Problems plague Tubman Middle

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Something "dramatic" must be done before the state takes over Tubman Middle School, Richmond County's superintendent said Tuesday.

Dana Bedden: Head of schools says Tubman Middle could be turned over to state control if the situation does not improve.  Special
Special
Dana Bedden: Head of schools says Tubman Middle could be turned over to state control if the situation does not improve.

Dana Bedden said he has already staved off a "wave" of teachers wanting to leave the school, which has languished on the state's "needs improvement" list. Tubman is among a small group of schools that has been on the list longer than any others in Georgia.

Three teachers abandoned their jobs during the holiday break, and "there are a number of them who have expressed concerns," Dr. Bedden said.

He had to begin denying requests to transfer out of Tubman, prompting one teacher to quit rather than continue teaching there.

The school began this year with a new staff from principal on down to comply with a state-mandated restructuring plan. The plan lured teachers to the school with $500 each year plus 5 percent above their regular pay as part of a three-year contract. Breaking the contract could mean they have to pay back the stipend.

During school board committee meetings Tuesday, Dr. Bedden said a Richmond County resident described the school as a "recipe for disaster" because three "projects" feed into the school and the school has so many inexperienced teachers.

New teachers tend to be assigned to the most challenging schools, he said.

Dr. Bedden said he personally sat down to discuss the problems with Tubman teachers, one of whom "was in tears in his office."

It's imperative that something be done to turn the school around, Dr. Bedden said. If Tubman doesn't make adequate yearly progress this year, then it will become a "state-managed" school, he said.

The superintendent said a state deputy superintendent and an associate superintendent have already visited the school this year.

Melody Wooten, the vice president of the Tubman PTA, said she worries about how the school is affecting her sons.

Despite being honor roll students, their grades have slipped because of the constant interruptions for discipline problems.

"It's not the teachers. It's not the academics. It's the atmosphere," Ms. Wooten said. "Even if the state takes over, it's going to take time for the atmosphere and the students to turn around."

Dr. Bedden said he is considering his options and developing a plan for the school.

One possibility is replacing the principal. Thomas Norris became principal this school year, but has been out on extended medical leave.

The superintendent could change the structure of the school and also the area it draws its students from, he said.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

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Edgefield
0
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Edgefield 01/09/08 - 07:28 am
0
0
Get rid of the kids who are

Get rid of the kids who are there to cause problems. Then you get rid of the problems. As one parent said, honor roll students are wrongly impacted by disruptive kids. Get rid of the problem kids and you get rid of the problems.

shivas
2
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shivas 01/09/08 - 07:40 am
0
0
Looks like my old Junior High

Looks like my old Junior High hasn't changed a bit.

keysplease
4
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keysplease 01/09/08 - 07:57 am
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I taught at Tubman for 3

I taught at Tubman for 3 years -- it was the most challenging job I ever had, but when I was there most of the teachers were veterans. I absolutely loved the children but it certainly took a lot of energy to keep up with them. It is a setup for failure though, because the majority of students come from housing projects. I remember that students all the way from River Glen were attending the school. It seems like there is a lot of gerrymandering of the school zone when it comes to Tubman. It's not fair to the students and it's not fair for the staff. The other problem we had was that there were 15, 16, 17 year old students there with 11, 12, 13 year olds. Most of the discipline problems came from those older students. Those older students need to be removed and placed in a GED and job training program. But ultimately, the culture of the school needs to be changed. Discipline has to be very strong and they should look at separating the males and females. Most of them come from fatherless homes and they have not learned to have respect for authority. I don't know how the state can do a better job.

justus4
99
Points
justus4 01/09/08 - 08:15 am
0
0
The principle cannot be on
Unpublished

The principle cannot be on medical leave and have influence on the staff. He should not have been assigned there, particularly if not physically fit, because kids (and many adults) respect men that are large-in-size, i.e. 6',6" 250 lbs. Sounds simple, but it get results, if he's also intelligent. Getting a good principle is only one problem, changing the attitudes of staff/students will prove most difficult. Those are the problems...no leadership at the school and kids taking over. Good luck Dr. Bedden on this one.

sickandtired
0
Points
sickandtired 01/09/08 - 08:15 am
0
0
The message from the people

The message from the people on the front lines - the teachers in the classrooms - is that discipline is the concern. I agree with keysplease - the state can come in and do whatever they feel is necessary, however; until the issues of respect, responsibility and safety are rectified this school will not be able to progress. Knowing that the school is in jeopardy of not making AYP, I wonder what the state feels has to happen in order for the students of Tubman Middle to be successful in meeting the academic standards set forth by the government... what amazing program (that we know nothing about apparently) are they hiding up their sleeve?

Unbelievable
82
Points
Unbelievable 01/09/08 - 08:41 am
0
0
Any child over the age of 14

Any child over the age of 14 that is not actively trying to perform needs to be removed from the school. There is no reason to have 16 year olds and 12 year olds in the same school. The older kids are apparently not doing well enough, or trying, to pass and need to be moved else where. They need a 'boot camp' type school for these kids, one where they can learn respect, and be educated to become meaningful additions to society. Or they will just end up at 401 Walton Way, complaining about the conditions.

genbartow
0
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genbartow 01/09/08 - 09:11 am
0
0
Leave a few (dozen) children

Leave a few (dozen) children behind. Worry about teaching the ones that want to learn.

aaa
2
Points
aaa 01/09/08 - 09:13 am
0
0
Where is Sidney Poitier when

Where is Sidney Poitier when we need him?

Edward1968
531
Points
Edward1968 01/09/08 - 09:33 am
0
0
Sounds like Tubman needs more

Sounds like Tubman needs more teachers with experience in handling the students and their disrespect. Put the bad eggs in alternative school!

dani
12
Points
dani 01/09/08 - 09:40 am
0
0
I understand that the

I understand that the 'projects' produce some troubled youths but I had no idea they were this disruptive. According to Bedden the 3 projects feeding into Tubman is the problem. Sounds like it is long past time to GET RID of the 'projects'!!! Continuing to support this never- ending , costly (to the taxpayers) is not working. There must be more restrictions / rules placed on these residents along with monitors checking on families to see if they entitled to subsidized housing.

LiLBrown
1
Points
LiLBrown 01/09/08 - 09:54 am
0
0
always the African American

always the African American kids, why dont the parents step up and do their jobs. If you are big enough to lay on your back to get pregnant then why cant you be big enough to raise these kids to be respectfull. Damn, just cause you are not rich you can still get off your lazy Arse and be a parent. Do us all a favor and stop having kids.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 01/09/08 - 10:05 am
0
0
The fault of all this lies on

The fault of all this lies on the very system and its workers who are supposed to be doing the right thing weeding the undeserving lowlifes out of the assistance programs. Even when you report a scammer, they turn their blind eye. So Thank all those who work at AHA and everyone else down the line who are supposed to be enforcing the guidelines. As weak as they are, you still dont enforce them!!! And the laws for requirements need to change, but some group whines to dang much there isnt enough handouts for the bums!! And you are hurting tons of kids in the process in more ways than one people. Give big finger, uh, I mean hand to AHA, lawmakers, and sorry parents who should be sterilized!!!!

a crazy old man
30
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a crazy old man 01/09/08 - 10:10 am
0
0
Sounds to me like Dr. Bedden

Sounds to me like Dr. Bedden needs to stop considering and start doing and if he's making the teachers leave he might need to do something else.

dani
12
Points
dani 01/09/08 - 10:25 am
0
0
Take a stand..Amen!!

Take a stand..Amen!!

Little Lamb
43794
Points
Little Lamb 01/09/08 - 10:25 am
0
0
Just ponder this question for

Just ponder this question for a minute. Just what would be so bad about the state taking over this school and relieving the RCBOE of the burden? RCBOE could devote resources to the rest of the system while the state turns Tubman around. Sounds like a win - win to me.

my2cnts
0
Points
my2cnts 01/09/08 - 10:28 am
0
0
It is time for Richmond

It is time for Richmond County to build an alternative school that is one step below prison for the disruptive kids. The campus should be surrounded by a ten foot high fence with razor wire on top and one entrance gate with a guard. The students should be "sentenced" to a year at the alternative school and if they do not make academic progress or get into more trouble, they should be expelled for life from the Richmond county system and their parents should be declared ineligible for any government benefits. These kids and their parents are no more than criminals, stealing education from the other kids and should be treated as such. If the sorry kids and their worthless parents think they might lose their "govment" check; they will straighten up in a minute.

gnx
7
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gnx 01/09/08 - 10:34 am
0
0
I say bring back corporal

I say bring back corporal punishment in schools. You'll see a huge turnaround in behavior and a sudden upswing in academic grades. Teach the kids to have respect in the classroom and they'll eventually take that home with them. I don't blame the teachers and staff for being frustrated - there is absolutely nothing they can do to bring order to their classrooms short of having a general anesthetic pumped in through the ventilation system. If a child knows he can act out without fear of punishment and know the worst thing that can happen is to be removed from class then he/she is going to do so.

dani
12
Points
dani 01/09/08 - 10:43 am
0
0
gnx..sounds good but the race

gnx..sounds good but the race issue would stop that from happening. "My kid is being picked on by the ___principal.' No ___ __is gonna hit my child.' That is the reason it was taken out of the schools. Sad situation. Good intentions do not aways have good endings.

DooDirty
0
Points
DooDirty 01/09/08 - 11:00 am
0
0
I am a single father and what

I am a single father and what i see is that we are pointing the finger at everyone but us. It is the PARENTS responsibility to start the teaching of Christ and Discipline in the home first, I
understand that we can't see what they do out of our eyesight
but if we teach them the right way these educators would not
have this problem. I know a lot of children that come out of the projects and are well taught and respectful. I agree that 16 yr olds need to be somewhere else. When I was at T.W. Josey if
the older ones wasnt making an effort with their grades, Mr. Barnes would place them in nightschool, GED class or back home.

fran
1
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fran 01/09/08 - 11:00 am
0
0
If the administration ever

If the administration ever sees the light and comes up with a uniform discipline plan for the county that works, please don't forget to start all the way down at Pre_K. There are some acting like hoodlums in the elementary school, too! Students have to have clear rules and clear consequences. They should be removed from the regular class as soon as it's apparent that they can't and won't conform to ordinary rules of appropriate behavior.

condelieeza
0
Points
condelieeza 01/09/08 - 11:01 am
0
0
i attended tubman jr hight

i attended tubman jr hight school and can attesticle to the terrible conditions students are subjected . i see things aint changed since i departed years ago.

142
Points
Dan White 01/09/08 - 11:05 am
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0
I can't help but wonder if

I can't help but wonder if the principal is on medical leave for mental health issues. The pressure and stress on teachers and administrators is incredible. The public would be amazed as to how many are on medication for their frayed nerves and the stress they are under. And of course, your mental health evokes problems with physical health too. God bless our teachers. The solution is simple. Get the thugs and overaged kids out of the schools. You can gripe about social promotion, but this is the tool teachers used to keep the 16 and up year olds out of middle school knowing they would drop out in high school. Thanks to Bush's NCLB act, not only do they have to pass but they have to pass all of those stupid state tests to move up into high school. Another thing, you would be amazed at the number of 9th graders in Richmond who have been put up in high school who failed academically and failed the state tests. There is a loophole in the law that does allow them to be put up after the teachers, administrators, and parents meet.

jasall18
1
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jasall18 01/09/08 - 11:14 am
0
0
I agree with previous

I agree with previous postings, it is the parents responisibility to teach a child decipline and respect. Parents unfortunately have gotten lazy and have left the job of raiseing thier child up to the school system and when the system tries to curtail bad behavior these lazy people step up and say where do you have the right, its a d**ned if you do d**ned if you don't situation. I do agree though that these poorer people whose kids seem to be the problems need to be threatened in some way so that they would straighten up and maybe if they would stop having soo many children to one single mama she could keep up with them better. I was raised in the project, but I new who to respect and I new what would happen when it wasn't shown.

olelady
0
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olelady 01/09/08 - 11:17 am
0
0
the problem is not the

the problem is not the "projects"---it is parents afraid to spank their kids-scared of jail-where i came from if you didn't behave especially in school- you were punished at school and when u got home you were punished "really bad"--- parents need to take up more time with their kids and visit the school from time to time--i went to a school where all 12 grades were in the same building with just a little breezeway separating us---did not have the problems that are facing us today-we need more adult supervision in the hallways during classes and during their class changing--

DeborahElliott2
4
Points
DeborahElliott2 01/09/08 - 11:25 am
0
0
Teachers should also place

Teachers should also place work orders on their trouble students that involves whatever it is they are teaching. For example, a simple 1500 word essay of the essentials for a good education if the teacher is teaching english (Using AMA or MLA formatting) and site page where the student got the material and proper grammer. If not done the next day, put them on detention for a month. This will make any student sit up and take notice to different ways of discipline and make parents responsible for bad behavior as the parent will have to miss 2 days of work to come in and talk with the teacher having the difficulty.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 01/09/08 - 11:34 am
0
0
the problem is the welfare

the problem is the welfare state that pays children to breed and promotes no father in the home. then we pay for all of their needs all the way until we put them in prison. then we pay for that. there is no shame, no moral guilt, no humiliation. the subsidy takes all priority. we are subjected to theft, robbery, murder, and general disrespect and destruction and decay of society. then the tax rates are higher and higher and good people have to do twice as much to pay for the scumbags. the great society has been a scurge upon all good people.

mommato2
25
Points
mommato2 01/09/08 - 11:34 am
0
0
There are several factors

There are several factors here that need to be taken care of, some have been mentioned. I agree with taking the problem students out. If a 16 yr old is still attending b/c he keeps failing, he'll never pass, so get rid of him. Yes, I know that Bush wanted this whole "no child left behind" thing, but when there is a 16 yr old student in a class with 12 yr olds, there's a problem. I would not allow my child to be in a class with a 16 yr old if she were 12. Also, the parents should be ashamed. Parents are a child's first teacher, first mentor, first example. I understand that some of these children are from the "projects", but to me, that is not an excuse. First, the parent has to make their child understand what's right and wrong before school even starts, then the child has to follow through. Even then, it's up to the parents to continue teaching their children, it does not stop when the child starts school. You are parents for life when you have a child. It doesn't matter where you come from, you can always do better if you want to. It's up to the individual to decide to do better. An individual CHOOSES his future, not the other way around.

mommato2
25
Points
mommato2 01/09/08 - 11:39 am
0
0
Also, the fact that there are

Also, the fact that there are no fathers in the home, or the family is on welfare is no excuse. Public school is free to attend, everyone gets an opportunity to attend school, and that is where children need to be. I left home at 17, but I still managed to finish high school and go to college, without my family's help at all. My dad and mom have never paid for anything for me, at all. I had to do it myself, and I did. I do not go around saying, "poor poor pitiful me, I can't do this or that b/c my family is not around." I never failed a grade in school, and I also had to work nights. I made sure I was going to have better than I did growing up, and so far, it's perfect for me.

moments30
0
Points
moments30 01/09/08 - 11:49 am
0
0
We can't just automactically

We can't just automactically blame the school, if I remember correctly, discipline starts at home. Maybe the parents need to be the ones teaching their own child. Put them in the classrooms for a week and they would lose their minds!!! Parents of the problem students, please, wake up and take control!!!!!

dani
12
Points
dani 01/09/08 - 11:57 am
0
0
As with everything that is

As with everything that is wrong with government Pres Bush is being blamed. True, he did sign the NCLB bill into law. Bush & Kerry both campaigned for NCLB. It was passed overwhelmingly by both houses. Let's not get carried away. It seemed to be a good thing at the time to hold people accountable. As we now know, you should never hold parents, students or the school system accountable for anything. Blame it on the politicians, that's the easy thing to do.

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