Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Brunswick News. June 21, 2022.

Editorial: Solutions needed to help teachers from burning out

Community leaders and elected federal, state and local officials receive a raft of studies and reports during the course of a year. They are so numerous, in fact, that one must wonder how much time — if indeed any significant time at all — is given to each new presentation.

There is only so much data and information the human mind can absorb and process at any given length of time. There are only so many pressing problems, so many urgent crises and so many essential pursuits an individual can deal with and maintain a reasonable level of productivity and personal sanity. Look in the comic books to find Superman and Wonder Woman.

That said, there is one study, one recently released report, where the findings should not really come as a knock-me-down surprise to anyone but which cannot be pushed aside. It must be addressed, and it must be addressed sooner rather than later.

The issue: the disturbing exodus of men and women from the field of education. The cause: burnout. In a survey conducted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, 31% of the respondents indicated they were either unlikely or highly unlikely to stay in the field of education for five more years.

The culprit is a combination of various factors that are beyond the control of educators. In addition to feeling pressured into teaching the tests from which student progress is annually viewed with a nationwide lens, they are getting this growing sense of belittlement by the unsolicited micromanaging of classroom lessons by state and federal politicians. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a major cause of frustration as well.

Then there’s discipline. Despite repeated cries for help, support for student disciplinary issues continues to receive the same response from policymakers that a deadbeat gives a debt collector: the check is in the mail. All of this and more takes away classroom time and adds hours to lesson-planning, which only intensifies fatigue.

There is no easy remedy, especially given the state of politics today. Teachers are caught in the middle of the left and right, between liberal and conservative philosophies. Barking dogs are in every direction.

Nevertheless, a cure must be found. Without one the difficulty of finding good teachers tomorrow will be more difficult than it is today. And who knows how hard it will be to recruit teachers in the days beyond tomorrow.

The losers, of course, will be the children and ultimately the state and nation. In other words, everyone.

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Valdosta Daily Times. June 21, 2022.

Editorial: It’s going to get hot

It is going to be hot this week.

Really hot.

We all know just how hot it can get here in South Georgia but forecasters are saying by midweek daytime temperatures could be in the triple digits, and that is just the air temperature not the heat index.

We encourage everyone to take some simple precautions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta, says high temperatures kill hundreds of people every year with more than 700 heat-related deaths in the U.S. each year, many of them right here in the Deep South.

People 65 and older are at the highest risk for heat-related illnesses, as well as children younger than 2 and people with mental illness or chronic diseases, according to the CDC.

We encourage our readers to check in on the elderly and vulnerable during these heat waves.

Here are some specific recommendations from the CDC for those who are the most vulnerable when exposed to excessive heat for extended periods of time:

— Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. Air-conditioning is the number one way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.

— Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event.

— Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

— Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

— Don’t use the stove or oven to cook — it will make you and your house hotter.

Of course, we also caution the healthy and younger, especially those who might work outdoors or athletes who may be working out or practicing in the heat. It will be best to limit your outdoor activity in the middle of the day and make sure you drink plenty of water and stop your activity at the first sign of any heat-related stresses.

It should go without saying but unfortunately every year it seems somewhere tragedy strikes when a child is left in a vehicle. Others lose pets because they are left in cars during the hot weather.

Whether the engine is running or turned off, never leave a child or pet in a vehicle alone.

It is going to get hot this week — really hot.

Remember to check on the elderly and vulnerable and pay close attention to all heat-related news and warnings.

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Dalton Daily Citizen. June 22, 2022.

Editorial: Have a voice in your future by registering to vote

Local voting turnout is usually in the single digits. Sometimes an interesting local race, say for mayor, may push that number in the low teens. Presidential elections often bring out voters in large numbers.

For example in Whitfield County, voter turnout for the 2020 general election was 67.34% as 36,870 of 54,749 eligible voters cast their ballots in the heated presidential election. Turnout for the 2016 general election, which featured Democrat Hillary Clinton vs. Republican Donald Trump for the presidency, was actually higher as a percentage at 77.9% but lower in the number of votes 30,362.

With the general election and primaries now behind us with Tuesday’s runoffs, we set our sights on the next big date: the general election on Nov. 8. The stakes are high both nationally and statewide, as Georgia voters will pick a governor and a U.S. Senator among the most high profile races.

To play a role in who helps lead the Peach State, you must register to vote. Not only is voting your civic duty, it determines your future at the local, state and national levels.

Requirements to register to vote are:

• Be a citizen of the United States.

• Be a legal resident of the county.

• Be at least 17 1/2 years of age to register and 18 years of age to vote.

• Not be serving a sentence for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude.

• Have not been found mentally incompetent by a judge.

Now that you’ve determined if you are eligible to vote, Georgia residents have several ways to register, from in-person methods to online opportunities.

• Download, complete and mail a voter registration application from the Secretary of State’s Office at georgia.gov/register-vote.

• Go to your local county board of registrar’s office or election office, public library, public assistance office, recruitment office, schools and other government offices for a mail-in registration form.

• Registration is offered when you renew or apply for your driver’s license at Georgia Department of Driver Services.

• College students can obtain Georgia voter registration forms, or the necessary forms to register in any state in the U.S., from their school registrar’s office or from the office of the vice president of academic affairs.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s Office notes that voter registration is a county responsibility. Georgia counties issue precinct cards after reviewing and processing applications and asks that you allow your home county at least three to four weeks before contacting them.

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