School & District Management

Ga. Chief Will Brave War of Wits, Words

By Mary C. Breaden — September 02, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Georgia’s education system could certainly use a break from some of its critics, especially after a summer’s worth of mandatory classes for 82,000 students in grades 5 and 9 who failed controversial assessment exams last school year.

But sympathy doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon, despite the efforts of state schools Superintendent Kathy Cox.

Her decision to be a contestant on the game show “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” has drawn more eye rolls than applause from Tim Callahan, spokesman for the 72,000-member Professional Association of Georgia Educators, a nonunion teachers’ organization.

“I hate to be a spoilsport,” he said about the scheduled Sept. 5 broadcast. “But [with Georgia] taxpayers dealing with higher than normal taxes and the very high failure rates [on the state test], I don’t think that parents will find this appearance very entertaining or worthwhile.”

The Fox network’s trivia show, hosted by Georgia native and comedian Jeff Foxworthy, partners an adult with a 5th grade teammate, and draws from a host of questions that someone with a 5th-grade-level education should, in theory, be able to answer.

Questions range from categories as easy as 1st grade spelling (“How many E’s are in the phrase, ‘Pledge of Allegiance’?”), to more-obscure lessons of 5th grade science, such as “How many astronauts were on board each space capsule launched during NASA’s Gemini space program?” (By the way, it was two.)

Ms. Cox had no intention of minimizing the challenges facing public education in Georgia by appearing on the game show, said Dana Tofig, spokesman for the superintendent.

“We thought that this would be a good way to promote education in Georgia and to have some fun,” he said.

He added that “the superintendent is well aware of all the issues surrounding education, and an appearance on a TV show doesn’t change that.” No hint of how her contest with the 5th grade curriculum turned out.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 03, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Assessment Webinar
The State of Assessment in K-12 Education
What is the impact of assessment on K-12 education? What does that mean for administrators, teachers and most importantly—students?
Content provided by Instructure
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Proven Strategies to Improve Reading Scores
In this webinar, education and reading expert Stacy Hurst will provide a look at some of the biggest issues facing curriculum coordinators, administrators, and teachers working in reading education today. You will: Learn how schools
Content provided by Reading Horizons

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion If You Can’t Maintain an Initiative, Maybe You Shouldn’t Do It
Schools are often really good at finding new initiatives to implement but aren't always good at maintaining. Here's a model to consider.
5 min read
Screen Shot 2022 01 21 at 7.57.56 AM
Shutterstock
School & District Management Schools Are Desperate for Substitutes and Getting Creative
Now in the substitute-teacher pool: parents, college students, and the National Guard.
10 min read
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. Many schools have vacant teaching and/or support staff jobs and no available substitutes to cover day-to-day absences.
Zackery Kimball, a substitute teacher at Bailey Middle School in Las Vegas, works with two classes of students at the school's theater hall on a Friday in December 2021.
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
School & District Management 3 Ways School Districts Can Ease the Pain of Supply Chain Chaos
Have a risk management plan, pay attention to what's happening up the supply chain, and be adaptable when necessary.
3 min read
Cargo Ship - Supply Chain with products such as classroom chairs, milk, paper products, and electronics
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Vulnerable Students, Districts at Greater Risk as Natural Disasters Grow More Frequent
New federal research indicates the harm from fires and storms to school facilities, learning, and mental health is disproportionate.
4 min read
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric intentionally shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Helina Thorp, right, 14, expresses frustration while unsuccessfully trying to log in to her school distance-learning classes in Placerville, Calif., after Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to prevent wildfires amid high winds in September 2020.
Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP