Bedden points out system flaws

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Misconceptions, complacency and autonomy have hampered Richmond County education, Superintendent Dana Bedden said Monday.

Many in the community have learned, often incorrectly, about the school system, through what he called the "street committee," or rumor mill, Dr. Bedden told members of the Kiwanis Club of Augusta. The same people like to compare Richmond and Columbia counties, he said.

To remedy this, his staff is developing a profile of the school system and each of the 60 schools so that the community can get an accurate picture, he said, noting that Columbia County looks nothing like Richmond County and shouldn't be viewed statistically as a peer.

The school board office also needs a point person for the public to turn to for guidance on how to better navigate the education system, Dr. Bedden said.

What Richmond County lacks isn't a staff of caring adults, the superintendent said. It lacks the systems needed to ensure uniform standards and expectations throughout the county.

For instance, individual schools have too much autonomy at times, and the structure in place to ensure accountability is flawed, Dr. Bedden said. He said that the entire evaluation process is broken when it finds that 99 percent of teachers receive satisfactory reviews and the average principal scores a 4.5 on a 5-point scale, yet some schools are failing to make adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The school board is moving toward being standards-based, and the standards that drive the board will also drive the central office, principals and each classroom, Dr. Bedden said.

Some of that accountability will come with the completion of a system-wide audit that will be presented next month, which he said will likely find that there are too many people in the central office.

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

IN HIS WORDS


Superintendent Dana Bedden on:


- Community perception of Richmond County education:


"I'm often amazed at the number of people who really don't know a lot about Richmond County schools."


- School system's size:


"We transport about 22,000 students a day. We are the largest bus fleet in the area. We feed roughly 25,000 students a day, so we're the largest food chain in the area. We actually have 60 restaurants in the region."


- His support for re-establishing a public information officer position:


"Public information is about public information, not about putting a spin on it."


- Nepotism in the school system:


"That's a recurring thing I hear all the time."


- The school board's reaction to the upcoming audit:


"I figure they'll either love me or hate me."

Comments (28) Add comment
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iakovos
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iakovos 02/26/08 - 06:01 am
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you got my support

you got my support

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 02/26/08 - 06:54 am
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Sounds like a great start.

Sounds like a great start. Too many years under Dr Larke are going to take a while to fix, especially since a lot of the problem is poor information and a lack of accountability. Dr Bedden has my support.

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 02/26/08 - 07:34 am
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Fix it! Fix it! Fix it!

Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Go Dr Bedden!

Bored in GA
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Bored in GA 02/26/08 - 08:09 am
0
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While you are fixing, try

While you are fixing, try doing something with the Transportation Department!

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 02/26/08 - 08:58 am
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Start with Laney get rid of

Start with Laney get rid of Dr. Welcher, I bet he get's a 5 on his performance evaluation (only for discipline) surely not for academics and school morale. I've always wondered WHY the administrators and faculty get good marks and all this praise and their schools are on AYP year after year. Dr. Bedden needs to clean house NOW before next fall, start with the High School Principals who's schools have been on AYP 3 years or more. A new vision is needed at Laney this stagnant situation we have been in for years must be corrected or Laney will continue to LIVE and be BOUND in the AYP educational mire.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 02/26/08 - 08:59 am
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Start with Laney get rid of

Start with Laney get rid of Dr. Welcher, I bet he get's a 5 on his performance evaluation (only for discipline) surely not for academics and school morale. I've always wondered WHY the administrators and faculty get good marks and all this praise and their schools are on AYP year after year. Dr. Bedden needs to clean house NOW before next fall, start with the High School Principals who's schools have been on AYP 3 years or more. A new vision is needed at Laney this stagnant situation we have been in for years must be corrected or Laney will continue to LIVE and be BOUND in the AYP educational mire

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 02/26/08 - 10:15 am
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With new superintendents in

With new superintendents in at least four local public school systems, we in the metro area have an opportunity to develop a greater Augusta where children learn to be good, responsible, respectful, productive people while the rest of the community, especially the parents, is actively involved in the encouragement of that learning. Let us commit to support Dr. Bedden, Mr. Nagle and our other new supers in their critically important endeavors.

jack
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jack 02/26/08 - 11:59 am
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You go, Dr. Bedden! The

You go, Dr. Bedden! The entire RC School System needs a good house cleaning, including the BOE staff. Why is it that the BOE staff has all new office furniture and computers and the schools can't even get broken computers replaced or repaired? Those principals with 3 years oftheir school being rated as needing improvement should be demoted or fired and replaced by competent administrators rather than by color. 99% of teachers receiving satisfactory ratings when their schools are failing need to have some one besides the principal reviewing those ratings and teacher performance. A principal whose ratings are found to be too high should have to justify those ratings. Un-announced observations in the class room by BOE staffers would go a long way in correcting this problem. Yes indeed, it will take a lot of effort and time to straighten out the mess Larke left the RC school system in.

142
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Dan White 02/26/08 - 12:06 pm
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Lay off Dr. Welcher, Jack.

Lay off Dr. Welcher, Jack. You take him and put him at Lakeside, and he will have the same results as Carney does. He plays with a poor hand that has been dealt him and does a great job in making lemonade out of lemons. He loves the kids, runs a tight ship, and is a good, decent Christian man. He has too many faculty members who are not trained. They are getting training on the job through the GA TAP program. What can you expect with inexperienced teachers? These rookie non-teachers need to be transferred around the system and some of the wise old veteran teachers need to be forced to go to Laney. That's what could change things. And, the old veterans need a money bonus for going there. It also wouldn't hurt for the kids to have dads at home instead of in prison or skipping out on their paternal responsibilities.

142
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Dan White 02/26/08 - 12:08 pm
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Good luck to Dr. Bedden.

Good luck to Dr. Bedden. You've only found the tip of the iceberg. It's going to take a while to clean up the mess that Dr. Larke left you with.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 02/26/08 - 12:24 pm
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Greenjacket maybe he needs to

Greenjacket maybe he needs to work his last year in Columbia County. I believe once Dr. Welcher leaves Laney a burden will be lifted off the students, faculty, and school. He has one more year left, why not go somewhere else for that one year and let a new principal take over and begin the process of getting us off AYP?

reruns
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reruns 02/26/08 - 02:00 pm
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Richmond County is just s

Richmond County is just s stepping stone for someone's political gain.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 02/26/08 - 02:15 pm
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hey again start with holding

hey again start with holding the "sorry" parent(s) accountable for their childs behavior. if you expell all of the bad apples, you would immediate decrease the student/teacher ratio, get the word out that school is for education and nothing else. there will then be more money available to be spent on the students who want to learn and can make a positive difference in society. this will remove the financial burden placed upon the homeowners in thsi county, because the rc boe's philosophy ios "when in doubt or need another program, throw more money at it..i. e. raise the millage rate" the second step is with the reduced class size more money will be available to hire qualified teachers, the teachers who don't measure up..it tiem for them to go. and lastly all the schools on the ayp list for 5 years all of their sports progarms get suspended, and rthe students who want to play sports and any other students who want to transfer must test out with at least an 80-85%, those who can't stay and LEARN!!!! to add, read and write.

madstuff
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madstuff 02/26/08 - 02:33 pm
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All office furniture in the

All office furniture in the central office is not new. When everyone was in the process of moving the old furniture came with them. The ones that did get new furniture more than likely did so with grant money. Its frustrating that spending accounts can only be used for certain things. If a grant is given for furniture thats all it can be spent on. There are so many rules to money.

madstuff
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madstuff 02/26/08 - 02:36 pm
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jismojr you are dead on with

jismojr you are dead on with the parents comment. Speaking from experience the parents need to take a more active approach instead of pawning their hoodlums off on us. If they cant control them what makes them think we can!!!

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
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BakersfieldCityLimits 02/26/08 - 02:46 pm
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I wonder if the Africian

I wonder if the Africian American power structure will fight to keep Dr. Bedden or will turn on him once he begins to establish a true set of standards for the school system.

read this
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read this 02/26/08 - 02:50 pm
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A liberal arts education is a

A liberal arts education is a waste of time for kids that do not like to read. Teach them a skill instead of a sport. Expect more and then reward achievement. Give the students a choice....skill...or...college....then let the community see what real competition is all about. Unfortunately, education is more about teacher retirement and benefits and low expectations, than knowledge and application.

madstuff
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madstuff 02/26/08 - 03:29 pm
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well what happened to my

well what happened to my comments???? I dont see how they violated the TOS.

MartinezWest Augusta
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MartinezWest Augusta 02/26/08 - 04:32 pm
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AYP AND NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND

AYP AND NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND are all jokes. Kids now are based on not what they learn but memorized. Every kid is not good at taking test in the classroom. But that doesn't mean that kid couldn't grow up to cure cancer. To much focus on testing instead of actually learning.

142
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Dan White 02/26/08 - 05:52 pm
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ReadThis - your are right on

ReadThis - your are right on with teaching kids a skill who do not want or need a liberal arts education. Way to go!!!

factfinder
6
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factfinder 02/26/08 - 11:48 pm
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What you don't understand is

What you don't understand is that Dr. Welcher created his own hand, if you compare the faculty that was in place when Dr. Welcher arrived at Laney with the faculty that is there now you would see a significant difference. He is responsible for the inexperienced staff. Compare his performance at Tubman with his performance at Laney (the same). It is not coincidential that he was not selected to be the Principal at Davidsons Magnet School, where he served as the Assistant, his appointment as principal there should have been a no brainer "right"?? Have you ever seen the commerical that brings home the fact that "things are not always the way it seems". Dr. Welcher just has a buddy on the QLT, who by the way is also a part of the problem. Dr. Bedden's biggest problem is that he did not bring in his on nonbias support. He has my support, but he cannot insulate himself with his QLT and expect to get a clear picture of the problems, some of is QLT members are the problem.

class1
299
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class1 02/27/08 - 07:10 am
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What about holding the

What about holding the parents responsible too for their children who don't care about passing!

LittleJoeCartwright
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LittleJoeCartwright 02/27/08 - 12:52 pm
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At Laney, school climate is

At Laney, school climate is the worst that it has ever been. Whenever we do get good veteran teachers, they are run off. There needs to be a turn-over right NOW, before we sink any deeper. It’s a new day, same old way and nothing excellent!

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 02/27/08 - 01:20 pm
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factfinder and Beats I agree,

factfinder and Beats I agree, Laney has been down for awhile, and as I look back I can honestly say, when Mr. Motley was at Laney, he may not have had discipline down but atleast we were not on AYP. Those teachers who were at Laney when Dr. Welcher took over LEFT because of Dr. Welcher he's doing some dirty stuff over there with department heads etc. He could have choose to go somewhere else, he didn't have to come there. Everybody knows he only went to Laney to straighten out discipline and that he's done to a T. But what about academics, morale...... As far as inexperienced teachers, he as the principal should have sad NO, we need seasoned teachers, but then again all the shortage and critical need teachers RCBOE had to send them somewhere.

paraprofessional
45
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paraprofessional 02/28/08 - 07:27 am
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The problems with students

The problems with students start in kindergarten. When a five year old can disrupt a class day after day and no one has the common sense to say "Maybe you are not ready for school- go home and come back next year" then we are faced with whole classes of children who see that the teachers have no authority. This encourages them to act up. The disruptive child is referred for testing and they meet and say do this or that and we will meet again in a month or two and before you know it the school year is 2/3 over and the child is still disrupting the class. I have seen this happen is many classes, not just one or two. And it seems to be more common every year. Chronic disruptive students should be removed from regular classes regardless of their age or grade. No teacher can be an effective teacher if she or he is spending all their time handling disruptive students.

LittleJoeCartwright
0
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LittleJoeCartwright 02/28/08 - 08:23 am
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It is definately ALL about

It is definately ALL about Intervention!!! Something that is not in place in Richmond County.

justbeasy
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justbeasy 03/01/08 - 06:04 pm
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While we are griping on

While we are griping on Laney, how many other high schools made AYP, think about it....... Exactly.Let's look at putting some of the blame of the students and the parents. You can have the best experienced teacher in the world, but if the child is not motivated and the parent doesn't play a role, will that child learn? Answer that question! No, being that I am not too far removed from being in High School, i can say i just wasn't wasn't motivated in academics and was involved in too many other things, but I honestly believe I had some of the best educators. So it comes a point where we need to stop laying blame on educators who come day after day to deal with kids that society has not done there job in raising. I don't know Dr. Welcher but considering the demographics of Laney, i applaud him for going and doing a job that others won't do but have the galls to criticize and complain.

casimir56
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casimir56 03/31/08 - 11:23 pm
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You need to look into the

You need to look into the Tranportation Dept. I have to follow buses in/out of my subdivision. Why are buses stopping every 30-40 yds with MS age kids. If a child can't walk at least 100 yds to/from the bus stop, then they should be in a handicap accessible bus. This extra starting/stopping is wasting WAY TOO MUCH diesel fuel at all time high prices!!

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