Think twice about SPLOST career academies
September 26, 2012 12:57 AM | 1386 views | 7 7 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR: SPLOST has made many good things come about with regard to our educational facilities in Cobb County. It will soon be time to vote on another SPLOST. As a taxpayer, I want to know the whats, whens, and hows of SPLOST so I can be an informed voter. The voters have a right to know how much is being spent on the specific jobs, listed job by job. The argument that people will get into fights about certain schools getting more money than their school if they know specific amounts is beside the point. Yes, they might; but this does not change the voters’ right to know. Most responsible voters will know that some schools are in need of repair or additions more than others based on population growth and the age of the facility.

A question was brought up about whether or not SPLOST can have a lot of maintenance projects included in the list. I know that in some cases new facilities/schools are needed; but as a tax-paying citizen I am happier about things being repaired or remodeled or refurbished rather than paying to have entire new buildings being built.

The biggest mistake this county has made was in steering away from neighborhood schools and abandoning them/tearing them down and building new schools where the population is two or three fold what it was in the smaller neighborhood schools. If you have to spend millions building schools, how does that benefit the children? Even if the schools are mostly paid for, there is still the heating, cooling and other upkeep for the bigger schools. It would have cost less to repair and refurbish the existing school and have the smaller utility and upkeep costs. And even if it all added up to be comparable to the new school cost; nothing has been lost and everything has been gained by keeping neighborhoods together.

The subject of “career academies” was brought up at the meeting as well. I feel that another big mistake that Cobb schools made was in taking away the career programs in each high school. Until recently the high schools have always had two routes you could choose from: college or career. However, the Cobb schools revamped the diploma where everyone had to take college prep classes. Again, how is this in the best interest of the students? Students have many different learning styles, capabilities; and interests. Forcing them to prepare for college is not the best choice. Their high school experience ought to be one where the students are making choices about their lives. For most of them, if you let them do it while being well-informed, they will rise to the occasion and make the right choice for themselves.

Now Cobb is looking at building two career academies. Why not just incorporate the career aspect back into every high school rather than having special academies to do this? There won’t be room for every student who wants to do this with just the two academies. Isn’t this a form of segregation? Shouldn’t our schools be filled with a mix of students who wish to take different paths to their futures? Isn’t this what best prepares them for life? To mingle and have relationships with people from all walks of life so that they can better relate to all of their fellow man? That’s where the real education is.

Most decisions that we must make in life require mostly common sense. Following trends mostly leads to disappointment and failure.

Nancy Cheatham Brock Marietta
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Uh duh
September 27, 2012
Wouldn't it make sense to make the "new" Osborne high school one of the new Career Academies and save 29 million dollars from the Splost IV notebook? Or is that a too obvious way of saving 29 million dollars?
OHS Grad
October 11, 2012
Better question...Why in the world do we need a replacement school for Osborne? This sounds like the school is falling down....and it's not. Many of the building on the campus are fairly new.
September 27, 2012
Years ago most schools had wood and metal shops, some even had auto repair classes, along with drafting, electrical plumbing, home ec, sewing and others depending on the school.

Then they changed it deciding everyone would go to college and dropped all of the training classes.

Now they want to do it in 2 high priced and probably under used academies. And where do they propose to get the teachers from???

Its a good idea but I foresee lots of issues that they have not even begun to consider.
September 28, 2012
From past experiences, they will cannibalize both teachers and equipment from other existing schools.

When Allatoona opened, Harrison lost all kinds of teachers and resources.
September 26, 2012
You make great points, Nancy, and I doubt if this go-along school board has even considered a one of them.

What say you board? Can you address some of her points?
September 26, 2012
CCSD did not take away career programs. The GA State DOE, State BOE, and Legislature control the curriculum. The last 10 years Career Tech has been dismantled and defunded starting with Sonny 'Go Fish' Purdue. For someone who claims to be informed your are obviously not.

Have you not noticed the tremendous population increase in Cobb over the last 20 years? That is why new schools were built. Yes some 60 year old schools were torn down but the cost of refurbishing and enlarging a 60 year old school is more than a tear down and rebuild. Plus new building are MUCH more energy efficient than old buildings. Cobb schools on average are smaller than Fulton and Gwinnett schools. It takes more than a few neighborhood schools to hold Cobb's 105k students.

Nancy you make some good points like bringing back Career Tech in High Schools instead of Career Academy but most are naive and living in the past.

Mom of two
September 30, 2012

Kathy cox was behind the push to only have college ready. Check YOUR facts.
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