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

jt

July 22nd, 2009
7:40 am

Because of the federal involvment in schools(No child left alone), the less time a child spends in goverment schools, the better that child’s chance of success.

Jim Callihan

July 22nd, 2009
7:43 am

Once again, another experiment with the education of our children. And as so many of the other ones, it is based on a “hunch” or some erroneous extrapolation, rather than a proven model. Speaking of proven models, the one used before David Rockefeller and his plethora of “non-profit” foundations hi-jacked public education (Jimmy Carter, take a bow) placed Americans on top of the world.

That fact, coupled with the pattern ever-since, proves what is really going on here – a deliberate “dumbing down” of our future and an ever-increasing expansion of costs. Even though the phony reasons for the latest decisions are seemingly directed at “cutting cost”, time will prove it false. Parents will rise in uproar over the results and the next answer will be to “add teachers”. While there is merit in smaller class sizes, there is little merit in what is being taught.

In turn, this will justify the continued importing of talent from third world countries under the “H1 Visa” program – less jobs for our own citizens, leveling the globe for education, a treasonous corporatists plan…all paid for by US taxpayers.

http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com

Stop the insanity – we’re being had. Return authority to local school boards and keep the tax dollars at home, rather than continue sending them to DC. Why are educational centers against this? They run the risk of losing precious donations from David’s foundations – a very clever system of control and manipulation. This again is easily resolved – END THEIR TAX EXAMPT STATUS. After all, it’s just a shell game played by mega-rich elitist seeking a one-world order, funded by the American public. Follow the money.

Andrew

July 22nd, 2009
8:04 am

Bob, my specialty is education, and I support this plan. Anything that gets kids out of school is a good thing. Studies show that the more kids go to Public School, the less smart they are. Quite frankly, Public School needs to be left as a relic of the 20th century and never used again. Public School need to be eliminated in order that children can be properly educated. They will not become educated human beings at Public School. A few might become educated in spite of having gone to school, but why do we dumb down the whole population and hope a few get lucky? Bob, if you can eliminate compulsory Public Education in your district, your children will be smarter for it.

Teacher

July 22nd, 2009
8:23 am

Bob – “probably those who hatched this plan were themselves the product of Georgia public schools.”
Why insult Georgia teachers? We are voters. Ask Roy Barnes.

Andrew – “School need to be eliminated in order that children can be properly educated.”
So many problems with this sentence. Come to my class in a public school. I will teach you how to properly construct a sentence.

If you really want to help public education, 1) Do away with No Child Left Behind, and 2) Hold parents accountable for student achievement and behavior.

Atlanta native

July 22nd, 2009
8:25 am

Unless I read the proposal wrong, they are cutting the number of days they attend but they are LENGTHENING the school day so the instructional time would be the same. So instead of going Monday through Friday from 8:30 – 3:30 they would go Monday through Thursday from 8:00 to 5:00 or something like that. They county would save money by not having the buses on the road on Friday, not paying the A/C etc. 1 day a week. I’m not saying I totally agree with the plan, but before blasting the program check the facts.
Everyone loves to bash public schools and there are definitely some issues but there are also some high quality public schools in this state that can rival any private school around.

The NCLB bill has created a paperwork nightmare that has done little to enhance our children’s education. We need more quality instruction, not more federal bureacracy.

LM

July 22nd, 2009
8:40 am

If anything, we really need to increase the seat hours that kids are in class, i.e., more days. Other countries are not married to the 180 day school year – and their children are whippings our children’s fannies in academics.

LM

July 22nd, 2009
8:41 am

That is “whipping,” not “whippings”….oops

Ben

July 22nd, 2009
8:41 am

If saving money, and not “educating” children, is the goal then why not just shorten the school year to something like 1 month and have them go 24 hours/day. That would save a lot of money.

Seriously, I agree with the above posts. Public education will not be “fixed” until you get it completely out of the hands of politicians. As long as the only acceptable solution to every problem is to throw more money at the problem there will be politicians there to accommodate because after all, “it’s for the children”. (and the teacher’s union)

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.

LeeH1

July 22nd, 2009
8:42 am

I’m all for it. Keep the kids uneducated and dumb. America needs a labor pool like Georgia to bring forth the cotton pickers, hamburger flippers and other manual job holders, so the rest of us in the country can maintain a higher standard of living.
The more Georgia screws their own children, the easier they are to control by other people. Besides, they won’t ask for higher wages or working conditions, which they don’t deserve anyway.
Keep Georgia stupid! Fight education! Do your part to help the rest of the country live better! America depends upon Georgia for dummy workers! don’t let us down!

Ben

July 22nd, 2009
8:43 am

One more thing, if the school year is shortened to 160 days do they pay teachers less? I’m guessing NOT.

Joan

July 22nd, 2009
8:49 am

Well, this will escalate what we have now–a perfect storm of ignorant, very poorly educated children, with no motivation to take care of, or take responsibility for themselves–and a political party now in power who is counting on this demographic as its predominant voter base. America has never sunk so low.

Andy Craig

July 22nd, 2009
9:02 am

Let’s make more efficient use of children’s time in school. The two years (four semesters) of mandatory foreign language class have never been of any use to me. I have literally *never* used French in the twenty years since graduating from Georgia public schools.

Instead of French, children could probably benefit from going to a class that reinforces the concepts they learned in their math class a few days/weeks earlier. In college, I sometimes struggled in math class, only to be enlightened in my Physics class and laboratory. The comprehension really kicked in- I was actually using the math.

Let’s not force our children to learn a foreign language to make up for another problem- people entering the USA that don’t want to learn English. Where would we be now if we had not standardized a few centuries ago? Would we be effective having to know English + Italian + German + French + Mandarin + Japanese + etc?

Tomhere

July 22nd, 2009
9:03 am

Poor schools are a republican survival strategy.

harry

July 22nd, 2009
9:06 am

I don’t care if kids are in school one day a year or 365. If parents don’t do their jobs and insist on their children realizing the importance of getting educated and not entertained, it doesn’t matter whether braniacs or imbeciles are running the schools.

Jimbo

July 22nd, 2009
9:09 am

@Ben: Teachers are paid for the time they work and it’s measured out over the 12 months.

@Teacher: The problem isn’t generally the teachers. I know a few teachers and it seems like the curriculum and administrators are to be blame. The teachers have less control than they should, of course, standards must be maintained, but not low ones.

I dropped out of high school, joined the army, and built a career on that knowledge. I know people who went to college that are doing better than I am, but they’re few and far between. I’m going to college now, but except for a few standouts I generally outperform these kids even though I’ve been out of school for over a decade.

As a Libertarian, I would think Bob would say that communities should run their own schools with the curriculum they prefer that are paid for within the community. If you want an education, you pay your share to go. Unfortunately this would establish a lower, less educated, class of people who couldn’t afford school.. but, that’s how a Libertarian would theoretically approach schooling. Of course, every time I think about how I would approach things as a Libertarian I keep turning it into pure Communism in my head (Well, if people can’t afford it, it’s of value to the community to ensure those people are educated so the wealthy should support the poor for the greater good of the community.. that way they aren’t necessarily doomed to being poor and uneducated through generations.), but that’s just me.

Bubba

July 22nd, 2009
9:12 am

Bob, there are businesses that say employees working 4 10-hour days can be as productive, if not more so, than employees working 5 8-hour days. The time period in which one performs work is not relevant. The work performed in a given time period is.

Let’s talk, then, about what students are learning, not the time frame in a day in which students learn. The problem is that the mandates of public education haven’t evolved much since this miasma started. Public education was originally intended to see that all students could read and write. I’d venture to say that if you compare reading levels today to levels of 100 years ago, public has succeeded as it applies to that goal.

The problem is that education’s goals have not changed much. So, whether kids learn in 5 8-hour days or 4 10-hour days, they’re still learning the same thing. Why is that? That’s the question we need to be asking ourselves. Parents need to take a more vested interest in seeing that their children achieve. Teachers need to take a more vested interest in seeing that students exceed goals, not just meet them. Tenure is not a goal to which a teacher should aspire. School boards need to take a more vested interest in raising the bar of education goals, not just meeting an arbitrary requirement like No Child Left Behind. I understand its intent, but increasing quota numbers doesn’t address the fundamental problems, which are how can we better teach our children and how they can better learn.

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.

Once that is addressed, then look at the teachers. Teacher facilitate learning. Give them the power to facilitate. If they cannot handle that power, get rid of them, and hire teachers who can. Finally, the school board. How many school board members have an educational background? Would one ask an accountant to fix a car? Boards are elected, after all. They don’t get their jobs by demonstrating a proficiency to educate.

Which brings us full circle back to us, the voter. The parent. To say, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is a cop out. That was yesterday. What are you gonna do for me today? Unless we can talk about it in a way that doesn’t become a contest to find the perfect 10-second soundbite on the news, then we will engage in the same practice of insanity, defined as doing different things but getting the same results. Until public schools are viewed as something more than a “day-care center” designed to keep our children occupied while they’re not in the fields tending crops, we will be an “insane” society.

Stuart

July 22nd, 2009
9:13 am

Maybe the AJC could hire some of those brainiacs to proof their website. Runing?

Robb

July 22nd, 2009
9:14 am

Anytime politicians weigh in about public education, I get knots in my stomach. What’s worse are the stupid comments that seem to follow.

I am married to a professional educator. She holds a doctorate in her field and is passionate about what she teaches (advanced math courses). She is a published author in her field. The problem is that politicians and boards tell her what to teach and how to teach, and many of these people have little or no exposure to actual classrooms or students. In elementary and middle school, teachers and administrators are judged by CRCT scores. In high school, they are judged by graduation test scores, all of which are standardized tests written that assume that students are all in the same place in their education and social development.

Two years ago my wife taught at a gang infested, violence ridden school. The parents were not involved at all. The kids were facing much bigger issues than learning the quadratic equation. A couple of her students were already hooking on the side. So you mean to tell me a teacher should be held most accountable when parents aren’t around and the kids are already social miscreants? Insane. Go back and review psych 101 and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

There are a lot of very good and talented teachers in Georgia, but their hands are tied in so many ways. Want to do something about it, try these things:

1. Get the feds the hell out.
2. Return technical and vocational education to the middle and high schools. Not everyone is college bound.
3. View education as a good rather than a right. If you’re kid is a constant discipline problem and/or a burgeoning criminal, they should be removed from school so that the kids who want to achieve can do so.

jconservative

July 22nd, 2009
9:15 am

“…requiring kids to spend fewer days in school will improve their academic performance…”

This is stupid.

If you take the time to look around the planet – the countries turning out the better educated students are those that spend all year in school.
MY wife’s 10 year old cousin in Argentina spends 48 weeks a year in school. He gets 7 hours of English a week. He is reading, in English, the same books assigned to my granddaughter by her 8th grade teacher last year.

Increase the school year to 240 days fools.

Maxwell Snark

July 22nd, 2009
9:17 am

Bob, I know you are wearing an open collar shirt in your picture. But only upon closer inspection. At casual blush, it looks like you’re wearing an ascot and makes you look like an effete, elitist weiner, which you are not. Please get a new picture. Thanks.

GB

July 22nd, 2009
9:17 am

Let’s talk plainly. “Georgia” does not rank 43 by any meaningful measure. The “rankings” are largely a function of the racial makeup of the states and the schools. Why is DC always at the bottom and states like Vermont at the top? Race.

We can pretend that Georgia’s government is to blame, but the problem is a dysfunctional black subculture.

CONNIE

July 22nd, 2009
9:19 am

Bob, my grandchild has attended Gwinnett County Schools through the fifth grade. We tried to enroll her in a private school last year, but there were no spaces where we wanted her to attend. She will be attending this year going into the 6th grade. I was appalled when I found out that she has never had a cursive writing class or cursive writing introduced to her at all. I called Gwinnett Co BOE and then Ga BOE and I got the same lame response. ” Through many many studies, we has ascertained that cursive is not something the students need during the age we are in now” I kept hearing the word minimum requirements, expections for each student, blah, blah, blah. I told these people that even though I had planned for my grand daughter to attend Auburn University as her father, grandfather, uncles, aunts, etc., should she not be able to, I would atleast like her to know how to sign her name to get a checking account, vote or sign a contract. I have never heard such. I told them Gwinnett County was “dumming down”. My grandchild will be going to a Catholic private school to the tune of about $10,000.00 oer year (tuition, books, uniforms). It will be the best money we ever spent. I hope it is not too late. My granddaughter is on the honor roll and reads beyond her class—now I wonder if she is just
meeting the mimimun guidelins our great county and state set. I feel jipped. I want the money I pay toward public schools be returned to me and offset the price of her education. I feel my graddauther and all those in her position in Gwinnett have been failed by the system. Talk about no child left behind. I think all of Georgia children are left behind.

Uncle T

July 22nd, 2009
9:24 am

PEOPLE WHO VOTE FOR MARXIST BARACK OBAMA AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE:

The Failure of the Public School System

quint

July 22nd, 2009
9:33 am

Wow, the elitists are coming out of the woodwork. I know quite a few brilliant people who have come through the public education system and quite a few idiots who went to private schools. Do not assume that a private school education is any better than public. From some of the comments on here I think a few need to request that their tuition be refunded. Public schools attempt to educate everyone who walks through the doors, regardless of their upbringing and background. Private schools can be selective and their students usually have well educated parents. This is a fundamental difference between the two types of schools. Do not paint public schools with such a wide and negative brush. Most Georgians and most Americans were educated there and you have probably offended a great portion of those students, parents, and graduates.

Maxwell Snark

July 22nd, 2009
9:34 am

Murray County, like all public schools in Georgia facing a loss of millions in state money, made choices. They chose to keep school nurses. They chose to keep academic programs intact. They chose to put the keep the same number of instructional hours, but keep buildings and buses shut down for 20 fewer days. And, what happened Tuesday, Perdue orders an additional 3-percent cut.

WWBD under the circumstances? Raise taxes in an area with 13-percent unemployment? Here’s casting a stone back at you, Bob.

quint

July 22nd, 2009
9:40 am

Uncle T, it was the last president who gave us the No Child Left Behind Law. Did you know that by 2014 every child in America must meet certain, prescribed academic requirements? Sounds good doesn’t it? Except for students in the special education programs have to meet the same academic requirements as the regular education students. Some will be able to meet the requirements because they have a milder form of disability. Some students might be able to pass the math portions of standardized tests but not necessarily the reading or language arts portions. Doesn’t matter. President Bush and his people decided that every child is equal. I guess he didn’t read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.”

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 22nd, 2009
9:42 am

It’s unfair to blame Georgia student performance on the public schools. Georgians have always been on the bottom rung of the ladder of intellectual performance and capacity, looooong before there was public education.

Remember, apples don’t fall far from the tree, and the children of idiotic, superstitious, edumacation-hatin’, knuckle-draggers usually become just like their mammies and pappies.

The most brilliant minds (admittedly, you won’t find many in the Georgia teaching force) can’t teach monkeys how to read and write.

The dilemma of public schools, or any schools in Georgia can be captured in the phrase:

Garbage in, garbage out.

Chris Salzmann

July 22nd, 2009
9:48 am

Andrew July 22nd, 2009 8:04 am SAID: Public School need to be eliminated in order that children can be properly educated.

CHRIS SAYS: If your specialty is education, and if you have any say in Public education, then Georgia has real problems. I’m pointing this out since you obviously have problems constructing correct sentence structures. That said, where should children be educated? I don’t see any solutions in your little diatribe.

But seriously, the problem here is, and this is not restricted to Georgia, is that Public Schools are funded by property taxes. Therefore, school districts in upper income areas which pay higher property taxes, get better funding. School districts in lower income areas with lower home values, are underfunded. This results in a vicious circle for children in low income areas which is hard for them to break out of. Another issue is teacher salaries. In western Europe, its the high achievers who go into teaching as teachers are very well paid. Teaching is a highly sought after field, unlike in this country.

And please don’t tell me that private schools are the answer. The majority of people are not fortunate enough to afford private schooling for their children.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 22nd, 2009
9:53 am

Well, GB, Georgia happens to have the highest white high school dropout rate in the nation. Almost 40% of white Georgians can’t finish high school in FIVE years – and remember WE ARE TALKING GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL! The black dropout rate is even higher, but only slightly.

The real problem? You have a state-wide culture of stupidity in Georgia. I mean, look at the politicians you elect, for gawd’s sake.

A pork rind-eatin’, angry, book-learnin’-hatin’ yahoo culture, not conducive to academic performance – or the jobs of the 21st century.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 22nd, 2009
9:56 am

Whenever I think about education in a place like Georgia, I am reminded of the biblical aphorism “casting pearls before swine.”

Turd Ferguson

July 22nd, 2009
9:56 am

SuperTrash…there are 49 others to choose from.

Im sure were we to get Jesus Christ Obama involved he would find a resolution. Perhaps more wealth redistribution is the answer?

Turd Ferguson

July 22nd, 2009
9:58 am

WheneverI think of Superstar Im reminded of the statement “cant make a silk purse from a sows ear”.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 22nd, 2009
9:58 am

49 other states have public school systems. Georgia’s year in and year out underperforms most, if not all of them.

The problem is not the schools.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

July 22nd, 2009
10:02 am

The major problem in Georgia schools?

The Turd Fergusons of the world send their children to your schools.

Chris Salzmann

July 22nd, 2009
10:04 am

Oh, I forgot to add this little gem. Remember when Cobb County insisted on putting in those stickers in science text books about evolution? Any wonder that we’re near the bottom? Here’s another little fact: Public School education in Western European countries is far far superior than what you have here in the United States in general. How does one explain that?

Here’s what GB wrote earlier: July 22nd, 2009 9:17 am
Let’s talk plainly. “Georgia” does not rank 43 by any meaningful measure. The “rankings” are largely a function of the racial makeup of the states and the schools. Why is DC always at the bottom and states like Vermont at the top? Race. We can pretend that Georgia’s government is to blame, but the problem is a dysfunctional black subculture.

CHRIS SAYS: Okay, so how do you explain why counties where blacks are in the minority are performing just as poorly in this state??? I used to live in Barrow County which has a strong white majority. Its school system is dismal even by Georgia standards, which is downright alarming. Care to explain why since the black “subculture” is obviously not the issue there?

CONNIE

July 22nd, 2009
10:10 am

To Quint, in no way am I an elitist snob. I attended public school. I know that we had PE everyday, music/art everday. We went to school 8:00 to 2:30 everyday. Our budget never cut PE, Art and Music. When we graduated to high school, we knew how to write and we were prepared for high school. I know some private schools are not what they are cracked up to be; you can tell that by some of our Presidents and current politians that run our country and make decisions for the rest of its citizens. What I am removing my grandchild from is classrooms and a county that does not see the importance of hand writing, a county that tells me whatever supplies I buy for my child I have to turn them into the teacher to be distributed among all the children in class. I am removing her from children who have no leadership or discipline from their parents– Some of which know and act out in ways beyong their years. I am removing her from students who are already talking about gangs. I am removing her from children that do not speak English, but are placed in the same classroom as others. This practice slows down learning. This creates boredom in the classroom for the other students. I am removing her from students who cannot be made to behave in class. I would give anything if she could attened public school as I did. Now the children have to worry about sexual preditors, gangs, violence. You have to place your child where you think she will get the best education, with children who are expected to participate and learn, a school where if you terriorize a class or do not want to study, you are no longer a student there. Do you not see that all of our children are being robbed of quality education ? This is because the teachers can not correct a child, discipline the child, can not place new students into a class with remedial English first before intergrating them with the rest of the class. All of these actions would violate the child’s rights and I can assure you would bring a law suit from parents. When I was in school, we had no rights. We were expected to learn, behave, attend school, respect our teachers and respect school property. We even were assigned chores to help the teacher out. We have million dollar schools on every other block in Metro Atlanta, yet we are not providing the students what they need–an education. That is why I feel my child has been left behing.

Anna

July 22nd, 2009
10:19 am

Every decision that is made regarding education is made by a politician, either on the national , state or local level. These politicians believe they are qualified to make these decisions because, after all, they attended school and they turned out ok. To send students to class longer hours each day requires a change in the method of instruction. Children have attention spans that are very short. A teacher must grad that attention while he or she can, and do the very best to make sure the child learns. Will there be any inservice training to help teachers make this change? I seriously doubt it. No Child Left Behind has to be erased, rewritten and reauthorized. To declare that by 2014 every student in America, no matter what the circumstances, must be on grade level or the Feds will cut funding, is just about as unrealistic as it comes. Every student means just that — those with learning disabilities, those with language problems, those with home situations that do not lead to proper diet, supervision, etc. Another decision made by politicans who have no training nor experience in child development. No wonder we’re at the bottom of the pile.

Chris Salzmann

July 22nd, 2009
10:32 am

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar July 22nd, 2009 9:53 am SAID: Well, GB, Georgia happens to have the highest white high school dropout rate in the nation. Almost 40% of white Georgians can’t finish high school in FIVE years – and remember WE ARE TALKING GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL! The black dropout rate is even higher, but only slightly.

The real problem? You have a state-wide culture of stupidity in Georgia. I mean, look at the politicians you elect, for gawd’s sake.

A pork rind-eatin’, angry, book-learnin’-hatin’ yahoo culture, not conducive to academic performance – or the jobs of the 21st century.

CHRIS SAYS: Good one! Might want to add that what would you expect of a state run by the Republican Party where INTELLECTUAL is a DIRTY WORD and IGNORANCE is something to be proud of???

You know the definition of Redneck? DON’T KNOW NOTHIN’-DON’T WANNA KNOW NOTHIN’

Chris Broe

July 22nd, 2009
10:47 am

Sex is supposed to be fun?

Grading Barr: “Brainiacs…brilliant…brilliance…geniuses…”

C+

Notice no point was made other than the question about whichever had come first: the eggheads who hatched the plan, the chicken-scratch curriculum, or the Fox(News) raid on our educational epistemology.

Billy Bob

July 22nd, 2009
10:54 am

Ah, the South, with it’s notorious public education system. I seem to recall that the University of Georgia had two Rhodes scholars last year and The Georgia Institute of Technology is amoung the best public universities in the country. And, lets not forget Emory, SCAD, Ogelthorpe, and many other educational offerings in the fine state of Georgia.

And, yes, Georgia has its share of the dim. Unlike our blue state cousins though, we still require you to work even if you don’t want to get a primo education in this state (and you can).

Here’s a list of states with the highest percentage of WELFARE RECIPIENTS.

[I think I only saw one Southern (Red) state in the list]

Ah, but look which

David Dalton

July 22nd, 2009
11:02 am

Public education is a nut roll because there is no clear leadership. We need to either move to a national set of standards and leadership or completely to local ones. As it is, well-intentioned administrators are forced to play the “which way is the wind blowing” game in order to secure and retain funding. Teachers are forced to change direction every fifteen minutes to accommodate those changing winds.

We need to return to the “tracked system” so that students of differing abilities and inclinations get education tailored to their needs -with liberal opportunities to advance from one track to the next- which will also naturally concentrate Special Ed. teachers with special needs kids and free “regular” classroom teachers from distractions like behavior issues.

None of these kids wants to fail! They may be under-motivated or fail to see the value of an education due to parenting issues, but each one of them wants to be happy and comfortable -which comes from a good education, statistically. They need someone to help them learn how to be adults, and just saying “it’s the parents’ job” will not git-r-done. Blaming unfit parents will not raise graduation rates or improve material retention. It will, however, perpetuate the poverty cycle and insure that our prison population grows.

If local schools think that they can save money by lengthening the school day, they should be free to try it and held accountable for its failure or success. Personally, I interpret child development patterns and pedagogical research as seeming to point in the other direction: shorter days with longer school years and reduced Summer vacations….

And one final point. Georgia, unlike many other states, requires a very high number of students to take college aptitude tests while in High School. These test scores are part of the ranking equation. Consequently, states which only have college-bound students take those tests have an artificially higher ranking. That is not to say that the Peach State doesn’t have problems in education; I merely point out that the difference looks greater than it actually is.

Chris Broe

July 22nd, 2009
11:08 am

Edit. Edit. Edit.

quint

July 22nd, 2009
11:13 am

Connie,

I feel for your situation and your grandchild. I teach in a rural area and I can guarantee you that all those good things about your public education still exist, to some extent, in our area. I taught in an urban school for four years and I have exactly what you are talking about. In many urban-area schools the priorities are 180 degrees different from those of us out in the country.

Too many urban school administrations believe:
1. Self-esteem: Help a child feel good about himself first
2. Educate: Attempt to give students the basic skills they will need in post-secondary settings
3. Discipline: This will come as a result of self-esteem and education.

In many rural areas we have different priorities:
1. Discipline: A student will behave properly so as to be ready and able to learn and not distract others from their education
2. Education: This is the reason you are at school, not to be “housed” or fed
3. Self-esteem: This only comes after the first two. Once a student learns discipline and begins to learn what his students are teaching and feels successful, he will develop a positive sense of well-being.

Unfortunately, part of it does come down to money spent on the child. In rural areas we just don’t have the money to recruit and retain the best and brightest students coming out of college. When a system’s local supplement is $600 it is hard to compete with others that can offer five, ten, or fifteen times as much on top of the state salary schedule.

And honestly, I wasn’t responding to your post as much as I was the others who seem to have an unnatural hatred of public schools. Bob Barr is one of those. He must have had a poor education to have been so easily suckered by Sasha Baron Cohen as he was in that horrible movie.

Tom

July 22nd, 2009
11:15 am

Billy Bob points to a puzzling fact. The US system of higher education at the university level is the finest in the world. Both UGA and Georgia Tech are superior institutions to almost any in Europe. At the same time, the US system of primary and secondary education is one of the worst in the developed world, including not just the public schools but also the vast majority of private schools (such as the large number which teach the Bible as if it were science, etc.).

I’ve never heard a convincing explanation of how these things can both be true at once.

Billy Bob

July 22nd, 2009
11:19 am

Tom, I believe the puzzle relates to that politically terrifying phrase, “entrance requirements.”

Turd Ferguson

July 22nd, 2009
12:11 pm

The public schools NUMBER 1 motivation is to not educate these kids. Leave them dumb, ignorant and prime for the democratic party.

AB

July 22nd, 2009
12:39 pm

As teacher, I am thrilled to have less work days. What good gov’t employee wouldn’t be happy, right Neal Boortz? That’s why we need to throw out this crappy system, and open education up to competition. Barr’s the Best.

David S

July 22nd, 2009
12:52 pm

Tom, The answer also lies in the fact that people in higher education institutions actually want to be there, and they are typically paying out of pocket a significant amount of THEIR own money to attend.

As so many are saying, the free market works, and government education MUST go.

David S

July 22nd, 2009
12:56 pm

More time, more money, more rules. The only thing these kids actually need is more quality education driven by market forces and not government bureaucrats.

Bob is wrong in believing that time is an issue. I read somewhere that is really only takes 100 hours to lay the foundation of learing for reading, writing, and basic math. Look at how little time homeschoolers spend on class time and how much they turn LIFE into an learning experience. It pays off in ways that no government school could ever hope to achieve.

Once they get the total days down to less than half a year, parents might finally realize that they should be taking responsibility for their kid’s education.

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.