Letters to the editor Friday

Don’t be too quick to fault Classical Academy

 

In a city that routinely fails to transition all of its young people into the adult working world, let’s hope the argument over extending Savannah Classical Academy’s charter can be a catalyst for a broader examination by community leaders; lest we have many more news headlines like this past July 4th.

The state Department of Education and the Savannah Chatham County School Board are arguing strict adherence to charter school statutes. They contend that the charter school legislation, which designates public funding for charters, implicitly (if not explicitly) mandates that a charter school produce state-test results that meaningfully ‘exceed’ those of nearby public schools.

The Classical Academy maintains its teaching standards are excellent; that the problem lies with the mismatch in the material on which the state tests and the material being taught; raising the issue of appropriateness of material and whether (or not) content flexibility should be in play.

Though it is easy to side with “officials” here, lest not be too quick to judge, as the DOE and SCCPSS have considerable performance issues of their own.

And too, keep in mind that the rationale behind the chartered school trend was that it offered opportunities to experiment, perhaps discover better education methods.

Who can say the Academy is not following that path?

I see an education problem in Atlanta. Indeed, when attempting to read the overview section of the DOE’s “guide” for concerned citizens who want to understand the performance indexing of schools, one is reminded of the word “slog;” as in rough going. It is a disorderly mess, though most memorable for its plethora of undefined acronyms.

True, a poorly written guide by the DOE is the least of our problems, and a bit petty to note, but it’s not at all petty to point out a major (and little realized) flaw in this state’s high school diploma requirements.

Georgia annually ranks on the bottom in on-time graduation rates. Ever wondered why, given that there are many states with similar demographics? Is it that our youth are just that much less attentive or slow on the uptake; or that our teachers are that less capable?

Nope. It’s that Georgia sets the highest bar for attaining a high school diploma in the United States.

All other states and DC offer a diploma path with less stringent requirements. For instance, we are the only state that mandates four years of course work in science. The state DOE (and state legislature) are possessed with some irrational exuberance and expectation that every young Georgian is a potential chemist. Ironically enough for Savannah, this policy does push many of these youth into the world of chemistry, or at least the drug market, as a viable alternative to having no (good paying) work at all.

Once, a fallback for youth coming into adulthood was a stint (or career) in the military. Today however, all of the branches of the U.S. armed services now require a high school diploma or GED to be admitted.

I can find flaws with the Savannah Classical Academy, especially if the math test scores are to be believed, and find its overuse of a list of citizenship virtues being taught almost saccharine; as if it alone can and does impart those ideals. But, there are far greater issues to resolve upstream of the Academy, which if done so, will have positive impacts on hundreds of thousands of lives, and benefits to the welfare of this community, not seen in a very long time.

ALDIN LEE

Savannah

 

Fully funding our foreign aid makes us safer

I am returning to Savannah after living for the last 12 years in Eastern Kentucky. I am an active member of the ONE campaign. We at ONE are dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty (people living on $1.90 or less per day) and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.

I have had the opportunity to travel to Africa four times including in 2014 when I traveled with the Sycamore Church to Nigeria.

Though we have a lot of our local issues and economic challenges here in Savannah, I think the right thing to do is engage locally and globally… “both and” and not “either or.” This will not only save lives, but is a worthwhile investment in America’s economic and military interests around the world. As retired general and current Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said, “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.” Foreign aid also allows people in Africa to develop economically so that they can build business partnerships with American companies that will directly impact our ports here in Savannah.

Currently Congress is in recess and when they return to Washington D.C. next month they will be finalizing the budget for 2018. I am proud that our foreign aid has become smarter, more transparent, and measurable over the past decade and we, as taxpaying shareholders, need our elected officials like Congressman Buddy Carter, Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator David Perdue to vote to fully fund the foreign aid portion of the budget.

JONATHAN BARNES

Savannah

 

No ‘spitting contest’ with North Korea

Am I the only so-and-so out here who thinks that North Korea actually might have the scientific and other necessary resources to develop ICBMs, miniature nukes, sophisticated guidance systems, etc., without major help?

North Korea seems like a blatant attempt to divert our attention and resources away from more realistic challenges – for world leadership on many planes. The president doesn’t need to involve himself in this school-yard spitting contest with a petty dictator. The major international political players and economic competitors seem to be using and manipulating unstable North Korean and American leaders to some ends. Russia has openly admitted to being an enemy of our democratic/republic system of governance, even though they, and China, seem to have succumbed to an ever increasing level of economic capitalism. Is there anyone in Washington smart enough to figure out what’s really going on, and head off all this silliness? Speak up, you really smart thinkers out there? What think ye?

JOHN SULLIVAN

Savannah

 

Prostituting the city

Raphael Semmes’ letter to the editor on August 10 (“Prostitution by a different name”) regarding the City Council’s terrible decision on the proposed apartment building on Forsyth Park was perfect. Hopefully our City Council will read that letter and reconsider their ill-advised vote. And thanks to Councilman Bill Durrence for standing up and saying “no” to this inappropriate project.

JOHN PICKER

Savannah

More

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 10:00am

Letters to the editor Wednesday

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:31pm

Streeter Cartoon: Close To You