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Bon Voyager

Here is a teacher comment reacting to the information below. She exhibits great faith in the federal government:

Submitted by: Karole May 2, 2007 05:37 AM
I am a teacher in Richmond County and I use Voyager. It is true that Voyager does not give me any freedom to use trade books that I would like to use. However, over all, I have to say I like it. Richmond County is a county where the students move around a lot. When I get a new student, with Voyager, I know that this child has been taught the same material I have been teaching all year. (If their ex-teacher used it like they were supposed to.)

Voyager is also based on the latest scientific research on the methods that are most effective in teaching a child how to read. This research was funded and is published free of charge by our federal government. It works, and works well when it is used properly. The reading scores in Richmond County were low, something needed to be done. Just because Linda Shrenko had a hand in bringing it to our county, should not reflect on the program. Our curriculum would not have been changed if it had not needed it.

by Laurie Ott

Voyager's Universal Literacy Program didn't come to Richmond County by accident. As News 12 first reported in April of 2006, Linda Schrenko gave a $1,100,000 federal grant to Richmond County to put Voyager in Richmond County schools. Within a few months of that announcement, Schrenko received $55,000 from Voyager executives in Texas and their family members for her campaign for Governor.

Since then, Voyager has been implemented in all 33 Richmond County elementary schools, and has cost taxpayers more than $10,000,000. Are you getting your money's worth? It's what News 12 has been asking for more than a year, and now school board members and teachers are asking the same question.

Board members asked questions about the program, and how it came to Richmond County. Board member Venus Cain wanted to know more about research, and how long the program had been studied before it was implemented in Richmond County. Board member Frank Dolan noted the 3 people who put Voyager into place were Linda Schrenko, Merle Temple, and Dr. Charles Larke, noting the first two are in federal prison, and the latter is out of a job. ( Click here to see News 12's special coverage of the Linda Schrenko scandal.)

Teachers critical of Voyager spoke out publicly for the first time at Monday's board hearing on Voyager. Three kindergarten teachers from Warren Road spoke out against the reading program, saying they have to supplement Voyager heavily to avoid doing a "terrible disservice to our children." Other teachers spoke about the number of teachers leaving Richmond County schools, not because of students, and not because of lower pay than other systems but "because of Voyager."

News 12 interviewed a former National Teacher of the Year, Andy Baumgartner, about Voyager last year. He told us he too left the school system for Columbia County because of Voyager and the lack of creativity it allows teachers.

We want to hear from you. Does your child's teacher use Voyager? Are you a teacher who uses Voyager? What do you think of it? Let us know here.

— Laurie Ott
WRDW News Blog


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