Political Insider

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Nathan Deal's pledge to 'revolutionize' Georgia's education system

Gov. Nathan Deal may have backed down this year on a push to start fundamental changes to education policy that would overhaul the state's school funding formula and begin to tie teacher pay to the performance of their students. But in a speech this week to education leaders, he renewed a vow to press those changes next year to "revolutionize" the school system.

In the prepared remarks of his speech Tuesday to the Educate Georgia Summit, he told teachers, administrators and policymakers that he wants to seize a "truly historic moment in the life of our state" to make dramatic changes to education policy.

"We have laid before us a chance not just to reform education in Georgia, but to revolutionize it," he said in his remarks. "Reform is just another word for Band-Aid. We want to fundamentally change how we equip our children with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the modern era."

Deal told the group that his budget next year will include the funding to begin implementing the changes to the education funding system to usher in a new era of K-12 education "that will be much brighter than the neglected and fading one that our current students learn under."

And he cast the delays - Deal has postponed his pledge to rework the education system twice since initially proposing it in 2013 - as essential to its success.

"If we fail to make history, we will be doomed to repeat it," he said. "And even worse, all of those students trapped in those failing schools will be doomed to a life of struggle because they received an inadequate education in a time when the job market demands the very best for success."

The question remains, as it was before, whether he will have the political muscle to power it through next year.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.