Public schools robbed of their freedom

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The Sept. 15 edition of your paper should be of interest to every parent, and every person who is concerned about the future of our children – the story “SAT scores fall across board” and the Walter Williams column “Too much higher education.”

I’m sure readers were shocked by the facts in these two pieces. After all, we do have a federally imposed program called No Child Left Behind. However, as a veteran teacher, I did not need the catalog of statistics to convince me that NCLB is a failed program that must be repealed.

I’m the daughter of a public-school educator, educated in a public school, and my children were the products of public schools. But if asked the best place to educate a child today, I would have to answer, “In a well-established, fully accredited private or parochial institution.” This is not because I think the teachers are better, and I really prefer the more realistic cross-section of society that public schools provide.

The advantage that a private school has over the public is freedom – to teach what they wish, in the way best suited to the students, at the pace that matches their development, and to assess achievement and use that assessment to drive instruction.

Under NCLB’s stranglehold, none of this can occur. The result: students who are only interested in grades, with huge gaps of understanding, little reasoning ability and a single set of skills geared to passing, but not excelling on, a standardized test. These same students are convinced that they all will go to college, graduate and step into the jobs of their dreams.

Some students who want to train to be diesel mechanics have been forced into a math curriculum that expects everyone to understand calculus, and an English curriculum that requires study of the classics, but never addresses deficits in basic facts and reading comprehension.

Some believe that NCLB was intended to destroy public education. Whether that is true doesn’t really matter, because if it is not repealed soon, it will accomplish that end.

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Craig Spinks
818
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Craig Spinks 09/29/11 - 02:58 am
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The huge numbers of Georgia

The huge numbers of Georgia citizens who are apathetic toward learning generally and public education more specifically, not the symptomatic NCLB, deserve blame the the unacceptable condition of our state's public education system.

Let's not scapegoat. Let's put the blame for Georgia's underperforming public school system where it rightfully belongs- on Georgians who erroneously feel/think they have more important things to do than to insure the education of our kids.

wondersnevercease
9218
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wondersnevercease 09/29/11 - 04:54 am
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My daughter will pull her son
Unpublished

My daughter will pull her son from the public school system in Atlanta and home school him this term......when over fifty percent of the school is Mexican and teachers have no time to spend with English speaking children it's time to leave the public schools to the illegals.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 09/29/11 - 04:46 am
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Illegal immigrants have a

Illegal immigrants have a god-given RIGHT to an education paid for by citizens. Quit complaining and pay your taxes!

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 09/29/11 - 06:22 am
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Pretty good letter.

Pretty good letter.

seenitB4
97254
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seenitB4 09/29/11 - 06:35 am
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You are right wonders....I

You are right wonders....I see that everyday....we are crazy if we think our kids get the education we did.

Techfan
6462
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Techfan 09/29/11 - 07:04 am
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"The advantage that a private

"The advantage that a private school has over the public is freedom – to teach what they wish" Like man rode dinosaurs. Private schools also have the advantage of cherry picking their students. Nancy might want to keep up with the news a little better:
http://www.peachpundit.com/2011/09/20/georgia-to-allow-high-school-stude...

hounddog
0
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hounddog 09/29/11 - 07:48 am
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A very large part of the
Unpublished

A very large part of the problem is the entitlement programs that have destroyed over 50% of black homes and many white.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 09/29/11 - 08:09 am
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0
The solution is simple: Get

The solution is simple:

Get rid of the federal Dept of Education.
Get rid of teachers unions (who only fight for teachers, NOT kids).
Get rid of tenure.
Get rid of bad teachers.
Get rid of bad administrators.
Get rid of the notion that everyone should go to college.
Get rid of the notion that only A's or B's are acceptable (i.e. stop GIVING kids their grades). Remember a C is average - i.e. most of America.
Get rid of grouping all kids together despite ability. It only brings the top down & makes the bottom feel stupid.
Get rid of political correctness so you can help these kids.
Get rid of expensive, state of the art schools & put the money into classrooms instead.
Get rid of welfare that is replacing 2 parent families.

Allow good teachers to teach. Stop over regulating them.
Pay them well and offer them 401K retirement plans.
Bring in some non-educator types at the state level to balance out the nonsense.
Make 1/2 of all high schools technical high schools. Teach these kids a skill!
Have as many alternative schools as it takes to get the bad kids away from the good ones.
Give parents of school age kids vouchers so they can choose private school if they want.

I'm sure there are many other ideas, but this would be a very good start.

Jane18
12332
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Jane18 09/29/11 - 09:32 am
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Chillen, you really do put

Chillen, you really do put into words exactly how I feel and think, but you do it so much better than I could. Thank you. And to Techfan-"Like man rode dinosaurs". Where, oh where, did that come from? I have never heard that preposterous statement!

Chillen
17
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Chillen 09/29/11 - 09:50 am
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Thank you Jane18. You are

Thank you Jane18. You are always quite kind!

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 09/30/11 - 01:33 pm
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Chillen “Get rid of the

Chillen

“Get rid of the notion that everyone should go to college.”

“Get rid of grouping all kids together despite ability. It only brings the top down & makes the bottom feel stupid.”

“Make 1/2 of all high schools technical high schools. Teach these kids a skill!”

My guess is you could get away with one top grade high school in Augusta and make the rest technical schools. This would better serve the needs of the local economy being largely manufacturing.

Being blue collar is not a bad life, expectations adjust to income. The nature of Augusta’s economy keeps housing prices within the price range of these jobs. As long as China stays out of Augusta’s line-of-work, all will be fine.

bubbasauce
24260
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bubbasauce 09/29/11 - 04:36 pm
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Well said Chillen!

Well said Chillen!

Riverman1
93498
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Riverman1 09/29/11 - 08:47 pm
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BJPhysics, you are right that

BJPhysics, you are right that we could probably get away with one good school, but it has nothing to do with Augusta. It's simply a fact there are not enough people in the population with high enough IQ's to do what used to be college work. Of course, college has been dumbed down in our misguided egalitarian attempts to uplift everyone.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 09/30/11 - 01:48 pm
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Riverman1: “It's simply a

Riverman1: “It's simply a fact there are not enough people in the population with high enough IQ's to do what used to be college work.”

Many people I know from Augusta are very intelligent; they simply never made it to college. It’s an understandable occurrence when you have manufacturing jobs that pay $35-50K/yr; that money is good enough to live on and buy many things and enjoy, so, as time goes by, college ambitions slip away. If the local economy does not have these types of jobs and only has jobs that pay $20K/yr without college, the motivation to go to college increases.

Riverman1
93498
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Riverman1 09/30/11 - 02:13 pm
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BJPhys, well sure there are

BJPhys, well sure there are smart people in Augusta. Matter of fact, just as many smart people are here as there are anywhere in the world when everything is factored in.

My point is only about 10% have the ability and proclivity to go to college. But we tell everyone they should go to college and these little schools pop up everywhere so everyone can become a college graduate and keep the academics employed. Most people should not even go to tech schools; they should be employed as helpers to learn a trade.

Riverman1
93498
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Riverman1 09/30/11 - 02:38 pm
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The CSRA actually does far

The CSRA actually does far better educating kids than most realize. Private schools turn out students who get in the best colleges. Certain classes and the magnet schools in Richmond County have good results, too. Columbia County schools score above the national average.

The confusion is that the south is coming out of an apartheid system where blacks were under educated and under employed for over a couple of centuries. It is going to take decades more to right these wrongs. Ambition and school success are directly related to the demographics of the families.

Riverman1
93498
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Riverman1 09/30/11 - 03:02 pm
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Fred, the blacks are coming

Fred, the blacks are coming out of the same hardships in the north. Just because segregation didn't officially exist there was much discrimination. Plus, many of the blacks in the northern cities came from the south. See what I mean?

Riverman1
93498
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Riverman1 09/30/11 - 03:06 pm
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Fred, you asked how I would

Fred, you asked how I would right those wrongs. It's a complex problem that can be addressed on many levels. Practically speaking employ the mentoring system to the max as I believe Richmond County is starting to do now. Aren't they actually paying mentors? That's an excellent way to overcome the family issue.

The reality is it will take time as employment opportunities improve and the families become more affluent. I will bet my last dollar I can pick communities with good schools if I know the per capita income.

seenitB4
97254
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seenitB4 09/30/11 - 03:18 pm
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River said... The confusion

River said...
The confusion is that the south is coming out of an apartheid system where blacks were under educated and under employed for over a couple of centuries. It is going to take decades more to right these wrongs.........

Do you remember the civil war...ok I know you didn't fight in it but it really set the South back....not to mention the GREAT DEPRESSION...
the whites in the South haven't had a free ride you know.....no set asides...etc.------soooo I would say considering the poverty of the South we have come a long way making amends...it is time to work on educating all kids to the max---also the minority kids have to be receptive & parents need to be responsible..my 2 cents
(you didn't fight in the civil war did you?)..:)

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 10/01/11 - 01:47 pm
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Elements of Liberal

Elements of Liberal Catechism:

At DU (Democratic Underground) and other such sites, it is considered heresy to not criticize the movie “Waiting For Superman”. Failure to subscribe to the “this is rightwing propaganda” intended to destroy public education and turn it over to Wall Street meme is skating the edge. Any cuts to education spending must be opposed, teachers have zero culpability, and their unions must be supported without question. Bill & Melinda Gates are somehow just in it for the money.

None of the recipients of the $1.4 trillion spent on welfare annually is undeserving; all of them need every dime and none of them is gaming the system. They are all seeking full employment and, if there are any parasites, they are few. The conservative argument that a multi-generational dependent class has been created has not a single element of truth and is nothing more than skinflint propaganda.

Blah, blah, blah...

Riverman1
93498
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Riverman1 10/01/11 - 12:21 pm
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Fred, I was simply pointing

Fred, I was simply pointing the realities. We have more blacks as a percentage of the population in the south. We are coming out of the segregation era and it's going to take a long time to fix the wrongs.

You asked me for ideas and I gave you one for a fast fix. But, like I said, it's a complex problem and I agree with much of your last post. I'm a conservative Republican and know government anything is second class.

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