Friday, June 18, 1999
|Reader wants board to end discrimination against
I ask the Coweta County Board of Education to drop their ongoing policy of favoritism to Newnan High School and their policy of discrimination towards Northgate High School.
Specifically, I ask the board to reconsider their ill-informed, unanimous vote to refuse permission for Northgate's band to travel to Washington, D.C. There are several reasons for reconsideration, primarily that they were misinformed concerning the number of school days the band members would miss. The band would miss only three days of class, not four as the board was told and not five like Newnan High students did earlier this year.
A second reason the band should be allowed to participate in this trip is that no academic work will be missed. The band director has informed parents that the band members making the trip must complete all makeup work. This would not be a problem in any case since many of the finest students at Northgate and in this county are members of the Marching Vikings, a fact clearly demonstrated by the recent Georgia High School Graduation Test results in which Northgate led the county in every single category, an accomplishment for which the board has yet to congratulate Northgate.
A third reason is these students will have the opportunity to learn more in three days in our nation's capital than they possibly could in a classroom. This education will include history, science, art and architecture, and an overwhelming dose of citizenship.
The final reason is simply fairness. On Jan. 12, 1999, the board voted unanimously to let a group of Newnan High students travel to Washington from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, missing an entire week of school. On Jan. 12, the board members were filled with enthusiasm about Newnan's trip. One board member made the point that five days in our nation's capital were easily worth five days in a classroom.
However, by June 8, the board somehow had a complete change of attitude. After Northgate's trip was recommended by both the associate superintendent of education and the superintendent of education, it took only seconds for one board member, who by coincidence is a Newnan High graduate, to criticize missing four days of school to visit Washington. He was quickly joined by the board chairman who, like one other board member, lives within walking distance of Newnan High; by the two board members who are Newnan High parents; and by the remaining board members.
It is time for the members of this board to take a good look in the mirror and decide, despite gerrymandered districts and despite their many close associations with Newnan, if they are the Newnan Board of Education or the Coweta County Board of Education.