Barnes: HOPE change is bad policy

While Gov. Nathan Deal’s office reports that former Gov. Zell Miller has endorsed the proposed changes to the HOPE scholarship, not all of Georgia’s ex-leaders are lining up behind it. Here’s what Gov. Roy Barnes has to say on the issue, courtesy of Maureen Downey’s Get Schooled blog:

Roy Barnes

A message from exile where grandchildren and cows rule the day. I can’t believe what we have done to HOPE. Did there need to be a change made to HOPE? Without a doubt, but what we are doing is the wrong solution. The answer would have been to go back to the original plan for HOPE. Available to those with a family income of $75k for a single parent and $150k for two parents.

Now, to get the full ride for HOPE you have to have a 3.7 GPA and a 1200 SAT. This favors kids who come from affluent families. As a first generation college graduate I know first generation kids generally score lower on the SAT and that is generally from family circumstances. Children in non college families don’t get exposed early to the breadth of learning as kids from college graduate homes.

My children scored significantly higher on SAT than their mother or me, and their children will score even higher. What we have done is give HOPE to the affluent families who can already afford to send their kids to college, and deprive poorer white and black kids an opportunity to break out. Bad policy.

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Georgia Colleges is published and edited by Jonathan Grant, an Atlanta-based author whose works include the award-winning The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia (University of Georgia Press). He is currently developing a guidebook to Georgia colleges for parents, students, and educators.

Grant graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English. He is a former newspaper reporter, editor, and bureau chief with The Macon Telegraph and served as a Georgia state government spokesman for several years.

He lives in suburban Atlanta with his wife, Judy, and two children–a college freshman and a high school senior. Actively involved in community affairs, he has served as a PTA president, a local school council member, and as a soccer coach for twelve seasons.