Saturday, February 02, 2013

There Is A Better Way
Possibly Better Ways
Almost every time a State elects new leadership or a School System changes leaders they is a new way of achieving a better education for the Students in the state or the school system.

In the past two weeks I have heard of two programs that have demonstrated remarkable results.

I recently attended an event which featured Mr. Melvin J. Everson, the State of Georgia Executive Director and Administrator for the Georgia Commission of Equal Opportunity.  Mr. Melvin J. Everson was selected for this task by our current Governor, Nathan Deal.

Mr. Everson started his presentation to us by giving us a bit of his background.  He was one of ten children of a family where the Dad had a fifth grade education.  However, he stated that both his Dad and Mom stressed the value of an education as a way of achieving excellence, no matter what path their children took after High School.  Graduating from High School was a given for each of the ten children.  At graduation each child was presented with an appropriate gift - A Set of Samsonite Luggage so that they could proceed with the next step in their respective lives. The mantra in his family was to use the gifts you have and get on with your life.   Move out and achieve excellence by attending College or an appropriate Technical School was the implied goal.   Mr. Everson relayed to us that each child did exactly that.

Mr. Everson went on to relay several stories about his current job and how he works to insure that all citizens in Georgia have an equal opportunity.  The focus of his talk was the fact that in order to insure a dynamic future for our citizens, our current scholars in school we need to attract business and industry to employ our citizens; all of them.

That stated, he stressed the fact that when business organizations and industries look at Georgia, or any other State for that matter, they are always interested in education, the high school drop out rate and other aspects of the education establishment prior to locating or relocating in Georgia.

With our current High School Graduation Rate of (depending on who you ask) of about 55 percent we have a lot of future adult citizens who will not be able to perform at an appropriate level to be employed by any business or industry. 

He then pointed out that if an individual does not have the required skills to be employable, they will most likely resort to activities that require a period of time in a jail somewhere.  Or, as Mr. Everson stated - a Human Cargo Ware House.  He then informed us that each inmate cost us Georgia Taxpayers about $95,000.00 per year.  The funds spent on maintaining citizens in jail could better be expended on educating our current and future scholars with a resultant decrease in the correctional system budgets in the future. 

We were then informed  us of the funds that our University System and also our Technical College System expend to remediate High School Graduates so that they are ready for higher education.  I believe that the number he mentioned was in excess of $70,000,000.00 per year.  What a shame!!  Remediation would be unnecessary if the Scholars had been educated in High School, rather than passed on.  This fact alone is critical evidence that our education system needs a major emphasis on improvement.

With this information fresh in our minds, Mr. Everson then indicated that the "Current Charter School" program in Georgia may help.  However he then informed us that Governor Deal is working hard to "Foster opportunity to create jobs for Georgia Citizens."  Our Governor has also stated that "He is Afraid."  We cannot attract business and industry without citizens who are qualified!!!   Mr. Everson also informed us that our Governor makes decisions based on facts.  We all know the facts.  We all know that we simply must do better when it comes to educating our current scholars and those who follow them.  We need to do better so that our future adult citizens will be qualified to hold the jobs that we need in Georgia.

Mr. Everson then discussed the "12 For Life" program that Southwire Industries sponsored in Carroll County Georgia.  Southwire invested $10,000,000.00 in a model factory that would employ High School Students.  The students were required to complete application forms that took several days to fill out along with appropriate testing - just as you would to apply for a job in the adult world. 

Without going into a lot of detail I would encourage you to spend about 30 minutes viewing some of the video that is on the "12 For Life" website that features the Southwire program in Carrollton, Georgia.  They had a goal of 175 scholars achieving a high school diploma.  However their original goal was exceeded by 100 scholars.  Please visit the "Take A Tour" tab at this website:

When I visited this site I was most impressed.  If this can be achieved in a Georgia Town/County it can most certainly be duplicated in any other county in Georgia.  I must point out that this achievement was possible with business/industry funds. 

Then, just last evening during the CBS News with all the emphasis on New Orleans for Super Bowl Weekend they interviewed the current Mayor and asked him about the redevelopment of education in his city.  Specifically they asked him about the state of education in his city after Katrina in 2005.  He stated that there was no education  system in New Orleans after Katrina.  Everything had been destroyed.  Of course the next question asked was how did New Orleans manage the implementation of a new education system.  The answer was quick - Charter Schools.  The Mayor added that the graduation rate has shown remarkable improvement and the CBS news clip also featured several Scholars that were very grateful for the opportunity to achieve the education they desired at the school that fit their respective needs.  One girl interviewed stated three goals, of which one was to become the "Secretary of State."  This was a landmark moment as I viewed this newscast.  Young people with lofty goals all because they were given the opportunity to go to a state of the art school with the emphasis on education of the scholar.

There, you have it my dear readers.  Two concepts that have demonstrated remarkable achievement.  I would suggest that those, that also includes myself, who desire educational excellence for our future adult citizens take the time to inform our duly elected leaders that we cannot continue as we have in the past.  We need to be proactive versus reactive.  Both of the programs I discussed here require adult leadership that is focused on the Scholars.  There is no other way any excellence in education can be achieved.

I appreciate the comments I heard from Mr. Everson and also the news clip on CBS last evening. 

Some of you may remember that a few years ago I promoted the fact that "We Can Do Better!!"  Well today, I want to promote the fact that "We Must Do Better!!!


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