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Tuesday, 27 September 2011


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Barbara Stratton

The reference to the consolidation process which produced a magnet school in Troupe Co. without any improvements in general academic or financial improvement takes me back to my first CUEE meeting experience. It was held at the new Valdosta Boys & Girls Club. VDT news articles stated the meeting would be to discuss consolidation. However, at the meeting questions concerning consolidation were strictly forbidden. We watched the movie "Waiting for Superman" which depicted several students vying for selection into charter or magnet schools to escape the ills of public education. The ones who were selected were ecstatic, while the ones who were not chosen were devastated & forced to remain in the evil public school systems. Much of the movie involved problems with teacher unions. When it was pointed out to the hired facilitator, Steve Prigohzey, that Valdosta/Lowndes doesn't have the illustrated union problems, he appeared surprised. Clearly he was not hired for his ability to familiarize himself with the local educational issues, but he did present a great performance of Delphi Technique info control. His mantra of the night was "the power of selection" referring to the selection scenarios from the movie. I raised my hand to ask "What about the ones not selected?" & received the Delphi skip over while he went on to keep repeating, "the power of selection". Sorry, CUEE, but I defer to Dr. Spock's wise adage, "the good of the few does not outweigh the good of the many". Dog & pony shows that "select" a control group that can be taught to perform while the majority of students are relegated to the also rans is not my idea of education reform. Isn't that what they do in communist countries where the government partners with educators and/or coaches to produce a few government controlled stars in academics or athletics while the others are just common fodder for the work force. We were also told by Mr. Prigohzy that the new Public/Private Partnership created, grant & tax subsidized facility for the Boys & Girls Club has produced what he said must become part of our new notion of school. I have not fully explored how the power of selection fits into that scheme because the only selection process readily evident is the ability to pay $70 a week for after school care. I think we've all noticed that local youth sports is swiftly switching from a sports for all mentality to a "power of selection" process that fosters elite performance teams. I'm also wondering how much access is available to nonpaying participants like the hordes of us who grew up enjoying the old facilities. Back to my concerned citizen mantra - Public/Private Partnerships which are glorified by CUEE & local developers are a mixture of private business & government, which is an obvious fascism move toward communism. Aside from the dangerous fascist issues, is our community really that desperate for grant handouts from a government that is borrowing money from China to pay these grants?

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