Letter: When will TCSS make education a priority?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016

After reading the recent article entitled “School board opposes state referendum,” I had to respond.

Our Troup County School System (TCSS) vehemently opposes the state’s latest referendum that would allow the state to take over failing schools that local school systems have not successfully rehabilitated on their own. The crux of all the opposition to the proposed Opportunity School District, or OSD, is simply Superintendent Cole Pugh’s biggest fear that the OSD would “… allow the diversion of state education funding away from local public schools to tax-payer funded private schools, or charter schools.”

It is all about the money. Nothing would suit our local school system more than to get rid of our failing schools, other than getting rid of all of our failing students, provided that doing so would not “divert” any of the money from TCSS, plain and simple.

As I recall Cole Pugh stating in a meeting recently, “You can’t make excellent blueberry ice cream with inferior blueberries,” referring to failing students as “inferior blueberries”!

I have never seen Cole Pugh take the responsibility himself for having less than excellent schools or for receiving low test scores; he always points to someone else as being the reason for mediocre performance. Until our TCSS board puts our teachers and students at the top of the totem pole instead of the bottom, and moves our administrators to the bottom of the totem pole from their current top position, we will continue to steadily decline toward total failure.

The article states that we currently have no failing schools. With some of our schools having only 13 percent of third grade students able to read on grade level, I find that statement to be unbelievable.

Personally, I have never seen any project undertaken by any government entity, whether local, state or federal, that ultimately does not become a total disaster and “money pit” ultimately for the taxpayers. Our local school system’s failure to adequately educate our students supports my opinion.

I, too, would oppose the state OSD referendum simply because I believe that the state would fail to actually improve a failing school, not because it might “divert” funds away from TCSS. TCSS has failed miserably at utilizing the hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars at its disposal to properly educate our children, in turn only growing its administrative complement to the point that TCSS has more non-teachers than teachers.

The blame belongs not only with superintendent Cole Pugh, but the entire school board.

Tommy Callaway