Morning Reads:13 January 2014

Let the whirlwind begin, the Legislative session starts today.


Georgia public schools on the cusp of a funding crisis.
Speaking of which, education is going to be a big deal this session.
Gov. Deal looks to privatizing DFCS.
Here’s where the ESPLOST dollars went in Savannah.
Why don’t we have this already?


A liberal trend in America’s new class of mayors?
Things have not been good for folks in West Virginia after the chemical spill.
SCOTUS may hear case about Obama’s recess appointments.
US open to new stage in relationship with Cuba.
Iran and six party talks continue to advance.

Everything Else

I am at a loss for words.
The Beatles and Public Policy. This is absolutely brilliant.


    • John Konop says:

      ……….Schools at a breaking point after years of cuts?…….


      This is what I have been proposing for years that would improve quality and lower cost. I have presented the idea to different groups from pro Tea Party, GOP, moderates…… like the comments on the AJC article most parents agree.

      ……….Sharing resources across our higher education system (colleges, universities, community colleges, and vocational schools) and our high schools will substantially answer these challenges. The goal is to create clear and cohesive vocational and college prep paths starting as soon as the 9th grade.

      New vocational tracks will allow high school students to attend local vocational schools to receive marketable job training and a high school diploma. The requirements for graduation/certification should be set by the current accepted vocational/community college system. Students that pass a state-approved vocational school program earn a high school diploma, regardless of whether they have or not they have met all of the high school’s other curriculum requirements………..

      • Ellynn says:

        I give you Lt. Cagle’s pet project… funding source was through the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and located on the Effingham Campus of Savannah Technical College

        Of course you’re still going to hate this… since the students still need to pass basic English, Algebra I, Geometery, basic Biology and basic US history. Some course require even high classes to pass…

        As a side note, some of us (I mean ME) love solving Polynomial Equations (FOIL is our friend) who couldn’t pass a basic high school grammer test if their life depended on it. Yet I still had to make it through basic english before ‘they’ would let me into my advance Trig , Architectural design, Art IV and AP 17-19th English Lit classes I took my senior year.

        • John Konop says:

          …………basic English, Algebra I, geometry, basic Biology and basic US history………..

          The concepts for the above classes are imbedded in the program, based on the certificate and or 4 year college track. Many students learn concepts easier they are part of their core interest, and have to use very critical thinking to solve problems….. ie to give a shot you need to know ratios, biology…….At the end is it not more important the students have the tangible knowledge for a job, not a one size fit all system that does not correlate to the end result? It seems instead of looking at this from what the end user needs ie carrier skills, we have the education establishment wanting to tell the business community what they need. This is very illogical…..All they are promoting is a redundant expenses and a disjointed system that leaves students behind.

          • Ellynn says:

            Before you imbed a concept you still need the educational building blocks to even get to the concept. Example, most contractors use basic algebra and geometry in their daily working lives. My cousin will tell you he doesn’t under Algerbia and it was useless to him, but he can use a right triangle to build a house. Do they understand the concept because even with a D in Algebra I in 8th garde,they were still exposed to how to figure out the lengeths of a right triangle before they watched a 10th grade tech teacher explain it?

            So how does CORE, a system designed by end users (business coumunities) and education providers at all levels, which creates basic minium requirements for what business comunities believe a skilled work force needs, effects what you are asking in your article? Keep in mind, one of the three biggest anti-talking points to CORE is that in some systems it is lower basic requirements or moves around the grade level which that class is taken. Core allows others to exceed the requirements, but “basic English, Algebra I, geometry…” as still the bench marks for basic testing.

            How do you think we should measure basic knowledge?

            • John Konop says:

              First, the core knowledge needed for a certificate has already been approved to get the certificate needed. We really do not need to reinvent the wheel.

              Second, many people learn much better with context…..many people do not even realize the skills they have which can be fostered when they get the end point of it….I train people all the time using math and economic concepts they did not know they have…..the key is a lot of time just applying to what they understand…

              Third, the concept of aptitude gets confused with intelligence…..the test to become a mechanic should not be the same to cut hair, lawyer……all have different skills….instead shooting low ie basic generic concept….it should be based on certificate that ties to skill…..I have respect for people cutting my hair……should everyone have basic hair cutting skills to graduate?

              Finally, the basic concept punishes AP track students as well…Why do we need CC testing from 7th grade on? We slow them down every year to train and take end of year testing unrelated to what they are learning? None of the top countries in the world in education do this, they do way less end of year national testing, and it is track based. If a student is already taking algebra 1 in 7th grade, what value is giving this kid a CC test? No company would waste the money and time……The only winners are the testing companies a 50 billion dollar industry post No Child Left Behind! I am not saying in younger grade we do not test and evaluate, but by working from the end user side, instead of the current model you would get way better results.

              • Ellynn says:

                Here’s the problem with your idea – it only works if a child knows what he wants to do for the next 40 years of his life at the age of 14. He might want to be a mechanic, but until he takes phycic, he might know he has the interest or the skill to be an engineer. If you don’t challenge a child, they do moy know what they can do. You might have a writer, but if they are not exposed to advance writing or read something like Hawthorne because at 14 they decided to become a mason and went to a school for a certifiacate because it was ‘easier then doing homework”, what service have we done?

                The issue on testing become conflicted when it started to become a cut off instead of a measure. Many states in the 60’s to the end of the 90’s used CAT and other tests of the day as measuring sticks to what a large group of people knew on any given day. My school system did K-6 testing then 8, 10 & 12 testing. It gave the system a measure and in cases of indivisual students it could give a view into learning issues or helping to advance a child. It was never you as a reason to pass or fail a student. It was not until states like Texas and Floridia started using the test as a cut off to a child passing a grade, a teacher getting a raise, and in 2001, a school system getting federal – that the test became the curriculum instead of the measure. In our rush to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent “well”, we made testing more important then learning.

                The funny thing is, in alot of midwest states in the 70’s and 80’s, what you are looking to create was in practice. My own school had electric, mechinical and sheet metal departments under written by the local tech college and was funded by private grants from local companies, like Brigs and Stration, Mercury Marine, Whirlpool, Wisconsin Central Railroad. Some of it was paid for by union locals. When Reagonics killed the rust belt in the 1980’s it took the vocational training along with it.

                • John Konop says:

                  In all due respect, we must break down the problem to understand the best solutions.

                  1) The bell curve in IQ tells us about 20% of students should go to a top 4 year college. BTW even the best education system in the world produce at this rate. And when you compare our 20% with the world we are doing very good.

                  2) The next 20% should be in a high level vo-tech school or a mid level 4 year college…..this is about the same results in this best education system in the world…this is the place we start going down hill….

                  3) The other 60% should be in a vocational/skills program…..this is what the best education system in the world produces…..and the place we are falling way behind…..

                  The biggest shortage in our economy is about 1,5mm skilled workers we do not have via the one size fit all NCLB policy…..No matter what you do some students will fall through the cracks….and we created the JC system for students to get a second shot….but if you talk with any in the front lines ie teachers most will tell you we are pounding to many square pegs into round holes…most of us are not well rounded, but have an aptitudes…..which can be translated into skills to pay the bills….You need to walk in the shoes of the non top 4 year college level students….and than you would see what I am saying….

                  Finally, I saw this work well in my county for AP level students….why not give the same options to other track students?

                  • Ellynn says:

                    As the only college educated person on one side of my family and one of three on the other (one was my mother who was a second grade teacher), I am the child and grandchild of high skilled vocational workers and farmers. I don’t live in an ivory tower. I still remember how much the shoes hurt my feet when I walked the road of skilled vocational work (four 12 hour shifts 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every week for 14 weeks for 4 summers for QuadGraphics, plus weekend shifts for Smuckers on the 3 till done shift) to help pay for my private art school and then my professional degrees.

                    If I did things your way, I would have listened to my english teacher when I was 14 and gotten a vocational level education like my father, brother, the aunts, the uncles and the cousins did. I’m not saying their education or job is bad or less then mine. My uncle melted steal for the age of 18 until 65 so everyone can go fishing with their Mercury engines and made over $60,000 a year when he retired. I can’t imagine my brother doing anything other then working out doors. By instead of listening to Mr English teacher, I suffered through high school level english classes I hated (never got better then a D+ until I had AP lit classes my senor year and no longer took spelling tests). I was lucky – I was very good at math and as long as I got A’s in that and art, they pulled me through high school with a 2.85 average and a scholarship to SCAD. Today, that GPA is not even enough to get me HOPE in this state. But my brother, the lumber jack, still had to take basic English. So did my cousin (the current head of the high school lunch sevice), and my uncle the steel worker.

                    FYI, I hate NCLB. Again, you need to use testing as the measure, not as the point of passing and funding. If I grew up in the current era of NCLB and art funding cuts, I would be in your vocational world, because I would have no other options.

                    • John Konop says:

                      On a macro more students are being denied the vocational option or have to pay a ridiculous amount to pay for it, which they could of gotten in high school. Had you been able to take a high level English class earlier it might of sparked your interest. Also, you may have been sparked latter in your life and the JC system is there for you. Finally the data backs up my point….on a macro we are doing fine with high level 4 year college students….the other 80% is the problem……I never said no basics….I am just pointing people via their option to a direction to drastically lower drop out rates, help create much needed skilled workers, improve quality for 4 year college bound or higher and lower cost.

                    • mpierce says:

                      1/3 of Georgia high school students don’t graduate. Do we really want to try to force feed imaginary numbers, matrices, etc to those who have little desire and/or aptitude? Maybe they would be better off spending more time reviewing geometry and algebra 1 in an applied vocational mathematics course. Maybe they would find technical writing more valuable than iambic pentameter.

  1. saltycracker says:

    Education: We spend more money per pupil than any other country in the world for bad results, the U.S. is well down the global chart and Georgia is in the lower ranks of the U.S.

    Be interesting to see the tax impact on households to support our system. Not to mention the “savings” derived from the transfer of costs to parents on school related functions or private schools. Parents have not seen tax/cost reductions relative to the school’s complaint.

    We have an edu-bureaucratic system redirecting resources from classroom teachers and students while avoiding a needed fundamental change of how/what we teach. Teachers today have more career options and perhaps we need to pay more but expect them to work a few more years. Hard to blame them for wanting to be “retired” with great benefits and enjoy anything else by their early 50’s. but that cheats our children and our pocketbook.

    The case could be made that education gets too much money for the dumbing down results and mismanaged budgets . Unfortunately the edu-cratic response is to cut where it hurts, the kids, classroom teachers, the public and the nation.

  2. Scott65 says:

    Looks like congress is trying to give Pres. Obama fast track on the TPP. This is an awful treaty that needs to be stopped. When things like this come up I have to laugh at those that think Obama is some sort of liberal socialist. If anything, he has shown himself to be a corporatist…leaning right.

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