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Keep moving forward in state education
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      I read the article in (a paper last week) called “Solution to Education Budget is Temporary”. What a sad and depressing article this was. It seemed to me that the person writing it had completely given up all hope regarding our Georgia budget issues; Thrown in the towel.
      We always have the choice of looking for the positive or the negative in any given situation, and granted, we need to be very aware of the problems in any given set of circumstances, but we also need to be able to look for solutions, and seek out the positive.
      Sonny Perdue is quoted as saying, “The challenges for the 2012 budget are very real, and they are significant..….they (people) need to understand we have propped up our budget with the use of those federal stimulus dollars.”
      It is troubling that our Georgia State government “propped up” the budget with these funds, but did not adequately use the past year to create an effective plan as to how to ensure that educational systems would remain strong next year. We need to be thinking ahead and not continually acting in a tertiary manner; which means acting only when it becomes a crisis.
      Quality education for our students has GOT to be the focus. The very last paragraph of this article offered some good insight. It basically said that we ought to look at the degree to which taxpayer dollars actually do – or should- dictate how well students perform in the classroom. That’s a very interesting statement.
      For decades, students performed quite well in many areas of the country without having such large budgets.
      There are certain things that should be protected in the budget first and foremost. Bulloch County has some topnotch teachers. We ought to be giving them job security, and not making class sizes so large that teachers can not possibly teach using differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction means understanding that every child does not learn the same way, or at the same speed. Therefore teachers do not try to put all learners in one box.
      If the state of Georgia would look at the possibility of dumping the CRCT tests, it would save the state a large sum of money. Yes there is more to that than meets the eye, but NCLB has been tabled in Congress for 2 years now, and is relatively dormant by this time. On top of that, the Federal government promised to fund most of these tests, and has not met that promise; allowing the cost to fall directly on the shoulders of the states.
      Our Arts programs are also vital to the success of our students. We have some of the top Arts programs in the state right here in Bulloch County. I recently read an article that talked about high risk students and the fact that Arts and Athletic programs have literally saved some of these kids from dropping out.
In a state that has been concerned about the drop out rate, we seem to overlook the value of many of the best programs we have. I supposed I could write another letter just on my theory on the drop out rate.
      If we are wise, we will begin looking now at what we need to do in Bulloch County, as well as at the state level, in order to assure that we keep moving forward in education and not back. There is so much we can do to create positive change in our educational system. We can’t continue to burden the taxpayers, we’ve got to get innovative in creating funding, and we absolutely must not ever sacrifice giving our children the best quality of education we are capable of. We haven’t even reached that goal yet.
Susan Sneathen

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