Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Westlake receives Martin Badge of Courage

Presser from Brian Westlake, (D) Candidate for State School Superintendent

With the release of The Georgia Association of Educator's endorsement, I have become the most recent recipient of Joe Martin's Badge of Courage.

When Martin ran for this office in 1998 and lost, he did not receive GAE's endorsement. At the time, Martin referred to GAE's rejection of his candidacy as a "Badge of Courage."

I have been told that GAE's decision to endorse Martin came down to one vote. Unfortunately, a small group of party insiders endorsed the one candidate who has avoided traveling around the state and listening to voters with his last minute entry into the race. Maureen Downey suggested in her AJC blog that some would see Martin as an education reformer. Given his lack of any previous classroom experience, Martin style reform represents a continuation of the kind of top-down policy making that does not respect classroom teachers.

An endorsement of Martin is an endorsement of failed policies of the past. I am surprised that the leadership of GAE has such short memories when it comes to how teachers have been treated.

It is a slap in the face to educators across the state that this organization--which is supposed to represent educators--just endorsed the only non-educator and non-GAE member in the race. In fact, Martin, who touts his business experience, had the law changed in 1998 to eliminate teaching experience as a requirement for the State School Superintendent position.

Teachers across the state are suffering from years of failed anti-teacher policies. This July, Democrats have a chance to elect a candidate who has felt that suffering firsthand and knows how to end it. Joe Martin is not that candidate.

The Democratic Party is strongest when it cultivates its grassroots heritage. This tradition was best demonstrated when I received the unanimous endorsement of the Democratic Caucus of GAE at this year's spring convention. The caucus is comprised of classroom educators such as myself (Please visit and listen to the audio from the convention). Below is just a sample of the support that my campaign has gained over the past year. Please visit our website to add your name.

Charlie Hicks, Past President of GAE

Ralph Noble, Past President of GAE

Cheryl Sarvis, Past President of GAE, GAE Board

Demetria Williams, President Elect of Georgia School Counselors Assoc.

Bob Cribbs, Former Director of Government Relations for GAE

Sid Chapman, Vice-President Elect of GAE

Charlotte Booker, Secretary-Treasurer Elect of GAE, GAE Board

Donna Aker, Co-President of Gwinnett County Assoc. of Educators

Lea Ogozelec, President of Fulton County Assoc. of Educators

Karen Solheim, President of Oconee County Assoc. of Educators, GAE Board

Emily Davis, Co-President of Baldwin Assoc. of Educators, GAE Board

Lawrence Powers, Past President of GAE Retired

Michael Poore, Past President of Cobb County Assoc. of Educators

LaNelle Holland, Past President of Carroll County Assoc. of Educators

Elizabeth Gould, Past President of Murray Assoc. of Educators

Al Pride, Executive Officer of the Organization of DeKalb Educators

Doris Glover, Organization of DeKalb Educators, GAE Board

Cheryl Willis, President of Richmond County Assoc. of Educators, GAE Board

Cyril Hamption, GAE Board

Willie T Green, Vice President, Clayton Education Assoc.

Rand Bissell, Director Teachers' Alliance of GA

Scott Wilson, National Board Certified Teacher

Randy Archer, Mathematics Teacher

John Roper, Teacher

Amy Pelissero, Teacher

Shiona Drummer, Teacher

Jameela Reed, Teacher

Glenda Young, Teacher

Paul Spitzer, Teacher

Ann Mauney, GAE Retired

Martin McConaughy, Retired Teacher

Victoria Conway, Teacher

Brenda Constan, Retired Teacher

Laura Sweeny, Teacher

Dr. Teresa Jacobs, Exec. Director, Education Designs, Inc.

Norman Markel, Retired College Professor

Rick Breault, Professor of Education, Kennesaw State Univ.

Tom Peterson, Professor of Education, U of West GA

Joe DeVitis, Professor of Education, Georgia College and State Univ.

Linda Lewin-DeVitis, Progressive Educator

Senator Curt Thompson

Rep. Stephanie Stuckey-Benfield

Rep. Lee Thompson

Rep. Hugh Floyd

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