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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edst4
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edst4 06/12/07 - 06:13 am
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I am wrong but is white not a

I am wrong but is white not a color also?

PIOSSEDOFF
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PIOSSEDOFF 06/12/07 - 07:27 am
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If the minorities - which

If the minorities - which does include white people these days-cant keep up their grades to continue the HOPE they are given --- then i say Party Less and Study Hard -- WORK FOR IT!! Quit relying on your parents and HOPE to pay your way thru life!!!

savannah1938
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savannah1938 06/12/07 - 08:08 am
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Kudos to chicagrace87.....did

Kudos to chicagrace87.....did you go to DHS? Wish republican had. My grandson is going to college this year....he has a 2.7 GPA and although he financially needs Hope, he will not qualify but he hopes to bring that grade up so he can. Back in the 70's or late 60's I sat in the elementary principal's office and conferenced with him as to why my daughter was getting higher grades than she deserved....yes, I was complaining as she was not being challenged...he said that they had to lower the grading system. When I asked him why, his reply was "to prevent dropouts." It was then that no one was held back for bad grades...teachers had to have three lesson plans (needless to say, many great and dedicated teachers left the school system), one for the advanced, one for the norm and one for the less than norm. I enrolled my last child in a magnet school as her prior teacher used her as an assistant to school the less than norms. If I researched my past, it is possible that some of my ancestors were slaves and I could get on the band wagon...endentured English, Sarah's (as in Abraham) hand maiden, builders of the pyramids, etc. We are all God's children no matter what color.

savannah1938
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savannah1938 06/12/07 - 08:21 am
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Addendum: Indentured is the

Addendum: Indentured is the correct spelling. Also, my older daughter went to technical school and became very successful. She eventually made more money than her father! Tech is a good thing!

keepinitreal
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keepinitreal 06/12/07 - 09:09 am
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Takeastand if you fully

Takeastand if you fully understand what I'm saying then you should not have made any comments behind what i said. I'm only saying that by specifically stating the words "People of Color" which is saying too me"Colored People" which if you have been around long enough to know that is mainly Blacks or Africian Americans have had that issue for more yrs than you and I have been alive. I made sure to state, "This Is Not A Threat" but I'm sure I speak for a great deal of people, whatever their color may be. You are also entitled to your opinion like the author of this article whom you don't agree with as well. So your point and/or opinion for me are not asked for and really don't matter, unless you can make a difference in what is offensive, then don't voice them. Another thing if this is about people of color, why are your putting Cauccasians in your comment? Do you actually have a clue about the issue or what? You say you understand , are you sure?

jsmith1001
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jsmith1001 06/12/07 - 02:17 pm
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As a minority mother with

As a minority mother with "white" children, I still don't see where my children will be at an advantage over the other. I personally think that people of a higher economic class will benefit more than those of a lower class. My children are zoned for Laney. I know my kids, will possibly be at more of a disadvantage, only because they are in a school that may not have the best teachers-as well as ANY OTHER STUDENT there-whether black or white. So I don't agree this is a racist issue. 3.0 is 3.0 regardless of your race.

arc69
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arc69 06/12/07 - 11:00 pm
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people, people can you not

people, people can you not get it right?
to is a preposition....Republican went to Tech, that is just
too is an adverb .... too hard to believe.
two is an adjective....Thank God there's not two of him.
When HOPE was established it was to assist eligible students continue their education at Georgia colleges regardless of their
race, creed or national origin, providing they had the grades to qualify. The reality is that not everyone can make the grade and the standards should not be lowered to be more inclusive, if anything the standards should be more exclusive. While it is true that most of us were average or just above average students, the opportunity for assistance through a program like HOPE was not available until 1990 something when the lottery was started. Personally, I don't feel that any student that does not have a B or better (3.0) shoud be considered for HOPE.
This is just one person's opinion after reading ALL of yours first.

arc69
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arc69 06/12/07 - 11:04 pm
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my lessons in to, too ,two

my lessons in to, too ,two did not come out so here's the recap since correcting that was all i had originally intended to post
to...preposition too...adverb...two...adjective

keepinitreal
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keepinitreal 06/13/07 - 12:47 pm
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jsmith1001, I would like to

jsmith1001, I would like to agree with you on this should not be a racist issue, and not matter what race, creed, or ethnicity a person comes from and have the grades to qualify for HOPE, then it won't matter. But when a person like this author writes his opinion or comments with which too myself are of somewhat an offensive nature, then it does cause reaction. We can see that just from the 100+ comments so far to this issue. An ignorant person is not easy to deal with sometimes. I guess he felt that by using the word "Individuals" he was curbing the opposition he knew he would create. Kinda like being polite or respectful or something, but for the Minority and the "Individuals" this article is about, I'm almost certain caused some ill feelings for these groups of "Individuals". Maybe he was reared in the era when this is what person's other than those of color were called. I think some of yall know what I mean. So this is not a racist issue, however a couple of people would call his wording racist. He should have made a different choice with his disscription of words that he used but, he is just as all of us are Entitled.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 06/13/07 - 09:31 pm
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keepinitreal.... And who are

keepinitreal.... And who are you to speak for other people?? hot heads like you are what is wrong with this world. I say I agree with most of your semi intelligent post... except for the violence part... it did not fit with the rest of your post... Can you not read?????? And the whiteys comment was just a sarcastic comment to demonstate how ignorant that reaction is in peoplejust because someones words hurt thier feelings.

TakeAstand
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TakeAstand 06/13/07 - 09:57 pm
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And btw you said the same

And btw you said the same thing last sentence of your last post that I was saying to you......I am a jerk for saying it... but you it is ok for you to. they have a name for that!!!!

keepinitreal
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keepinitreal 06/15/07 - 06:46 am
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Takeastand, as I said before

Takeastand, as I said before you and I are entitled to our opinions whether we agree on whatever article anytime we feel like commenting. You appeared slightly intelligent in the beginning of this post, and you act as though you and republican are related by the responses you give. As i said before i dont give a d-- about how you feel about what i say because it is my opinion. I am sure others feel the same as you about some of the other commentor's statements as well. You need to stop using the Chronicle to air your unwanted opinions if you have personal issues other than what the subject is about. You have a tendency to get off the subject and you get carried away with your personal thoughts not even related to what the article is about.
I tell you what, I don't wish to stoop to your level on this matter. I'm not having a comment tag session with you either. Who told you that everything you say is all good? Like you calling me hot head is your thought behind my comments is nothing to do with the article, it's your anger from my comment which shows me how childish you are. So here's my final comment to you. You can kiss where the sun doesn't shine. Can you understand that Jerk?

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