Don't cut program for gifted and talented
The Rock Hill school district is moving backwards in the education of students compared to other districts in York County.
I am writing as a concerned parent who had children involved in the Rock Hill school district gifted and talented program during their elementary school days. I was shocked to learn the district has cut the program to the very minimum required by state law. South Carolina budgets money specifically for each qualified gifted and talented student in every school district in the state.
The S.C. Gifted and talented Department of Education Web site states that Rock Hill was allocated over $547,000 for the 2008-2009 school year. This is only a 2.3 percent cut from last year. This money can only be used for gifted and talented programs.
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For over 10 years, all students involved in this program were pulled from class for a full day of studies concentrating on specific educational areas far more advanced than what they receive in a regular classroom. Due to the 2.3 percent budget cut this year, these students will receive 2 to 3 hours of advanced studies one day a week. This is a 50 percent reduction in this program. These are the core students feeding the International Baccalaureate program our district is so proud to offer.
However, the Rock Hill school district is choosing not to continue a program proven to prepare many third- through fifth-grade students for future success. While other area districts continue to expand the gifted and talented programs from full-day weekly programs to complete emersion programs, students in the Rock Hill school district programs are being deprived of even a whole day of instruction.
I would like to encourage parents of gifted or potentially gifted students to contact their school board representatives, state school board members, state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex in Columbia, Rock Hill Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody and Dr. Sarah Lynn Hayes, director of fine arts and gifted and talented programs, and let them know cutting this program is a step in the wrong direction for our students and the district.
Remember, this is a school board election year.
GPS tracking is useful for police
I would like to respond to the editorial about law enforcement using GPS tracking. I think I bring a unique perspective.
I have no law enforcement background. As a civilian, I can see where the government's being able to track me for their amusement might be considered an invasion of privacy. However, unless they are interested in which grocery store I visit, it is really not that concerning. I think we Americans take our right to privacy a little too far. We are all concerned about our individual rights, sometimes to the detriment of our society.
Although I am not a cop, my husband has been in law enforcement for 10 years. Also, 911 Driving School where I work employs only cops as instructors. I am surrounded my these men and women who take their jobs very seriously and work hard to keep themselves and the rest of us safe. Anything that helps them do their jobs safely and more efficiently needs to be seriously considered. We all complain about the crime rate, but then don't like the solutions.
GPS trackers are available to everyday citizens now. Not only are they in our cell phones, but we offer them at our school. Parents can install them on their teenage driver's cars. The device not only tells the parents where their child is, it tells them how fast he/she is driving. When you combine that with the information you get from your cell phone bill, not only can you tell if your driver is speeding, but if they are talking or texting while driving. Every week, we watch a news report on another teen driver killed due to speed or not paying attention. Why not be proactive with your children?
I am also a parent of two children under the age of 6. Let's take the governmental use of GPS tracking one step further. Let's make it mandatory for crimes that have a high recidivism rate, like rape or child sex predators. I think it's time we do what we need to to protect children. We now have technology that will make it easier for law enforcement to be aware of where these people are. When they choose to attack a child, I think we as a society have a right to use stricter measures. Let's face it, the registry just doesn't stop them from doing it again. If it did, there would be no more repeat offenders. But if we could know where they were by GPS, anytime they were near a school or playground, they could be arrested.
So why should cops have to have a warrant when a parent does not have to? For that matter, you can put a tracker on your spouse's car to see where he/she is going. There should not be a double standard for law enforcement just to make their lives harder.