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Rockdale Citizen Poll 3-8-08

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

"I think it is absolutely ridiculous that students in high school who have failed one or more classes are now able to take 'credit recovery' class during school to bring that grade up to passing. How is this going to teach our kids to take responsibility for their grades? If I failed a class and had to pay $300-plus for summer school, you better believe I'd try my best to pass every other class so I wouldn't have to spend any more money or days of my summer vacation in a school. But no! Rockdale County now offers credit recovery classes during school at no charge. And the failing grade disappears if the students pass credit recovery, and their transcripts are now completely clear of the failing grade. How is this fair? As a high school student, I was in AP and PC classes, and I had to work my tail off to make A's, B's, and some C's. Had I known that I could just make it up the next year, I would have been very lazy in that class. This is exactly what is going to happen; kids are going to realize that they can just make up the class next semester and quit trying. Good job, Rockdale, good job."

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"I wanted to comment on something that was mentioned in last week's Poll regarding eligibility among the extracurricular groups and academics in our schools. I certainly cannot speak for every group, but I was told about one of the members of our step team and his comment to our assistant principal. He made the comment to her that the group was on probation until the entire team's grades were satisfactory (satisfactory, according to their sponsor, is 80 or above - passing with a 70 is not sufficient.) His next comment was that, even though his grades personally were where they needed to be, the team's sponsor has tried to help them understand the concept of a team; until the entire group's grades were up to par, the whole team was going to have to go to study hall, forego performances, etc. From what I've seen, she (the sponsor) is doing a great job. I have seen a sense of cohesiveness among that group that didn't exist earlier in the year, and members of the step team have been encouraged to take on leadership roles that have helped them in the classroom as well. Kudos to sponsors and coaches who are doing the right thing!"

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"The Georgia House of Representatives recently voted 104-51 to allow the police to seize automobiles driven by illegals who are involved in a traffic accident or traffic violation. Kudos to this group for an aggressive policy to get these dangerous drivers off the road. One has only to read the Friday police blotter to see how many of these people are arrested for DUI, faulty equipment, improper driving, etc. And then what happens in court? Not much, when they are then listed as 'failure to appear.' I, for one, fear being in an accident with one of these unlicensed, undocumented, untrained and uninsured individuals. In addition to property loss, I could certainly lose more than that my life, for example. Hopefully this measure will be passed into law."

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"1996 Lost Children of Rockdale. Wow - Rockdale has come a long way. Maybe Frontline needs to revisit this story. I hope if my high-school-aged daughter or son feels comfortable enough to talk about sex with a teacher; I would hope that teacher does not live in the "real world, like so many parents (of thinking my teenager doesn't have sex) and stresses the importance of protected sex. I would not dream of wanting a teacher terminated for that."

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"Is there someone new playing with our Poll? I miss all the editor's comments."

Editor's note: We're all still here. Because this space is limited, we try to remain unobtrusive so that as many readers' comments as possible are printed. We do, however, get a little frisky every now and then.

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"I would like to recognize two very big fellas for the Rockdale sherriff's department who were changing the flat tire for two young women with a teenage boy at the intersection in Lake Rockaway and Rockbridge Road on Saturday last. Officers Martinez and Browden deserve a tip-o-the-hat for their efforts in my book. Try to thank these guys when they do good for the community. They are out there taking a lot of flack every day. Every once in a while they need positive reinforcement just like you do. It might make them stay in Rockdale and work for less wages than they could go elsewhere and get, if you as an individual would only take the time to thank them. I did."

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"I was reading through the Poll and noticed the comment about teachers getting a 'real job.' Wow. I am a relatively young teacher (this is my fifth year in the classroom) and I cannot begin to explain why it is that I do what I do. First of all, the money is definitely not what brought me into the world of teaching, nor the summers off. If anything, our paychecks would weed out many of you; the teachers who are worth their salt are severely underpaid. Most of them do not complain because they do not teach for the money. These teachers, working 'officially' for 190 days a year, add anywhere from 10 to 20 hours weekly to their expected work time; this doesn't include the extra jobs that some have to get to supplement their income so they can continue to do what they love. Teachers that choose to teach for the right reasons are there for reasons far beyond simply 'educating the masses.' I consider it a privilege to have a part in so many high schoolers' lives. I see your children more than some of you do each day and I am blessed that some of them come to me for advice, to share a good grade or athletic victory, or even to have a good cry over the last boy or girl that broke their heart. Those are paychecks of the heart; the weeklong breaks throughout the year and summers off are secondary benefits. Teachers who are worth their salt have to deal with students on a regular basis who have been taught somewhere along the way that disrespect is OK, disobedience is acceptable, and nothing is ever their fault. With the education that is required of teachers, most could go out and get what you call 'real jobs' and make probably double what they make in the classroom being biologists, doctors, law enforcement officers, personal trainers, interpreters, and the like - but most teachers I know wouldn't trade what they do for any amount of money. How is it that my job as an educator is any less of a job than yours? Who exactly decided that? When you take your children out of my classroom and begin to teach them yourself, you can comment on what qualifies as a real job."

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"Parents of teens: How much money would it take to get you to spend one hour a day trying to get your teenager to learn something new? Now, imagine you are responsible for 125 to 160 teens for eight to 10 hours a day times 190 days. Still think teachers are paid enough? When is the last time you spent any amount of real time trying to explain anything to a teenager who already thinks they know everything? You wouldn't last a day just visiting a high school campus. Come on! I dare you to spend the day with your kid or better yet, come spend the day with a teacher. We are always looking for volunteers."

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"Way to go parents! Teachers were on campus late last week from 5 to 7 p.m. for early release/parent conferences. All that extra time for how many parents? ZERO! For all the bean counters out there, no, teachers do not get overtime pay for working past eight hours a day. We don't get paid for staying on campus after school-related events until you finally remember to come pick them up after practice either, but we would be legally responsible for anything that happens to your kid if we knowingly left a kid on campus unsupervised."

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"Note to parents: When the school day ends, your child is supposed to come home. Unless your child is with a teacher for a school sponsored event/activity, they must leave campus at the end of the school day or they tend to get into mischief while loitering the halls unsupervised. Loitering is not just against school rules, it's against the law! Know where your kids are!"

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"I am an unusual teacher. I came out of the corporate world to work in education. First, I'm not complaining about my salary because I signed on for this job knowing exactly what I would make. Second, to make $50,000 requires years of experience and generally more than one degree. I have my master's and several years' experience, and I don't make that much yet. Third, and most importantly, I never, never, never worked as hard in corporate America as I have worked as a teacher. I thought I knew what I was getting into based upon my student-teaching experience, but boy, was I wrong. Am I happy with the job change I made? Absolutely! My students make all that I do worthwhile. Unless you have done the job yourself, you can't criticize what we as teachers do for the pay we receive."

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"Tell the Clayton County BOE not to worry if they lose their job. (Sam) King will be glad to hire them here in Rockdale. Also, the person that wrote about cleaning up the culvert around their area not to worry because the stormwater bills that we pay should be taking care of this since we did not have much stormwater last year. I have not seen anything they are doing except sending out bills every year."

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"I am writing in response to the letter posted in the Rockdale Citizen Poll March 1 regarding the "No Trespassing" signs on Rockdale Industrial Boulevard. BioLab does not own this building and had nothing to do with the "No Trespassing" signs being placed on the property. I am employed by Ashley Capital, the property manager for this privately owned property. The pond that is on the property is not a recreational pond nor is the property part of a public park. The property is in the middle of an industrial area with truck traffic many hours of the day. There are no public parking spaces for safe off-road parking. Also, there are no sidewalks to provide safe pedestrian access. This property and pond are privately owned and potential liability is a concern. Unfortunately, we must protect against potential accidents or injury that may occur on the property and, all too often, the lawsuits against the property owner which follow an accident. As such, when we witnessed unauthorized use of the property, we felt there was no choice but to place the "No Trespassing" signs. As much as we might like to make exceptions to this policy for responsible neighbors, we do not have the resources to administer such a program."

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"To all you people who want the poison called alcohol sold on Sundays, maybe you should take a look at all the people who are in jail or prison for killing innocent people. Family violence, drunk driving, rape and the list goes on forever. Don't you think there should be one day a week to let these alcoholics take a break."

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"Do you think we can get the Georgia lawmakers out of session before they do any more harm? Child's body mass index and obesity figures posted online, absolutely ridiculous. It's not your job, guys. Stay the heck out of the parents' responsibility. Can you imagine the chatter among students when they read another students' body mass index on the Internet? Talk about a recipe for disaster. Can't the lawmakers find other more important issues to tackle, such as traffic, water and crime? Do we actually pay these lawmakers to make these stupid decisions? Moreover, who elected them?"

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"I would love to know how I can get in touch with anyone who can change the lights at the (Ga. Highway) 138 and Dogwood corridor near the Wal-Mart store. Those are the worst lights. Everybody is going crazy. Thank you for making the area bigger, but it doesn't do you any good if there is still traffic, tons of traffic. Can you please regulate the lights? And also, can you please clean the area up. There are plenty of jailers that could come out and clean that area."

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I admit, going to a movie triggers a Pavlovian-conditioned response in me that almost rivals drug addition. That is, a movie isn't a movie without popcorn. The current cost of a large bag of popcorn at our local movie theater is now up to $7. If you were to prepare the same amount of popcorn at home, it would cost you less than $1. I do admit, though, that the large bag of theater popcorn offers free refills (OK, so now the home comparison is at $2). Recently, I complained about the cost of popcorn to the theater's assistant manager and was told that the theater doesn't set the price of popcorn, neither does the management of the theater chain, only corporate stockholders set the popcorn price. I find that very hard to believe. You know, with rising gas prices, foreclosures, a difficult economy (especially in Rockdale County) and local movie ticket prices rivaling those in Los Angeles or New York levels, it has reached the point where one has to heavily weigh filling the gas tank or taking the family to the movies, particularly when that overwhelming hunger for popcorn kicks in. While I don't support outright boycotting the theater in order to force their food/ticket prices down, I certainly believe in mitigating the circumstance by (a) shopping at Wal-Mart for candy for the kids and load up your (and their) purse or pockets, (b) bring a spare bag with you so you can dump your $7 worth of large popcorn into it shortly after you buy it and then go immediately back for that free refill(s), or most unpleasantly, (c) stop buying food in the theater all together. Keep your Wal-Mart goodies close to your chest to avoid the theater's food police and certainly don't stuff a salami sandwich in your shorts, because the garlic smell would surely be a dead giveaway, and besides, people would talk. The bottom line, either we all purchase stock in the theater company in order to set a reasonable popcorn price, or we become food commandos, particularly if you, like me, can't kick the habit and watch a movie at the theater without popcorn."

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"I must say that I find it quite comical that the corporate-world worker thinks he has a real job. One must presume that you work in a cubicle all day shoving papers, answering phones, and answering e-mails. Ha - what a great contribution you must be making to society. You may go out for lunch - we don't. I expect that you don't have to find a substitute corporate worker to take your place when you are out sick. I also expect that you don't deal with teenagers all day while you are sitting in your cubicle. I might add that teachers have two full-time jobs to complete each day - the teaching portion and the paperwork portion. You, Mr. Corporate, only have your paperwork job to complete in your cubicle and at the end of the day, you go home and enjoy your evening. The bellyaching teachers have two jobs to complete, and usually they spend the majority of their day doing this at the sacrifice of their families. Teachers work far more hours than most other jobs. Oh yeah, we can't stroll into work late or leave early - we have to supervise and teach your children. Also, we must do the majority of your parenting for you due to your lack of common sense. Do all of the bellyaching teachers a favor and withdraw your children from the public schools and find someone to home-school your children. I challenge you to go substitute teach in Rockdale for a day - you won't be back and you will truly see how little you actually do in your corporate job."

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"I would like to challenge all of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners to make an attempt to hold some county board meetings during the evening, at least twice a month. I think this would give others an opportunity to get involved with the community."