Joe Martin stands up for Georgia's students.
The State School Superintendent must be the person who leads the fight for Georgia's children. We need someone in this role who will stand up for our schools without giving in to the current politics.
Joe will speak the truth about education in Georgia and stand up for our schools. We need a State School Superintendent who will put the needs of our students above all else.
As one of our most basic needs, the information that is compiled and then published on the status of education in Georgia must be accurate and usable. Joe was one of the first advocates for a statewide information system to track student progress on a year-to-year or longitudinal basis. This is the only realistic way to measure the "growth" in student achievement. It is also the only reliable way to determine how many of our students are actually graduating from high school with a regular or special education diploma.
One of Joe's first acts as State School Superintendent will be to take the steps that are necessary to activate the long-awaited and greatly needed student information system. Teachers would have more usable and timely information for their own planning, and school leaders, parents, and the general public would have a much better understanding of how well our students are actually doing in school.
Joe will work to streamline the number of state tests and improve their usefulness in meeting the needs of each student. Too much instructional time is consumed by not only the tests themselves but also the hours of preparation for the tests. Worst of all, our students have to endure the drudgery of rote instruction and memorization instead of experiencing the joy of learning and developing the ability to think for themselves.
There is a pressing need to offer more and better alternatives for the students who are not succeeding in the regular classes. The reality is that many students need additional assistance and non-traditional approaches in gaining the necessary preparation for higher education and productive employment.
Effective interventions are necessary to close the achievement gap for disadvantaged students and rescue the tragically large number of students who are dropping out of high school. Our schools should offer transitional grades and other forms of intensive help for the students who are in danger of not being promoted to the next grade. Likewise, "second-chance" schools can be especially beneficial in reaching students who have or will drop out of high school.
One of the obvious needs for all of our students is a much closer and seamless connection with technical and regular colleges. Our students should have more opportunities to take Advanced Placement and other high-level courses and to learn foreign languages, which will be a necessary skill for success in a global economy.
Because of the serious problems in the previous curriculum, Joe supported the adoption of the new performance learning standards. However, he plans to appoint a committee to review the new math and science curriculum to make sure it is accomplishing what we want for our students. It may be appropriate, for instance, to allow local schools some latitude in continuing a more traditional approach in math during an interim period. In any event, he will not make the mistake of revising the curriculum without providing adequate preparation for the teachers who will have to implement the changes.
Joe will work tirelessly to increase student achievement by every student in every school. He will work to restore and expand art and music as essential elements in a quality basic education. His goal will be to enable every student to reach his or her full potential. All of Georgia's students can and must perform at a higher level.
Contact the CampaignMailing address: P.O. Box 9013, Atlanta, GA 31106
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