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Your child gets left behind

It is interesting that, in economic tough times, Gov. Sonny Perdue has decided to furlough teachers. Aren’t these same teachers the ones responsible for bringing up Georgia’s various test scores to some level above those of a third world country where they stand now? Our public education system is a mess. We’ve put in plan after plan ‘“ QBE, NCLB, etc. ‘“ to try to drag non-performing students out of the mire. We demand performance of school systems, schools and individual teachers and administrators but we never demand performance from students or ‘“ most importantly ‘“ their parents. Parents simply must be involved for the public education model to work and involved parents have the right to demand their kids not be held back by the poor performance of those whose parents are not. We also need to drop the ridiculous expectation that special ed students test to the same level of their ‘˜normal’ peers. Parents of special ed students also need to realize and accept that Harvard is likely not in their child’s future and move on. Here is the bare bones schematic of a plan to drastically cut school costs and improve academic performance. I call it Your Child Gets Left Behind (YCGLB). First, we halt bus transportation service for students who live within 10 miles of their school. We bend this rule only for the handicapped, saving millions annually in fuel and bus maintenance costs. Parents can drag themselves out of bed and get their kids to school and they will likely become more involved with the school and the child’s education as a result. If you can’t get your child to school, YCGLB. Where bus service is offered, there will be designated bus stops. Picking up kids at the end of every driveway is an expense the taxpayers can no longer afford. Can’t get your kids to the stop? YCGLB. We shut down the ultimate wasteful entitlement ‘“ school nutrition programs. In Lamar County, over 68% of the students qualify for free and reduced price breakfast and lunch service. If you think all those kids would go hungry without that program, you have drunk the Kool-Aid and will soon be toes-up outside the big tent at Jim Jones’ place. We will give your kid cold cereal in warm weather, oatmeal in cold and a piece of fruit for breakfast. No school kitchens mean huge savings. Lunch is PBJ and milk. Doesn’t suit you? Pack the kid’s lunch or YCGLB. We halt the ridiculously wasteful summer feeding programs that extend the free food outside of school and use that money to buy books. Not computers or smart boards. Books. Your child learns to read at or above grade level or YCGLB. We allow one failed grade at each school level ‘“ primary, elementary, middle and high. That’s a max of 16 years at taxpayer expense. Your kid fails more than that, you go to a tuition based program for which you pay the full cost. If you won’t make that a funding priority, YCGLB. All summer school programs will be tuition based. The taxpayers paid for the regular school year. Your kid didn’t make it, you pay for summer sessions or YCGLB. We eliminate remedial programs at all state-funded colleges immediately. They have no business whatsoever teaching stuff your kid should have learned in high school. If you want your kid to go to college, you pay to have him tutored to the point he is ready. If you can’t cut that, YCGLB. Sure this is simplistic but it makes more sense than what is happening now. We must demand student performance. We must insist upon parent involvement. And we must cut costs. We’ve tried it the soft-hearted way in which we emphasize student self-esteem. It has been a massive, exorbitantly expensive failure and left our public education a shell of what it once was. Do you have a better idea?

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