Change in HOPE eligibility harms minority students

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(Editor's note: Fewer students are expected to qualify for Georgia HOPE college scholarships because of a change in eligibility requirements. Previously, students could qualify for HOPE if they had either a 3.0 grade-point average or an 80 numerical average. Now, the numerical average requirement has been scrapped, which is expected to reduce the number of eligible students by an estimated 30 percent.)

When I read in The Augusta Chronicle some time ago that the state of Georgia's HOPE scholarship program had been revised to save money, I became irritated and flabbergasted from reading such melancholy news. It was utterly insulting and disgusting for me to have read such nonsense.

THEN-GEORGIA Gov. Zell Miller proposed the HOPE program for the sole purpose of helping many of Georgia's less-fortunate high school students. It was his intention to open doors of educational opportunities. So far, this scholarship program has allowed thousands high school students of color to enter colleges and universities. They likely would never have had this opportunity if it weren't for this program.

I find it reprehensible that Georgia state legislators had succumbed to their political theatrics to put students of color at a disadvantage by revising an extraordinary and productive scholarship program. This just doesn't make sense to me. What were these twisted politicians thinking?

Several years ago, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution conducted an extensive and comprehensive investigation, detailing who spent the most money on the Georgia lottery. It was discovered in this report that the less-fortunate people of color were the backbone for the Georgia lottery being a major, profitable success. It was revealed that if these individuals of color were to stop playing the lottery, this great moneymaking cash cow would collapse.

Individuals of color were spending an average of $8 per person. In comparison, the more affluent who are not people of color spent an average of $2 per person. Obviously, this was a big discrepancy of lottery spending between the haves and have-nots. In essence, this lottery extravaganza has been most beneficial for Georgia's elitists, whose sons and daughters have reaped immense financial benefits from them only investing pennies. What's wrong with this picture?

Also, it was revealed in the news article that many of these elitist parents of color were telling their college-bound sons and daughters to stay in Georgia to attend college and not go out of state. To get many of these students to stay in Georgia, their parents purchased new SUVs and rented luxury off-campus apartments and condominiums to entice their children to attend Georgia schools.

ON THE OTHER hand, the less-fortunate students of color benefited far less from the HOPE scholarship dollars in comparison to the huge amount of dollars their parents were spending in supporting the lottery. Simply speaking, this was economic exploitation of people of color at its best. To paraphrase the late and great Malcolm X, once again Georgians of color had been used, hoodwinked and bamboozled once again.

Is this exploitation of people of color ever going to stop? I don't think so. Therefore, it's time for people of color to start using America's capitalist system to their advantage and stop letting this system use them. I'm highly distressed by the fact that Georgia's men and women of color can fight for our nation in Iraq and Afghanistan, but many of their sons and daughters aren't going to be considered to receive HOPE scholarship dollars to attend Georgia colleges and universities. Is this a conspiracy against people of color?

Georgians of color do have options to remedy this unfair situation. They can stop playing the lottery. Also, if students of color use their God-given academic talents, they can posture themselves to meet and surpass whatever academic challenges that are placed before them to acquire their fair share of these financial scholarship awards.

And it's time for parents of color to stop programming and indoctrinating their sons and daughters to concentrate only on athletics and entertainment, and ignoring academics, because this is just absolutely absurd. Parents must see the big picture of life, whereby they must encourage their children to explore and take full advantage of all of the great opportunities that are available to them - because God didn't discriminate against people of color when he created brilliancy.

Parents of color must get serious about educating their children, because these individuals have a great deal to gain in this great nation of ours. But they must become academically prepared, and this must done by any means necessary.

Editor's note: The writer is a former Richmond County public school teacher with 31 years of teaching service. He lives in Augusta.

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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 06/10/07 - 10:51 pm
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DrGunby68,with which posting

DrGunby68,with which posting did you disagree. Must be the second one, 'cause the first one (9:59) is self-evident. The second one (10:04) was in response to the brilliant rendition of republican at 3:50. One of those p.c. comments where I was speaking the same language as he.

RichmondCountyResident1
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RichmondCountyResident1 06/10/07 - 11:00 pm
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DRGunby68 I agree with you,

DRGunby68 I agree with you, because poor whites help put people in elected positions who do not represent their position in this society.Blacks have complained loudly that as long as we can hurt blacks we will vote Republican.When Republicans start to represent my interest I will vote Republican.Patricia Thomas everything is not left wing or liberal that you disagree with.Sometimes you sound like a right wing nut.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 06/10/07 - 11:04 pm
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Thank you RCR, if you

Thank you RCR, if you disagree with me I know I'm on the right track. I'm not a racist and will never agree with your point of view as long as you are.

DrGunby68
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DrGunby68 06/10/07 - 11:18 pm
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I disagree with both. The

I disagree with both. The hobson's choice argument that you make regarding believing 8 paragraphs but primarily the second post. I agree, SA is a mess and it was "necessarily" not when whites were in control. But let's think about that. It was their version of Jim Crow. Are you saying that form of govt is acceptable? In my usual disagreeing with you, it usually is on the merit of your argument. Don't say crazy stuff like what you said about SA that makes me think of you as intellectually inferior and overtly racist. It is beneath you and the potentiality of this forum. I see a die hard conservative. Do we have some common ground. Maybe...but we'll never get to it with that kind of rhetoric. RCR the anti-self-interest voting is "most" of what is wrong in Richmond County. Get some elected officials, black or white that can speak to power without being mesmerized by the power and both white and black will vote for them.

RichmondCountyResident1
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RichmondCountyResident1 06/10/07 - 11:22 pm
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Who said anything about you

Who said anything about you being racist.Although if you are not one , you come pretty darn close.Your one sided opinions are no more right than mine.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 06/10/07 - 11:36 pm
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DrG, the comment about SA was

DrG, the comment about SA was on a level with the comment republican made at 3:50. Nothing else. He makes hate filled, racist posts on a regular basis with little or no relative information or thought given to his comments. I replied in kind. No, I don't agree with the type of government in SA before or after "whitey" was run off. This article, on the other hand starts off with baseless whining about being picked on because of color and then gives the same solution EVERY thinking person gives. Three simple steps. Get educated, make a plan, pursue a goal. That sounds mean, hateful, cruel and racist to some, but it's the American way. Not hyphenated American, maybe, but American none the less. Now, RCR feels that makes me sound "pretty damn close" to racist, but ............it's the American way. Any other method of success in this country derives from unlikely luck. Not something most of us can count on. If a series of lies makes you happier then this, that's where you'll have to go.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 06/10/07 - 11:56 pm
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Republican we don't believe

Republican we don't believe you are in college beacuse you can not spell nor write a legible intelligent paragraph. You are also racist so with the two combined is why I think you are to ignorant to be in school. It has nothing to do with color believe me!!!!! 97 my butt!! We can't tell... you better look out... Ga Tech may sue you or something... you would kill thier enrollement numbers if to many people see your post in the AC. For the schools sake... stop advertising you went there. If you really are there..then...Thanks for telling me where NOT to send my son!!!

addisons65
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addisons65 06/11/07 - 01:08 am
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Modern day society is

Modern day society is "dumbing down" our kids by lowering the standards for success. This should be considered an insult by every race! If you raised the academic standards to what they were 20 years ago, you'd have a lot more kids failing than today. It's not "politically correct" to offend someone by telling them they are failing! Corrective criticism should be alive and well! As far as "North" and "South" goes, there is so much more an attitude of "you white people owe me everything because my ancestors were slaves" that it made me sick to live up there. I don't owe anybody a darned thing, except to those I have debts with. If you can't get off your lazy, welfare milking tails and get a job, then you shouldn't be eating! There are too many people who have a legitimate reason to be on welfare, that have a hard time getting it due to those who shouldn't be on it!
By the way, TakeAStand, you're use of the word "to", instead of "TOO many people" is incorrect as well. If someone gave me enough money tomorrow, I would move back to Europe in a heartbeat and leave you pitiful people to wallow in your self-pity, laziness, and low expectations for your children!

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 06/11/07 - 06:08 am
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addisons65, your last

addisons65, your last sentence was funny in light of the rest of your post.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/11/07 - 07:39 am
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I hate it when the discourse

I hate it when the discourse on a given subject gets so ugly. It reminds me of out city/county commission.

keysplease
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keysplease 06/11/07 - 09:15 am
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Once again, you people have

Once again, you people have missed the point altogether. If you carefully read what the gentleman wrote, you would discover that he is discouraged that a program that was designed to give an incentive for low income students to achieve has been hijacked by higher income students, even though lower income people have spent the most money in the lottery. He also expressed his opinion that low income parents need to use this reduction in funding as an incentive to rise to the occasion and work harder to make sure their children put academics first and use this stumbling block as a stepping stone. I personally agree with him.

mag5
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mag5 06/11/07 - 09:22 am
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The way Hope is computed now

The way Hope is computed now is different. Now a kid can have a 3.1 and not get Hope. Parents be ware and stay on top of your kids grades. Computations are done on the 4.0 scale...no longer numeric. Ex when averaging grades.....Old way...85 and 75 would be an 80. New way.....3.0 and 2.0 would be 2.5 and not qualify for HOPE.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/11/07 - 09:24 am
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It is hard to disagree with

It is hard to disagree with what you have said, keysplease, but I get a entirely different interpretation. I hope I am wrong and you are right.

Rozzie2003
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Rozzie2003 06/11/07 - 09:46 am
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A Shoutout to DR Gunby68 for

A Shoutout to DR Gunby68 for telling it like it is.
Many whites won't admit to what he said.

Rozzie2003
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Rozzie2003 06/11/07 - 09:46 am
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Amen!,Amen!, Amen!,

Amen!,Amen!, Amen!, Dr.Gunby68.God will bess you for telling the truth.

aaa
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aaa 06/11/07 - 10:06 am
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I read this article twice. It

I read this article twice. It rambles around so much that I nearly missed the point of the article. I think the point is this - Parents, stay on top of your kids! Get involved in their lives - know what they are doing and keep up with their grades in school. Set a positive example for them by living your life right - teach them to stand on their own two feet, take responsibilty and not to blame others for their own failures. Push them to study hard so that they will learn how to succeed in life. Teach them that it doesn't matter what color their skin is or how much money or property their family owns, they can earn R-E-S-P-E-C-T by being responsible for themselves.
Is that what the article was trying to say?

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 06/11/07 - 10:33 am
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Partially, Standing Tall.

Partially, Standing Tall. That was covered in the last portion of his article. The first portion sent the message that blacks are getting a bad rap for raising the bar for Hope scholarships

DeeDee1
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DeeDee1 06/11/07 - 11:13 am
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Students who attend technical

Students who attend technical colleges are not dumb. There are many jobs in today's society obtainable with a technical college degree and the student will make more money than a psychology major will from Augusta State. Not all students are college material but that does not mean that getting a degree from a technical school is meaningless. You also need to look at the many students who are not 3.0 students who will obtain their college degree. Many will become teachers and be much greater teachers than some of those who carry 3.0's or better. Sometimes being book smarter is not what makes one successful. As far as the change in Hope hurting minority's, it is also going to hurt the less fortunate caucasian students whose home life may be quite difficult and the want to is there to succeed but life deals them a card that says you have to work part time to help with the bills at home. It doesn't mean the student does not want to succeed because their grades don't show it. If a student is carrying an 80 average they're at least trying. Below that I'd say they may not quite be trying as hard as they could.

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 06/11/07 - 11:44 am
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OK, to those who believe that

OK, to those who believe that raising the GPA standard for getting a HOPE scholorship is racially unfair, explain how to fix it. Let's see if you do as poor a job as explaining how it's unfair to begin with.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 06/11/07 - 11:56 am
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Addison, if that was all you

Addison, if that was all you found wrong with my article I am sorry I disappointed you.. It seems as though you were looking hard. I was under the impression that you use too when meaning "also" I did not know too many people was correct. It does not look correct to me. But I may be wrong. I never claimed to have a 97 at GT and write like that jerk did. As far as you mentioning my comments to him failing... have you read his posts???? do you really think he should be praised???? And with his racist attitude I hope you take him to Europe with you!! Hope you can save you money up soon!!! the rest of you post I agreed with, but maybe you just didn't take the time to read all of republicans posts on the different articles.. they were filled with hate and illiteracy. If you agree witht he things he said.. Please tak him back to Europe with you!!! Click on his name and read all his other posts from yesterday, maybe you will see what I mean. Nomally I don't throw stones like that, but read up on him, he deserves everything he gets!!

Aunt Em
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Aunt Em 06/11/07 - 11:58 am
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The only unfairness I see

The only unfairness I see along racial lines would be when teachers of a certain color inflate grades for students of their own color and deflate grades, due to low expectations, for students of diverse cultures. But we know that does not happen in America.

Raindance
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Raindance 06/11/07 - 12:06 pm
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I wonder if people in, say,

I wonder if people in, say, Idaho, have newspapers that have comment columns like the Chronicle. Articles that SOMEHOW initiates a whole black/white/brown/polka-dot..thing? Articles that are written to be, what I believe, an instigation. A dig. A stone to throw. A rotten past to relive. Somewhere in this nation there HAS to be a state where race is of no importance and not on everyone's daily agenda. It's getting beyond redundant and boring and I've become fairly desensitized to the whole issue of people not getting along with one another. Feeling sympathy for people used to be my thing but with all this race-related yap-yap, sympathy has given way to cynicism with a little tactless humor on the side. Addisons65 - take me with you.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 06/11/07 - 12:07 pm
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And to keyplease and the

And to keyplease and the rest.... If I was you guys rather than agreeing with him.... I would personally be offended that low income = ingnorance. that what your post looked like anyway. the program was deisnged to help low income students not low intelligence. Why is is that only low income students cannot meet the grade requirements??? I am pretty smart and had a 2.8 in school. I would not be eligible for hope today, but I would not blame it on the fact that my parents are poor.. it would be nothing short of the fact that I did not apply myself harder!!! I decided the last year and a half of highschool to go to college and took all college classes my last year and a half and made all A's and 1 B. They only reason my gpa was not higher was 100% my fault for just not caring to try the first 3 and a half years of high school.. Had nothing to do with us being poor as dirt!!

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 06/11/07 - 12:10 pm
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And by the way... everyone

And by the way... everyone would have had sympathy for republican if his post was just written in bad english...and not in bad taste. He deserves any insults he gets.... read the rest of his posts from yesterday!! If he can throw stones... he needs to be prepared to dodge the ones thrown back!!!

Does_it_really_matter
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Does_it_really_matter 06/11/07 - 12:10 pm
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Raindance....That would be

Raindance....That would be Utah. There are no race problems there. Whoa be unto you though if you don't subscribe to the local religous beliefs.

Raindance
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Raindance 06/11/07 - 12:14 pm
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Thank you DeeDee1 - I

Thank you DeeDee1 - I bristled a little about that post concerning "college material vs. a tech school", too. When I'm through with my tech school education, my starting salary will be more than my brother's, who has a BA from ASU. A BA that took him 5 years to get compared to my 2.
I had a 3.0 average at ASU when I DID go, but couldn't pass Algebra. Other than that, "real" college was a breeze.

Raindance
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Raindance 06/11/07 - 12:17 pm
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Crap. Which religious belief

Crap. Which religious belief is that, Does It Really Matter? Please don't say it's one that involves more than one wife....

Does_it_really_matter
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Does_it_really_matter 06/11/07 - 12:28 pm
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I'm not one to gossip, so you

I'm not one to gossip, so you didn't hear it from me.........but yeah, it's that one, Raindance. Speaking of which....premier episode for this season of "Big Love" is tonight on HBO. Sopranos blew me away last night...need to calm down for awhile.

Raindance
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Raindance 06/11/07 - 12:40 pm
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Never watched it. For that

Never watched it. For that reason alone. Yep. My mind is still stuck in neutral over the Sopranos. Meadow trying to park was definitely the high point (other than Paulie freaking out over that cat that adored Christopher...) So how long did you try to adjust your volume at the end???

t of i
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t of i 06/11/07 - 12:55 pm
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How many people here think

How many people here think Republican actually goes to Georgia Tech and had a 97 average to qualify for a scholarship? He doesn't even know the correct name of the school. My husband is re-thinking his gift-giving

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