Fayette County Board of Education member Mary Kay Bacallao has announced that she will resign her Post 2 seat in March to run for the soon-to-be open post of Georgia state school superintendent.
Bacallao made the announcement at the Dec. 6 meeting of the Ga. House Republican Caucus. The announcement came as Bacallao was participating on a panel debating the Common Core standards where, as is customary, she opposed the standards.
“I made up my mind,” Bacallao said Dec. 13. “The changes we need in Fayette need to happen at the state level. The state has taken away local control by local school boards. My job is to return the decision-making to local school boards.”
Bacallao’s announcement came at the end of her remarks where she cited four reasons for running for the statewide office. She cited the need to return control of schools to local school boards, to select standards that are more competitive, to administer placement tests for reading, math and writing and gauge those tests across grade levels and to do away with the Georgia College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) that measures public schools on a broad set of academic criteria.
“For these reasons, I have decided to run for state school superintendent,” Bacallao told attendees. ”I will make your jobs easier and improve education in Georgia as we work together. We can turn it around and come out ahead of other states and countries. By the wisdom and grace that God provides, we can increase parental and community involvement, keep our top-notch teachers and school leaders, implement useful testing models and select well-researched competitive standards because our students are capable of so much more than what Common Core requires.”
In speaking against the standards, Bacallao said Common Core is an educational straight jacket that ties Georgia students and teachers to lower standards and prevents students from reaching their full potential.
Propped up by legislation, “It is a well-orchestrated attack on our educational freedom. It is an attack on all students. Students are no longer permitted to progress at their own rate. Students must think about math in specific ways as prescribed by the standards,” Bacallao told legislators.
Bacallao also maintained that Common Core is also an attack on parents, teachers, taxpayers, school board members and colleges.
“As a school board member, I voted against Common Core textbooks (because) they were inadequate. The motion passed, the books were purchased. Teachers wanted resources. The only textbooks available were correlated with Common Core. According to Georgia Statute 20-2-49, school board members ’…should be characterized and treated differently from other elected offices where the primary duty is independently to represent constituent views,’” Bacallao said.
”I am elected by citizens. Don’t you think my primary duty should be to represent their views? According to the new rules, my main duty is to maintain accreditation. Here’s the problem with that new rule – our accreditation agency was recently purchased by AdvancED, an unaccountable newly formed organization that accredits school districts in all 50 states and 65 foreign countries, without a single elected official. What about our citizens?”
Current Ga. State School Superintendent John Barge has said he will not run for re-election as state school superintendent and will run instead for governor.
Bacallao said she will resign her seat on the Fayette County Board of Education in March to qualify for the state superintendent’s race as a Republican.
Those announcing their intent to qualify for the superintendent’s race include Democrat Alisha Thomas Morgan and Republicans Nancy Jester, Fitz Johnson, Matt Schultz, Kira Willis and Richard Woods, according to www.politics1.com.
Bacallao defeated incumbent Democrat Terri Smith for the Post 2 seat in the November 2012 election.