Letters To The Editor

Adequate Yearly Progress

To The Editor:
As a United Methodist minister, I would like to take this opportunity to address a major concern that is having and will continue to have an impact on our local, state and nation for years.
As we all know the education of our children is paramount for the future of this nation. Having recently read an article in the Wednesday, August 3, 2010 edition of the Florence Morning News I am appalled at the standards, as reflected in the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report, that have been imposed on our schools. Under this mandate, which comes under the auspices of the No Child Left Behind Act, schools must meet every objective for the year in order to comply. Otherwise, any school not meeting all of the standards will be considered a failure, as though it failed in all.
Obviously, the standard or the bar has continuously been raised, but the means  of achieving it has not. The early Israelites living in Egyptian bondage are a biblical precedent for such “oppression.” There came a time when the Israelites were required to make the same quota of bricks but they had to gather the needed straw themselves – straw that had previously been provided to them. And the Scripture says that God saw their misery. The disturbing analogy can be made that some schools, because of economic cuts, are having to eliminate much needed remediation and intervention programs and yet students who are in need of and might otherwise benefit from such programs are still expected to perform at an accepted level. This is very penalizing to the schools and a detriment to the students who need the help.
Secondly, it is incomprehensible that under No Child Left Behind all students regardless of race, poverty or disability are expected to meet grade-level standards by the year 2014. This is likened to saying that by the year 2014, no child regardless of race, poverty or disability shall be a member of a gang. Although the ideal is encouraging and hopeful, this goal is virtually unattainable, and setting unattainable goals almost always lead to failure. Praise God that we do not have the same standards in the Church. In the church, this would be tantamount to requiring that all church members tithe, attend every worship service, attend every Bible study and every committee meeting and that by the year 2014 all members shall be saved. Otherwise, the church will be closed and labeled a  failure.
Thirdly, it is a disturbing fact that teachers have been given the sole responsibility for a child’s education that should be shared with the parents. It is obvious that some children are left behind by their parents. Perhaps we need some standards in place that parents must meet in regard to their responsibility in the child’s education. And perhaps we need an Adequate Yearly Progress report for Congress and the state legislature. We all want what is best for our children because they are our future, but let’s not kill the ones who are so much a part of ensuring what that future might be.
Paul E. Gasque, Pastor
Latta, S.C. 29565

Memorial Golf Tournament
Dear Editor:
We being close church friends of Susan and Michael Dickens have come together to organize and promote a memorial golf tournament set for September 18th at Twin Lakes in hopes of supporting the family’s financial situation.  As you probably know their ten year old daughter, Lauren, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia and was called home to be with Jesus on July 16th.
Our hopes are to assist the family in every way so that they may focus only on their sweet memories of Lauren and progress through their grieving process.
We are requesting that local churches and businesses sponsor the eighteen hole course with monetary donations.  Your assistance concerning this will greatly be appreciated.
Due to the strenuous economical status of our country, we feel obligated to offer other options in which individuals may support our efforts.  Hole sponsorship can be divided between contributors as necessary (see below). We will also need prizes and donated gifts to award golfers during the event.  Of course, the event will not be possible without teams of golfers.  We truly value anyway you feel led to aid.
Sponsorship Options:
Golfer Entry Fee: Full hole $100.00                                    $50.00 per golfer with four men to each team
Half hole-$50: Golfers will  be awarded cash prizes, free food/drinks
Fourth hole: $25
If interested, you may contact 774-7793 or 845-2132 with questions or mail check payable to Pyerian Baptist Church and mail to Friends of Lauren Dickens Committee 2269 McLaurin Lake Cr. Dillon,SC 29536 or to Pyerian Baptist Church  PO Box 908, Dillon. If you choose to mail to Pyerian, please be sure to specify Golf Tournament Donation.
1 TIMOTHY 6:17-19
If unable to support financially at this time, please do lift up Lauren’s family in your prayers daily.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and generosity.
Tiffany Miller, Rock Hayes,
Stanley Goodwin
Family friends and members of
Pyerian  Baptist -Lauren’s
home church  (Adv.)

Miracles Do Happen

To the Citizens of Dillon:
My name is Frances McNeill and my husband has just had triple bypass surgery today at McLeod of Florence.  He had just planted some string beans in his garden for me to can.
As it happens he was not able to do the work in the garden that it needed, watering the garden, putting dirt around the bottom of the string beans.  So, Mr. Kay McGirt, an elder in our church, and Deacon Frankie Stephens arranged for a group of our teenage children on our church to form a group to help with cleaning up Mr. Bill’s garden.  You wouldn’t believe we had about 25 to 30 teenage children helping out with cleaning up his garden.  I, myself, believe in miracles and tonight I saw one happen!
If you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, He will surely bless you.  I want to personally thank our young folks for all that they did for my husband, Mr. Bill McNeill.  “Miracles do happen!”  It was wonderful.
Thank you.
The McNeill Family
First Presbyterian Church
Dillon, SC