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Light Turnout at District Education Hearing
Monday, 06 December 2010

December 6--  A 12th Congressional District public hearing hosted by State School Board member Allen Rice of Vidalia drew a small crowd of mostly educators last Thursday night at Vidalia High School.

The turnout was indicative of one of Rice's major concerns, the lack of parental invovlement in the education of their children.

He also believes we need to abandon a "one size fits all approach" to public education.  "There are people who can do 'x' and their are people who can do 'y' and I think we need to give every kid a chance to rise to whatever level they can rise to. One thing we didn't discuss tonight is analyzing kids and figuring out as soon as we can what they're good at and try to guide them in that direction.  We need to do more of that," Rice said.

School funding for next fiscal year is looking dire and educators told Rice they're "just trying to keep the lights on."  

He agreed and said, "To a large extent the whole thing is driven by money and I think the board can serve as advocates for the communities they represent and I think we have to work with the legislature and let them know what's important and we need this funding to do what we have to do.  Personally, i view K through 12 education as a national security issue.  I think what's going on in K-12 is ultimately going to allow this country to go forward and maintain our standard of living.  If we're not careful, we're going to lose our standard of living," he said.

Public education consumes about 60% of the state's budget.  Rice encourages citizens to keep the pressure on state lawmakers to avoid any more cuts to budgets at the grass roots level.  "Frankly, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.  People need to speak out, write letters and go to their legislators and let them know what they want and push for the things they believe in," Rice said.

Teachers at the meeting expressed concerns about the state's new math standards and told Rice it could result in higher high school dropout rates.

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