A week or so ago I listened to the President give a speech which concentrated on education. It is quiet obvious that his intention for education in our country is to have the federal government control it completely. His view is that any improvement that will be made in education will come from Washington .
Here in Gordon County last year the Federal Government sent $10,564,649 (16.9 percent of the total) to our county school system. Of that 82.3 percent had a specified use under the control of the Federal Government. By comparison, the State of Georgia sent $34,887.886 (55.9 percent) to our system and only 5.8 percent of the total was specified to the way it could be used. Locally the citizens contributed the remaining 27.2 percent ($16,982,265) of the funds to operate the schools.
Personally, I believe that local and state standards are far superior to those that originate in Washington and I sometimes wonder if we would not be better off to come up with another way to fund that part of our educational revenues (16.9 percent) that come from Washington and get Washington completely out of the education of our children by refusing to take their money.
My view of the best way to handle taxes would be to have all taxes go to the county and state and let the state send funds to Washington to pay for the cost of operating the federal government. Let Washington make a budget for their operating costs each year including the military. Let them request the funds they need instead of dictating to the states and sending money back to us. Each state would be assessed a share of the cost of operating Washington and the elected national officials would only be involved in administration and making laws that do not affect money. I would prefer that the states eliminate the income tax and collect all taxes from a form of sales tax. The counties would continue to operate on a property tax system as we do currently. This is simplistic and will never happen but it does not hurt to dream.
This column was written to talk about education but the diversion to taxes was just a temporary move. I have been remembering schools when I was young and how effective they were. It was my thought to compare what I studied with what is being taught today, but I went to both of the websites of our school systems in Gordon County and could not find a curriculum on either of them. This may just be an oversight but I’m sure that a lot of people would be interested in seeing a list of the courses being offered with a brief description of each of them.
In my view, the early school grades should concentrate on the three “R’s”. That would be Reading, ’Riting, and ’Rithmatic.
I enjoy reading books but I don’t find many young people today who do. Television and videos are replacing reading and this is not a good thing. In my opinion each grade should have several books that are required reading before the student can be promoted to the next grade level.
Word processing on a computer has just about replaced writing — except for making quick notes — even for me. This does not diminish the need for cursive writing. Where math is concerned it is amazing to see how many cashiers at the big box stores cannot make change without the cash register telling them how much to return. These are high school grads at the cash registers. In my generation if you graduated from high school you could make change in your head and that was not some of the people but everyone that graduated. Students were not passed to the next grade based on attendance.
One area where students are severely lacking is in American History. My generation is very patriotic because we were taught the history of how our country was founded and we knew about the heroes that made America possible. Of the men that signed the Declaration of Independence, the British located most of them and burned their homes and killed many of them and their families. Today school children do not know this. We need to teach government in a way that our students will know who is doing what and why they are doing it. They need to understand that our country became the greatest country in the world because of our private enterprise system and our freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness.
No nation in history has been as successful as the United States . No socialist country has even come close and socialism does not solve any economic problems. In Socialism the goal is for everyone to be equal but everybody is equal at a far lower economic level than the average poor person in America . Our children need to learn this.
Our high school grads need to know about our American economic system. They need lessons in personal economics to teach them that if you can’t pay for it, you can’t buy it. They need to learn early to save for retirement years. They need courses in government and in civics so that they will know their personal rights. They need courses in health to teach them about the value of eating good foods and exercising and how to avoid diseases. They need trade courses available to those who know they will not go to college.
Maybe it would be a good idea to make one of the requirements for being on any school board is to be over the age of 65 years. Maybe we need to learn that change for the sake of change is not always an improvement.
- Ken Herron