Work two jobs, work three jobs, live in a trailer, eat pine cones and drink creek water if you must to afford it. Homeschool, private school, Christian school, or no school. Anything is better than public school. Just be sure to ask for your tax money back when you take your kids out. You will find out just how "free" we really are. Visit the Alliance for the Separation of School and State

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Thu, 04/19/2007 - 10:07pm.

I am a proud product of public schooling, as are my wife, parents, brothers, and sisters. My kids are doing well. So even though I don't agree with your view of public schooling, your post put a smile on my face a mile wide. I just couldn't help but visualize salting and peppering pine cones! Great stuff! Please write more. Humor is as healthy as tofu.

Kevin "Hack" King

Submitted by bladderq on Wed, 04/18/2007 - 11:14pm.

in a Tree. What Control does the Gov. have over an elected head of Education? She don't even work for him.
I suggest you remember all this when you follow the "Vote Republican" mantra. Kathy Cox & Westmoron are going to be what you git...Oh & Scrub W (I gotta fly "high" in the TX Guard) & Dick (I gotta take this shot) & Rummysfield (I know what's best & you are a coward).

When Clinton Lied...No one Died.
Support the Troops..Bring Them Home Alive. I hope someone is keeping up w/ the Death Count before the "Ramp-Up" We got some reaal good bombings going on.

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