Public Education Brainiacs Thrive in Georgia

The Brainiacs who set public education policy in Georgia have hatched a brilliant plan that might move the state from its current position of number 43 on the list of 50 states and the District of Columbia measuring academic achievement.  Unfortunately the plan, which was authorized by our General Assembly earlier this year, is likely to move our state in the wrong direction.  The “plan,” if you want to call it that, allows public schools to shorten the school year so that students will attend school even fewer days than the mere 180-day current requirement.

In a nutshell, the state legislators and school administrators in our state, in contemplating how to move Georgia from its long-standing and dismal academic ranking, decided that requiring kids to spend fewer days in school will improve their academic performance.  Such brilliance is breathtaking; probably those who hatched this plan were themselves the product of Georgia public schools.  In fairness to these geniuses, they are requiring that in return for substantially fewer days spent in class overall, public school students must spend a little more time each day in class (a full half hour for older students) .

One school district — Murray County – already rushing to slash its school year (from 180 to 160 days), extolled the economic benefits of such a maneuver.  Officials in that northwest Georgia county estimated its cost savings at $124,000; the result of decreased gasoline consumption for school buses, and not having to run its air conditioners during the dog days of August.  Therein lies the real “benefit” to schools — saving a few dollars for the county, not improving the academic education of students.

Increasingly, federal and state government have been forcing schools to spend more and more time and resources on matters unrelated to academic achievement.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, is preparing to regulate snack foods in schools; and the Centers for Disease Control is moving to prevent bullying in schools.  It therefore is little wonder that standards continue to slip and governments increasingly look to non-academic ways to measure “progress.” 

Perhaps soon we’ll see public schools in America follow their counterparts in the United Kingdon, where the British National Health Service is publishing materials explicitly urging teachers to teach students that sex is fun and should be encouraged.  After all, if the students aren’t learning anything anyway, thay might as well be taught to have “fun” doing so.

66 comments Add your comment

justthefacts

July 22nd, 2009
1:25 pm

Why this either or debate? Glad to see your opinion against shortening the year, but flabergasted that your response to the problem is to allow unhealthy snacks and bullying. It’s not sufficient days/hours vs. healthy snacks and no bullying. Schools should not be peddling unhealthy snacks as they do and should look out for bullying. Schools are responsible for our children for most of their waking hours. Why are you even combining the issues?

TW

July 22nd, 2009
1:47 pm

The schools in East Cobb are awesome. I don’t see the problem, or where all this ‘failing school’ business comes into play. Schools are just a scapegoat for a crappy community, mainly parents and legislators.

i.e. – the legislators up in Cherokee County have stripped the schools down to nothing, being that they did nothing but push tax cuts during the ‘w’ admin while the population was growing exponentially. And then to handle this problem, they got the state to waive restrictions on class size – and the community celebrated the state’s decision to increase teacher:student ration. Morons. Not only that, but they all think it’s the superintendent’s fault. Again, morons.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 22nd, 2009
2:09 pm

By and large, morons beget – morons.

People that can’t read beget – people that can’t read.

People that hate books and school beget – people that hate books and school.

People that think that being lazy and drunk is the be all and end all in life beget – the same.

Yes, trash begets trash, stupidity begets stupidity, Georgians beget Georgians.

That, of course, is the real problem-o!

Breaking the never-ending cycle of stupidity in Georgia will require massive amounts of birth control, mandatory sterilization for high school dropouts, and orphanages for most children who are unfortunate to have been born in the state.

Jefferson

July 22nd, 2009
3:15 pm

The state should fund schools COMPLETELY as directed by our state constitution. There should not be a tax on property for schools. Cut out the “task forces”. Cut the legislators to meet every 2 years. Cut the governor’s budget. Cut the cops. Cut the squirrels. Cut the suit dummies. Cut corn on the cob.

More money does not mean smarter kids.

Billy Bob

July 22nd, 2009
3:33 pm

TRGHT,S –

You’re flirting with intellectual gimbal lock, man. You know, spinning outta control and all. Ease back on that anger throttle and your world might become a bit more harmonious.

A Kindergarten Teacher

July 22nd, 2009
4:24 pm

“A student’s success isn’t determined by the amount of time spent at school, but by the parental involvement, innate ability, and work ethic. As long as basic discipline is enforced and your child has the ability to gain knowledge unabated from distraction, this won’t matter.”

The above comment is accurate and I wonder when the public is going to realize this.

dgroy

July 22nd, 2009
4:25 pm

Thank you Bob Barr, a Great American, for your words. You stated that Murray County is already saving money because their school buses aren’t used as much…..I’ve got a great idea….if it saves that much money, lets do away with school busing entirely and I’m serious. School systems could better manage their budgets, we could go back to neighborhood schools, our obese kids could get some exercise by walking or riding their bikes to school. I know what some of you will say about this idea but, I’m just being realistic. All of the above cost a lot of money…..wake up Sonny….you want to save some money….make some unpopular choices. Save money, save smog, save our kids….makes sense to me.

StJ

July 22nd, 2009
8:32 pm

I digress, but I knew I had read this “mandatory birth control” stuff before:

Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Disease in Posterity. dated 14th July 1933
Official gazette of the Third Reich announcing new laws No. 86/part I.

Discussions on the introduction of a sterilization law had already taken place before 1933, but a parliamentary majority in favor of a forced sterilization was not in sight. According to the law dated 14th July 1933, sterilization could be carried out against a person’s will and in case of need with the help of the police. The applications were filed by the public health commissioners or directors and physicians of the institutions, in office since 1934, and the decisions on the applications were taken by the responsible Hereditary Health Courts. From 1934 until 1939, about 400.000 women and men were victims of the Nazi forced sterilization. The victims were said to be “hereditarily diseased”, even though the hereditary character of the diseases in question was still disputed. Many of those having undergone forced sterilization, especially women, died in consequence of the surgical intervention. Others retained serious mental injuries. “Never before in history had a nation propagandized and practiced such a policy of massive contraception, never before had a country taken measures in such a large, violent and efficient manner for purposes opposing fatality.”

Back on topic now…the Teacher has it right…more (or less) money doesn’t mean a thing if the kid isn’t brought up properly.

GB

July 23rd, 2009
7:12 am

CHRIS:

I can’t comment specifically about Barrow County, but the differences in performance between blacks and whites are very significant and are consistent in the entire United States. You can look at any number of measures. The SAT averages are the most telling. Look up the facts.

d

July 23rd, 2009
1:45 pm

Just an observation from a high school teacher: the parents who come to parent conferences willingly have students earning As or Bs in my class. Students who have parents who would rather have their teeth pulled than come see me have low Cs, Ds, or Fs. I do tend to see some improvement when I do get those parents in, but by then it’s not enough to guarantee any success on EOCT.

P C

July 23rd, 2009
2:23 pm

Bob,

Your time would be better spent if you spent more time discussing the impact of the latest total for the year of a 5% cut in salary for GA teachers and administrators who’s pay has not even kept up with the cost of living. Clearly, education is not a priority for this state or country!

j0n

July 23rd, 2009
2:39 pm

“the British National Health Service is publishing materials explicitly urging teachers to teach students that sex is fun and should be encouraged.”

Please be professional and cite a source and/or provide a link when making statements like the one above.

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 23rd, 2009
8:35 pm

probably those who hatched this plan were themselves the product of Georgia public schools

And who sent you to Congress Bob, your native Iowans?

A Kindergarten Teacher

August 16th, 2009
5:28 pm

What a wonderful comment…
“JF McNamara

July 22nd, 2009
8:42 am
A student’s success isn’t determined by the amount of time spent at school, but by the parental involvement, innate ability, and work ethic. As long as basic discipline is enforced and your child has the ability to gain knowledge unabated from distraction, this won’t matter.”

Thank you!

A Kindergarten Teacher

August 16th, 2009
5:31 pm

Another insightful remark…Thanks Bubba.
“It starts at home. The student must take a participatory role in the learning process. To that end, parents must take a more active participation in the process as well. That’s where it starts. It doesn’t matter if learning is conducted in a public or private setting. If the student’s mind is not an open vessel, if that mind is not encouraged by the family to be opened, then it doesn’t matter under what guise we present the format for education.”

a teacher from another state

September 7th, 2009
11:21 pm

There are a lot of paperwork tasks that take away from the time teachers spend teaching. I believe children and teachers are bored with the over-emphasis on the standards. The high stakes testing is frustrating and creates a group of dropouts from the first grade. Those children are funneled into endless tutoring. We are only reaching for the children who perform well on pencil and paper tasks. There is no first grade test for the future auto mechanic who can make a great living with his/ her hands.

My student teaching was done in a great district. There were teacher helpers, parent volunteers and student teachers to reduce the teacher- student ratio. The idiotic thing is to dump 23 mixed ability children in a room with one teacher and expect the outcome to match that of a class with 4-5 adults and 21 students.

If GA education is so bad, ask some of the imported teachers to share the strategies that worked where they came from. Be open minded and implement ideas that will excite students about school. Elementary schools are too large and institutional (prison-like) for me. I would drop out of that situation, too.