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Schofield: Education reform needed now

Hall schools chief speaks to S. Hall business leaders

POSTED: February 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.

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OAKWOOD — Hall County schools Superintendent Will Schofield spoke to South Hall business leaders Thursday morning about the urgency for school reforms.

"We don’t have time to tinker," he said. "We have to make some changes, and we have to make them now."

He spoke at a meeting of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce’s South Hall Business Coalition at Oakwood City Hall.

Schofield talked about an increasingly global economy and stiff competition from countries such as China and India. America "needs some fundamental, monumental changes in a hurry" to stay competitive, he said.

He talked about the school system’s plans to start up the World Languages Academy in South Hall next school year.

The academy will feature a "dual-language acquisition" program for kindergartners and first-graders, who will learn regular academic subjects in Spanish and English.

The program is "asking parents of young children, ‘Would you like your child to be bilingual by the time they go to middle school?’ " Schofield said. "If the answer is yes, we have an opportunity for you.

"That will work for two groups of people in our community: English-speaking people and Spanish-speaking people, which happens to be what we have."

Also, the district is considering setting up magnet programs — fine arts, science/technology and engineering/math — when it opens a high school in the fall of 2009. The district is building the middle/high school complex off Spout Springs Road in South Hall.

"There are magnet schools that are, in effect, nothing but segregation academies," he said. "They are set up so, quite honestly, affluent Caucasian people can send their children there and have them around all other Caucasian children.

"... When we talk about magnet schools in Hall County, we are talking about different programs for children with a passion."

Schofield also said he believes teachers aren’t getting respect they deserve.

"They’re tired of being beat up. They’re tired of being told they’re no good. They’re tired of being told what sorry bureaucrats they are," he said. "By and large, the vast majority of them don’t deserve that. We ought to stand a give them an ovation."



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