Editorial's ideas won't help

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In a recent editorial (“Don’t fail our future,” March 27), you affirmed that a poorly educated populace is a threat to our national security and economic prosperity. As an educator, I agree with you and thank you for bringing it to public attention!

You went on to say that our next education reform movement should focus on emphasizing science, technology and foreign languages; allowing more parents to pick their children’s schools; conducting a national security readiness audit; and cultivating a deeper understanding of America’s core values.

Although these ideas will garner a great deal of political popularity, I find it difficult to see a direct connection between them and improved student achievement.

“No Child Left Behind,” another popular political reform movement, has done very little to alleviate the problems in our public schools; and its overemphasis on testing has resulted in a nationwide concern over cheating that makes any and all of its claims for success suspect.

I fear the narrow focus outlined in your editorial will be no more successful than that failed program, and may even divert us from addressing our greatest concern in education, which is improving our nation’s tragically unacceptable literacy and graduation rates.

Andy Baumgartner

Augusta

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 04/03/12 - 07:40 am
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Set up a large tent in

Set up a large tent in Columbia County with unmonitored video instruction from Atlanta on a TV and those students will do better than those in the fanciest buildings with copious teachers in Richmond County. Demographics, demographics, demographics.

itsanotherday1
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itsanotherday1 04/03/12 - 08:01 am
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Generally true RM, but there

Generally true RM, but there have been some fine examples of inner city schools excelling under the right direction. I can' t remember the names right now, but I believe one of the more notable ones was around NYC. They turn out an amazingly high number of college ready students.

Granddaddy John
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Granddaddy John 04/03/12 - 08:05 am
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Put God back in the schools

Unpublished

Put God back in the schools and get the government out,problem solved

seenitB4
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seenitB4 04/03/12 - 08:08 am
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anotherday...I don't know if

anotherday...I don't know if RM can take 2 wrongs in 1 day...LOL

I think nclb stinks.....kids can learn anywhere.

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 04/03/12 - 10:40 am
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It all goes back to the

It all goes back to the parents. All of the comparison that goes on between Columbia and Richmond counties has nothing to do with their schools, teachers, etc. it has to do with parental involvement with the children and the schools. I work with Richmond County and CANNOT get parents to participate in programs for their children, come to a meeting, volunteer, etc. The parents open the door for the government to take their children and turn them into pawns. Let's spend more time, effort and money on developing parents and holding them accountable; that will affect more children for a lifetime than any classroom/teacher improvements.

kw1923
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kw1923 04/03/12 - 01:17 pm
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A previous comment referred

A previous comment referred to "demographics". This is a critical variable. The data below are for College Board candidates classified
as indicated according to self-reported ethnic group. The first data row shows percent in the total examinee population scoring 500 or higher on SAT-V (verbal section of the College Board admissions exam) by ethnic group. The following rows show corresponding percentages by ethnic group when considering only examinees with the characteristics specified (e.g. those who took courses judged to be demanding, who also reported good grades, who also reported high grades, etc.)

Characteristic White Asian-Am Hispanic Af.Am. Amer.
Full sample (SAT V over 500) 59 48 30 22
Add (Demanding courses 77 63 49 43
Add (Good grades) 80 68 68 51
Add (High grades) 88 78 68 65
Add (Leadership) 89 83 72 68
Add (AP Success [1]) 98 93 86 94

The data indicate important demographic differences in high school seniors; differences that are likely to remain stable over time.

Narrowing such differences has proved to be an "impossible dream", at least to date. They have persisted over four or five decades with slight change. Can they be narrowed? Quien sabe? But it seems clear that not all individuals are equally equipped to acquire skills of an academic nature, and that there are differences among groups in average levels of acquired verbal skills of the type emphasized and critical to success in academic settings.

Riverman1
70615
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Riverman1 04/03/12 - 02:04 pm
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It's actually not racial one

It's actually not racial one bit even though I say the demographics are the most important factor. You give me 100 blacks with the same educated and concerned parents as 100 whites and the results will be about the same. The blacks are coming out of the segregation era where their parents were undereducated and under employed. Richmond County is trying with its mentoring and other programs, but it's not an easy job to overcome hundreds of years of discrimination.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 03:03 pm
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The trouble with Mr.

The trouble with Mr. Baumgartner's letter is that he criticizes No Child Left Behind, then he criticizes the Chronicle's suggestions to improve education; but then he leaves us with this pablum, “. . . divert us from addressing our greatest concern in education, which is improving our nation’s tragically unacceptable literacy and graduation rates.”

That's not helpful. There are no concrete solutions or suggestions anywhere in Baumgartner's letter. Mr. Baumgartner, it is easy to criticize; but it must be hard for you to create.

Riverman1
70615
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Riverman1 04/03/12 - 06:39 pm
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I give Andy Baumgartner a lot

I give Andy Baumgartner a lot of respect because he is a Marine (They never say "former Marine"). Maybe he will come around eventually and get what we are saying about public education.

There are some poor who NEED public education. The beneficial trick is NOT to throw them in with the pack. Let's design educational programs to help those who need it most.

Truth Matters
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Truth Matters 04/04/12 - 10:06 pm
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Say what you will, but no

Say what you will, but no finer teacher has ever come out of Richmond County than Andy Baumgartner, a National Teacher of the Year.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/04/12 - 10:16 pm
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He may be the finest teacher

He may be the finest teacher in the entire southeast. But he criticised concrete suggestions for improving educational performance while offering none of his own. Easy to criticise; hard to create.

Riverman1
70615
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Riverman1 04/04/12 - 10:26 pm
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Teach some to read and write

Teach some to read and write and they love to say THINGS without presenting ideas. Give Andy an award and he presents coherent complaints instead of solutions with out of the box ideas concerning public school education.

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