Monday, April 26, 2010
I have been alarmed to learn that some in Georgia's legislature are going to try to balance the books in part by canceling the Governors Honors Program, a six week summer program for talented high school students. An appalling prospect. So I wrote Sonny:
Hello Governor Purdue,
As someone who follows politics closely, I am well aware of the budget crisis in our state and know that deep cuts are to be expected. However, I am stunned to read that the Governors Honors Program, one of the most highly regarded elements of our educational system, is on the chopping block. Failure to keep this program alive would be appallingly short-sighted. I count my six weeks at GHP (Social Studies, 1979) as one of the transformative experiences of my life. In my years teaching in high school English in Gwinnett County I helped with our county's interview process and saw how much the opportunity to go to GHP meant to kids, and when students of my own were privileged to go, they came back in August as though they had been to the mountaintop. Read the online petition that GHP alums have launched and you'll see the term "life changing" show up again and again.
By coincidence, the topic of my study at GHP was Georgia politics of the 1930s and 1940s. The forces of backwardness and the forces of progress fought for the soul of Georgia in that era. It has long seemed that progress was ascendant, and one of the signs that we were moving forward was Gov. Sanders' founding of GHP in 1964. And now to say that we can no longer afford it! What does this say about where we are as a state? I know we're not too poor. We're too something else - too misguided and too cheap.
I have read suggestions in some quarters that participants should pay to attend. That will not do - I am a parent of two talented children who are reaching the age when they are receiving pitches from summer programs that charge tuition. The cost would be an immense sacrifice for us, and we are middle class. Children from poor families would be priced out of GHP were it to charge tuition.
If you truly believe in equality of educational opportunity, you'll find a way to keep GHP alive.
NOTE: The Save GHP Facebook group provides this contact information for the House/Senate reconciliation committee, plus the Governor.
Gov. Perdue 404-656-1776
Jerry Keen 404-656-5052 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Jones 404-656-5072 - email@example.com
Ben Harbin 404-463-2247 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Hill 404-656-5038 - email@example.com
Tommie Williams 404-656-0089 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Chip Rogers 404-463-1378 - email@example.com
Posted by Jim at 10:05 PM