Citizen Speaks; Joene DePlancke

Citizens Speak

Since the Times Courier won’t let me respond to Greg Wingo’s comments about me, here is my response to ‘Gilmer County Schools’ in the Times Courier:

Mr. Wingo seemed to take my comments personally last week, as he should. He is, after all, the Assistant Superintendent and the Curriculum Director and it’s his responsibility. He also stated that “it is sad that there are people with agendas not based on what is in the best interests of our students.” I have no agenda. I have no children in the Gilmer School system. What is ‘sad’ is that the Curriculum Director seems to have no agenda either, yet he is paid $100,000 per year to have an agenda.

Mr. Wingo also stated that I had my facts wrong. Everything I wrote was fact. Our middle school children did not do as poorly, but then we didn’t have 1200 children in one school back then. The point I was making is that many of our 3rd & 4th graders are testing at the bottom of the scale in GA, and Georgia already ranks near the bottom nationally. How will our kids have any chance of keeping up by the time they get to middle or high school if they never learn the basics? And, why is Mr. Wingo defending these unacceptable scores instead of apologizing and figuring out how to improve them?

I also would like to know why the only reference in the Times Courier to the CRCT scores for the children of Gilmer County had to appear in my letter to the editor at the newspaper when it should have been the front page headline. There seems to be little effort on the part of the BOE to disseminate this information or the newspaper to report it. This is important information for the parents of Gilmer County. How can they decide how to educate their children if they don’t know the public schools test results? How can they decide whether to demand changes, support a charter school, private school or to consider home schooling without this information?

The arrogance and animosity of the school administration needs to stop. To attack me personally as if I am the only one concerned is foolhardy and immature. The citizens have overwhelmingly spoken and want the BOE, the administration and teachers to focus on improving the methods of teaching in GC. We have a lot of work to do and I hope that rather than spending time attacking citizens trying to improve the system that the remaining members and superintendent will work at embracing the new board members and focus once again on the best interests of the students.

Joene DePlancke

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