Posts Tagged ‘MCSD’

And YES it is!

March 18, 2015

I told Muscogeee County School District Superintendent Dr. David Lewis after today’s Rotary Club of Columbus meeting, “You did it!” He smiled and said, “We did it.” 

He’s right, and I’m proud  of Columbus’ once again showing it supports its children and public education by approving the latest SPLOST.

And to those who voted “no,” I know that doesn’t mean you don’t support our children and their teachers. I hope you’ll accept that the majority has spoken. Now let’s pull together to make our school district as good as it can be.

 

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YES!

March 9, 2015

As I said before. I am going to vote for the Muscogee County School District SPLOST.

The school district does have its problems, but not providing adequate facilities and today’s technological learning tools is not going to solve them.

What will?

At the top of  my priority list is greatly reducing poverty.

How?

A lot of people  believe education is the answer.

It can’t be, though, if the kids don’t learn.

Why don’t they?

Bad teachers?

Are the best teachers assigned to top performing Columbus High and Britt David Magnets?

One teacher said, “Put those same teachers at Columbus High and Britt David in failing schools that are full of Title 1 kids and see how well they do.”

Kids with affluent, interested parents who read to them when they are pre-school, and support them intellectually and emotionally to help them meet high expectations when they go to school, for the most part,  perform much better than kids who don’t have that.  There are, of course, exceptions.

Public schools reflect society.

Anyway, public schools are the hope of  the future, and I’m going to support them. Hope you do, too.

 

 

SPLOST – Yes or No?

February 9, 2015

I am against the new SPLOST proposed by the Muscogee County School District School Board; however, I plan to vote for it next month.

I oppose it because it is a continuation of what is probably the most regressive of taxes, a sales tax.  Instead of “a regressive tax,” legislators of old called it the “poor man’s tax.”  A penny means a lot more to someone living on a minimum wage than someone who can afford to travel in his private jet.

So, if I’m not in favor of increasing the sales tax, why will I vote for the SPLOST? Because people, for reasons that I don’t understand, will more readily vote for a sales tax than a property or income tax increase.  The MCSD needs to do things like  building a new Spencer High School, providing better facilities for autistic students, repairing leaking roofs, buying some new busses, and other things.  It appears the only way of financing that is with a  sales tax. That’s reality.

As far as the Frank Myers  and John  Thomas opposition is concerned , I do have to say some of their concerns are worth considering. I see no reasons to pay for another audit when we already have two, but questioning the efficacy of some no-bid purchases is  reasonable; however, I don’t think that consideration should be used to trash the SPLOST. Yes, teachers do need a raise, but that comes from operational, not capital, budgets. You can place a great deal of the blame for the financial stress teachers are facing on a state legislature that has slashed public school budgets for more than a decade.

 

 

Congratulations DOCTOR Lewis

December 9, 2014

You  really have to hand it to someone who has probably one of the most demanding jobs in the Columbus area who earned a Doctor of Education degree while doing that job.

I didn’t really care all that much that Dr. David Lewis didn’t have a doctorate when he took the job, but some did and made a big fuss over it. His answer was that, while didn’t have one, he was getting one, and he did, and now he has it.

Of course, that won’t stop critics.  They’ll come up with something.

Frankly, I’ve  liked Dr. Lewis from the first time I met him when he first came to Columbus. One of the first  things he did was visit every school in the district.  Also, he knows the value of the arts. He was a music educator before getting into school administration.  I sensed that he is the type who gets things done.  And that is very hard to do when working with a politicized elected school board and a legislature and governor who drastically cut the public education budget.  They did restore some of those cuts when facing reelection,  but nowhere near what they cut.  Now that they don’t have to worry about an election, let’s see what they do.

 

 

Would You Want Your Teenager to Play High School Football?

October 13, 2014

After learning that MCSD Superintendent David Lewis may propose building a new high school football stadium with new SPLOST money, I had to reflect on whether we should have high school  football.

“Concussion rates in the high school game are 78% higher than in college, according to  the Institute of Medicine,” reports an article in TIME, the same article that tells us that three high school players died within a week. A neurology professor says the teenage brain is still developing. The electrical wiring is not fully insulated. Neck muscles are weaker than college players.

When a University of Georgia player died from game injuries in 1897, the Georgia legislature passed a law banning college football.  The player’s mother asked the  governor  to veto the bill. He did.  Maybe he shouldn’t have.

If I had a teenager, would I want him to play high school football?  No. 

 

 

We Said This on This Blog a Year Ago. It still Applies.

June 23, 2014

We Need Legislators Who Support Public Education

HERE’S MORE EVIDENCE THAT TOO MANY DON’T

It is very disheartening to see what those who control the Georgia Legislature are doing to our state’s public school system. The evidence became even more abundant when I learned about the tentative Muscogee County School District’s 2014 budget.

The state is cutting MCSD $21 million in funding for the year. That brings to #141 million cut by the state over the past 12 years. How can we believe lawmakers who say they support public education when they do this?

 

The Kids are Listening

January 27, 2014
 I am certainly no expert when it comes to English grammar, but thanks to teachers like Mrs. Green at Jordan Vocational High School, I do remember the rules enough not to be egregiously ungrammatical. Mrs. Green was considered by a lot of kids to be pretty tough, even mean. As I look back on her methods, I realize that she wasn’t being mean. She just wouldn’t put up with students who didn’t make the effort to meet her expectations.  In other words, she cared.  The end result was that she was probably one of the most effective teachers in the school.

When I hear some members of the Muscogee County School District Board of Education murdering the language, I get a little upset. Why are we electing people to the school board who have a tough time making subjects agree with verbs? It makes me wonder about the wisdom of having an elected school board. I don’t remember this happening back when the Grand Jury selected members of the board.

What’s even worse – since board members don’t teach classes and not many students hear their atrocious grammar – is when I hear teachers who don’t understand things like possessive pronouns. I saw in the Ledger-Enquirer where a teacher said, “You can’t negate you becoming a doctor.” Bam! It jumped right out at me that she should have said, “You can’t negate your becoming a doctor.”

Since I really couldn’t remember why that would  be correct, I wanted to  make sure I was right, so I asked Connie Ussery, a friend of mine who is a retired high school English teacher, about it.  This is what she said:

“I love questions like this.  ‘Becoming a doctor’ is a gerund phrase and you are absolutely right in that the possessive pronoun is used to ‘own’ the action in this case.  Since the verb ‘can negate’ is transitive, the example in your email would indicate ‘You can not negate you….’ and ‘becoming a doctor’ makes no sense as a participial phrase describing ‘you’ because it simply isn’t one.  The speaker could have said, ‘You can’t negate becoming a doctor,’ but that would have made the phrase apply to anyone who is a doctor.  ‘You can’t negate your becoming a doctor’ is grammatical.

Thanks for the brain exercise.”

Thanks, Connie.  Now  I  know why I was right.  Also, I think it’s too bad you retired. They need you.

We Need Legislators Who Support Public Education

June 4, 2013

HERE’S MORE EVIDENCE THAT TOO MANY DON’T

It is very disheartening to see what those who control the Georgia Legislature are doing to our state’s public school system.  The evidence became even more abundant when I learned about the tentative Muscogee County School District’s 2014 budget.

The state is cutting MCSD $21 million in funding for the year. That brings to #141 million cut by the state over the past 12 years. How can we believe lawmakers who say they support public education when they do this?

In order to live with the reduced budget, the MCSD proposes, among other things, closing schools  laying off perhaps up to 40 teachers,  increasing class size, ending adult education,  delaying buying new textbooks, reduced funding for computers, supplies, and building maintenance.

The legislator’s claim that the state doesn’t have the money is nonsense. It’s just spending it on other things.  We need to be sending to Atlanta lawmakers who truly support public education.

For another take on the problem, go to this link.

Why Jordan Auditorium Renovation is Special to a Lot of Folks

January 31, 2010

The architectural firm that will handle the renovation of the Jordan Vocational High School auditorium hasn’t been selected yet.  (It’s in the last 7 of the 15 SPLOST construction projects.  Architects for the first 9 projects were chosen Saturday.)  When it is selected, I am sure somebody will let its leader know just how important their project will be.  That’s not to say the other projects are unimportant, but we are talking some real history here.

1947 JVHS Red Jacket Band, Jordan auditorium, Columbus, Georgia

That Jordan auditorium, which, in my view, is probably still the most impressive of all of the high school auditoriums in Columbus,  not only served the Jordan student body, but was used by the Three Arts League and other organizations. For Columbus newcomers, or those not old enough to remember, the Three Arts League was an organization made up of  Columbus cultural leaders who brought in world-class symphony orchestras,  solo performers, and roadshow Broadway plays and musicals from the 1930’s to almost now.   I don’t recall when it was disbanded, but with the River Center now in operation, it’s not needed any more.  

I went to see a school play in the auditorum a couple of years ago and was impressed that it had a fairly adequate stage lighting system.  I’ll bet it dates back to when the Three Arts League used the auditorum. It probably needs some serious upgrading.  Hopefully, that will happen when the auditorium is renovated.

The Jordan stage was home for the famous Bob Barr Red Jacket Bands that won national awards in places like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.   Barr was the band’s first professional director, coming to the school in 1946 and leaving in 1963.  I was a member of the original band that he started in 1946.   Band practice was the highlight of every day. He was a hard task master, but also very entertaining, doing such things as breaking his baton when we didn’t play something right.  It worked. The band went from 17 pieces to 75 in about six months and played Beethoven’s “Eroica” in its first public concert before the Jordan student body.  He could be mean as a snake, and his expectations were very high, but he got results, and everyone in the band that I knew loved him.  Success means a lot to emotionally charged high school kids.  Remember when you were one?

Leaders Come Together for the Good of the Community in the Library Green Space Controversy

January 20, 2010

Finally, tf appears that the ugly asphalt from the old Columbus Square parking lot is going tobe removed, and green space will take its place.  At a joint news conference at the new Muscogee County School District Public Education Center building, representatives for the school board, the library board, and the City of Columbus announced a Memorandum of Understanding on the issue.

The understanding is that the city will supply $1,050,412.46 of the 1999 SPLOST Projects to the School Board to remove the asphalt and “for seeding and landscaping said property to the extent that the funds will allow.”

We got a lesson in what can be done when two leaders get together to resolve a controversial issue.  Those two leaders are Mayor Jim Wetherington and School€ Board Chair P$hilip Schley.   Their coming together means the library site is going to be enhanced by a beautiful park instead of a stark old parking lot.  

A Memorandum of Understanding was issued today that allows the City to give $1,050,412.46 to the MCSD to  get the job done.  There were also some land swapping deals between the school system and the city. You can get the details about all of that in the paper and on TV newscasts.  

Attorney Frank Myers, who the mayor gave credit to for helping to bring the two sides together, said that the thing that really got things moving was when the late David Rothschild called Mayor  Wetherington four days before he died and asked him to get the issue resolved.  After that the mayor and  School Board Chair Philip Schley came together.  The city and the school board had been battling over who owned the 1999 SPLOST money that would be used for the park project.  Once they agreed that the public owns it, they decided it should be used to remove the asphalt and build the park. It won’t be called a park, though. State law doesn’t allow a library to operate a park, I was told. I guess it’ll just be library grounds. 

Of course, Columbus Council and the School Board each must approve the memorandum, but it appears they will;  however, you can’t be sure of that.  And this can mean the lawsuit filed by a group that included Rothschild, whom Myers said was totally dedicated to the good of the community, will be dropped.  Josh McKoon, lawyer for the group,  said of the seven plaintiffs in the suit, only one remains to be convinced it should be dropped. McKoon said he hopes it will be dropped and believes it will.

So now it looks as though the asphalt will be removed and replaced by a beautiful green area. That’s what I’ve wanted all along.