Letter: Status quo isn't working, so let's try charter schools

I just had to write to the Citizen regarding Brad Smith's recent viewpoint on the upcoming charter school vote in November. I am sure that Mr. Smith is a hardworking, well-meaning board member, but when do we stop going with the flow and try something different? Is Georgia not ranked around 47th out of 50 in regard to our public schools? It seems to me that something is just not working. The unions have long had a strangle hold on our schools and something must change. We can't keep doing the same things and expect different results. That's what imbeciles do.

It seems to me that administrators of the poorest performing schools in the worst states (Georgia) would call up No. 1 on the list (Massachusetts) and ask them what are they doing that is working so well. Has nobody ever thought of this? Does it take someone outside of the "associations, federations, and foundations" to think of this? Mr. Smith, telling us poor taxpayers that "the machine" thinks charter schools are "bad" for us makes them sound all the more attractive. Mr. Smith asks, "How can all these experts be wrong?" Well, I must refer you back to Georgia's esteemed bottom of-the-barrel school ranking that we just can't seem to shake.

Why do politicians of all flavors just want to throw more money (my money and your money) at this? Private schools educate children much more effectively for far less per student cost. What about that? Just throw more money. Is that the only answer you can come up with? What about leadership? What about firing the poor performing teachers and really standing behind our many excellent teachers? What about disciplining children and kicking out the troublemakers? Why not start with that?

I realize that I have begun to rant. I apologize. I have to tell myself that bureaucrats mean well, but I have had enough of well-meaning people with no vision. A "yes" vote signifies loss of power and control for those bureaucrats against and more freedom and flexibility for those in support. I am a 40-year resident of Rockdale County and a graduate of Heritage High School. I have two children who are products of the RCPS system. One child graduated from the amazing Rockdale Magnet School of Science and Technology summa cum laude. If Charter schools are anything like the magnet school, then we should be breaking our necks to start them up.

Please, people, vote "yes" to charter schools and let's give something new a try!

-- Brenda Lineberry


Thanks, Citizen, for getting the word out

On Oct. 4 Barbara Knowles ran a feature article regarding my husband James B. Vargo's continued battle with gastroparesis, the health issues and mounting medical costs which have overwhelmed our family.

Our sale ran Saturday at the Antiques and Stuff Mall location in Covington, and it was amazing how many wonderful people came by to pray with us, make a donation or just offer a word of encouragement.

We met a number of people who are struggling with this debilitating illness, not at the same degree that Jim's is, but still understanding fully what the battles are.

We raised a little money and, more importantly, we raised Jim's spirits immensely, so much so that he insisted on staying the entire day and wore himself out!

We thank the Newton Citizen and Barbara Knowles for their support and care.

The Bank of America James B. Vargo Fund is open and will continue to stay open, and we are hoping to have his surgery date scheduled within the next 30 days.

Thank you all so very much!

-- Kathryn and

James B. Vargo