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Rockdale Citizen Poll 2-23-08

This week's Citizen Poll was an open line...

"I am a teacher in Rockdale County and would like to share with the non-teaching world some of the other things that teachers do. Every teacher I know spends hundreds of dollars out of their pockets each year for their students and classrooms. Are we 'stupid' for doing this? No, just caring adults who want our students to succeed no matter what the cost is to presenting our lesson in a way that the students understand. Do we work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.? I wish for such hours! You do not realize that we have PTA, conferences, papers to grade, planning, keeping our classroom current with essential questions, daily checking the rubrics of the GPS to make sure we are doing what is expected, progress reports, report cards, staff development, aid in play rehearsals, monitor students during musical productions and dances at school, help fund raise, phone calls to parents, running off papers, attending fall festivals, family night activities, attending football, soccer, baseball, track meets, wrestling and many other sporting events and concerts, so the students will be encouraged by seeing their teacher supporting them in their many extra curriculum activities. We work days and days at school during the summer so that our room will be ready since we spend most of pre-planning in meetings and etc. I could go on and on, but I hope you get the picture. You see, we can't possibly get this done with the 45 minutes after the students leave each day. Please do not judge us by what you perceive but by what we actually do. We teach because this is what we want to do and love to see learning take place. I too would love to get the 'babysitting' pay, but we obviously are not in this profession for the money but for the rewards of helping to change and mold a child's life in a positive way."

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"Tennis courts! Would it not be more appropriate to have basketball courts?"

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"Each week I wait eagerly for the next Citizen Poll. I read both the Rockdale and the Newton polls just to compare. It's actually pretty funny to hear how passionate people are about certain issues around here. I think the saddest, though at this point, is the Rockdale schools. I have four children, two have graduated and two still in Salem High School. I also have many friends who teach. It's such a shame as I sit here tonight and hear about Clayton County possibly losing its accreditation again. All I can think about is how so many of our teachers are leaving. Going to job fairs and aggressively looking for other jobs. Why? Because they all say we are dumbing down our kids, being inundated with paperwork such to the point many feel they can't teach. Is this what is in store for Rockdale next, Mr. King? My children deserve to have the type of schools back that attracted me to move where I did. I wonder if Mr. King is not taking the threat of losing all these great teachers seriously. I feel bad for these teachers, so many of them have such wonderful gifts to offer our children. I'm also reminded about the comments that we need to hire more black teachers to teach our black students so they have positive role models (I think that was the brilliant statement of Mr. King). I only have a few short years left until my kids graduate. I really hope things don't get as bad as everyone is implying they will get. I sure can't sell my home right now so I am stuck, as are many others. I shouldn't have to enroll my child in a private school when I pay an awful lot of money to school taxes. From the way it appears on here, not too many think kindly of Mr. King. I don't know him personally and I'm sure he is a very nice man. But surely from all I have read and seen how our schools are going down the tubes, he cannot run a school system properly. Something needs to be done. Our leaders need to wise up and make this a weekly read as I do and obviously many others so I can see what my neighbors and fellow citizens are thinking and wanting for the place we all call our hometown."

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"As a born citizen of Rockdale County for 39 years, the injustice of what has happened to Shawn Geiger at Salem High makes me sick and saddened. This has got to be the final straw. The superintendent should be replaced immediately. If we don't act now, Rockdale will turn out like the mess he left in Clayton County. How many times have we seen on this very Poll complaints about our superintendent? Not only by parents, taxpayers but his own staff too. Let's all get a clue!"

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"The school board doesn't know what's going on. Unfortunately, certain parties that are desperately trying to find a way to get what they want because they are displeased by certain other parties. We fully support you, Mr. Geiger."

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"By now everyone has read the story of the band director and principal at Salem High School. Did we all miss something? Two educators were placed on suspension without even interviewing the student and their parents? No wonder the principal had such an expressive statement! This entire ordeal is based on rumors. How many more investigations will the taxpayers have to pay for?"

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"Is the county still looking for a water department director or do they think that the five-member panel (one who is not a county employee and others barely qualified to be in their positions) doing such a great job? Let's get on with it and either hire someone or appoint someone to make tough decisions that need to be made. Quit dragging it out and let the water department move forward. By the way, how are the wells working out?"

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"Why does the county have a contractor sitting in on a panel to determine promotions for the county and determine how to distribute pay raises to county workers. Also, why the is there such a stench coming from the sewer plant on Ga. Highway 138? I don't remember it being this bad when OMI was running the sewer plant."

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"Safety at school is always a concern. Those of us at J.H. House have a safety concern of a different kind about our cafeteria. J.H. House opened in 1967 and the cafeteria still has the original dishwasher! It doesn't always work, and when it does, it sounds like a disabled airplane trying to take off or ready to explode. It doesn't always clean the trays and silverware, and with all the germs and sickness, many people are apprehensive about using these unsanitized utensils. This has been a problem for a long time now. Our cafeteria ladies are great and they deserve better, but are told over and over that there is no money in the budget for a new one. We often have to use the thin, flimsy foam trays that fold under the weight of the food when the children pick them up, causing the food to spill out on the child and/or the floor. Hot soup is dangerous in this situation. I sincerely hope the BOE and Dr. King will look into this and find a way to fix this problem. There always seems to be enough money for computers and unnecessary expenditures, when some schools don't even have enough books to go around, and with over 600 students alone, we desperately need a new dishwasher. How about it, guys?"

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"I quit reading the free ads in Saturday's and Sunday's paper. One person has 10-plus items a week. Have you ever heard of eBbay, yard sales, flea markets or giving it away? Move on, for crying out loud!"

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"To the copper dealers, if you don't want to go to prison or jail, then turn in the people who are bringing you the stolen copper out of the houses and out of the cable boxes. Then you won't be put in jail. Also, for the people here in Rockdale County, how many of you use your blinkers when you turn left or right? How many of you use your lights during the nighttime or during dusk? And how many of you use your seat belts? Also, give it up for Georgia Tech and Georgia in the basketball game."

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"I was reading again in the paper about the investigation that is going to follow with Mr. Geiger and Mr. Claybrook. It is just amazing, it's shocking, as you read the reports, he was investigated once by the principal, then by Dr. Dowling, then by another independent investigator, and then Sam King still wasn't happy with that. So he's turned him over to somebody else. My question is, who is that Sam King wants from Clayton County over here as the Salem High School band director? Ya know, I think he needs to go back over there, they are fixing to lose their SACS accreditation anyway, we don't need to be in the same bunch, two years later and struggling for ours."

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"My youngest child didn't even know the principal of his school was a woman! Why? He has never laid eyes on the woman, and the only person he knows of who ever gets on to anyone is Rogers. My oldest child couldn't tell me the principal's name, but at least she could name a female administrator. Granted, she named the wrong female, but at least I know she's scared enough of that woman to get herself to class on time from now on. Wake up, parents. Ask questions. Visit the school and see what is going on for yourselves. Teachers can only do so much without help from parents and administrators."

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"For the person who keeps referring to Dr. King as 'Sammy,' you should be ashamed of yourself. You can disagree with people of all walks of life, but you don't have to be condescending and disrespectful. People will have more respect for your ideas if they are not laced with such obvious contempt."

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"How many more teachers are we really going to watch walk away from long careers in this county before somebody stops to ponder why all these teachers are leaving our school or transferring to other schools in the county? How many transfer requests did the county office receive this year? Please Rockdale Citizen, do an article about the turnover rate in the high schools. Compare that data to the test scores, Dr. King, and give us a report on where our kids are headed if you don't make serious changes concerning the leadership in our schools. Walk the halls for a few days without telling anybody you are going to visit. You will be shocked by what you see."

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"If you are an administrator or teacher in any school letting kids hang out with you in your office/classroom instead of going to class and doing as they are told by the teacher, you need to find yourself a new job somewhere else so you can find some friends your own age."

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"Where can a parent go to find out about discipline issues reported in public high schools? I hear all these stories from my kids and their friends about things that happen at school that seem outrageous to me, yet the kids say nothing happens when teachers send the kids to see certain administrators. How is that possible? Shouldn't a kid who gets suspended by one assistant principal expect that the other kid who started a fight be punished as severely as he was for defending himself? If you can't discipline kids in a timely and equitable manner, how can you possibly be reporting incidents to the state accurately? How long should my kid have to wait for you to do your job before giving up and defending himself because you're not doing your job?"

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"Why are students who are years behind in credits allowed to participate in school-sponsored competitive events? Shouldn't all kids on all teams be held to the same standard of eligibility whether they are competing on a dance team, a baseball team or as a member of the chorus or band? Why are athletes held to a higher standard than step team members or drama club members? Wouldn't practices be considered as detrimental to their academic success as it is for athletes who struggle in the classroom?"

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"I was in the ER at Rockdale Medical Center this past Friday night and wanted to comment on what I saw there. I don't remember her name, but the clerk that was working at the nurse's desk in the emergency room was absolutely phenomenal. I have to be as generic as possible for confidentiality reasons with the people involved, but she was such a positive person - it's so easy (especially at 2 in the morning) for everyone in the ER to be feeling the end-of-shift stress, but this precious lady had a constant smile on her face and offered to get me anything I needed. She also helped me deal with an incident that came up with grace and humor when she could have simply walked away or ignored the whole situation. Again, I don't know her name but I wanted to make sure she got the bragging she deserves. Kudos!!"

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"To Dan Turner who took the flag, I'm glad someone is still on fire about something in this county. We could all use a dose of action when we see amiss circumstances, instead of subscribing to the blase passerby mentality, that causes Americans to shrug their shoulders. Like the song goes, 'You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.'"

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"I have read the stated opinion of certain Poll contributor(s) about J. H. House Elementary School. My opinions differ from those expressed in the Poll this past Saturday. I will not share my opinion because opinions usually tend to require more explanation than can be afforded in the Poll section of the paper and opinions also generally lead to arguments which do not win over either side. For this Poll entry, I would like to state just one fact: I am employed at J. H. House, not a member of the so-called 'administrative circle,' and I thoroughly enjoy working with the students and staff at the school."

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"I'm just really wanting to say how sorry I am that the Rockdale County school system and the teachers are getting so many bad reports. The teachers in our schools work very hard. I think somebody should look at who is running the county and watch the news and see what is happening in Clayton County, and there should be some major changes made in the Rockdale County school system if things are going downhill this fast."

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"Rockdale Citizen, your Feb. 20 paper hit me right where the heart is. No murders, no stabbings, no shootings, no real crime. Thank you for having front page without out all of this gore on it. Thank you very much."

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"I would like the county commissioners to start holding some of the BOC meetings at night. When they are held during the day, it is very difficult for the average day worker to attend. I have discussed this idea with others in the community and they feel the same way I do. Maybe for starters you can hold at least one or two meetings a month at night. I am sure the county employees would have to make some adjustments. Maybe they could come in a little later during the day of the evening called board meeting. I know the Rockdale County Tag Office stays open late one night a week to make it easier for us to come by after work. Thank you, Tax Commissioner Dan Ray, for doing that, it shows you are willing to make some minor adjustments for those of us who work during the day, and it is appreciated."

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"When I saw the headline, 'BOC OKs option to borrow $10 million for project,' I had to take a step back. I am curious if other members of the community support the county commissioners' borrowing of $10 million to finish up J.P. Carr? As the county tightens their budget, would it not be in the best interest of the county owners - the citizens - not to borrow any more money right now, and try saving for a rainy day? I do not think the Board of Commissioners run their households that way - borrow and pay back with interest later - or then again, maybe they do!"