How do we entice great teachers to move to remote rural schools?

How do we get great teachers to move to rural areas? (Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com)

How do we get great teachers to move to rural areas? (Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com)

In the Sunday paper today, the AJC takes a look at rural schools in a well researched package

AJC reporter Jaime Sarrio spent time in Wilcox County and other rural school districts interviewing educators, officials and parents. She also extensively researched the subject, reviewing studies by state government and nonprofit experts. AJC data specialist Kelly Guckian gathered extensive data on test scores, remedial education and other measures of college readiness, then analyzed thousands of records to demonstrate the disparity between rural and non-rural schools. Sarrio used that analysis in reporting this story.

Among their discoveries:  In 2010, 23 percent of Georgia’s rural students needed remedial courses, compared to 19.9 percent of non-rural students. Those figures were more pronounced in extremely rural districts, where 30 percent needed remedial courses compared to 15.8 percent in large suburban districts. On SAT exams this year, rural students scored about 50 points lower than their peers in non-rural districts, according to an AJC analysis. This gap was wider between extremely rural districts, where the average score was 1,369, and large suburban areas, 1,486.

A few years ago, I spent two weeks visiting rural districts. I met a lot of dedicated people. I also interviewed reform-minded school chiefs who were encountering resistance to their efforts to shake up the status quo. In some districts, I saw two or even three generations of families employed in the schools. That is not surprising when the district is one of the county’s biggest employers.

A stubborn challenge is recruiting good teachers in rural areas with few of the amenities that appeal to 28-year-olds. I have interviewed national researchers on the question of luring good teachers to rural districts. One strategy they recommended was helping districts grow their own workforces by identifying potential candidates who lived or grew up in the local community.

Those mature adults were not shocked by the conditions of the school or the circumstances of their students’ homes, so they brought neither pity nor fear with them into the classroom.

I know that Georgia lawmakers contend that charter schools will bring more options to rural schools, but I spoke to an official with a for-profit charter management firm who said it was unlikely his company would look beyond metro areas, in part because of the hurdles that all schools face in hiring teachers in remote areas. He was being funny, but I understood his point when he said, “Twenty-somethings have to be within 10 minutes of a Starbucks at all times.”

Take a look at this piece.

Here is an excerpt.

Dixie Edalgo and Allyson Reyer both graduated first in their class in Georgia public schools. Both now attend in-state public colleges.

But for these valedictorians, the road to college was dramatically different.

Reyer, 18, graduated from Sprayberry High in Cobb County with a 4.578 grade point average and 39 hours of college credit through advanced placement courses. In her first year at the University of Georgia, she’s already a sophomore.

Edalgo, 19, graduated from Wilcox High in the South Georgia town of Rochelle, where budget cuts forced a four-day week, advanced placement courses are not offered and an estimated two-thirds of students don’t have Internet access at home. She graduated with a 4.0 but seldom had homework, and is now struggling with math as a freshman at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, where a 2.0 — a low C average — is required for entry.

The paths of these top students illustrate the uneven preparation for college provided by Georgia schools. The challenges of rural districts have been a long-standing concern, but an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis focused on college readiness. It found that rural students are more likely to need remedial help in college and to score lower on the SAT, a predictor of college success.

Reyer’s Sprayberry is an academically average suburban high school with abundant resources, while Edalgo’s Wilcox is typical of schools, often in rural areas, where students have less access to rigorous academic tracks considered good preparation for college.

“Sometimes I wonder to myself how I would have done at a school with people like that, ” Edalgo said of valedictorians from schools like Sprayberry. “I would have had to push myself harder.”

Most agree that money and location play a role in the disparities between Georgia schools. The AJC analysis specifically shows:

About 5 percent of students took advanced placement exams in extremely rural areas, compared to more than 20 percent in large suburban districts.

Rural districts spend about $400 less than others per student. Spending doesn’t guarantee success, but rural superintendents say they can’t afford educational extras that are standard in suburban schools.

Teachers don’t have the same opportunities for training and development. Those in smaller, poorer districts often face more demands and professional isolation, a barrier to improvement.

College readiness is gaining fresh attention in part because of new policies making it harder for students to play catch-up after high school. Starting this past fall, students who need too much remedial help in reading, writing or math are not allowed to attend schools in the University System of Georgia. Students who need extensive remedial lessons are less likely to earn a degree.

Before the change, the state spent $55 million a year on remedial education.

Georgia has the nation’s third-largest rural enrollment and it’s among the poorest performing, according to the Rural School and Community Trust, a Washington nonprofit. While a few rural districts perform well, the study found overall Georgia’s rural students are among the lowest scorers on national exams and their graduation rate is the nation’s second-lowest, behind Louisiana.

The problem has statewide implications. Projections show about 60 percent of jobs by 2020 will require some education beyond high school. Now, 42 percent of Georgia’s adults have a college degree or certificate.

Taxpayer dollars from wealthier counties like Cobb are already used to subsidize rural districts with sparse local tax bases in an effort to even out inequities.

“The fabric of metro Atlanta’s economy is tightly interwoven with the fabric of rural Georgia’s economy, ” said Jeff Humphreys, director of the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. “If a thread comes loose in one corner of rural Georgia, it will eventually unravel in metro Atlanta.”

The report includes a comparison on rural and non-rural schools. Among the comparisons:

Students from rural public school systems in the state averaged lower scores on the SAT test and tended to require more remedial coursework in college. The graduation rates in rural counties were higher than those in urban areas, but varied greatly from district to district.

Rural vs. Non-rural: How they compare by the numbers:

Average pupil spending:  Rural: $8,308, Non-rural $8,728

Receiving free or reduced lunch:  Rural 56.9%, Non-rural 57.7%

Taking advance placement tests:  Rural 10.0% , Non-rural 17.2%

Graduation rate:  Rural 72.6%, Non-Rural 67.0%

Average SAT score: Rural 1403, Non-Rural 1450

Needing college remedial courses: Rural 23.1%, Non-rural 19.9%

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

121 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly D

November 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

The rural schools become mired in mediocrity, unable to see outside the small community.

I couldn’t disagree more. From personal experience, I’d rather have somebody who has stake in the game and cares about where they are. That’s preferable to the hired guns of our transient society, whose main loyalty is to whomever comes across with the most bucks. I’ve known many good and dedicated teachers in my area, going back generations.

incredulous

November 18th, 2012
6:43 pm

@hillbilly, if only dedication were the one factor that makes an effective teacher. The only hired guns I’m famliar with are the traveling superintendants or their riding it out to retirement counterparts at the central office. Any teacher in the classroom has a stake in the game…the kids. And I disagree that more money will entice teachers of any ilk to move to a rural system. There are significant opportunity costs associated with living in rural areas.My personal opinion is that the greatest barrier to improved education in rural areas is the culture. Resistance to change and intolerance could steer people away from these communities.

Hillbilly D

November 18th, 2012
6:48 pm

Resistance to change and intolerance could steer people away from these communities.

We’re well aware that some (not all) suburban/urban folks are intolerant of us. C’est la vie.

David Hoffman

November 18th, 2012
6:49 pm

The issues of a lack of AP classes and a lack of truly affordable high speed internet service go together. Get every home and school in Georgia something close to Google’s Gigabit Fiber project, and you can participate in all kinds of World Wide Web based classes in many subjects. What if the people of the state of Georgia had fibered up our state, instead of building McMansions and golf courses? What if we had created an open network to allow competitive ISPs to share the fiber infrastructure?

incredulous

November 18th, 2012
6:52 pm

@hillbilly. Precisely. As the election showed us, we’d rather be condemned by our own incompetence than admit someone else may have a better idea.

Halftrack

November 18th, 2012
6:58 pm

Counties that need top notch teachers must have top notch administrators also. Give these people tax breaks, housing allowances, pay offs of student loans, and similar incentives to take a job and live in the area. Medical, Coaches, and other desired personnel are offered these incentives to come to a place outside the metropolitan areas. The legislature needs to wake up and act accordingly to improve education recruitment in outlaying areas.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
6:59 pm

NW GA Math/Science teacher @ 12:04 Gets the prize! Comment link here: http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/11/18/how-do-we-entice-great-teachers-to-move-to-remote-rural-schools/#comment-241288 Everybody go back and read his post. Rural schools in Georgia do not want good teachers! Heck, heck, heckeroo, I had a principal in a CITY tell me what I was teaching was too hard because I was teaching WORD ROOTS and the kids were eating it up, and then THE PRINCIPAL pulls this OPINION CURVEBALL. I interviewed one time at a rural high school and the principal was raised WITHIN SITE OF THE SCHOOL and the interview was going fine UNTIL I said, “There’s a lot of good literature in the world” and then, instantly, it was GAME OVER. This principal wanted it red, white, blue, pledge of allegiance and anything else INTERDIT / FORBIDDEN. The principal probably did me a favor because the long undivided state highway to get to the school looked like a dangerous road to me and the huge metal electrical supply poles lining the highway were UGLY.

-I don’t see any rural districts even looking for “good teachers.” interviewed reform-minded school chiefs who were encountering resistance to their efforts to shake up the status quo. Specifically, what resistance? specific examples?

incredulous

November 18th, 2012
7:12 pm

@private citizen. For some real fun, try starting your evolution lesson with the enduring understanding, standards, and selections from Darwin’s “Origin of Species”. Whooeee!

anObserver

November 18th, 2012
7:12 pm

The U.S. is doomed eucationally and will continue to cirle the drain as our population is dumbed down further and further. Anytime education and the EducatOR is demonized the way that it is in our society because of politics it cannot bode well for the future. School teachers should be TRAINED WELL and PAID WELL, and should NEVER have to be concerned about their job security or being hamstrung by bureaucratic systems. They should not have to worry about having a decent retirement. Doesn’t matter rural, suburban, or urban… wealthy or poor districts…they should be provided the resources and facilities to get the job done. Crappy politicians and their special interests…

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
7:15 pm

Could you imagine what a nightmare it would be to get a teaching job in a rural district and once you start teaching, getting a bunch of flack about it because you’re teaching real content instead of muddling along like Bubba? This thing where the principal feels threatened by someone with a more sophisticated background, I would almost say it is accepted as a norm away from the Big City Lights. If a teacher has more background and vocabulary and higher expectations / vision than the principal, the message is going to be “we don’t want you here” real quick.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
7:19 pm

Ah ha. I’ve got just the thing to illustrate, ‘dog. Ignore the setting, seek the message. “the plight of the content-based teacher in Georgia” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmi60Bd4jSs

concerned

November 18th, 2012
7:28 pm

I live and work as an educator in a very rural area in North Georgia. Our students lack many class choices of larger school districts that have more money. However, that isn’t the problem. Our problem is not offering the advanced classes in high school it is getting students to take the classes seriously. When parents complain that the teacher is “too hard” the administration makes the teachers lower expectations so the students doesn’t have to struggle to do well. That’s why they get to college and struggle. Our students are lazy and don’t want to work at school or beyond school. Our students will NOT do homework and parents make excuses about EVERYTHING! We have GREAT teachers but their hands are tied by administration and those in central office. Our teachers go above and beyond to help students but most don’t want the help. I’ve offered to tutor, for free, any student struggling with reading and writing. I’ve had three students in four years take me up on the offer. Many teachers are willing to help students but parents just make more excuses as to why they don’t want or need the help. Until parents realize the importance of education, in a real way, where students are challenged in school and don’t make straight A’s, it won’t get better. When parents complain the administration reprimands the teachers and asks them to make allowances for students, to give them more time on projects, and accept subpar work. This does not teach students to take responsibility and take advantage of the time given to complete assignments. Our students come to school without paper and pencils, late, and are checked out early. Teachers cannot control these things. If students aren’t in class they can’t learn the material. But teachers MUST still pass them. Then they get to college and don’t perform well and it is again the teachers fault. Parents and students who want it easy in middle and high school and yet prepared for college are kidding themselves. At some point students have to take responsibility for their education in high school and buckle down and do the work. If their school can’t offer the advanced classes they need they can find tutors or do extra work/reading on their own. My mother taught me to go above and beyond what was done in school. It paid off. I was well prepared for college and have two advanced degrees. I didn’t take all advanced classes in high school. I worked hard and went the extra mile on my own. If I found something difficult I just worked that much harder to be successful. Most students won’t do that these days. If it is challenging they simply give up and often don’t even attempt the assignment. I’m tired of school having to be “fun”. Work isn’t always “fun” but it must be done. We have good teachers in rural schools systems and in every other school system. In my district we have teachers driving from Tennessee and four surrounding counties. What we don’t have are students who want to learn. There is no love of learning anymore. Just like every other young person, young teachers don’t want to have to work hard to get students to learn. They want it easy just like the students. Education isn’t easy on either side. When are children taught life is supposed to be fun and easy? I must have missed that part of life.

HS Math Teacher

November 18th, 2012
7:39 pm

I am from rural Georgia, and I love it. I’ve taught at the same school for nearly 25 years. There are already great teachers in small, rural schools. If you want more of them (yes, we have a few feather-nesters), recruit smart, high-achieving kids from the rural areas, and give them a full-ride scholarship. People who are from urban areas won’t last out here; they will eventually throw in the towel and leave.

I wouldn’t want a teacher teaching our kids who was paid a bunch of money to “give it a try” down here. We don’t need folks with jutting chins and nostril vision.

Forrest Gump

November 18th, 2012
7:41 pm

Good post HS Math Teacher.

Rural-teaching Rocks

November 18th, 2012
7:44 pm

There is no thing as a perfect school. I left an inner city school to return to rural school because of the discipline. There are so many undiscipline adults sending undisciplined kids to the city schools. The rural kids still have some respect to teachers. There are not many fights. Some parents trust your judgement as an educator. You hear yes sir and madame. The kids developmentally on target to what you should expect from 6 graders. They are not overly sexual, into drugs, piercings, and cursing. You actually get to teach. The problem is lack of technology and students who have not been exposed to life outside their county. The pay sucks I make what I made in the inner city with 12 furlough days. The commute is okay . However, it’s the gas that hurts me $ 300.00 a month for a Honda. Even with the negative aspects it’s a piece of mind that makes me love my rural school.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
7:47 pm

HS Math Teacher provides case-in-point of rural Georgia hostility to outsiders and the “we don’t need” generalization and prejudice. And this from a teaching colleague.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
7:56 pm

Hey Rural Georgia HS Math Teacher, the first thing they taught me at a real university was to lose the “we” speak, also called “the royal we.” In the intellectual world, people function as individuals, makes contributions as individuals, and do not appropriate anonymous others using the term “we” when stating a position or opinion. If I used “we” speak in a paper, I would get an F. But then again, I can attend any university in the world because of this training. PS Maybe you should stop appropriating the future of your students. Some of them might want to cross the county line. Shopping at the IGA must get tiresome after a while? Why leave? You too can become a law enforcement officer and bring home revenue by means of citation.

Seriously, Rural Georgia HS Math teacher, what do kids do when they grow up where you live?

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
7:57 pm

(they catch gator)

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
8:02 pm

Psst Rural Georgia, you left out the part about when your local people get really sick and your local doctors or hospital can’t fix it or figure it out, they send them to Atlanta. Fact is, when the rubber meets the road, you do “need folks with jutting chins and nostril vision” and scanning electron microscopes, MRI machines, and virologists.

Zane Smith's Teeth

November 18th, 2012
8:10 pm

It would take some form of student loan forgiveness or “teaching homestead act” in order to lure anyone to these counties. Even then, you are probably looking at a high attrition rate, but you may get more qualified teachers to actually consider it. It has nothing to do with the students or administration, you have varying degrees of headaches with those anywhere you teach (they are just different headaches, but headaches none the less).
It really comes down the what the community has to offer. If their spouse is also a teacher, it may work out. Good luck finding a college educated job that isn’t in healthcare or public education in the sticks.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
8:24 pm

incredulous

November 18th, 2012
8:34 pm

@private citizen. Do you see any similarities between the current situation and Reconstruction?

Beatings will Continue until Morale Improves

November 18th, 2012
8:35 pm

I would gladly go back to a rural school. I student taught in Bryan County and loved every minute of it. Small school, decent kids, caring administration, and small classes. If I could relocate I would in a minute. I grew up in South Georgia so the “country” doesn’t bother me one bit.

Check this article out. Bryan County BOE giving money back to the teachers because they deserve it. You would never see this in DeKalb where they pay for their friends and families Ph.D’s and hide forensic audits.

http://savannahnow.com/bryan-county-now/2012-11-16/bryan-county-boe-employees-receive-bonuses

zoe

November 18th, 2012
9:06 pm

You won’t unless there are jobs for the spouses too. You are asking teachers to make less money and, if they are married, convince them to move to a rural area and perhaps be the sole breadwinner in the household. I wouldn’t mind moving and I know my husband wants out of metro Atlanta, but it would involve selling my (underwater by $100K, yes $100K) home and he would be able to get a job.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
9:06 pm

incredulous, I do not know much about Reconstruction. I’m a Georgian, but my family are basically industrial yankees, plus a little bit of rural Tennessee. Probably the best thing that could be done for Georgia is to take internet distribution / bandwidth seriously and online resources available to all students, whether home study, online, home school, or traditional attendance. I resonate strongly with David Hoffman’s comment – to the letter http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/11/18/how-do-we-entice-great-teachers-to-move-to-remote-rural-schools/?cp=2#comment-241338 about attention to FTTH – Fiber the the Home with competing ISPs accessing the fiber. And where this is not doable, there needs to be public wi-fi internet access. This is how they do it in rural Britain, too, use wireless wherever wire does not go.

For some reason in Georgia governance, there seems to be an absence where there is governance on a lot of these important internet distribution topics. Maybe “business friendly” Georgia has gotten too “monopoly friendly” about internet.

Why do you bring up Reconstruction Era? Obviously you have something to say about it, which is?

The line about teaching Darwin – ha. Seems like a lot of basic stuff becomes “third rail” for teachers in the anti-intellectual environment. Btw, like many commercialized ideologues, Darwin was no angel. He was big on eugenics. Also had a guy from South Africa tell me that Nelson Mandela was a scoundrel and someone from India say the same of Ghandi. We’re fed a lot of pre-packaged cultural icons. And you know it was the Russians who defeated the Germans in WW2, not the U. S. At least, that’s what the people over there where it happened say. Let’s see, not acceptable? How about… my favorite philosopher, this guy, “the other” Krishnamurti, not the “nice one.” Love this guy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJJFAOonJxY

bootney farnsworth

November 18th, 2012
9:26 pm

@ cranky

under most circumstances you’d be right – money talks.
but remember, Georgia allegedly is nearly broke.

so giving the benefit of doubt that’s true, you gotta offer other incentives

bootney farnsworth

November 18th, 2012
9:28 pm

who would want to leave Atlanta for rural Georgia?

God above, who wouldn’t?

Public HS Teacher

November 18th, 2012
9:39 pm

The question that will soon be even more important (if not already)…

How do we KEEP the good teachers in the State. Sure, the State in general pays teachers a little more than surrounding States. However, the knowledgable and wise teachers are moving out of the State as soon as they are able. Why is that?

1. Most of the school systems around Atlanta do not pay into social security. Sure, the youngsters just out of college may not care and will gladly take a teaching job like that. But, once their teaching skills improve and they get to understand that the GA Teacher Retirement alone will simply not be enough, they leave.
2. The school systems are infected with nepotism and “friend-ism”. The hiring managers will hire and/or promote their girlfriend/boyfriend, their relative, or their friends way before considering anyone that is qualified. This is true within a school by the Principal and Department Chairs, within the central office, and even within the State DOE.
3. Teachers in Georgia continue to be abused. Principals use teachers as a generic work force to do any and all jobs within a school building – and this is beyond their full time job as a classroom teacher. Good classroom teachers simply will not continue to do this willingly and will find a way to leave.
4. Teachers in Georgia have a changing job description in the classroom. We used to be able to teach to the children in front of us and modify lessons to help that group of kids. This is no longer true. We are told exactly what to teach every given day, and in most cases exactly how to teach it. We are told to give the exact same assessments regardless. Good teachers cannot tolerate this as their profession. Good teachers need to be able to be flexible and differentiate the lessons to the given kids in their room.
5. In spite of number 4, the teachers are then blamed with the kids do poorly. Even though we do exactly what we are told in every given way, it is STILL the teachers fault if the students fail the standardized test.
6. The general public in Georgia blame classroom teachers for everything. Even though (as you can see from the above points) teachers are little more than blue collar employees that do what we are told, teachers continue to be the scapegoat. The media does little to nothing to shed any type of light on the real education problems in Georgia.

In other States, the above points do not occur or rarely occur. The reason is because those States allow real teacher unions that provide a “check and balance” to the powers in authority. However, Georgia State law does not allow any real teacher union and so the powers go unchecked.

This is what is happening all around the the State – rural, urban, suburban.

T

November 18th, 2012
9:51 pm

We could have the same conversation about some of the urban schools in metro Atlanta. My spouse taught at a school in south Dekalb after graduating from GSU a few years ago. The administrators and teachers were not qualified to work at a convenience store let alone teach basic skills to children. None of them spoke anything close to standard English. A professional hard working person would find this environment torture. My spouse quit after one year and went to work at a charter school that is on the cutting edge of 21st century education methodology. The socioeconomic make up of the students is similar but the education results are very different.

Tech Prof

November 18th, 2012
9:52 pm

It is an Education system; keyword “system”. Everyone is looking for some silver bullet to fix education. The nature of the problem requires more than one attack. Politicians and our citizenry, unfortunately, continue their cries and quest for that one magic fix. With this type of thinking, we’ll never find the solution. Sigh.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
10:11 pm

hey Tech Prof, Thank you for being a Tech Prof! much appreciated!

which seques well into, Bootney a major downside of rural Georgia is the lack of substantial universities, lack of graduate programs. One can do advanced studies but the tuition price is high and the quality of study is sub-standard to a “metro” university combined with very few graduate programs. Of those that graduate programs that exist, the departmental “potentate” thing is pretty strong, as they lack both perspective and competition. I had a friend in one of these rural graduate programs and he had to get a “metro” person on his academic review committee as a strategy / tactic to keep his local professors from their antics. It was an ingenious fix. I’ve studies at two rural Georgia universities and all I can say in retrospect is “never again.” At one, our hands would get numb from periodically clapping in class to much to celebrate the point the professor was “announcing.” At the same place I was lectured on how we were in a “world class” environment. Odd that they never once had a visiting author or ideologue speak, as it standard at better schools. At another rural Georgia university, I had a professor demand that I account to him for my “white privilege.” The only thing I can figure is that I had a greater vocabulary than he and this may have threatened him?, and I had noted to myself that he – and a few other of the faculty – seemed to have a pretty thin publishing record but were on track to be full professors. The “white privilege” accuser was white himself and lived in a nicely redone house and had a new high tech car, meanwhile I am practically carving my way out of the earth. It was bizarre – and unprofessional of him to sort of blindside me in this way, as I had no agenda whatsoever toward this person. I concluded I would stop paying him tuition for this type treatment. Point is, there is some weird stuff going on in the hinterlands. There’s not many graduate programs and of the ones that there are, they seem to think pretty highly of themselves. Most of their students are sitting ducks who don’t know any better, or else want a degree for some type of careerist aspiration and in truth are just going through the motions. I had two colleagues in the same program and this was their sole aspiration, to make the number on their paycheck go up. That was it. The rest was play-acting.

Public HS Teacher

November 18th, 2012
10:30 pm

@T -

I am familiar with some of the schools in South DeKalb and you are right. They are filled with pitiful teachers. The reason for this can be found in my above posting, number 2. Those schools are infamous for hiring relatives and friends as opposed to well educated professional teachers. They also hire “contract” teachers that are not even certified at all – to save money.

Why does the community stand for this?

Nothing can be done as long as the State of Georgia does not allow a real teacher union. Teacher Unions are very good at ensuring that proper hiring practices are enforced. However, the powers in authority have no current “checks and balances.”

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
10:32 pm

Used to be long ago the con-man had a stand on the side of the road and on a table-top passed a ringing silver dollar amongst three cups. You lost every time when you picked which cup where the silver dollar was. And you kept playing and losing and the con-man kept up a musical encouragement. In this way, I have lost $10.-$20. and enjoyed every minute of the ruse and entertainment.

Those roadside stands are gone but I think the persons from the stands are now working as rural Georgia education professors. But maybe I am wrong, as many departments are now run by women. The best long-term department head ran for her life to a different region. Make that two. Another was simply run out a town. Oh, make that two good ones who were run out of town on bad terms. Of those left, the “new breed,” I’ve seen at least one charge a great amount of students $85. each for a photocopied binder and call it a “textbook.” Pure profiteering and use of students. No telling where the money went and the UGA System main office doesn’t seem to notice. One time I called the computer help desk because I had lost their incomprehensible super-secure assigned log-in A345cvtX55 or somesuch (one of three log-ins required by the university). The uppity student assistant completed refused to help me, so I told him, “You know what? You’re no help at all.” Then he goes and complains to his boss. The boss makes an official complaint about me because I ruffled their feathers. My response was to immediately summon official university mediation because I was not going to put up with this incompetent hillbilly carnival. This forced the I.T. boss person, who really knew very little about computing and was just hanging onto a job that they’d had for a long time, to account for themselves. The matter was resolved but still leaves a bad taste. Maybe they’ll think twice the next time they deny services and then take to the step to try and scapegoat someone.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
10:50 pm

Public HS Teacher, seems the public mind has been trained to think that unions are bad, teachers are bad, and teachers who have unions are very bad, and that’s before you get to the state bureaucracy and the notion that non-union = prosperity. And to mention that states with teacher unions have higher student performance than states without teacher unions. Makes sense, as teachers can do better work with some degree of stability in their work environment. But as with fiber optic internet, Georgia as a whole seems very distant to ideas of state of the art internet, as well as teach unions.

Mandella1099

November 18th, 2012
10:51 pm

Maybe when the education chair doesn’t live in Dunwoody (pinky fingers and nose up high), the legislature committee can truly begin to listen to those that have ideas on how to reform rural education. Don’t be fooled by Frannie Millar – he’s about Dunwoody and Dunwoody ONLY!

The Deal

November 18th, 2012
10:53 pm

Rural, urban, and suburban are three different beasts. They all have unique sets of problems. There are positives to living in a rural area that go along with some of the negatives. It is not my job as an urban resident to prop up the rural areas because they have benefits like lower taxes, lower cost of living, and lower property prices. The state BOE needs to address any discrepancies as unique and separate problems, not in any way linked to metro Atlanta. We already send enough equalization money out that could resolve many of our overcrowded classrooms and underfunded programs.

Dekalbite

November 18th, 2012
10:59 pm

Many teachers are married to other professionals who are not teachers. They need to find jobs. There is a dearth of professional jobs in rural areas. That is a huge consideration for young teachers who are married.

South Georgia Parent

November 18th, 2012
11:06 pm

Many times those local kids coming back to their hometowns to work/teach/live are what’s best for the rural communities/towns; they know what it will take for their children to succeed. The city in which I live is just south of Tifton, right on I-75. My husband grew up here, went off to college, and came back to work at a funeral home that one day we will own. In 7 years, we’ll have a college freshman in our house. And the sad thing is that we’re in the minority were we live: the majority of residents in this county are high school educated or less. The opportunities-even with us located on I-75-simply do not compare to what is “the norm” in Metro Atlanta. Not even close. The money stays with the bigger school systems, and to many, it feels as though the smaller, rural systems get crumbs.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
11:07 pm

A real teacher union in Georgia would displace the faux “teacher services” “professional organizations.” I heard on the radio that one of them, maybe GAE? had 54,000 members. Well, that’s a lot of money @ “Active Professional Full-time $182.50.” totals to $9,855,000. annually. (which = the half the annual pay of each of the top five Comcast executives. They get $100 million per year for the five of them.). The substitute-union “professional organizations” would not want a union. It would put them out of business.

Oh, the top Comcast guy, his play was recently “slashed” down to $26.9 million per year.

Private Citizen

November 18th, 2012
11:15 pm

The Deal Metro Atlanta took all the child welfare funds for the entire state and basically shortchanged the rural areas on child welfare services. Re: cost of living, aside from houses, the rest of it is surprisingly high due to lack of competition or possibly that it costs more to truck supplies to distant places away from the main distribution centers. A subway foot long sandwich with chips and a drink costs $11.00 in rural Georgia. Apples are $1.29 each or somesuch. Electricity or natural gas is no bargain for rural. Gasoline/diesel does not cost less outside of the metro area.

BehindEnemyLines

November 19th, 2012
2:11 am

From what I’ve seen, great teachers would be largely wasted in the majority of rural systems. As “incredulous” put it, these schools are mired in mediocrity but it’s in no small part because they seem to like it that way. Those systems are a job bank for relatives, education is not particularly valued by their masses, there’s precious little desire to understand the world beyond the county line and I’ve seen little reason to believe there’s any willingness to change the former nor the ability to effect change upon the latter two.

MiltonMan

November 19th, 2012
6:33 am

Blaming their failures on the lack of internet access??? Please! Growing up in rural Alabama we did not have internet access either. The graduating class produce a couple of surgeons, engineers, lawyers, etc. We used the library which is already funded by the taxpayer.

Bottom line is the student will have to want it not taxpayers shelling out more money.

SEE

November 19th, 2012
6:38 am

From reading Private Citizen’s posts, I think I understand why the principal turned him down.

I say this as a suburban teacher with a master’s degree from a highly regarded university. I graduated with a 4.0. There now, do I have the right “pedigree” to have an opinion?

There is no room for arrogance in a teacher. Students can smell it from a mile away and will be resistant to anything you try to teach. A little humilty and some compassion go a long way.

mift

November 19th, 2012
6:49 am

To certain extent it is about money. Many of these rural districts survive on “slim pickins”. Maureen, if you ask me a great article would be related to school funding and the wide array of funding situations we have in GA. Is there a correlation to student achievement? Take APS out of the mix. I am tiered of everyone referencing this outlier. Many districts are barely making it and next year will be worse. Our lawmakers have a blind eye.

Kathy

November 19th, 2012
6:50 am

I live in a rural area, and I can tell you that attracting quality teachers is not our problem. Sure, we have some incompetents, but most of our teachers are as qualified as any other school in Georgia. The biggest problem we have is that over 90% of our students come from entitlement-minded “families” and are enslaved to the same “government will take care of me” attitude as their mothers and absentee fathers. The welfare state has destroyed the work ethic in this area. If these students make it through high school, there’s even more free stuff available to them. Go to the local college, get a Pell grant, and now you can buy that giant flat screen TV and that jacked-up Caprice or Bonneville with shiny rims. Add some school loans that will never be repaid. We’re fighting a losing battle that has little or nothing to do with our teacher quality.

Jack ®

November 19th, 2012
6:51 am

Inequities abound and are a fact of life. No amount of hand wringing is going to change that.

Jack ®

November 19th, 2012
6:53 am

I second that, Kathy.

Real American

November 19th, 2012
7:13 am

Oh Kathy, I’m sure some are buying that beat down pickup truck for huntin coons and such, amirite? The Honey Boo-Boo families are a prime example of which you speak….no?

Private Citizen

November 19th, 2012
7:21 am

SEE If you like humility, you’re in the right state.

Jessica

November 19th, 2012
7:41 am

Zoe made a good point — where a teacher is to live/work is sometimes tied to where his/her spouse can get a job, especially if that spouse makes more money. Unless you can improve the economy and offer more good jobs in rural areas, it may be difficult to get teachers to consider moving there.