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Deal to unveil his education platform

Plan revealed at 1 p.m. today will emphasize math, science, fitness

POSTED: September 6, 2010 11:37 p.m.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal will unveil his plan for the future of Georgia's education at a 1 p.m. press conference at the state Capitol today.

Brian Robinson, a spokesman for the gubernatorial hopeful, said the Deal campaign hopes to emphasize the importance of education.

“The Labor Day holiday ushers in the traditional start of the general election campaign. This is a time when people are really tuning into the election and comparing the candidates,” Robinson said. “I think there’s a consensus that the biggest issue facing the state right now is job creation. But when it comes to state funding, education is our biggest priority. It is where the majority of state tax dollars go.”

Robinson said he hopes voters will take a serious look at the differences between Deal’s education plan and that of his Democratic opponent, Roy Barnes.

“There are notable ways that Nathan’s vision for education in Georgia is notably different than Roy Barnes’ and the Democrats,” Robinson said. “Nathan Deal has sought input from teachers and other education stakeholders. And whereas Democrats have preferred a one-size fits all, top-down beauracratic model, Nathan’s plan is to emphasize local control, greater choice and reforms that will better position schools in Georgia for the new century.”

Deal’s plan, titled “Real Results,” seeks to emphasize math, science and technology and focus on fitness and nutrition.
But Barnes said Deal has waited too long to tell voters his plan for education.

It was teachers who helped defeat Barnes in 2002, but in his current bid for office, Barnes has made education his signature issue.

“From day one, Roy’s priority has been education – that’s why over the past year he’s visited over 90 counties, listening to Georgia’s educators and developing a comprehensive plan to make education work in Georgia again,” said Anna Ruth Williams, a spokeswoman for Barnes. “Congressman Deal, weighed down by his own ethical problems, has been too distracted to even develop an education plan; despite cuts to education, furloughs to teachers, and a mere eight weeks until Election Day — it’s beyond time Congressman Deal let educators and students know where he stands.”

Barnes is promising a more inclusive approach, pushing a platform full of teacher-friendly policies like salary increases, smaller class sizes and a ban on furloughs. He also wants to bring two teachers into the governor’s office to act as advisers.

Critics say the Democrat is promising more than he can deliver in lean budget times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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