To the editor:

Do you have a child attending Chatsworth Elementary School who may be starting the third grade this fall? Even if you don’t have elementary school age children you need to be aware of how your tax dollars are being wasted by Murray County Board of Education.

Do you think high quality teachers who can actually teach your child the required subject matter to meet the Georgia standards as required by law are important? A teacher’s report card is basically the test results of their students’ Georgia Criterion Reference Competency Test.

Let’s have a quick review of the third-grade teachers at Chatsworth Elementary. Out of six third-grade teachers only one had 100 percent of her students pass the reading portion of the CRCT. Georgia requires students to read at a set level to be eligible to move to the fourth grade. Students who can’t pass the reading part of the CRCT don’t pass the third grade. As Murray County taxpayers we have just spent about $230,402 to pay the salary for five teachers who are not able to teach their students to read. Out of 110 third graders, 19 percent failed reading. Feel like you got your money’s worth?

The next subject is math. Think it might be important in this day and time to be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide? Once again the five teachers who could not teach a child to read were not able to teach mathematics. One class had an 80 percent failure rate. Worse yet,the overall percentage of children who failed math is a whopping 28 percent.

Do those five teachers have a job next year? Yes. Well that sixth teacher, the one who had all her students pass reading and only two not pass math does not have a job.

The principal is held accountable and responsible for every child and teacher in his school. Part of the job is to hire and retain teachers who are highly qualified, not retain teachers whose delivery of instruction does not allow the students to learn the required material. Do you think you got your money’s worth for the principal’s salary at Chatsworth Elementary?

The flawed decision process used by the principal for retaining the proven and qualified teacher has failed. The Murray County Board of Education follows these poor decisions and recommendations from principals without question.

Teaching at any level is not an easy job. Let’s put that proven teacher outside of the school in a “learning cottage” (doublewide trailer) with no bathroom facilities and 18 kids. On average each day those kids and the teacher had to go back and forth between the “learning cottage” and school building at times up to 13 trips a day.

How fast can you round up 18 kids and get them to walk in an orderly fashion from one place to another? It takes time away from teaching — another handicap that the other five teachers did not have to do.

Most inside classrooms have what is called an Active Board, a wonderful tool that teachers use to engage students into the learning mode. A picture is worth a thousand words so to say, a wide screen TV like device that displays and makes hands on learning a part of the lesson being taught. Do you think the learning cottage had one? No such luck. While we’re on the technology issue, do you think there were computers for the students to use that actually worked in the learning cottage? I bet you’re thinking the answer is once again, no, you’re right. How about a telephone to call for help in an emergency? (That only took two weeks to get resolved. Luckily no emergencies arose during that time.)

It is no wonder why Georgia ranks 41st out of the 50 states in education with people making flawed decisions such as I have identified here in Murray County. One word sums it up — incompetence! In my opinion I think the school board and principal need to be held accountable to the citizens and tax payers in Chatsworth. After all it’s your money!

Mark Joslyn


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