Former Georgia Gov. Barnes Courts Unions in Comeback Bid

By Stephen Sawchuk — June 16, 2010 1 min read
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Once again proving the importance of having union backing, former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes is actively courting teachers’ association support in his bid for a comeback in the Peach State, according to the AP. He’s even saying he might back off from a plan to put some teacher-pension funding into riskier investments.

While serving as governor, Barnes in 2000 advanced plans to dismantle due process for teachers. The move led to his loss of state teachers’ association support, a situation that many credit with his subsequent re-election loss in 2002.

We just witnessed the inverse of that situation in Florida, where Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed an extremely unpopular bill that would have all but done away with tenure, and was rewarded with an endorsement by the Florida Education Association in his upcoming Senate race.

The Georgia news is particularly interesting given that Barnes co-chaired the Aspen Commission on No Child Left Behind. The group released a series of recommendations for renewing NCLB, one of which included denying Title I school positions for teachers deemed ineffective on test-score growth measures.

And while that recommendation didn’t mess around with tenure, it wasn’t a million miles away from Florida’s SB 6 or all of the other state laws that have since moved in a similar direction.

Maybe the unions are aware of this, too. Despite the full-on courting, the Georgia Association of Educators has declined to endorse Barnes so far.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.