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State Superintendent – Republican Primary Runoff

The AJC had an interesting article about the Republican primary runoff for State School Superintendent. The article should be particularly interesting for school choice advocates, parents and anyone interested in government spending on education.

The two candidates, Richard Woods and Mike Buck met for a debate in Cobb County on Saturday. As the article touted, there is a clear difference between the candidates on Common Core. Woods is against Common Core and Buck is a proponent. But the most revealing comments that each candidate made were about school choice and the operations of the Georgia Department of Education.

On school choice the AJC wrote that, “Woods described the charter-school option as an intrinsic right. “We need to fight for the right of our parents to be autonomous,” he said.”

The AJC quoted Mr. Buck as saying, “I don’t have a thing in the world against charters,”… “But as the state superintendent, it is my job to make sure that public school is the choice for parents.”

Mr. Buck should know that charter schools ARE public schools. Why do the educrats within the Georgia DOE continue to see charter schools as something outside of public education? Perhaps public education is only public to them when they can control it? And, if there are no other public choices for parents, how can his statement about choice be meaningful?

The AJC article went on to say, “The debate moved to rapid-fire answers about firearms in schools, Department of Education staffing and test frequency. Woods said he would have carried a gun to protect students and teachers, would like to launch a full audit of the DOE to assess budget issues and would work to decrease the frequency of tests.

Buck preferred hiring more school resource officers over allowing more guns and described frequent testing as an accountability measure. He also said he believed the DOE is already understaffed, especially after recent budget cuts.”

One of the central principles uniting Republicans is fiscal responsibility. Republicans that will be voting in the runoff should note that one candidate, Richard Woods, stated that he would audit the Georgia DOE. The other candidate, Mike Buck, said the Georgia DOE is understaffed. That sounds like he is already planning to grow the largest bureaucracy in the state. Let’s be clear on what that means: It’s reaching into your wallet for more of your money. Georgia already spends more per pupil than all of our borders states and gets worse results. Spending more money will only continue to subsidize failure. The Georgia DOE must restructure and deliver value and results for the kids and taxpayers of our state.

I hope all the voters out there take note of this article. Richard Woods was the only candidate that espoused conservative financial principles. He is the only candidate that said parents have rights and spoke positively about charter schools as an option. I hope Republican voters are paying attention.


  1. Dr. Traci McBride says:

    Nancy, I appreciate your blog in pointing out the major differences between the two candidates. As a conservative and constitutionalist, the only real choice is Richard Woods. Mr. Buck will simply continue to take Georgia deeper into the Common Core, which will continue to be a money pit for education in Georgia. I agree that an audit is necessary, determine what cuts need to be made, restructure the state DOE but do the same at the local level. Unfortunately, the money allocated to local BOEs is not used properly either. A major overall of all boards with the implementation of oversight should help Georgia get back on track and our students making gains at record levels!
    Thank you, Traci

  2. Nancy Jester says:

    Traci, you are so right to point out that some BOEs are not functioning properly. As a former board member, I saw firsthand this problem. I spotlighted this problem when I served on the board. My campaign for Superintendent was focused on improving the financial stewardship in education across our state. We do not hold districts accountable for the quality of the financial management. I have advocated that we adopt a system much like FIRST (the Financial Integrity Reporting System of Texas). This system measures, discloses and rates the quality of financial management for each of the over 1000 school districts in Texas. It is driving the money into the classroom and away from the bloated bureaucracy. Texas spends less per pupil than Georgia and gets better results for kids. I’ll add that Texas showed the wisdom to reject Common Core and never went down that path.

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