Some Democratic Party leaders think they stand a good chance of returning the office of state school superintendent to their fold if . . . .
Eleven years later: Some Democratic Party leaders think they stand a good chance of returning the office of state school superintendent to their fold - if they can find a suitable high-profile candidate.
A Republican has led the state Education Department since 1994, when Linda Schrenko shocked the Georgia political landscape to become the first woman elected statewide. She ran on a platform of significantly improving Georgia's SAT scores.
This year, Georgia is tied with South Carolina for the lowest in SAT scores. Schrenko is awaiting trial on charges of stealing more than $600,000 in federal education funds.
Her successor as superintendent, Kathy Cox, is best known for flirting with putting intelligent design into the state's science curriculum. She is about to propose a single high school diploma program (to replace the present three options) that expert observers believe will "dumb down" Georgia's already unchallenging high school curriculum.
Kathy Cox also stood by in silence while Perdue whacked nearly $1 billion from the state education budget and junked nearly all the education reforms instituted by his predecessor, Gov. Roy Barnes.
State Rep. Kathy (yes, another Kathy) Ashe, D-Atlanta, has been rumored as a possible candidate against school chief Cox. However, Ashe's big-city connections are seen as a major liability to her candidacy. At least one creative Democrat has suggested that Barnes might restore his political career by running for school superintendent. Barnes has shown no interest.
P.S.: Kathy Cox's greatest political asset may be her name. Voters confuse the reticent and sometimes tentative GOP Superintendent Kathy Cox with Democratic Secretary of State Cathy Cox, a well-known candidate for governor with a high approval rating.