Category Archives: LCDP 2011-05-02

A real education dialog @ LCDP 2 May 2011

The only real public dialog about unification or education that I’ve heard of was at the May 2011 Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP) meeting, organized by LCDP Chair Gretchen Quarterman. You can see it either of two ways:
  1. Through the LCDP 2 May 2011 LAKE blog topic, which has all the relevant posts, newest first.
  2. Through the YouTube video playlist. Each video has a link to the relevant blog post.

    School unification dialog at Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP)
    Videos by John S. Quarterman, Jim Parker, Gretchen Quarterman, 2 May 2011.

At that LCDP meeting I pointed out that the CUEE education committee was not scheduled to report back until after the proposed referendum vote, and nobody had any rebuttal.


Everyone agrees there’s a problem with education — pro and con CUEE @ LCDP 2 May 2011

Pretty much everyone agrees there are problems with the two local school systems in this county, those of Lowndes and Valdosta.

Proponents and opponents of school unification even agree on many of the details. They just don’t agree on the solution. CUEE believes that unification will somehow lead to solutions to all this, and believe is the word they use, because they have no evidence. Opponents such as me don’t see any plan to get to better education, and some think that unification will cause problems that CUEE is not even considering, just like integration did in 1969.

Here’s a pair of pie charts from 2008 from Who’s losing in Winnersville? a project unification opponent Dr. Mark George was involved in:

And here is a similar comparison from CUEE using data from 2009-2010.: Continue reading

Where are the students in this decision? —Karen Noll

This comment by Karen Noll came in last night on “I don’t see a separation”. -jsq
I completely agree with Alex Rowell. What is the purpose of consolidation/’unification’? Is the purpose to desegregate the two school districts? If so, how will the new school district deal with the issues that Leigh Touchton brings up with regard to education not serving black male students. How will a larger school district better meet the needs of a much more diverse student body? Furthermore, What do the parents in the county think about desegregation of their distict? (Because if they don’t want it, there is no doubt that ‘unification’ will be a disaster for ALL)

OR is the purpose to reduce cost by reducing administrators in the head office? If that is the purpose where are the students in this decision.

-Karen Noll

CUEE’s own study says unification wouldn’t save money and CUEE’s own expert consultant said:
“If you believe in the end that running one system is cheaper than running two school systems. If in the end you are going to cast a vote for a single system because you think it would save money, I wouldn’t cast my vote. I do not think it will save money.”
And, indeed, where are the students in this decision?


Consolidation won’t be the magic bullet —Leigh Touchton

This comment by Leigh Touchton, President, Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP, came in last night on “I don’t see a separation”. -jsq
What NAACP has advocated for is cultural competency from our teachers, this is not necessarily a black or white issue. Often it’s more a matter of class than race; for example, far too many middle class teachers expect middle class behavior from children who are living in poverty and this is an unfair expectation. There are also deep-seated issues regarding black males that cultural competency won’t address: namely, that many black teenaged males don’t see any benefit to a high school education because so many of their family members cannot find work here in Valdosta. What’s the point to an education if one is still shut out of most successful careers?

Consolidation won’t be the magic bullet that solves these problems, there aren’t even any CUEE representatives speaking to these issues. To most of our members, we think these issues will get worse rather than better if the two systems were to merge.

-Leigh Touchton

This is not representative of the people —John S. Quarterman on CUEE @ LCDP 2 May 2011

I didn’t intend to say anything Monday, but since Rev. Bennett named me in his introduction I thought it necessary to stand up and make it clear that I do not support CUEE’s plan for school system unification.

After some examples of things on which I agreed or disagreed with Ashley Paulk, the VDT, the Chamber of Commerce, and VLCIA, I mentioned that after an SCLC meeting Rusty Griffin told me that nobody who was not for unification would be accepted on the CUEE board.

I praised the upcoming Thursday meeting about education, but pointed out that commitee would not report back before the proposed unification vote, and the CUEE board still had only one member from the county outside Valdosta, so:

This is not diversification, this is not representative of the people, this a small pressure group, and nothing personal against you, a small pressure group that is trying to decide for the rest of us.
Once again, why I’m opposed to CUEE’s unification scheme: Continue reading

Rev. George Bennett is a big man @ LCDP 2 May 2011

He admits in public when he’s proven wrong by new knowledge.

At the LCDP meeting 2 May 2011 Rev. Bennett praised Ashley Paulk for revealing what has been going on with the proposed biomass plant. Then he says he had years ago suggested we should get one of those. He had approached Wesley Langdale, who said:

It’s not economically feasible to do it.
So he was surprised when he discovered a group proposing to finance such a plant. And he later learned that there were many health problems with biomass plants, and he now thinks it would be wrong to build it.

So as my mother would say, Rev. George Bennett is a big man!

Here’s the video:

Rev. George Bennett is a big man @ LCDP 2 May 2011
Debate between proponents of school system unification (CUEE) and opponents,
at Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP), Gretchen Quarterman chair,
Videos by George Rhynes, Jim Parker, John S. Quarterman, and Gretchen Quarterman
for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 2 May 2011.


Apartheid —Dr. Lee Allen @ LCDP 2 May 2011

Dr. Lee Allen remarked:
We need to eliminate apartheid. There’s no guarantee we’re going to have love and justice and peace forever, but whenever apartheid raises its ugly head we’ve got to knock it down.
He went on to say
Race is something that exists in somebody’s mind.
He said he’s glad he’s brown. He also seemed to think he’d won some sort of admission when Dr. Mark George agreed he was a racist.

Seems to me one point of what Dr. George had just said is that everyone is, in practice, a racist, whether they think so, or not.

Here’s the video: Continue reading

We don’t talk about race and inequality —Dr. Mark George @ LCDP 2 May 2011

Dr. Mark George talked about present-day inequalities at the Lowndes County Democratic Party meeting.
I can’t go to my job and pretend I don’t notice that all the custodial staff are black women, but the vast majority of the professors are white folks.
He added that he’s all for sitting down and coming up with a plan for something to do about education.
I’m all for equality, but that means equal power. King did not want integration; King wanted desegregation. That meant equal power equal resources and both at the table as equals in negotiating. …worked for and reflected everybody.

Here’s the video: Continue reading

Integration did not solve all problems —Leigh Touchton

The appended came in last night as a comment on Audience interaction about CUEE @ LCDP 2 May 2011. Leigh Touchton is President of the Valdosta-Lowndes NAACP and was present at the LCDP meeting, as was NAACP First Vice President Phyllis Stallworth. -jsq
In response to the person exclaiming about the situation in the sixties: What many of our members recall vividly from that period of time is how black teachers and black principals were fired or demoted, some even went to work as custodians. Our members and their families all experienced this to some degree. Right now, Valdosta City Schools probably has fewer black administrators that at any time since integration. We have taken complaints whereby black professionals were passed over for promotion or demoted or denied a position which was given to white candidates with less experience, fewer credentials, and even in one instance, an incomplete employment application. These stories are profound and leave lasting impressions which cannot be ignored. It is very impolite for the majority to tell the minority how to feel about this. Integration, as Dr. George has clearly explained, did not solve all problems.

Our members have valid reasons for feeling the way we do, we feel that the rights of all children to achieve are also interwoven with the rights of all education professionals to be treated with equality and fairness. Since we are having to fight so hard for equality and representation in Valdosta City Schools, where we have several Board members who represent minority districts, and a black Chairman, it is impossible for us to believe that becoming even more of a minority in a consolidated system will be beneficial. The struggles have been lengthy, expensive, and emotional, and they continue today.

-Leigh Touchton

Out of the patterns —Rev. Leroy Butler on CUEE @ LCDP 2 May 2011

Rev. Leroy Butler, chair of CUEE, talked about patterns visible even in how people sit, often grouped together by race, even in church.

(Interestingly, at the LCDP meeting, people were not so segregated. There were a couple of tables of CUEE people, though.)

He talked about how it is useful economically to learn about other people. He talked about a controlling group as a problem.

Here’s the video:

Out of the patterns —Rev. Leroy Butler on CUEE @ LCDP 2 May 2011
Debate between proponents of school system unification (CUEE) and opponents,
at Lowndes County Democratic Party (LCDP), Gretchen Quarterman chair,
Videos by George Rhynes, Jim Parker, John S. Quarterman, and Gretchen Quarterman
for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 2 May 2011.