Left to right: State Rep. Rhonda Burnough; James Wilson, a freshman at Georgia State University; and Tiffany Fannin, Democratic Caucus Chair of the member of the Georgia Association of Educators.
Today, Georgia lawmakers, educators, and parents held a press conference calling out Brian Kemp for pushing an extreme, anti-education agenda that pits parents against teachers and uses Georgia schools and kids’ education for his own political gain. The speakers – two local legislators with backgrounds in education, a teacher, a Georgia parent, and a student in Georgia’s public school system – condemned Kemp’s willingness to gut public school funding and jeopardize Georgia kids’ education just to score political points in an election year.
“The last thing a hard-working teacher needs is for a politician to come into their classroom or their schools and tell them how they should do their job. Brian Kemp and his Republican colleagues are threatening up to 20% of school funding if they don’t comply with his viewpoint or the viewpoint of his friends,” said State Rep. Rhonda Burnough. “But for those of us who have been under the Gold Dome for a while, we know this is just the latest in Brian Kemp’s long anti-education record. If Brian Kemp cared about education in Georgia, he would stop attacking teachers for political points and let them do that job.”
“I am a special education teacher in Cobb County, and I have been in the classroom for almost twenty-three years. As a teacher, I’m committed to our students and to providing them a great education to help them succeed — unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Brian Kemp. Everyday, teachers across our state work hard to educate the next generation. To accuse us of dividing and indoctrinating our kids is not only offensive, it’s a flat out lie. These bills send a message to teachers that they’re no longer trusted to teach a curriculum that has been part of their lesson plans for years,” said Tiffany Fannin, member of the Georgia Association of Educators and the group’s Democratic Caucus Chair. “Brian Kemp is acting like a typical politician, putting his re-election campaign and partisan politics ahead of Georgia students and their education – and our students are the ones who will lose out.”
“I’m a proud product of public education here in the state of Georgia. Brian Kemp’s agenda to politicize school curriculum and censor what’s taught in our classrooms is despicable. Not only is this bad public policy – it will have a negative impact on my generation’s ability to learn, to grow, and to become educated young adults,” said James Wilson, a freshman at Georgia State University. “None of this legislation that we’re seeing is based on issues that are actually present in the classroom. The truth behind this bad legislation is simple: Brian Kemp is using Georgia public school students like me and jeopardizing our education because he is worried about his re-election campaign.”
“As a parent, I want the best education for my kids. And I know their teachers have the same goal,” said Laura Judge, a Cobb County parent. “Politicians like Brian Kemp should stop inserting their agendas into the classroom just to try and win an election. For generations, parents and students have worked together as partners to ensure our children are prepared for the future. But Brian Kemp is attacking the important partnership between parents and their educators. He isn’t doing this because he cares about our children or their education — he only cares about politics.”
“I’m a former substitute teacher, and I’ve also been in Georgia education many years. I know our schools, and I know our parents. We know that our teachers strive to do the very best for our students. What we cannot have is our governor and those who follow him completely lie to the public about what our teachers have been doing in the classroom,” said State Rep. El-Mahdi Holly. “This is not the place to put politics ahead of school funding. This is about making sure that the money stays in schools, and not taking this sensational lie and making this the agenda of our state. And we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that our schools have that funding in place.”