One of the largest teachers’ groups in the state backed Democrat Stacey Abrams’ campaign for governor, praising her efforts to fight a proposal to give the state new powers over failing local schools.
The Georgia Association of Educators’ political arm voted unanimously this week to back Abrams, giving her a key ally in her race against former state Rep. Stacey Evans for the party’s nomination.
The group cited Abrams’ vote against the Opportunity School District initiative in 2016, a plan backed by Gov. Nathan Deal that Evans supported. It also touted her education plan, which includes a pledge to fully fund the state’s K-12 formula.
“GAE believes we need a leader in the governor’s office that truly understands that vision and does not just give lip service for political gain,” said Sid Chapman, GAE president and a Democratic candidate for state school superintendent. “Our children do not deserve lip service.”
Evans earlier earned the endorsement of another education group, the Georgia Federation for Teachers, despite differences over her support for the governor’s failing schools initiative. Evans has said she regretted the vote.
The two Democratic candidates both have unveiled plans for universal pre-kindergarten and have called for significantly increased funding for K-12 education and tuition-free tech school programs.
Evans also proposed a community-schools model of funding and an overhaul of the school funding formula to account for poverty in a greater way, while Abrams unveiled a package of scholarships, tax credits and other initiatives to expand childcare options.
Abrams has accused Evans of voting to support vouchers, referring to Evans’ initial support of a student scholarship organization measure that she ultimately voted against. Evans said any attempt to cast her as a voucher backer “is a lie.”
The two rival candidates have divvied up endorsements in the race to replace Deal, who cannot run for a third term.
Five leading Republicans are running for their party’s nomination: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, former state Sen. Hunter Hill, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, businessman Clay Tippins and state Sen. Michael Williams.
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