Live blogging education finance committee: Lots of great ideas, but most cost money

The all-day meeting of the Education Finance Study Commission just kicked off at the Capitol with a lighthearted aside by co-chair and state Rep. Brooks Coleman of Gwinnett: “We may have to have a bake sale — we need lots of money.”

After four hours of testimony, Coleman is right. The members have offered up several reforms and changes, but most require new funding at a time when the state has little extra cash.

The day features detailed reports from the subcommittees — in between legislators dashing across the street to the House and Senate chambers for votes during the General Assembly special session under way. (The committee is a mix of people, including lawmakers, state officials, educators and business leaders.)

Early on, the committee heard about the importance of investing in technology and leadership.

Committee co-chair and state Sen. Fran Millar of DeKalb noted that Gwinnett invests a million dollars a year to train principals at its academy and that might be a model for other systems.

“Most of us agree that the key to a good school is you have to have a good leader, a good principal. It’s probably an area we have not spent enough money on, but I think this is very, very critical,” said Millar. “There is probably nothing worse for a teacher than to walk in and have some moron running their school.”

State school chief John Barge took the floor to talk about compliance changes that his subcommittee recommends, starting with repealing the state’s 65 percent spending law, passed by the Legislature amid much criticism in 2006.

The 65 percent spending idea was a favorite of the national GOP at the time, and the law mandated that Georgia systems invest at least 65 percent of their revenues in classroom instruction, but narrowly defined what constituted classroom. The formula did not count  funds spent on maintenance, teacher training, transportation, counselors, nurses, food services or media specialists

I was an editorial writer in 2006, and the AJC opposed the bill, noting that there was no evidence that the 65 percent mandate led to higher student achievement. It was one of those bills that sounded great, but created unnecessary  hurdles and paperwork.

Barge said that the law made no difference in achievement, and that only 56 of 180 school systems are now in compliance. “There is no statistical evidence that this has made any impact on increasing student achievement in Georgia,” he said.

Millar admitted that he presented the bill back in 2006 on behalf of  then Gov. Sonny Perdue. “I presented this bill for the governor and then I went to the hospital with a heart attack,” he said. “The operation worked, even though this bill seems to be a failure.”

Barge said Georgia is the only state still under a 65 percent spending mandate. (The two others that adopted similar laws have already repealed it.)  The committee voted to recommend repeal of the law.

Barge also recommended that the state change the homeschooling reporting requirements, which now mandate that parents report their intention to home school and then their child’s monthly attendance to their local school superintendent. Barge wants parents to be able to report electronically to the DOE via its website, thus freeing up local schools from the bookkeeping and reporting.

Sen. Jack Hill, R-Reidsville, led the foundational funding formula subcommittee as to technology and textbooks. His committee has not adopted any recommendations yet so he gave a summation of what his committee has covered.

While many systems are using technology, Hill said, “We’ve got systems still using textbooks and old technology and don’t have the ability to even put in new technology due to bandwidth issues.”

He said it was common knowledge that the state is under funding textbooks – funding them at $27 a year per child while the actual cost is $72 a year. So while the state provides $42 million a year, systems are spending $114 million.

Under current funding, the state is paying for two to three books per child every seven years. And there is no funding for technology in the current school funding formula.

“Children today are technologically savvy,” said Hill. “The secondary thing is that their interest level is so high when they are involved in technology. It is possible with middle school kids that this will keep the kids involved and plugged in.”

Among the committee’s ideas:

1.  Increase funding to underwrite basic technology. “We want to lean toward some sort of basic technology goal in each system of the state. Many are past that point but we need to establish basics of technology for every classroom in the state,” said Hill.

2. Use state matching grants to incentivize systems to invest in technology. Also, use five-year bonds to fund infrastructure for bandwidth.

3. Provide state help to systems that haven’t developed strategic plans on technology use in their classrooms.

State school chief John Barge said some systems are using 14-year-old textbooks, adding, “Our students are using and learning from information that is not current.”

Kelley Henson just shared his support services subcommittee’s report on school nurses. The committee recommends funding for one nurse per 750 elementary schoolchildren and 1 per 1,500 middle and high school students.  Right now, Georgia has one nurse for every 2,300 students. The full committee endorsed this recommendation, along with one for some funding for nursing supplies so PTAs aren’t force to buy the bandages.

“To be frank, I would be scared to death to operate a school system without quality school nurses,” said committee member and Forsyth County schools superintendent L.C. Buster Evans.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

57 comments Add your comment

FBT

August 25th, 2011
10:54 am

More of the same and more money isn’t going to improve education in Georgia.

lynn d

August 25th, 2011
11:04 am

How are they going to pay for the school nurse recommendation? They threaten to cut school nurses every year? Maureen, any ideas?

Ernest

August 25th, 2011
11:14 am

Given that the state percentage of Local school system budgets have been going down over the year, I question how they will find funding for these items. I heard Joe Martin speak about the QBE funding formula not long ago. What struck me was that is was a simple algorithm that has not been updated since the 80’s. Given all the price increases over the years, it is no wonder why our education system is underfunded, at least from the state level. The funding burden has been shifted to property owners in the school districts. Throw in the equalization formulas and you can understand why residents in ‘rich’ counties like Cobb, DeKalb, and Fulton get upset.

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2011
11:20 am

@ERNEST, Joe Martin speaks to this committee at 2 today.
Maureen

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
11:46 am

Did Fran Millar really use the term “moron”? Wow.

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2011
11:54 am

@Dunwoody, Yes and he immediately joked about how that was going to be the quote of the meeting. And so far, it has been.
Maureen

Dr NO aka Mr Sunshine

August 25th, 2011
11:56 am

There is plenty of money. Its just being wasted and stolen before it can be put to use.

Find the root of the problem

August 25th, 2011
12:04 pm

Will the teachers ever see a raise again? I have noticed that the number of teachers retiriing are growing and many who are still teaching are jumping ship as soon as they find other opportunities, the reason is that pay has not kept pace with the cost of living and out of pocket cost for health insurance and supplies have gotten out of control.
Here is a “new” idea, give the teachers a raise.

Ernest

August 25th, 2011
12:09 pm

Maureen, take good notes when Joe presents. Oops, you are a reporter and that’s what you do :)

I will be interested to hear what Joe has to say on this matter. My recollection from his talk was also that some counties were not motivated to see changes in the funding formula, i.e Gwinnett, since they were recipients of equalization funding.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

August 25th, 2011
12:13 pm

Don’t back up Fran. I have worked for moronic principals in two public schools in our state.

To Find the Root from Good Mother

August 25th, 2011
1:03 pm

The root of the problem is corruption. The APS Board of Education overspends on themselves. They give themselves bonuses and raises and they steal. If we had that money back, there would be plenty of money for raises.

…but hold on to your hat before you demand a raise. Plenty of hard-working Americans have lost their jobs and cannot find another. Teachers do have excellent benefits and superb working hours and plenty of time off to enjoy life and receive a pension. That’s a lot more than most of us get.

Former APS Teacher

August 25th, 2011
1:27 pm

Good Mother-

“Superb working hours” and “plenty of time off”? Please. You can talk to me about it when I’m here at 6:45 am, going home at 5 (with paperwork to do), and in July, when I’m sitting in required continuing ed that I paid for with my own money.

November 6, 2012

August 25th, 2011
1:27 pm

@Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
11:46 am
Did Fran Millar really use the term “moron”? Wow.

Somethin’ wrong with telling the truth?

Money isn’t the problem with our school systems……using it properly is.

Lemme ask a question…….has anyone heard anything negative about the City of Decatur School System, lately? Maureen, how ’bout a blog about a well run school system instead of all the negativity about neighboring systems, or would that not generate enough clicks?

To Former AP Teacher from Good Mother

August 25th, 2011
1:32 pm

Yes, superb working hours. You work during the day, not 11 to 7 stocking shelves at Target on the weekends because you got laid off and are doing anything possible to make money to feed your kids.

Yes, PLENTY of time off. Eight weeks during the Summer. Two weeks at Christmas. A week of Thanksgiving. Federal and State holidays. YES! Incredible time off.

Going home at 5 ? Really ? Try 9 or 10 p.m. Really, with no overtime.

Sitting in required continuing ed paid for with your own money? Yes, check….and doing it at night AFTER putting in a full 50 to 55 hours per week.

And you have a pension and a union and you HAVE a job.

WHich is a lot more than many educated, experienced Americans have.

Really, when you have a job, count your blessings.

Pompano

August 25th, 2011
1:35 pm

Has any Commission/Board/Committee associated with education not pleaded for more money to fuel their continuing thirst for taxpayer funds?

Why do we even have school nurses? Didn’t have those when we were in school and we all survived. The school systems cannot even complete their primary core mission, much less getting involved in heath care.

To November 6

August 25th, 2011
1:41 pm

November 6 says “Maureen, how ’bout a blog about a well run school system instead of all the negativity about neighboring systems, or would that not generate enough clicks?”

Great point. I would enjoying hearing how much money Decatur has to spend, what they spend it on, who runs it, how it is perceived, test scores and so on. I’ve heard nothing but good opinions about Decatur CITY schools.

I would certainly like to learn about it and see what we could do to help make their success an APS success.

Click. Click. Click.

Count me in,
Good Mother

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2011
1:46 pm

@November and mom, I agree that Decatur is a good system — and where my kids go. The reasons for its success are fairly simple; highest tax rate in the state, one of the highest per pupil spending in the state, one of the best educated citizenry in the state due to the high numbers of academics and CDC folks living in Decatur, stable leadership and small enough size to try new things. The system has less than 3,000 students.
Maureen

Dr. John Trotter

August 25th, 2011
1:49 pm

Unfortunately for the teachers, the Honorable Mr. Millar’s rather blunt statement is so apropos and right on target. So many teachers and parents and students have been suffering under the non-leadership (yea, even anti-leadership) of people whom we would not feel comfortable being our babysitters — and yet they are principals of our schools. So, right on, Mr. Millar. You may not have been politically correct, but you were simply telling the truth, a truth that not many people associated with the “industry” of education want to admit.

Throwing monies at the problems in the public schooling process is not the answer. When our State budgeted significantly lower amounts of money (with inflation taken into account) to public education, more learning took place. Why? Because teachers were allowed to teach, didn’t have to put up with defiant and disruptive students in the classroom and principals and educrats at the central offices were not petrified by the rants and rages of irate and irresponsible parents. Teachers were supported in matters of school discipline.

Talking about school discipline and supporting teachers: Mr. Norreese Haynes and I attended, at the urging of fellow blogger, Dr. Craig Spinks, the meeting of the Georgia Partnership for Education Excellence yesterday at the Georgia Tech Research Center on 14th Street. On the panel was Russell Brock, principle of Loganville Middle School. I was impressed by the young man’s presentation and demeanor. I turned to my friends and stated that I thought that he was the son of Coach Phil Brock and Paula Brock, educators in Green County in the past. I had worked with them many years ago. I think that Phil may have become superintendent, but I am not sure. Paula was the system’s Curriculum Director over 30 years ago when I was hired to teach at the high school. I worked for a wonderful, wonderful principal named Dr. Donald Garrett. Mr. Whitehead was the Assistant Principal, and I can assure you that Mr. Whitehead kept the kids in line. But, back to Russell Brock. I had stepped out into the lobby to answer a phone call and to get some coffee. Meantime, I was told that, in response to a question, Mr. Brock stated to the audience that one of the keys to his operation of Loganville Middle School was that he supported his teachers in discipline, and that they were right 99% of the time. When they were wrong, he stated that he simply talked to them behind closed doors, thus allowing the teachers to maintain their dignity. I hope that I have related the gist of what Mr. Brock said. I did not hear this first hand. Afterward, I wanted to speak to him and see if he were the offspring of Phil and Paula. I got tied up talking with others, and Mr. Brock got away before I could speak to him. But, someone else told me that his progeny was confirmed. Ha! Good job, Phil and Paula! I know that you are proud of him.

Russell Brock is just another of the many unheralded principals who are apparently supported and empowering the teachers in their schools. I commend him and the others. As for the apparent “moronic” actions of those to whom Senator Millar alluded, I only wish that they had seen good educational leadership when they were growing up. I am afraid, as former State Superintendent Bradley (Brad) Bryant has alluded occasion, that many principals today have never in their lives witnessed good administration at a school. Look next door from DeKalb County into Rockdale County. You have the Georgia Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Samuel T. (Sam) King. What does Dr. King and Mr. Brock have in common? Both have two parents who were Georgia educators. They grew up around this “business” and heard about it each night at the dinner table. Trust me. This is when you learn so much about how to run a good school or school system…at the dinner table. This background makes a difference. Dale, Jr., learned a lot about driving a vehicle at ridiculous speeds by simply listening to his pop talk during his growing up. Martin, Jr., learned more about social justice by listening to his Daddy than reading Reinhold Niebuhr. By the way, Sunday ought to be a great day in D. C. We finally salute a great American at the Tidal Basin.

If I have any typos, please forgive me. No time to check for them. Need to write a letter for a Cobb teacher! Y’all have fun today, OK?

TEACHER IN WAITING

August 25th, 2011
1:53 pm

It always amazes me when people vilify teachers because of the supposedly “superb” hours, endless summer holidays, and benefits. The hate filled vitriol comes across as nothing more than a jealous and whiny tirade. There are so many reasons why this misconception seems to exist in our current political climate and yes, I agree, almost everyone has been affected by our current economic downturn is seems that you need a scapegoat because it is perceived that someone has more than you do. In a capitalistic society, this seems a very socialistic outlook and yet I doubt that those who scream this are in fact socialists. When anyone tries to defend the true reality of life as a teacher, it seems to fall on deaf ears. People only want to hear what they want to and are happy to listen to rants of Gov’s Scott, Christie, Walker, et al. If you truly feel that teachers have it so easily, why don’t you talk with your feet and leave your current position that has such awful working conditions and benefits and come live the high life as a teacher.

To the Good Mother

August 25th, 2011
1:56 pm

1. Please learn that there are NO teacher unions in Georgia.
2. Teachers are paid only for 190 days of work less furloughs…all that vacation time is really unpaid days.
3. Benefits are now not that great…in fact we gave up my wife’s teaching benefits and went with my plan. Her plans costs in premiums and out of pocket has skyrocketed and benefits declined.
4. Granted no night except for PTA and required chaperoning and unpaid tutoring and parent conferences to meet folks when and where works for them…my favorite was when she and an assistant Principal met a parent on Saturday am at the Waffle House and the parent left without paying the check!
5.More and more out of pocket costs…lord knows the several hundred we have already put in to getting her classroom ready for this year.
6. Times are tough and the single teachers out there often now leave and go to job #2 and several have given it up all together so they can get more days of work and not just 190!

TEACHER IN WAITING

August 25th, 2011
1:57 pm

It always amazes me when people vilify teachers because of the supposedly “superb” hours, endless summer holidays, and benefits. The hate filled vitriol comes across as nothing more than a jealous and whiny tirade. There are so many reasons why these misconceptions seems to exist in our current political climate and yes, I agree, almost everyone has been affected by our current economic downturn, but it seems that some of you need a scapegoat because you have perceived that someone has more than you do. In a capitalistic society, this seems a very socialistic outlook and yet I doubt that those who scream this are in fact socialists. When anyone tries to defend the true reality of life as a teacher, it seems to fall on deaf ears. People only want to hear what they want to and are happy to listen to rants of Gov’s Scott, Christie, Walker, et al. If you truly feel that teachers have it so easily, why don’t you talk with your feet, leave your current position that has such awful working conditions and benefits and come live the high life as a teacher.

To the Good Mother

August 25th, 2011
1:58 pm

And FYI about the check everyone ordered seperately got there own check but when the parent left she left hers on the table. I will give the AP kudos on getting it all and not even letting my wife pick up the parents tip.

Dunwoody Mom

August 25th, 2011
2:00 pm

I know we have many unqualified Principals in our schools. But, referring to them as morons is a bit much.

jj

August 25th, 2011
2:01 pm

Didn’t Cobb County get rid of General Redden for pushing technology, through SPLOST versus more taxes?
Correct me if I am wrong…. but I have read numerous articles showing there is no correlation between student success and dollars spent. I think Decatur success has much more to do with stable faimilies and parents who care.

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2011
2:02 pm

@Dunwoody, I think Sen. Millar regrets that burst of candor; he said during the break that his wife will kill him. And he’s getting a lot of ribbing here at the committee.
Maureen

Dr. John Trotter

August 25th, 2011
2:08 pm

Updated Version

[I couldn't resist. I felt compelled to check for typos. I found several in the earlier post. So, here is a cleaned-up version. Enjoy.]

Unfortunately for the teachers, the Honorable Mr. Millar’s rather blunt statement is so apropos and right on target. So many teachers and parents and students have been suffering under the non-leadership (yea, even anti-leadership) of people whom we would not feel comfortable being our babysitters — and yet they are principals of our schools. So, right on, Mr. Millar. You may not have been politically correct, but you were simply telling the truth, a truth that not many people associated with the “industry” of education want to admit.

Throwing monies at the problems in the public schooling process is not the answer. When our State budgeted significantly lower amounts of money (with inflation taken into account) 20 or 30 years ago to public education, more learning took place. Why? Because teachers were allowed to teach, didn’t have to put up with defiant and disruptive students in the classroom, and principals and educrats at the central offices were not petrified by the rants and rages of irate and irresponsible parents. Teachers were supported in matters of school discipline.

Talking about school discipline and supporting teachers: Mr. Norreese Haynes and I attended, at the urging of fellow blogger, Dr. Craig Spinks, the meeting of the Georgia Partnership for Education Excellence yesterday at the Georgia Tech Research Center on 14th Street. On the panel was Russell Brock, principal of Loganville Middle School. I was impressed by the young man’s presentation and demeanor. I turned to my friends and stated that I thought that he was the son of Coach Phil Brock and Paula Brock, educators in Green County in the past. I had worked with them many years ago. I think that Phil may have become superintendent, but I am not sure. Paula was the system’s Curriculum Director over 30 years ago when I was hired to teach at the high school. I worked for a wonderful, wonderful principal named Dr. Donald Garrett. Mr. Whitehead was the Assistant Principal, and I can assure you that Mr. Whitehead kept the kids in line. But, back to Russell Brock. I had stepped out into the lobby to answer a phone call and to get some coffee. Meantime, I was told that, in response to a question, Mr. Brock stated to the audience that one of the keys to his operation of Loganville Middle School was that he supported his teachers in discipline, and that they were right 99% of the time. When they were wrong, he stated that he simply talked to them behind closed doors, thus allowing the teachers to maintain their dignity. I hope that I have related the gist of what Mr. Brock said. I did not hear this first hand. Afterward, I wanted to speak to him and see if he were the offspring of Phil and Paula. I got tied up talking with others, and Mr. Brock got away before I could speak to him. But, someone else told me that his progeny was confirmed. Ha! Good job, Phil and Paula! I know that you are proud of him.

Russell Brock is just another of the many unheralded principals who are apparently supporting and empowering the teachers in their schools. I commend him and the others. As for the apparent “moronic” actions of those to whom Senator Millar alluded, I only wish that they had seen good educational leadership when they were growing up. I am afraid, as former State Superintendent Bradley (Brad) Bryant has alluded on occasion, that many principals today have never in their lives witnessed good administration at a school. Look next door from DeKalb County into Rockdale County. You have the Georgia Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Samuel T. (Sam) King. What does Dr. King and Mr. Brock have in common? Both have two parents who were Georgia educators. They grew up around this “business” and heard about it each night at the dinner table. Trust me. This is when you learn so much about how to run a good school or a school system…at the dinner table. This background makes a difference. Dale, Jr., learned a lot about driving a vehicle at ridiculous speeds by simply listening to his pop talk during his growing up. Martin, Jr., learned more about social justice by listening to his Daddy than reading Reinhold Niebuhr. By the way, Sunday ought to be a great day in D. C. We finally salute a great American at the Tidal Basin.

If I have any typos, please forgive me. No time to check for them. Need to write a letter for a Cobb teacher! Y’all have fun today, OK? (c) MACE, August 25, 2011.

[Yes! I had many typos! Sorry.]

CharterStarter, Too

August 25th, 2011
2:09 pm

Doesn’t sound to me like the goal or even focus is all on more money. Sounds like a sincere effort to:

1. Relieve some burdens on districts and schools
2. Address the real policy and practice issues faced by parents, teachers, principals, and districts
3. Deal with under or non funding in areas such as textbooks, technology, facilities
4. Offer up some innovative suggestions to address issues

I’ve been pretty impressed with what has been presented and the dialogue among the presenters and the committee members. I am hopeful.

Jennifer

August 25th, 2011
2:10 pm

“There is no statistical evidence that this has made any impact on increasing student achievement in Georgia,” he said.

By his own words, Superintendent Barge needs to close all alternative education facilities in Georgia that cannot show this very expensive intervention is doing squat. How about folks ?

Former APS Teacher

August 25th, 2011
2:15 pm

@ Teacher In Waiting, Good Mother clearly doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about. (Unions? In Georgia? Hah!) Just walk away.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

August 25th, 2011
2:20 pm

Nobody’s perfect, Dr. John.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

August 25th, 2011
2:26 pm

Money per se doesn’t solve problems. But money can be used to employ and retain smart, energetic, committed, courageous people who can work together to solve them. Of course, we folks who grew up poor enjoyed a childhood advantage of having to solve our problems without recourse to spending money. This resourceful is critically important at the beginning of an extended period of austerity.

rural education

August 25th, 2011
2:29 pm

How about just funding the 190 days we are supposed to be paid, I have had one full paycheck in three years.

To Teacher in Waiting from Good Mother

August 25th, 2011
2:35 pm

Thousands of people were in line for a job fair in Atlanta yesterday. THOUSANDS of out of work people who are highly educated and trained. They would love to have a job, any job. A job with health benefits? Excellent ! Paid days off? Outstanding! Pensions! Unheard of in today’s economy.

If any of us have a job with a living wage in this economy, we should count our blessings.

Observer

August 25th, 2011
2:39 pm

@Former APS Teacher, 2:15 pm. Not so easy to “just walk away” from Good Mother, for she’s everywhere at all times on these Get Schooled blogs with her “hate filled vitriol” against teachers, as Teacher In Waiting put it at 1:57 pm. Envy clearly fuels what she writes.

A sentimental, self-righteous, and likely fictional self-portrait has evolved in her entries over the last few weeks. She works 9 hours a day with an hour commute each way, in an employment agency where she regularly turns down applications from APS graduates for their illiteracy, and turns with relief to applicants from India with their perfect manners and grammar. (When does she work when she ceaselessly composes these blog entries?) She has several small children, whom she taught to read in 2 weeks when their teacher couldn’t do it. At Hallowe’en, she gives out school supplies. And so on.

FCS Teacher

August 25th, 2011
2:47 pm

@Good Mother

I’m sorry that you can’t find a job. If life is so rough that you are jealous of teaching jobs, than things must be terrible for you. Might I suggest going to school and getting your teaching credentials? Then, you too will enjoy the luxurious life of a school teacher.

RJ

August 25th, 2011
3:02 pm

@Good Mother, you really need to get some info before making these ridiculous comments. We are NOT paid for our time off. Just pick up a calendar and count the days from the beginning of the school year to the end. All that time off is UNPAID! We are paid for the number of days we work. This year, I’ll be paid for fewer days with furlough days, just as last year.

As for the pension, it ain’t all that grand. If it were, you wouldn’t see schools full of retired teachers working as substitutes. You don’t get any where near 100% of your salary. That’s why they’re still working as subs.

We all know thousands are out of work, so does that excuse not providing me with the basics to teach my students. Not a marker, eraser, pen, paper or ink cartridge? I haven’t seen a raise in years, yet those great benefits are continuing to go up. We finally started using my husband’s benefits since they’re much better.

Dr NO aka Mr Sunshine

August 25th, 2011
3:04 pm

“The hate filled vitriol”

New catch phrase…PLEASE!!

NO TO SPLOST!

MannyT

August 25th, 2011
3:07 pm

So the politicians provide $100 in ideas and $20 in funding. Maybe one simple ideas is to give the schools options. If the schools are allowed to propose that they will try idea #3, but will drop mandate X to cover the cost. This could be a way to allow new ideas when money is tight.

On the technology front, schools often get pitched new technology ideas. Technology is often highest in price when it is new. Maybe we should embrace some good, but non-leading edge ideas. One example, electronic readers (Kindle, Nook, etc) now retail for $100-200. A volume purchaser (school system) should get better than retail pricing. Is there a textbook solution that is cost effective? Electronic textbook licenses should cost less than actual books. A student would have to pay for losing a Nook the same as if a book was lost. However, this should eliminate lost books. It also provides a method to keep the textbook current. Annual updates should keep the basics current. Pluto is no longer a planet, no problem. Textbooks could actually keep up with real changes instead of being 5 – 15 years behind.

Thousands at AJC Job Fair from Good Mother

August 25th, 2011
3:08 pm

All of the unemployed thousands people — thousands with an “s” who went to the job fair in Atlanta would love to have a job, any job, with benefits and a pension.

If you are talking with your mouth full, don’t complain about the bad food to the thousands of people who don’t have enough to eat.

In this economy, any teacher complaining about their lousey job should take a trip down to the job fair to get a little appreciation.

http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/heat-fells-several-as-1119986.html

“Nine people who stood hours outdoors Thursday in line in the August heat required medical attention as thousands packed the campus of Atlanta Technical College for a job fair sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.

The line into the building was so long, about 600 people had to stand outside, said Capt. Jolyon Bundrige of Atlanta Fire Rescue. Emergency crews responded to several calls for heat-related illness until school officials opened an overflow room and let everyone inside between 2:30 and 3 p.m.

“A total of nine people were treated, and seven were transported” to Grady Memorial and Emory Crawford Long hospitals, Bundrige said. “Several did lose consciousness at some point.”

Most of the incidents were heat-related, though in one case, a person complained of chest pains, he said. The victims’ conditions were not immediately available.

Traffic was at a standstill on University Avenue and Metropolitan Parkway prior to the event, held from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Asked about the crowd size, Andy Phelan, communications director for Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said Thursday afternoon that “there’s nothing official, but I’m hearing anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 — probably closer to 4,000.”

……

And any teacher who is still unhappy and still whining can just wait a little while longer. The RIFs are coming (Reduction in Force). I had a meeting with a State Reform Team member who said teachers in APS will soon be laid off…

So, please, count your blessings when you have a job in this wretched economy or just quit and make room for someone else who will appreciate it.

GOOD MOTHER

Mike

August 25th, 2011
3:19 pm

Our nation’s culture (and on top of that Southern culture) has a lot to do with the problems of education. So many people scoff at it (school) and have many more priorities.

As educators, we are constantly looking for the magic bullet that will turn all our students into avid readers, young authors, little scientists, etc., but if they don’t come to school motivated (due to lack of enthusiasm from the home), it’s a very daunting situation.

The problem with most Americans, especially those suffering from generational poverty, is that they not only have no hope, but they have been taught by each other and by the media to scorn the very thing that cures poverty: education.

Furthermore, most educators and politicians refuse to accept that we all have varying levels of intelligence. Quite simply, there are people who will never go to college, and they seem to get tossed to the side. What about them? Why aren’t we identifying people at a young age, as they do in most developed nations, and steer then toward more realistic career options when they are 12, 13, 14, etc.? Those kids can, at a later date, always go back to school if they are unfulfilled, but let’s get them out of the regular classroom and into some training. Ask any 18-year-old, “What can you do?” Most will have no response because they left high school with no skill. Figuring out how to balance a complex equation is not that practical of a skill for most people. Identifying complex sentence construction isn’t applicable to most daily functions. We need to teach them skills, not just a ton of theories.

We need productive citizens, not just engineers, scientists and authors. Stop pushing kids to take advanced math in high school, only to watch them fall on their face after high school because they were never taught practical math, such as keeping accounts, managing debt, managing time, etc.

Finally, as a nation we need to ask ourselves what is more important, bombs or bread? Far more is spent on our military budget than on reducing poverty, job training, etc. If people think welfare or social security is making the country go broke, then they aren’t reading the Federal Budget in detail. Our national debt has risen tremendously, and it’s tied directly to our war spending. Look at the comparison of military spending increases and the increase in the national debt this past ten years. Imperialism is our nation’s priority, not its struggling citizens.

Real patriotism extends beyond flying a flag, cheering the troops, and finding a new enemy each decade to hate. Real patriotism means you want to build this nation, and part of that means focusing on its people.

True patriots respect and engage in real debate with the political opposition, not go on radio and TV to call them vermin, rats, scum and traitors.

True patriots see the problems with their fellow Americans, and lend a hand to help.

Americans will rise up to their potential when they begin to share a common vision again. I don’t think that’s happened since WWII and the Space Race.

Our problem with education has nothing to do with funding and has everything to do with our culture (or lack thereof), and our lack of humanity.

Once Again

August 25th, 2011
3:34 pm

All government knows how to do is spend other people’s money. That is why businesses know how to turn things around even when times are tough – because they are spending THEIR money or money they know must be voluntarily given to them in exchange for goods or services. They know that they don’t have the luxury of STEALING what they want from the citizens ultimately at the point of a gun. And yet people continue to believe that government can ever do a good job at education. Go figure.

MikeyD

August 25th, 2011
3:40 pm

@good mother
Your arguments are really pathetic, and simply reinforce the condescending attitude shown by so many nowadays. Working conditions continue to deteriorate, the demands placed on teachers continue to pile up, and we continue to be treated like the dirt under someone’s shoes. And yet, anytime someone points out any of this, some know-it-all like you steps in and says, “You should just be thankful to have a job!” Well, I can tell you that I have been thankful for my job every day of my career. I don’t take it for granted. I enjoy the benefits that it offers. But being thankful doesn’t mean that sensible grievances should be silenced. If you don’t appreciate actual, real-life teachers pointing out some of the negative realities of the job, then perhaps this blog isn’t really the place for you. Because we are all getting tired of listening to you whine about how great teachers have it.

Stop living under a rock@Good Mother

August 25th, 2011
4:36 pm

@Good Mother, where have you been the past couple of years? RIF is nothing new to educators, APS is just now being affected. So stop with the boogey man stories and try reading the AJC sometimes.

Cris

August 25th, 2011
4:51 pm

well said Mike

Tony

August 25th, 2011
5:03 pm

It really disgusts me that so many people want us to provide a world class education but don’t want to pay for it. Teachers, principals, and all educators deserve to be compensated fairly for the work they do. The citizens of Georgia will continue to get poor educational opportunities for their children as long as so many people refuse to acknowledge that it costs money to provide excellent services.

Public Schools are welfare agencies

August 25th, 2011
5:32 pm

@ Tony… I cosign what you wrote.

November 6, 2012

August 25th, 2011
5:53 pm

@Dr NO aka Mr Sunshine

August 25th, 2011
3:04 pm

NO TO SPLOST!

Ditto, ditto, ditto, ditto……whew!!!!!

May

August 25th, 2011
6:18 pm

I agree with Mike. Wanting to achieve by getting an education is a ‘cultural thing’. Too many other priorities seem to take precedence. Furthermore, those who take the importance of education seriously are frequently ridiculed and made fun of with such names as: Oreo, Uncle Tom, acting White, etc. This is something teachers have no control over!

RJ

August 25th, 2011
6:25 pm

@May, it’s less cultural and more socio-economic. I question my kids often about these names and at their pre-dominantly black south Fulton schools, they don’t hear it. This would be due to the fact that most of the parents in this community are college-educated and successful. Regardless of race, the more educated the parents, the more serious the students are about education.

Bill

August 25th, 2011
6:28 pm

Just let the good teachers TEACH! There is so much legal and clerical b.s. we have to deal with. It takes away from our time preparing to teach. Technology is nice, but not needed. It is mostly smoke and mirrors.