It seems to me the burden of proof is on the people proposing to make massive changes in the local education system. And CUEE has not provided any evidence for their position. Sam Allen of Friends of Valdosta City Schools (FVCS) pithily sums up CUEE:
“It’s not about the children. It’s about somebody’s ego.”I don’t think the children should have to suffer for somebody’s ego.
CUEE’s unification push isn’t about education. It’s about a “unified platform” to attract industry. That alone is enough reason to oppose “unification”. It’s not about education!
As former Industrial Authority Chair Jerome Tucker has been heard to remark on numerous occassions, “nobody ever asked me how many school systems we had!” The only example in Georgia CUEE points to for this is the Kia plant that came to Troup County, Georgia. It’s funny how none of the locals seem to have mentioned any such connection in the numerous articles published about the Kia plant. Instead, the mayor of the town with the Kia plant complains that his town doesn’t have a high school. That’s right: he’s complaining that the school system is too consolidated! The only actual education between Kia and education in Troup County is with West Georgia Tech, the local technical college.
CUEE has finally cobbled together an education committee, but it won’t even report back before the proposed ballot referendum vote. CUEE has no plan to improve education.
If CUEE actually did want to help the disadvantaged in the Valdosta City schools, as George Rhynes said:
Where was CUEE and the people working to bring the two school systems together when local citizens were fighting for change, and seeking answers to the Hiring of Black Educators and the Federal Court Order being complied with that was filed decades ago? Where were they then?Local NAACP president Leigh Touchton lists a number of other related points.
Where is CUEE on dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline? Where is CUEE on the state of Georgia spending $18,000 a year to lock up inmates and only $3,800 a year to educate a child? Everybody complains that parents don’t do enough to help their children in school. But one of the main reasons they don’t is because they’re locked up: 1 in 13 adults in Georgia are in jail, prison, probation, or parole. Disproportionately the people locked up are black, in the new Jim Crow:
“In some black inner-city communities, four of five black youth can expect to be caught up in the criminal justice system during their lifetimes.”You may argue that that’s a state or national problem and hard to fix. That’s not excuse not to try. And why isn’t CUEE opposing the Industrial Authority’s plan to site a private prison in Lowndes County, wasting tax dollars that could be spent on education?
What’s the other big reason parents aren’t involved in education? Because they’re working too hard trying to make ends meet. How about we get some real industry here so parents don’t have to work two jobs to pay the bills, and their children don’t have to move somewhere else to get a job? Every resource the Chamber of Commerce spends promoting CUEE is a resource it could be using for its Renewable and Sustainable Energy Network. Resources that could be promoting jobs in the fastest growing industry in the world, solar power, in distribution, installation, architecting, and college research.
CUEE’s own research and their own hired expert says unification wouldn’t improve education.
What it would do would be to promote bright flight to Lanier County and elsewhere. What it would do would be to waste a lot of time and effort that could be used to do other things to actually improve education.
CUEE’s model is the Chattanooga school system. The only thing I’ve heard the Chattanooga school system did to improve education was to invest in early childhood education. Recent research shows that:
Those who had participated in an early childhood program beginning at age 3 showed higher levels of educational attainment, socioeconomic status, job skills, and health insurance coverage as well as lower rates of substance abuse, felony arrest, and incarceration than those who received the usual early childhood services.We already know that. We don’t need to waste huge amounts of time and effort on a petition or a ballot referendum or tinkering with the number of school employees to find that out.
Let’s get on with something real to improve education:
- Let’s invest in early childhood education,
- let’s stop locking so many people up,
- and let’s promote real industry such as solar for jobs for parents.