Time to rethink CCSD class offerings?
June 01, 2010 12:00 AM | 914 views | 8 8 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

I know that I'm probably not going to get any "friends of education" award for what I am about to say, but in light of the recent fiscal disaster that the Cobb school district has been engaged, I would like to consider a perspective that has not generally been mentioned during this crisis. I will preface my remarks by saying that I truly admire most of the teachers and administration of the CCSD and my children have received a good education.

That said, I can't help but wonder whether many of the financial problems with public schools has at least something to do with the almost radical expansion of public education over the past 30-35 years beyond what we as a society can afford. I graduated from a high school of 2,000 students in 1978 which has a long track record of sending quality students to college and looking back at my yearbook, we had 80 teachers in my school my senior year.

In contrast, my children's high school of similar size had over 140 teachers at the beginning of the year. Looking past personal preferences, I can honestly say that all of my children's teachers teach valuable courses. Things are offered that I couldn't even dream of including 18 AP courses where college credit is available, a magnet program, greatly expanded PE classes (a student can lift weights one quarter of his day now), and multiple additional opportunities in English, Math, Science, Social Studies and elective courses. All quite valuable, but I can't help but think that perhaps we can't afford all of this anymore, especially during a recession.

Perhaps parents should have to pay for Advanced Placement classes like others have to pay college tuition. Maybe magnet programs are not the role of public education. I really don't know but I just raise the question.

When I started college at a major state university in 1978, the wrap around cost for a year of college was about $3,000. That same cost in 2010 is about $14,000. Even accounting for inflation, it's still more than double what I paid (and they were cutting state funding back then too). Maybe we need to do some philosophical thinking regarding the intent of public education at the K-12 level and back off of this expansion a bit, for the sake of not going bankrupt.

Randall Grachek
Marietta
Comments
(8)
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CobbOak
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June 07, 2010
Please help Oakwood High School continue to serve Cobb County Students!

Last Chance, unless you decide to sue because of their violation of due process:

6/9 CCSD Board Meeting

Public Comments - 7:30 AM sign in to speak

Board Meeting, comments - 8:30 AM

514 Glover St. Marietta, Georgia 30080

(Legal Adoption of the FY2011 Budget at Regular Board Meeting)
Just Wondering
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June 06, 2010
No public hearing was held regarding closing Oakwood. Has anyone checked to see whether one was legally required?
To Mr G
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June 04, 2010
Many of the teachers who were just RIF'd taught these "extra" classes, so I think you just got your wish.

WestCobbTeacher
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June 02, 2010
First point: As long as the AP classes are at maximum level, why not have them? You HAVE to teach Math, Science, etc. so why not have the rigor? An allottment of a teacher in an AP class doesn't cost any more as long as the class is full (Hence..that is why some kids go to Magnet schools to fill classrooms).

Second point: Special Education is FEDERAL law..schools get little or no say in how these classes are composed. It takes little to qualify for special education (see a doctor and become diagnosed as ADD, ADHD, or EBD. Once students are "in," it is difficult to get them out! Special Ed. needs to be redefined and serve only those students that truly need it not just those who are products of poor parenting!
Cobb Mom
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June 02, 2010
Mr. Grachek, I think your article raises interesting points. I do not know how long you have been living in this area, but I have lived in four states as an adult. Please realize that the enormous size of the Cobb School District(and some other Districts in this area) is an exception to the way most school districts are run in this country. I taught in a school district with one high school and can tell you that things were handled very, very differently then they are here. The size of the Cobb School District does allow for many opprtunities to be offered to students that they may not be able to receive elsewhere - this is a plus. Unfortunately, the huge size of this District also leads to issues of buracracy. Since each educational decision made equals such a large amount of money to vendors of CCSD - the large size of our District also increases the possibility for corruption behind the scenes. Did you know that currently someone making top decisions in the Cobb District can be co-employed by a vendor of the District as long as that relationship has been disclosed to the Superintendent? Have you ever wondered what drives Cobb County schools to have to adopt every educational fad that seems to come our way? I honestly don't think the main issue here is about the diversity of class offerings, but rather we should investigate wastefulness and possible corruption.
Randall Grachek
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June 01, 2010
In response to "wrong Mr. Grachek":

Having AP classes to get into college can be important for some institutions, but what I'm talking about isn't just the CCSD making changes, but rather the American education public education system as a whole.

Further, I see Special Education in a different vein then you in that this program is really the only hope for these children. I find it bizarre that one would consider special education just another form of "gifted" education.



Finally, your racially bigoted comments have no place in a thoughtful and intelligent forum. Rather, this is a discussion on the overall scope and intent of public education. The only conclusion I have reached is that the scope can't be all things for all people.
1980 Graduate
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June 01, 2010
Randall, your letter speaks of logic. I do not think CCSD can think logically. The magnet programs in HS's cost triple of what it cost to not have them. And why on earth do we have 7 magnet HS's. Still with all these extras we are still behind the times with other countries. I agree that classes could be of bigger size. What I am scared of is the disrespectful children that parents are raising these days, as well as the small square footage in the school classrooms. I personally have witnessed too many parents taking the side of their child who disrespected an adult. This to me is unheard of and something that does not happen in my home. Our children deserve a good education and to be prepared for college at the very least. I however, do not believe they are entitled to new cars at the age of 16, cell phones when they ask for one, TV's in their bedrooms, computers in their bedrooms and every new gadget that apple, sony and microsoft comes out with. Parents too need to get back to the days where they give their children strong values and morals that will enable them to cope with hard times rather then depression when they as adults cannot afford every luxury that is offered.

There are children in my elementary treated for depression and anxiety. I am in shock of how this could of happened.

Parents have forgotten the word "No" and CCSD is just blind to the necessities of what is needed to educate ALL of its students.
Wrong Mr.Grachek
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June 01, 2010
Mr.Grachek-You are out of touch with the college requirements. The major univeristies require a riorous curriculum for entry to their programs. They look at how many AP and honors courses you have taken in high school. No AP-no entry. Of course, unless you are black or another race other than white, because they have to accept so many minorities whcih is bull crap. In addition, if you want AP cut we should also cut the one on one parapros, sepcial education, and remedial classes. Special education takes up the majority of funding. Those children receive more funding than any other child. Yet, the majority of those children are not going to college. What do you think about that? In all fairness cut evenly, right?
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