Tag Archives: Troup County

School consolidation as disaster capitalism

School consolidation would set up an artificial fiscal disaster that could force the “unified” public school system to turn to private foundations for funding, at the price of control of public education by private entities. This is disaster capitalism, or the shock doctrine, right here in Valdosta and Lowndes County.

What’s the Shock Doctrine? It’s been around for a long time, but Naomi Klein researched it for her book of the same name. It’s

“the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock”
She was writing mostly about wars, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. Locally here we haven’t had any of those. But we may be about to create a disaster, a shock, at the ballot box in November, if voters fall for the school “unification” snake oil.

What’s the next step after CUEE has accidentally revealed that Continue reading

Perceptions on School Unification —Clinton Beeland

Well, I was wrong: there is still somebody willing to try to link school consolidation in Troup County with the Kia plant, even though there’s no evidence there’s any connection and the mayor of the town with the plant complains about the results of consolidation. The appended LTE appeared in the VDT the other day. -jsq
Perception (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information
– Wikipedia
I have sat on the sideline for a while on the issue of consolidation. Perhaps I am still on the sideline since I am not going to tell you how to vote. Regardless of the decision on November 8th I will continue to support education in one or two systems. In any event I feel compelled to at least provide some words for consideration. Here is my perspective from the sideline.

It is very apparent that we have pride in our schools. Pride is both

Continue reading

Questions for CUEE —Etta Mims

Received today.
Updated 5PM 28 Sep 2011: Added preface and other changes to the document by Etta Mims. -jsq
I am attaching an 8 page document I compiled this week to show that CUEE and the Vote Yes supporters are not answering the questions being asked of them. They are dancing around the topics but these supporters are spending alot of money to put our children and the employees of both schools in danger of 4-5 years minimum of changes that will be detrimental to all concerned.

Another interesting note, if you go to the Vote Yes page, and

Continue reading

CUEE demolishes its own case

CUEE still doesn’t have a plan for improving education. When asked for any concrete examples of education improving because of school consolidation, not one person could come up with one: not CUEE, not the Chamber, not their invited experts. Their invited experts established that consolidation in Troup County not only didn’t save money, it required a bond issue. And it took four or five years of the hardest work they’d ever done, even though they couldn’t give any evidence that it improved education. It was like that on almost every point: the Chamber and CUEE either couldn’t answer the simplest questions, or even more frequently demolished their own case.

The last question asked to give an example of any company that had declined to come in because of multiple school systems. Not only could nobody give an example, but someone, I believe it was Walter Hobgood, stood up at the podium and said when he was working for a large company he had never encountered a case where they looked at the number of school systems.

Early on Chamber Chair Tom Gooding went on at great length about Continue reading

18 years later in Troup County

“Unification” of LaGrange City and Troup County schools was in 1993. Eighteen years later, it’s still a mess.

Natalie Shelton wrote March 2011 for LaGrange Daily News Online, Parents: Seek other options to school consolidation

In considering the change at West Side, officials noted in last year’s budget proposal talks that about 73 percent of its students are bus riders, brought from all parts of the county. The school posts a per-student transportation cost of $1,198, more than twice the zone average of $529.

“Why is West Side so important to the county?” parent Brandi Kennedy asked. “You have buses picking up kids all over the county to go to West Side.”

Because children are chosen to attend the magnet school through a lottery, Kennedy said she couldn’t understand funding the fine-arts focus of the school when it is not more prestigious than other county schools.

There are some unhappy parents and students: Continue reading

Detracking Troup County, according to Terry Jenkins

In Troup County, school “unification” was all about race and desegregation, according to the speaker our local Chamber is bringing in Tuesday evening.

Dr. Terry Jenkins, co-authored an interesting paper in 1997, Detracking Troup County: Providing an Exemplary Curriculum for All Students.

As series of decisions, not unrelated to race, made by the “white fathers” of the city of LaGrange, led the citizens of the city to vote their school system out of existence and to become a part of the county system.
The quotes around “white fathers” are in the paper.

Hm, back when I first encountered CUEE, they were speaking to SCLC in Valdosta late last year, Rusty Griffin among them, and the theme was desegregation. They did not receive a warm welcome. Funny how CUEE changed its tune to “unification” after that.

But the local “white fathers” are still insisting on making decisions for all of us.


Chamber Punts for CUEE

Received today. Guess they’ve forgotten about CUEE’s Kick-Off event back in March, at which CUEE Vice-Chairman Rusty Griffin spoke. -jsq
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:36:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: Rusty Griffin <chamber @valdostachamber .com>
Subject: School Unification Forum: 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday


Make your plans now to attend the first Vote YES public forum on school unification, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at the Rainwater Conference Center.

Our guest speaker will be Dr. Terry Jenkins, who served as the Superintendent of Troup County Schools during the unification process of LaGrange and Troup County school systems in 1992.

Many of the same issues and rumors being discussed locally were also debated when LaGrange and Troup County were voting to unify their school systems. In his presentation, Dr. Jenkins will discuss how the school unification issue unfolded in Troup County, its impact to improving test scores and graduation rates, and how the decision to unify their school systems has transformed the community for the better.

Kia and education: a connection after all

It turns out there is a connection of the Troup County Kia plant to education, but it’s not to the K-12 schools. The Karen Kennedy GeorgiaTrend article, LaGrange/Troupe County: The Kia Effect, devotes one paragraph to K-12 schools and ten paragraphs to West Georgia Tech, the local technical college.

Here are the last three of those paragraphs:

The center “will educate a person to work in an advanced manufacturing plant,” Gilley says, just the kind of plants that are coming to Troup County over the next year or so. Using industry-standard equipment, students will be educated to meet the manufacturing community’s workforce needs.

In fact, the manufacturing community already is calling on the center. DaeLim, a supplier to Kia and Hyundai (the latter has a plant nearby in Alabama), expressed interest in students doing prototyping of plastic parts once the center, which opened June 1, is up and running.

“We’ve left a good platform on which to build. We have good faculty, good staff. I think we have good community relations,” Gilley says of his time at West Georgia. Then he looks to the future and what he’ll miss most about his job. “We offer programs that allow people to get better paying jobs. I’ll miss having the power to make decisions that change people’s lives.”

Hm, so the locals think the technical college has more to do with industry than the K-12 schools.

An article by Jeff Bishop in Times-Herald.com, Partnerships may develop between CEC, new hospitals, notes the connection between high schools and industry is through West Georgia Tech.

Hm, maybe Wiregrass Technical College could be important….


After Kia: still school problems in Troup County; no mention of unification

Let’s keep looking for evidence of any connection of school unification in Troup County, Georgia, to the Kia plant, even though CUEE didn’t present any. It’s rather odd that none of the locals seem to have mentioned any such connection in the numerous articles published about the Kia plant.

Here’s an interview with Mayor Drew Ferguson IV of West Point, Georgia by Larry Copeland in USA TODAY, 25 March 2010, Kia breathes life into old Georgia textile mill town. Nope, no mention of schools, education, or unification. Nice picture of the mayor with a Kia, though.

Karen Kennedy published a lengthy article about the Kia plant in GeorgiaTrend in August 2008, LaGrange/Troupe County: The Kia Effect, in which the first mention of schools is for the period after the Kia plant opened:

The biggest need Mayor Ferg-uson sees in West Point right now is public education. “We have a wonderful elementary school.” But there is no middle or high school in the city limits. “The current formula for education funding is not working,” he says of the state’s approach, which bases money on students who are already in the system, not on students who will be coming through the system in the near future. “If you don’t have great education opportunities people will live far away and drive [to work]. Schools should be looked at as an economic driver.” They are a way to help recruit good strong families to an area, he adds.
That’s right, after the Kia plant, there are big problems with the schools, and there’s not even any mention of unification.


Kia and school unification in Troup County, Georgia: any connection?

The only example in Georgia that CUEE claimed of good effects of school unification was Troup County, Georgia, where a few people are convinced that the Kia plant would not have come to town if the schools hadn’t unified. That’s one county out of 159. And it’s hearsay anecdotal evidence. So let’s look for any actual evidence.

The county’s own announcement of the Kia plant opening says nothing about schools, much less unification. Troup County’s web page about their Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development does mention education, but says nothing about school unification. Their county history page mentions the Kia plant but nothing about education being a factor, much less school unification.

Even if that anecdotal connection between school unification and the Kia plant had some evidence behind it, that’s not an example of improved education!