Democrats: Governor’s changes to HOPE Grant still leave students “out in the cold.”

The Senate Democrats offered this response to the governor’s plan to lower the GPA for HOPE grants for students in technical colleges, which have reported a steep decline since Nathan Deal imposed a 3.0 GPA requirement.

Senate Democrats said Gov. Deal’s proposal to lower the grade point average requirement in Georgia’s HOPE Grant for students in the technical college system is a reasonable first step, but doesn’t go far enough to repair the broken HOPE Grant and Scholarship programs.

Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, whip of the Senate Democratic Caucus, is an author of Senate Bill 59 that would reduce the GPA from 3.0 to 2.0 for a HOPE Grant recipient. The measure is similar to the Gov. Deal’s recent HOPE Grant proposal. But Fort said real HOPE reform is a multi-prong approach that requires the state’s leadership to account for all current and future students and requires changes across the grant and scholarship spectrum.

“The purpose of the HOPE Grant and the HOPE Scholarship programs is to make attendance to training institutes and colleges more accessible and affordable for Georgians. Year after year, we continue to reduce access by raising student requirements and raising tuition. It’s a lethal combination, not only for our students, but for the future of Georgia’s economy,” Fort said.

Fort said Gov. Deal has recognized that since he took office there has been a decline in enrollment in the technical school system and in the University System. The state has seen a disproportionate drop in the technical school system. Fort pointed out that the establishment of the higher GPA is only one factor to diminished support for technical school students. Elimination of textbooks from the grant, along with a reduction in the amount of tuition covered, are also factors in the decreased enrollment.

“It is unfathomable to me that our state leadership believes HOPE is a quick fix. Some 42,000 students have felt the pinch of rising tuition and increased attendance standards. In the Governor’s latest reform, 30,000 or more technical school students will be left out in the cold. What do we say to them and those who would be educated through the HOPE Scholarship program?” said Fort.

Responding to Deal’s suggestion that any additional ideas or proposals for HOPE would bankrupt our state, Fort said, “What will bankrupt our state is not having properly trained individuals with the skills to help us pull out of this recession. What will bankrupt this state is poorly prioritizing our state budget needs by not placing education as the number one priority. It reflects poor economic planning,” Fort said.

In a press conference at the Georgia state capitol this week, Fort and his Senate Democratic colleagues introduced a number of HOPE Grant and Scholarship program measures intended to help shed light on the range of financial problems.

“In the past year alone, we have seen a decrease in HOPE Grant recipients by 20 percent in every district across the state,” said Fort. “This decrease comes at time when Georgia families are experiencing historically low incomes and our economy is in desperate need of the kind of educated workforce that our technical schools can provide. Senate Democrats intend to stand and fight for Georgians,” Fort said.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

46 comments Add your comment

Fred ™

February 8th, 2013
2:11 pm

It’s all smoke and mirrors. By “technical schools” he means those crappy for profit schools that have been ripping us tax payers off for 2 decades now. Ones like Cordon Bleu and AIU. They take tons of money, don’t graduate students, and the few they DO graduate, don’t have the skills to get jobs.

Sounds like the Charter School theft on a larger writ.


February 8th, 2013
2:46 pm

Look, folks, the University System of Georgia is a separate system from the Technical Colleges System. The latter colleges have nothing to do with the for-profit schools noted by Fred ™, and they’re scattered throughout Georgia.

Specifically, they are the Technical Colleges of Albany, Altamaha. Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Central Ga., Chattahoochee, Columbus, Ga. Northwestern, Ga. Piedmont, Gwinnett, Lanier, Middle Ga., Monetrie, North Ga., Oconee, Ogeechee, Okefenokee, Savannah, South Ga., Southeastern, Southern Crescent, Southwest Ga., West Ga., Wiregrass Ga. [Valdosta], and Board of Regents College/Technical Division.

I think that these technical colleges deserve state support just as do the USG schools; and I applaud the bipartisan effort by the Governor and the state legislature to restore HOPE eligibility for these technical college students. But I also agree with the Senate Democrats here that similar efforts should be made on behalf of USG students.


February 8th, 2013
2:47 pm

What Fort means is free tuition for all. ( and free housing, free cell phones and free health care)
Of course he knows his proposal is going nowhere. He is only playing for the crowd to keep their sense of aggrieved entitlement stirred up.


February 8th, 2013
2:58 pm

“The state has seen a disproportionate drop in the technical school system.”

Is it possible that there are other reasons for the drop in technical school attendance? Maybe the Hope scholarship has afforded those that would normally attend technical school with resources necessary to attend a four year university?


February 8th, 2013
3:03 pm

Fred: No, the for-profits are not the same as the public technicals.

I wonder how much of the decrease in enrollment is due to higher standards for HOPE, and how much is due to the need for folks to work 2 or more jobs, with no time for class-taking. I also wonder if the decrease is in part due to folks not having enough money to afford the gas to go to school.

Jerry Davis

February 8th, 2013
3:26 pm

I have not researched the following and it is just my perception:

It is the increasing tuition costs and not the Hope Scholarship itself that is a financial drain on the state. When kids started receiving the Hope Scholarship they no longer cared how much college cost and tuition started skyrocketing.


February 8th, 2013
3:28 pm

Hope is the best scholarship in the nation. It almost went bankrupt from unrestrained recipient expansion and the vagaries of the economy. It has been largely fixed, but liberal ideas to bankrupt it again are constantly being put forward and endorsed by AJC reporters and bloggers.

Correcting grade inflation, using SAT scores for 4 year colleges, and attendance demands for technical schools are absolute logical conditions – except for pie in the sky liberals. NO – it is NOT going to become another needs based entitlement. We have more than enough of those.


February 8th, 2013
3:33 pm

Fort and the DIMS are merely pandering to the unwashed masses, or, in other terms, the Dimocratic base.

Maybe if Fort’s constituants didn’t go to college for a year, lose HOPE, and drop out the program would be on a more solid financial footing.

The other side of the equation is the ever increasing cost of tuition. The University of GAs out of state tuition, which is the unsubsidized part, went up FIVE TIMES the rate of inflation for the ten year period 2001 – 2010. If FORT wants to raise hell, he should be pointing the finger at the Board of Regents, not HOPE.

WhiteWolf of the Bones

February 8th, 2013
3:35 pm

The dumbing down continues.

Mary Elizabeth

February 8th, 2013
4:22 pm

Nearly a third of Georgia’s high school students do not graduate with their peers, and many of those students indicate that they will transfer from one high school to another one, but never show up in the receiving school. In fact, these students often become high school drop-outs. I applaud Governor Deal’s plan to enhance technical education in high schools for certain high school students. Hopefully, technical education in high schools can be coordinated with technical schools, or technical colleges, post high school in order to have continuity for more in-depth technical training skills for students, as well as fostering state certification in technical areas and fostering more technical college degrees earned.

As state Sen. Fort has proposed, dropping the GPA requirement to 2.0 from 3.0 for a HOPE grant to a technical college will be a positive step in helping more of Georgia’s students succeed. As I have often posted on this blog, the range of reading scores for all of the 9th grade students (in the last high school in which I had taught) was, annually, in the range of 4th grade reading level to reading grade level 16, with half of the approximately 500 9th grade students reading on 6th grade level, or below. Many high school students who are reading below grade level, would, more than likely, not be students who would earn a 3.0 GPA in high school, but who would very much benefit from a HOPE grant to a technical college.

I support dropping the GPA requirement for a HOPE grant to a technical college to 2.0.

Blue dog

February 8th, 2013
4:23 pm

If you bloggers can’t see the difference between the cost of a 4 year degree vs job training programs offered by Technical schools (which are roughly 18 months) than I feel sorry for the future of this state.
That is the same as saying that only “college ready” students should get help, period, whether they decide to attend college or tech school and the rest of the students (roughly 80% of the rest) can just go flip burgers.
The inflated college tuitions due to increased Hope money has NOTHING in common with the any funding issues at the tech school level. These are the kids that truly need our help for their own good and the states as well.

bootney farnsworth

February 8th, 2013
5:12 pm

in short, we didn’t get everything we want, exactly as we wanted it

A reader

February 8th, 2013
5:42 pm

A 2.0 is a C average. Meaning that the student is getting either all C’s or C’s with an equal mix of D’s and B’s. At a Technical School!! These people are not taking calculus or physics, and yet they cannot maintain a B average? At a Technical School?? This is not engineering we are talking about! This is auto mechanics, dental assistance, and culinary students. And note that the engineering students a GA Tech also have to maintain a B average to keep Hope scholarship.

Ole Guy

February 8th, 2013
8:28 pm

Let’s see if I understand Mary E’s…(ahm) “reasoning”:

Those students who fail to maintain a level of proficiency in those skill areas (reedin, ratin, an rithmitic) which are crucial to maintaining an economy…why…they should all be afforded some slack. Rather than DEMANDING they reach a level of minimum proficiency, they should all go forth, basking in the knowledge that they (done) did their best, when, in reality, they…once again…have learned to play the system like a fiddle. “_hit, man…why should I bust my ass wasting time in study when I can be out pissing my life away; just getting by enough to “git da muny”.

Once again, this entire line of reasoning by the…Honorable Deal…and anyone who’s foolish enough to applaud this nonsensical journey into the land of mediocrity…is nothing short of pure unadulterated _hit.

You gd kids better pull your heads outa your sixes…never mind all this crap about two-oh being good enough. If you want to go to college…if you want to go to trade school…if you simply want to go directly into the world of work…NEVER…do just what’s absolutely necessary. CRUSH the competition…don’t be content to simply pass the tests…CRUSH em…just do it, gd-it.

John Konop

February 9th, 2013
7:02 am

Why not let students have the option of getting a vo tech degree while in high school?

Ole Guy

February 9th, 2013
8:34 am

Excellent idea, John! This is exactly what transpired in my high school (of course, this was back when the roads were teeming with 57 Chevys fueled by quarter-a-gallon petrol, while George Wallace was guarding doors at Universities with football teams ran by a guy they called BEAR!!).

Even back in those days of relative simplicity (very relative), kids could split their school day between standard academics and hands-on training…either on campus or in cooperation with local business leaders…in a variety of fields. Of course, these voed programs didn’t necessarily preclude studies in some of the more challenging coursework. Just because the kid had an interest in a trade, the educational leaders (of the day) recognized the possibility that the kid may not always be within the trades community, and just may, at some point in the future, decide to go to college. Therefore, those very leaders knew that a solid grounding in the math and science disciplines would be paramount, whether the kid spent the earlier years of adulthood in the shop, the classroom, or the board room.

While not everyone (then or now) will “make it” in terms of (what we call) success, those leaders, in the science business and educational communities, need to have both vision and commitment. I’m not too sure that vision and commitment are too prevalent in today’s environment.

Mary Elizabeth

February 9th, 2013
9:33 am

@Ole Guy, 8:28 pm, 2/8/13

Ole Guy, in your arrogance and mocking, you totally missed the point of my 4:22 pm post. I suggest you reread my post with greater depth, instead of simply displaying a surface, cursory understanding of it.

I started by mentioning that nearly one-third of Georgia’s students are not graduating with their peers and that many of these students become high school drop-outs. I was offering realistic solutions to that ongoing educational/societal problem in Georgia. Furthermore, I correctly stated that “(m)any high school students who are reading below grade level, would, more than likely, not be students who would earn a 3.0 GPA in high school.” These students are struggling in reading skills on grade level material for their high school course work, and this is one reason that some drop out of school. Having overseen the reading program in a high school of 1800 students and having been an Instructional Lead Teacher and a Reading Specialist in an elementary/middle school before that, I understand the dynamics of this reading developmental problem from grades 1 – 12, with depth. The minimal standards, that you so demand in your ranting post, were there in my post, i.e. a “C” average to obtain a technical college HOPE Grant, not a D average, and certainly not dropping out of school (because instructional needs have not been met).

Furthermore, I also agree with John Konop that high schools might consider offering technical degrees to high school students. I had stated: “Hopefully, technical education in high schools can be coordinated with technical schools, or technical colleges, post high school in order to have continuity for. . . fostering more technical college degrees earned.” Technical training, imo, should be started earlier in the high school years, and if some high school course credit were able to be transferred as college credit to technical colleges, as some AP courses in high school are to standard colleges, that fact would allow students to earn technical college degrees – if not in high school – then certainly in a shorter time period in technical college than occurs now. This, too, would motivate more students to remain in high school both because they would meet with more success and see a practical reason for remaining in high school.

Imo, you have much to learn. Arrogance rarely fosters insight or wisdom.


February 9th, 2013
10:46 am

@ Mary Elizabeth. Ole Guy is a familiar blogger on here, and usually rants before he reads. On an earlier blog here about Governor Deal’s proposal to lower the GPA required for HOPE recipients in Georgia’s technical colleges to a 2.0, Ole Guy ranted on the assumption that the Governor was proposing this for HOPE recipients in the USG schools. Ridiculous!

Mary Elizabeth

February 9th, 2013
11:11 am

Thank you for your comments, Prof.

Ole Guy

February 10th, 2013
2:16 am

Believe it or not, people, I do indeed read AND comprehend these comments to which I offer either agreement or non-agreement. It would appear that the good prof fails to recognize something which seems damn near universal…critical response resulting from critical reading. Call me arrogant, mocking, or whatever makes you cry. I’ve probably been called a few things which would most-certainly nominate me for SOB of the year, so don’t think, for one gd moment, that your “stinging” words are going to mean anything…prof.

The thrust of my observation is simply this: too many, both in the education field and within the political circus, seem to feel that by lowering the bar of minimum allowable performance standards, we do justice to a younger generation which, in not too many years, will have to run the entire economic show. By lowering these standards…by way of lowering gpa requirements…all we’re doing is sending the message to these kids that max effort, on their part, is not required. While I bow, Mary, to your experience in the field of education, I question, at the same time, the apparent result. Despite lofty efforts within education circles, we continue to see levels of failure expressed through low graduation rates, and the need, among HOPE scholars, for remedials. At some point, you, the (so-called) education elite, must start viewing your (professional) roi…are your professional inputs, upon the younger generation, yielding the desired return? You can sniff and pontificate over my arrogance all day long; if my forked-tongue comments upset your delicate sensibilities, well…too damn bad. After you have branded my comments as rantings, you can only admit (at least, to yourselves) that what you are, with all good intentions, doing apparently don’t frequin work. What I am suggesting, through my rantings, is to raise the bar to its highest level; MAKE em reach to heights they probably never thought they were capable…for that, boys and girls, and children of all ages, is what’s known as LIFE. Anything less is merely another celebration in mediocrity.

Worried about the giverupers, the folks who become discouraged and say “to hell with it”…fine, our economy will always require young people “skilled” in meniality. Those kids who want to learn; want to stretch their efforts beyond any imagined limitations will surely become the movers and shakers of the future.

Your choice, within the educational domain, is really quite simple…continue with the current practices of offering a watered-down education geared to the lowest common denominator (which has been a glaring failure), or get tough; make em want an education. Those kids ARE out there, you just gotta find em, and stop pandering to those who couldn’t give a _hit less.

John Konop

February 10th, 2013
8:22 am

Ole guy,

In all fairness, measurement of succes by using a mean numbers, in the current system is irrational.

1) In the professional fields ie CPA, Atty, Doctor……….the score level is irrelevant as you know it is based on hitting an exceptable level.

2) Must of us agree that testing should be based on aptitude not one size fit all ie would you measure a pilot based on how well they did on a CPA test?

3) The concept of IQ testing was based on aptitude during WW1 to place people in the proper jobs, not to exclude people, or put people in a one size fit all measurement system. The current system not only does not take into consideration aptitude, it does not even look at other obvious variables like language issues, special needs……..Does this make any logical sense?

In reality all we see from politicians in terms of proposals to fix the above issues is taking high end 4 year college bound students out of the system, while using an irrational measurement stick as an excuse. Back in the real world this irrational system has produced a higher drop out rate and or students without the proper skills after graduation. We have 3 million vo tech job openings today, which because of the above system we do not have trained workers. We have 50 percent of kids flunking out of 4 year colleges, many would of been better seved with a vo tech path. We have student debt piling up at a level that the jobs do not support the ratio. I am just asking for all sides to be honest about the situation, so we can fix it. Please stop with the ill though out gimmick silver bullet plan of the day ie math 123, race to the top, NCLB……….

Both sides need to stop pointing fingers and using emmtional talking points verse putting in place a rational solution. I have news more money will not fix the problem if the foundation is screwed up, and pulling the 4 year college bound kids out of the system and leaving the 80 percent behind will crash our economy over time.

Ole Guy

February 10th, 2013
10:43 am

Very good thoughts, John. While you certainly make a lot of sense, I stand firm in the (apparently antiquated) belief that EVERYONE, particularly those high school kids who, in a very short time, will embark on that journey into the mean ole world, needs to meet common standards of basic capabilities. To be sure, (employing your examples) both pilots and CPAs should be rated on functional criteria; the pilot’s vast knowledge on accounting principles has absolutely no bearing on his (or her) flying skills. However, all these professions, vocations, avocations, etc, etc lie in the common ground of basic skills honed in the years of early schooling. I am quite certain many out there will agree that their present-day toilings are rooted in the skills (and values) garnered during those early years. While the study of advanced math and science disciplines in high school may or may not have any significance in the daily performance of one’s job, they most-certainly lay the ground work for the development of mental discipline…perhaps the #1 attribute in success, both from a personal viewpoint and, more importantly, the global perspective. While it is a sure bet that we will all die someday, the world (at least for a few billion-or-so years) will continue to turn. At the risk of coming across as arogant (as the good prof has suggested), I feel that my life has been moderately successful, but, on a far grander scale, I hope that my footprints go, in some small way, as having been meaningful. THE ONLY WAY IN WHICH THESE OBJECTIVES CAN BE REALIZED IS THROUGH MENTAL DISCIPLINE. The skills that we acquire; the jobs we do all are very important, however, without that mental discipline, they all are next-to moot.

It is for this very reason that I believe, at some point, ALL students must meet certain minimum levels of proficiency, NOT in general math; NOT in general science; NOT in the myriad artificially manufactured “goals” which have been invented by the education (psuedo) elite for the sole purpose of extending, to the lazy, a feeling of accomplishment. I am the first to agree that we are all composed of different capabilities and aptitudes. At the very same time, I KNOW that people are capable of a helluva lot more than they think they are. As we age, that willingness to “stretch the envelop”, as it were, rapidly diminishes. The best time…the VERY best time.. to inculcate that willingness is in the early years; the school years. By concentrating, too early, on the (imagined) limitations, we literally cheat a generation from realizing real potential.

Mary Elizabeth

February 10th, 2013
11:09 am

@ Ole Guy, 2:16 am

You write: “After you have branded my comments as rantings, you can only admit (at least, to yourselves) that what you are, with all good intentions, doing apparently don’t frequin work. What I am suggesting, through my rantings, is to raise the bar to its highest level; MAKE em reach to heights they probably never thought they were capable. . . .Your choice, within the educational domain, is really quite simple…continue with the current practices of offering a watered-down education geared to the lowest common denominator (which has been a glaring failure), or get tough; make em want an education.”

In all due respect, Ole Guy, your words, above, reflect that you are thinking in generalities regarding educational matters. To paraphrase your words, above, you have used the word “you” to include all educators, myself included, and you have stated, therefore – by indulging in the generalized “you” – that what I had accomplished in education had not worked. In fact, what I had accomplished in my eductaional career had worked quite successfully. Moreover, you have stated that my choice is to have a “watered-down education geared to the lowest common denominator.” You are totally wrong in that perception. And, it appears to me that you persist in holding onto your erroneous perceptions.

I have often written on this blog that every student should receive instruction equivalent to his or her functioning level (regardless of how low or how high he or she is functioning at point in time) in order for that student to grow to his or her optimum level. “Optimum level” means the highest level possible. That is accomplished through smart, pinpointed instruction in which students can meet with success and can grow to the highest level each is capable of reaching, in the shortest time in which mastery learning can occur. I set no limits on students and I, too, want to see each student grow to his/her full potential – in ways each might never have thought possible. I have been a successful “builder” toward that end throughout my entire educational career. Again, you write as if you have generalized all public educational situations to have the same results, and you write as if you have “lumped” all public educational situations together, as being one and the same, in your thinking.

You stated: “While I bow, Mary, to your experience in the field of education, I question, at the same time, the apparent result.” We had excellent results, as I had mentioned, with the precise instructional placement and instruction of which I have often written and the implementation to which I was a school leader. However, fostering the continuous progress of each student’s functioning level and mastery learning has not been implemented throughout the public schools in Georgia, and that is part of the problem of Georgia’s incurring a high student drop-out rate, imo. Seeing more of Georgia’s students successfully graduate from high school is one of the reasons that I continue to write regarding educational matters.

If you genuinely want to learn about instruction, in depth, then please take the time to read my educational essays from my personal blog. I have written nine of these educational essays, to date. Read, also, of the personal stories of students Cyndie and Robert, which are found on my blog. I will provide you with the link to my most recent educational essay, essay #9, on “Mary Elizabeth Sings,” below:


February 10th, 2013
12:17 pm

Ole Guy in his posts always seems to operate from the same assumptions.

Not only are “all men created equal” but all men are created the same, with the same intelligences, mental capabilities, and psychological backgrounds…which mysteriously are very much the same as his own; and his life has been “moderately successful” and “meaningful” (as he tells us above). So with just enough effort, everyone should be successful, as he has been.

Today’s generation of youngsters are lazy, self-absorbed, and unwilling to work hard for success, unlike Ole Guy’s elder generation, also known as “the baby-boomers.” They are the ones who fought in the Vietnam War, broke through the racial barriers with the Civil Rights Movement, and began the technological revolution. (They also popularized the phenomenon of recreational drug use, unmentioned by him.)

Today’s K-12 education simply panders to today’s lazy youngsters, who need–more than anything else– a good swift “kick to their sixes” when they get out of line in the classroom. Failure to learn to read or to master mathematics is simply due to “lack of MENTAL DISCIPLINE,” as he states above.

Today’s K-12 education is useless and without standards, for the teachers all fear their students and refuse to organize into teachers’ unions–which Ole Guy, as a former Air Force pilot in the Vietnam War, would certainly do if he were a teacher.

If only today’s youth, students, and educators could be more like Ole Guy!

John Konop

February 10th, 2013
2:12 pm

Ole Guy,

I am 50 years old, when I graduated high school only about 10 percent went on to a 4 year college. Today we send over 30 percent to a 4 year college. The bell curve tells us about only 20 percrnt of students should be in a 4 year college program. And the goal under NCLB is to have a 100 percent of students ready for a 4 year program.

the above approach of pushing students beyound limits has created the following problems:

1) Increaee drop out rate

2) School cost has skyrocketed trying to track, implement and service the kids to stop them from dropping out……..

3) The drop outs are draining resources via unemployment, low paying jobs, welfare, prison……..

4) We have 3 million job openings in vo tech fields, which if we had trained graduates would help fuel the economy……

In an ideal utopia world you are correct, and parents should listen to you. But in the real world we are dealing with numerous dysfunctional family situations……..I do think if you read what Mary has written, is a very realistic approach pushing aptitude based education over a one size fit all approach that cannot be implemented via aptitude, family issues……..

You are right about reaching for the sky, but as in business with employees you have to be realistic about skill level, family situations………

Ole Guy

February 10th, 2013
2:54 pm

Hey lookey here, prof…the 60’s gen was just as screwed up as any group of kids, past present or future. We’re all “hardwired”, from birth, to do stuff in manners not in keeping with getting the job done. Often times, MY elders, the teachers of the 60’s, had to get pretty hard-nosed, particularly with cement heads like yours truly. While one could easily point out the (so-called) pushovers…teachers whose priorities were in being liked over being respected…my most memorable mentors were tough (often, perhaps, just a bit too tough, bordering on…shivers…questionable fairness) and demanding.

I don’t know what you’re trying to get across with your moronic tyraid of hidden insults. To be perfectly honest, I’m having a hard time convincing myself if you are, indeed, qualified to assume your nom de plume. IF you are, indeed, associated, in any way whatsoever, with (what passes for) education, I think I can better understand some of the reasons which lie behind the morass with which these kids must contend every time they walk into a classroom.

There are many things, attributable to my gen, for which I hold a degree of unease, if not downright shame. While I, personally, was not involved in the drug culture, I knew many who fell to the scourge of this era; I did nothing to dispell the behaviors of my peers, but rather felt the need to remain “cool”. When my friends decided to engage in (seemingly harmless) drug activity, I simply excused myself with the comment that I would meet them at So-and-So’s Bar. While many of these folks are, today, just a bunch of ole farts (like yours truly) looking back on mis-spent youths (again, like yours truly), we all (well, MOST of us) share one commonality: at some point in our sorry lives, we finally got our _hit together and made something of ourselves, and at the same time, maybe…just maybe…contributed something for those who followed…just as (I like to think) my Dad’s gen, despite all the pain-in-the-six crap, left for my contemporaries and me.

As I continue to read…and re-read…your entirely ridiculous words, I truly feel great sorrow for the up-coming generation. Judging from your nom de plume, I must gather that you occupy some influential post within the educational circus.

When I was going through the teacher prep program (a long-ago abandoned 3rd career endeavour), I felt somewhat uneasy at the notion that my fellow students…mostly young girls…and I were being fed what appeared to be pie-in-the-sky ideals concerning motivation and objectives. Kids, it would seem, over the last 30-odd years, somehow became magnets of knowledge. There was no need to become demanding of minimum acceptable results because…”well, little johnny’s doing his very best, and that’s all we can expect”. Compounding this horrific scenario of late 20th/early 21st century education, (ostensible) leaders, LIKE YOU, fully ascribe to this notion; worse yet, by creating all this catorization of “at risk”, and the alphabet soup of “acceptable reasons” for mediocrity…learning-disabled, limited capabilities, etc, adnauseum, YOU have both provided (in the minds of youth) an acceptable reason for mediocrity, and a reason to “skate”…to NOT have to push beyond (imagined) boundries.

Congratulations, prof. You’re doin’ a helluva job, as evidenced by the stellar performance of today’s youth.

Mary, I truly appreciate your detailed response. I know the frustration of…best efforts notwithstanding…you see little in the way of results. Your successes, therefore, spur you on to continue.

My comments are of a general nature for the very reason that I, as a pilot, would neither want, nor welcome, comments from my (non-aviator) passengers on how to…say…find my way from point A to point B. I would expect my passengers to to be concerned in two things ONLY: a safe flight and on-time arrival. If anyone starts telling me how to go about the many procedures in aviating, I’ll throw em’the hell off my aeroplane. By the very same token, it would appear that the teacher corps has become accostomed to receiving input from just about every corner: parents, legislators, and even educational administrators who may or may not 1) hold licensure, much less been in a classroom for umpteen years, and/or 2) may have no earthly idea of what’s going on in that particular classroom.

Every time I read some forlorn teacher’s remarks about “can’t do this; can’t do that”, I wanna puke.

Here’s a civics lesson in applied politics: Who do politicians listen to? Who do politicians react favorably toward? The tea-and-crumpet organizations…PAGE and any number of money-taking outfits which pose as organizations whose efforts lie in the best interests of teachers and education, probably serve a purpose, but it is certainly not in serving as a political force of educational reform. Politicians, at both fed and state levels, whose only knowledge about education is the fact that they, to, went to school, try to tell you WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and when the educational boat runs aground, you, the teacher corps, has no other recourse than to “take your spankings” in the form layoffs, idiotic rating systems, and the ever-intrusive edicts (ala No Child…) which must all combine to, at best, impact teacher morale and, by extension, performance.

So the next time I read of the dismal high school and college graduating stats, I can rest assured that Mary E’s essay…sings.

Ole Guy

February 10th, 2013
3:09 pm

Thanks for your comments, John. I recognize the fact that there are many forces at work, in today’s arena, which present problems. Those very same problems, however, will not go away, nor will they subside any time soon. Therefore, it only makes sense to employ a survival of the fittest approach in preping kids for the future. As cruel as this may sound, ole Darwin must have been on to something. How many truly capable kids must contend with the LCD/Lowest Common…approach to education? The ole saw about leading a horse to water is very true. Just as you can’t force that horse to drink the water, you can mandate that all kids walk into that classroom, but how many are truly willing to belly up to the bar and take a drink of educational brew?

I’ve had the experience of seeing, and experiencing, some growth; some levels of achievement, which seemed all but unreachable. The paths to these achievements are not always smooth; not always…pleasant, and certainly invoke some expenditure of sweat and tears. As politically unsavory as this may seem, it’s THE ONLY WAY to achieve results. Anything less is simply fooling ourselves, not to mention an entire generation.

John Konop

February 10th, 2013
3:26 pm

Ole Guy,

I have no doubt you would drive results no matter what you did! And if all my employees had your drive life would be easier…… I am sure you know about the 80/20 rule……..

Mary Elizabeth

February 10th, 2013
3:40 pm

Ole Guy, I do appreciate your complimentary words to me, but I must tell you that you are mistaken about Prof. Prof is the scholarly author of several books, an erudite college professor, as well as a no-nonsense professor who insists upon high standards being met from college students. Prof has much to offer today’s college students, as well as the readers of this blog.


February 10th, 2013
4:08 pm

I will speak more plainly.

This repetitive exchange began when Ole Guy stated: “Those students who fail to maintain a level of proficiency in those skill areas (reedin, ratin, an rithmitic) which are crucial to maintaining an economy…why…they should all be afforded some slack. Rather than DEMANDING they reach a level of minimum proficiency, they should all go forth, basking in the knowledge that they (done) did their best, when, in reality, they…once again…have learned to play the system like a fiddle. “_hit, man…why should I bust my ass wasting time in study when I can be out pissing my life away; just getting by enough to “git da muny”.

Once again, this entire line of reasoning by the…Honorable Deal…and anyone who’s foolish enough to applaud this nonsensical journey into the land of mediocrity…is nothing short of pure unadulterated _hit.”

What is wrong with an education from a technical college and the skilled labor job that results from it? Why is college a necessary goal for all students, no matter what their interests and ranges of intelligence? There can be many reasons why students don’t have a 3.0 average in high school that have nothing to do with their industry, as Mary Elizabeth points out. Furthermore, a large number of students who enroll in the technical colleges have long been out of high school and are over 40. They are not simply slackers.

You may be very industrious, Ole Guy, and evidently had little trouble maintaining a 3.0 grade average 40 or 50 years ago; but not everyone is you. You may value work in one of the professions over work in a skilled trade, but not everyone is you.

It seems, well, undemocratic, to sneer at those who do not have the grades to get into college and who wish to go to technical college instead, for that is what you are doing. Darwin holds that the real lesson of the survival of the fittest is that that survival depends upon adaptation to change. It seems to me that is what these students who wish to go to Georgia’s technical colleges are trying to do. And I am glad that Gov. Deal wishes to change the rules for HOPE to make them more realistically suited to these students.

John Konop

February 10th, 2013
4:25 pm


In all due respect it seems all of us agree more than we disagree. And on the core concept of aptitude based education we all agree. in my opinion Ole Guy is a driver, which we need for pushing the system……You are very grounded, and we could use more like you in your world over the cloud in sky crowd……Both of you working in the system would improve the situation…….And all of us agree Mary is spot on!


February 10th, 2013
6:51 pm

Mary Elizabeth, thanks very much for vouching for my veracity.

Mary Elizabeth

February 10th, 2013
7:14 pm

You are most welcome, Prof. You are highly respected on the blog and in your profession.

Mary Elizabeth

February 10th, 2013
7:17 pm

@ John Konop, 4:25 pm

“. . .And all of us agree Mary is spot on!”

Thank you for that compliment, John. Much appreciated!

Ole Guy

February 10th, 2013
8:14 pm

OK, folks…we’ve had the time to exchange a few thoughts, engage in some verbal wrestling and, following a few literary punches, come to realize that we all just may be singing the same song, perhaps in different ranges and octaves, but essentially, the same song. We’ve even suggested a few thoughts; perhaps a few suspicions concerning our respective (as we call em in the military) duty billets/jobs.

While I cannot extend any-and-all respects to educators enough, my position remains firm. While the educational fabric is saturated with professionals in possession of some rather impressive credentials, and of apparent dedication to the “mission” at hand…prepping a new generation in order that they might face the 21st century armed with the skills and confidence they’ll need…somehow…it simply don’t seem to be working. Yet, those who find themselves in the middle of the fray…educational ground zero, if you will…seem stubbornly affixed to procedures which…ain’t cutin’ it.

Mary, I have no doubt that the prof is a great guy; that his (or her) credentials are beyond reproach. However, with all due respects, those credentials just possibly could be akin to the credential of #1 saddle maker, a valuable skill held in high regard during an era preceding the invention of the horse carriage. Ever since the invention of the little red school house, there have always been winners and there have always been losers…while some manage to find their pot of gold, as it were, others never get out of the starting gate, and are relegated to lives of desperation. While this most-certainly does not paint a pretty picture, it is, for good, bad, or ugly, a fact of life.

Just as I, or any competent aviator, would never want to share the skies with peers of sub-minimum capabilities, why should we be content to allow a generation, borne of substandard education, to assume critical roles within an economy which certainly cannot afford too many more hicups as it is.

Many within the educational domain seem to spurn the (so-called) one-size-fits-all approach to education…WHY NOT? What’s wrong with a work force which, regardless of profession or vocation, can communicate with the rest of the world in both written and verbal formats…without coming across as a bunch of hicks who just fell off the hay wagon. Whats wrong with a work force, armed with the basics of a few advanced courses in applied sciences, which can better understand this crazy world, and maybe even be able to offer a contribution or two for the generation THEY will surely leave. Are you educational elites going to simply wring your hands, publish your books and findings, and then hold your breath and hope it all works. There’s a little something called FOLLOWTHROUGH…remember that scientific approach thing where you get to identify the variable, the constant, and, of course, the result…you get to adjust the variable until the desired result is achieved. Well, I certainly don’t see much in the way of desired result, yet you, the educational house, seem intent on maintaining the very educational variable which simply don’t work.

NCLB held the notion that everyone’s a winner…just like the carnival barker whose hidden agenda is revenue enhancement through the sales of tickets. By the very same token, politicians view education as simply the cash cow through which millions/billions are funneled through any-and-all “vendors” under the guise of educational reform. Meanwhile, the educational elites (again, with all due respect) can only publish and pontificate upon the educational dogma of the day…whatever the politically popular snake oil happens to be.

As I believe I’ve indicated previously, through my impromptu civics lesson, legislators only react (favorably) to politically-powerful special interest groups. Unfortunately, no one, within the education camp, has bothered to initiate this action, relying instead on those tea-and-crumpet organizations, which, on the political front, have absolutely no influence. While I read, with great interest, some of the thoughts of educators, I have to wonder just exactly what mechanism might be in place which just might convert these wonderful thoughts into practical results. While educators…those presumed to be the subject matter experts on matters of education… continue to publish, pontificate and write beautiful essays fully deserving of national acclaim, NOTHING OF ANY MEANINGFUL SIGNIFICANCE HAPPENS. And all you, the educational camp, can come up with is…”oh my, you’re so arrogant”.

An extremely arrogant approach to the problems of the moment allowed this young man to strap the machine onto the helipad and belly up to the bar, far far more preferable to making a smoking hole in the jungle floor. While these kids, hopefully, will never have to face the utter nonsense of armed conflict, they will surely be compelled to face economic ” wars” on the home front; both personal and civic well-being will be THEIR responsibility, and theirs alone. Perhaps you might consider putting the publications down for just a minute or two while you come up with a WORKABLE game plan.

Gifted Girl

February 11th, 2013
8:31 am

Hello, I am a little leary of venturing into this argument however as an Instructor at a technical COLLEGE here I feel it imperative to speak. While understanding that HOPE has played a significant role in the enrollment game, I believe, that standards are important. We should want and expect student coming in to have a certain level of proficiency while coming in. This is indeed college and while there has been debate about that….we do teach physics and calculus (4 year college level) at the technical level. We are in the business of preparing students for some pretty high level jobs as well as those that have been mentioned on this blog. We teaching engineering technology, design media production, computer information systems (CISCO certifications), criminal justice just to name a few. What I would like to see is the switch go off in the minds of those making decisions that directly affect thousands of students, is that technical college is not the same as it was “back in the day”. Students are necessarily showing up on our campus because they couldn’t get into a 4 year college. Students are choosing to attend a technical college because they know that are going to leave with usable skills and in many cases an inside track for a good job and the beginnings of a career.

The Technical College System of Georgia has long been regarded and treated as the “red haired step child” of the education system. I believe the time has come, especially with all the Governors programs aimed at supplying employee to the many business relocating here, for technical colleges to be at the forefront of the educational scene. Students should be the primary focus. The HOPE grant requirements are important. Students should make the effort to meet the criteria., whatever they are, if they really want to continue their education.

GT Alumna

February 11th, 2013
9:04 am

2.0. Aspiring to achieve a C average in order to receive the HOPE scholarship. Georgia is an embarrassment. We should spend this money more wisely.


February 11th, 2013
10:55 am

@ GT Alumna.

The HOPE scholarship IS NOT THE SAME as the HOPE Grant. Bloggers here keep making this mistake. The University System of Georgia is a separate system from the Technical Colleges System, and both receive funding from the state legislature. The HOPE Grant for the technical schools is completely different from the HOPE fellowship for the USG schools. One is a scholarship for students in USG colleges and universities. The other is a grant for students in the state’s technical colleges. They are two very different student populations.

I am very glad to hear from Gifted Girl who has first-hand experience with technical schools and their students, and knows their present reality, not the one of years ago.

I agree with her that these technical colleges deserve state support just as do the USG schools; and I applaud the bipartisan effort by the Governor and the state legislature to restore HOPE eligibility for these technical college students.


February 11th, 2013
11:02 am

@ Ole Guy. I will only answer to say that I am not a Professor in the field of Education, but in one of the “content” fields. Your negative comments seem to be about K-12 education (NCLB, etc.), but none of your criticisms really are pertinent for higher education.

GT Alumna

February 11th, 2013
11:23 am

@ Prof,
You are correct in that I labeled it wrong. That said, they still are aspiring to a C average. IMO, that stinks.


February 11th, 2013
11:27 am

@ GT Alumna. There is another difference between the HOPE Grant and the HOPE Scholarship. The Grant covers tuition for 63 semester hours; and the Scholarship covers tuition for 127 semester hours. I believe that the Technical Colleges are 2-year schools (correct me if I’m wrong here, Gifted Girl), while the USG colleges and Universities are 4-year and up schools. Of course, this also means that the sums of money involved for the two categories are very different, with the HOPE Grants being far less.

Ole Guy

February 11th, 2013
10:00 pm

Prof, I suspect that you, and perhaps a good many others, may be suffering from the can’t-see-the-forest -for-the-trees syndrom. Regardless of your credentials involving…or not involving…education, you apparently have a great interest in the topic for, perhaps, the very same reasons I do. We both know that (quite literally) the continuation of civilization, as we have come to know and enjoy it’s fruits, is in great eminent peril. While we, who have been fortunate in preparing for the day we no longer must assume a viable role in that civilization, may not (personally) care, we most-certainly care for the younger generations who, like us in our budding youths, only want opportunity; opportunity which is predicated on a sound education.

In your can’t-see-the-forrest-for-the-trees assessment of my “forked tongue” comments and criticisms, you apparently fail to perceive the critical elements of my views…views which, though not worthy of polite tea-and-crumpet conversation, are intended to elicit a “gd-it, the educational house is afire and all your interested in is making sure the curtains don’t get dirty” response. Educators persist in fretting over the minituae of the educational process while ignoring the big picture. While the educational boat takes on the waters of denial, many teachers simply jump ship…seeing the obvious futility which has infested the the entire process…a process which seems to have worked quite well for past generations…despite the many “generational sins” we have left.

Perhaps, despite your lofty professorial status, you are simply unwilling…perhaps even unable…to connote my criticisms to the current educatioal status…FAILING. While the fires rage, and the waters continue to rise, far far too many (seemingly) responsible folks remain fixed…like deer in the headlights…on the cozy and the familiar, the alphabet soup aray of programs, tests and impossible mandates.

None of my criticisms are pertinent to higher education? Sleep well, Prof. Continue doing that which you apparently do so well…publish and pontificate.


February 12th, 2013
10:49 am

@ Ole Guy. You too, my friend.


February 12th, 2013
2:15 pm

GT Alumna- I agree that a 2.0 requirement for a Hope Grant is ridiculous. That would mean that anyone in my kid’s high school who graduates could go to a technical college as there are no “D” grades given. If you don’t earn a C , you don’t pass. There would be absolutely no incentive for them to do more than just pass! I am a parent of a college student and 2 soon to be college students. They all work hard to maintain good grades. They know what life has in store for them if they don’t. Ole Guy, I don’t agree with everything you say, but I do agree with a lot of it. Mary Elizabeth, I understand what you are saying too. I just don’t think every solution you suggest is possible. I wish it were possible.
The ever changing Hope requirements began when the state started cutting money to the University system. The Board of Regents had to raise tuition, which depleted lottery funds that were used for Hope faster, which caused the more stringent requirements for Hope in order to keep it afloat. It’s really just about two bodies of power hungry cronies playing chicken and our kids are in the road between them. This latest tinkering with the Hope Grant GPA is just more of the same dysfunctional manipulation. The cycle will continue until the state does the right thing by restoring state money to the University system.


February 12th, 2013
3:06 pm

@ Shel. Those recipients of HOPE Grants also have to maintain a 2.0 GPA while at their technical college; and as Gifted Girl says above: ‘technical college is not the same as it was “back in the day”.’ If the students were as bad as you suggest in their high school classes, they won’t last long.

And while your children obviously are college material and work hard, there are many who are wired differently. As Gifted Girl also writes above about the students who had a high school GPA from 2.0- 2.9: “Students are necessarily showing up on our campus because they couldn’t get into a 4 year college. Students are choosing to attend a technical college because they know that are going to leave with usable skills and in many cases an inside track for a good job and the beginnings of a career.”

That seems laudable to me.


February 17th, 2013
5:53 pm

Technical colleges are NOT the for-profit “virginia college” type places. They are where you learn plumbing, electrician, brick mason, heating and air repair, auto repair, etc. These are jobs that dont get “outsourced”, are good paying, and skills that many companies have a hard time finding. I got my degree from Middle Ga Tech several years ago and now I own two small businesses and do fine. College isnt for everyone. Ive seen folks with degrees working as grocery cashiers.