This morning I cringed -- Education and politics
Gosh, I thought, I hope Sally doesn't see this. See and her fellow teachers have never forgiven Roy from what they perceived as teacher bashing during his term as governor.
Having been an observer as a school board attorney and married to a teacher during the time Barnes put forward his education reform measures, I have always been convinced it was the way Barnes conveyed his message rather than the message itself that turned his legislation of measuring the accountability of teachers into being more of King Roy being arrogant.
Much of his education reform -- which included much more than just this -- was needed and appreciated by teachers and administrators alike. But either Roy or his advisor Bobby Kahn -- I have never been able to decide who should get the blame -- clearly dropped the ball bigtime in delivering the message.
My dear Sally knows Roy is my friend and that I consider him among the state's two or three best chief executives (as an aside, on my website under our state flag I have "Lest we forget, Gov. Roy Barnes made this possible. ('A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.' 'The first step is the hardest.')").
But Sally still has that perception of his message being that all the problems with education and with kids not learning rested with the teachers.
The 7-06-04 ajc noted that "Democrats across the state were puzzled by the appearance of former Gov. Roy Barnes at an Augusta fund-raiser for Charles Walker, one day after the former state senator was indicted on 142 counts of corruption-related charges.
Walker . . . is the former Senate majority leader, was once the most influential African-American politician in the state, and was crucial to Barnes' election in 1998.
That said, countless Democrats told us Barnes' presence at the Walker bash has finally convinced them that the former governor has no further political ambitions. . . .
Barnes [told the ajc] that Walker called him the day of the indictments and offered him and out. Obviously, he didn't take it.
'Charles Walker was very helpful to my administration,' Barnes said. 'I stick with people who stick with me. I know it's one of my faults, but I don't run from folks who support me,' Barnes said."
I was talking with the ajc author of the above story prior to his interview with Gov. Barnes, and knowing that I had attended, he asked if I knew why Barnes went to Walker's event. My response: what's the issue; if Roy said he would be there, he was going.
I was glad Roy put it so bluntly in his interview with the reporter. Roy and I got to chat at Charles Walker's event. I had signed up for the event, and unlike three other Democratic candidates who had also signed up and found reasons not to come, if I had said I would be there, like Roy, you could take it to the bank.
Because of this admirable part of Barnes' character, suffice it to say I disagreed with the assessment noted above that "Barnes' presence at the Walker bash [meant] the former governor has no further political ambitions."
Almost to the day a year ago, and after having all but disappeared from public view since his defeat, Barnes suddenly began making public appearances, attending political functions, making speeches, and then subsequently getting very involved in Sen. John Edwards push for the White House.
I loved it, having been one of those who wished Gov. Barnes had made a run for the U.S. Senate.
Yes, I do like, respect and admire Roy Barnes. But I must confess that this morning when I read the headline entitled "Improvement must start with teachers" and saw that its author was Roy Barnes, I cringed.
Maybe the former governor doesn't have any further political ambitions. I still hope he does. I sure wish the headline had read a little differently.