The No Child Left Behind Act left a bad taste in Bobby Anthony's mouth. So bad in fact that he decided to do something about it.
After writing a lengthy letter to Congressman Charlie Norwood, Georgia's ninth district representative, the long-time Thomson High School teacher and McDuffie County resident wasn't satisfied with the response. He then decided to get his point across another way.
Mr. Anthony decided to run for Congress. And by doing so he hopes to be the voice of the teachers of the ninth district.
"We're just trying to have a forum that teachers can finally get a say to let them know what 'No Child Left Behind' is really doing," he said. "George Bush, he went to a private school. Our Congressman Charlie Norwood, he went to Baylor (Military High School); he went to a private school. They have no idea of what public education is all about."
The decision to run came just a little too late to qualify, though. Mr. Anthony, who will run as an independent, didn't make deadlines to be included on the ballot. Instead he will run as a write-in candidate. But he feels his point will still be made through displeased educators.
"We're going to contact educators in every county within the ninth district and get a coordinator for that county. And then we're going to start talking with the teachers," Mr. Anthony said.
Through running his campaign on this one issue, Mr. Anthony hopes to make a splash, not only in the district but across the country as well. He feels there is enough backlash against the 2002 law that teachers can make a strong statement to the lawmakers that supported its enactment.
"(Congressman Norwood) thinks that 'No Child Left Behind' is a great thing, but it's actually trying to destroy public education in this country," Mr. Anthony said. "If you run as a write-in candidate, then people have to make a concerted effort to make a statement. And if we run solely on the issue of education, then you're going to see exactly where the educational vote is in this district."
One of the problems Mr. Anthony has with the law is that he feels it contradicts itself. For example, he said it requires delinquent students to be expelled and then punishes schools that don't graduate a high percentage of students.
Mr. Anthony added that he believes the "No Child Left Behind Act" will bring about the downfall of public education in favor of religious and private schools that few can afford.
The election for Georgia's ninth congressional district will take place on Nov. 2, 2004.
Rep. Norwood's office would not comment on Mr. Anthony's write-in bid.