SC

Letter: SC First Steps Failing

Dear Editor, All of us believe that preparing children for school is a great idea; the problem, in the case of the S.C. First Steps to School Readiness program (a.k.a. “First Steps”), is the fact that we should expect it to actually happen. I mean, after all, the money actually happened. Like…

Dear Editor,

All of us believe that preparing children for school is a great idea; the problem, in the case of the S.C. First Steps to School Readiness program (a.k.a. “First Steps”), is the fact that we should expect it to actually happen. I mean, after all, the money actually happened. Like $17.9 million worth of state dollars this year alone.

Check out the newly revised First Steps website (www.scfirststeps.org) and you might believe the agency has made a difference. You might believe it is responsible for the improvement in retention rates in first grade, as its leaders claim.

After all, it is reasonable to assume that since the S.C. Department of Education (SCDOE) serves 23,000 children in four-year-old kindergarten – and First Steps only serves 500 statewide – that First Steps is the entity responsible for the improvement in retention rates.

Isn’t it? Of course not.

It is widely known that the S.C. Legislative Audit Council (LAC) has completed, but not yet released, a devastating report about the incredible mismanagement and stark lack of results achieved by First Steps. It is so bad that even our legislature is reluctant to reauthorize them as required this year. They are looking at a one year proviso or joint resolution just to keep the staff employed on July 1st.

Given the fact that the LAC report has not been released (a certain First Steps board member is also on the LAC board), legislators feel compelled to give the agency a one year extension “until all the facts are in.”

There is just one problem with that – a glaringly obvious question which not one legislator or reporter has been asking: Where is the evaluation report on First Steps that the agency was legislatively mandated to provide by January 2012? Check out the evaluations page on their website, which indicates that they are legally required to provide an evaluation every three years.

Where is the 2012 evaluation?

Then ask yourself this: Why would anyone consider reauthorizing this organization for even one more day when they don’t take their own law seriously? The facts we need to gauge the effectiveness of this program should already be in. Unfortunately, legislative mandates are just “suggestions” to people like First Steps Executive Director Susan DeVenny.

Anonymous

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81 comments

GrandTango May 31, 2013 at 7:58 am

Liberalism = FAILURE…I told you this a long time ago….

When you have mothers who are uneducated and don’t care, with absentee fathers…Failure is all but guaranteed…

Yet democrats demand money over and over, so their leaders can get fat off the public dime. This is the democrat answer to everything…

Republicans, in fear of being called names, let them do it…
And all the while everybody but the guilty will be blamed…

Reply
Smirks May 31, 2013 at 7:59 am

You’re one to talk about uneducated people.

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So May 31, 2013 at 8:04 am

Really. The spelling errors alone…

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GrandTango May 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

So typical. You’re too STUPID to address the content, so as usual you try for the lame insult…
But: Are Liberals not trying to EXPAND pre-school in S.C.??? (see Harry Ott, Gilda Cobb-Salad)
And expansion is just more of this FAILED program???
Try answering w/ some intellect…and let’s see if you can???

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A Friend May 31, 2013 at 8:10 am

“Try answering w/ some intellect…and let’s see if you can???”

You go first.

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Just saying May 31, 2013 at 8:07 am

I do agree that the liberal idea that a village can raise a child is dead wrong. This idea, attributed to Ms. Clinton, was suggested to improve outcomes. First Start is another example of “the Villiage” that does not work.

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Connie Riprock May 31, 2013 at 10:26 am

FIrst Steps is a great idea that was ruined by greedy, incompetents. Look at what The Nerve wrote about the inflated salary First Steps’ executive director pulls down. Her name is Susan DeVenny. Her inflated deputy is Dan Wuori.

http://thenerve.org/news/2012/06/12/lac-begins-audit-of-first-steps/

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Tyrone Butternuts May 31, 2013 at 8:55 am

Liberalism is great and it works as long as Republicans are nowhere in sight. Problems is, Bob Dole said on national television a few days ago that he does not recognize the current GOP. Very telling.

Conservatism is the failure. You guys want to destroy the environment, force people to believe your religious beliefs, you hate people who are not white like you. You are a pathetic shadow of a party that was once great, and to which I belonged for a long time until you all went loco. The GOP displays a disdain and hatred for the average person.

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GrandTango May 31, 2013 at 10:45 am

Thank you…you CLEARLY explain who and what the left is…
I could not have represented you better, and I’m D@*n good at it…

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Tyrone Butternuts June 2, 2013 at 11:15 am

I thank God every day that I am not you.

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BrigidBernadette May 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Liberalism works great huh? So is that why the American family is stronger than ever, hardly any children born out of wedlock nowadays, the number of abortions has dropped, record numbers of people employed and buying houses and living the dream, our foreign policy has made peace break out all over with the muslims refusing the kill infidels and our military devoted to rebuilding our infrastructure, now that the border with Mexico is secured, cutting off the path for human slave traders and drug dealers, RIGHT? And all of those DoJ prosecutions for financial misdeeds really boosted the dollar’s value, dropped inflation, and made us able to pay off all of our debts to China, RIGHT? After having a liberal most transparent government in history, the sacred institutions like the freedom of the press and the honesty of good government is better than ever, along with the educational attainment of the nation’s youth who are outpacing China’s and India’s students in science and math who will grow up to work for the space program or the domestic oil industry, and now that the gangs have given up the thug lifestyle the cities like Detroit are thriving, RIGHT? Tyrone, you are a cretin. And the number of votes up confirm the sad truth–that this is a liberal website. I don’t think conservatives are even reading it, except for me and Tango.

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A Friend June 1, 2013 at 11:34 pm

All the upvotes prove is that liberals who took the time to do so upvoted that comment. It says nothing about how many people read this site, their political affiliation, or what political views this site is affiliated with. You cannot know how many people are reading and NOT upvoting or commenting and what they believe b/c they just aren’t telling you. A little logic goes a long way.

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Tyrone Butternuts June 2, 2013 at 11:16 am

I thank God every day that I am not you. Cretin? I’ll compare my tax returns and educational level with you any day, asshole.

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Just saying May 31, 2013 at 8:06 am

This is not a big surprise. The problem here is the family unit and support that these kids have. You can’t replace it with first start. A child needs a mother. A child also needs a father and to know who is his/her father. Many negro children have no idea who fathered them. They are off to a bad start from the start!

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So May 31, 2013 at 8:12 am

Plenty of white kids have that problem, too. So how do we fix the problem, and what do we do about the kids in bad homes in the meantime?

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Just saying May 31, 2013 at 8:16 am

We look for other solutions. Kiddie daycare is not the right answer. It is not achieving goals.

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Jan May 31, 2013 at 8:56 am

What are your suggestions?

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Just saying May 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

End the program and immediately. It is not working. The government cannot raise all of these kids

The Cracker May 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I think they’re called African Americans now. Just Saying…

Just saying May 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm

The correct term is Negro. African Americans are persons who immigrated to the US as first generation descendants. There are Mexican Americans, ect. Most of these are negros. We have not experienced large influxes of Africans recently. Blacks is another acceptable term. These are the same terms seen on the US Census.

Ken E. May 31, 2013 at 9:05 pm

US Census said “Black, African Am., or Negro” and they only included Negro for older Blacks that still self identified with the term.

Brea Bennett May 31, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I have no issue with Negro, black, or AA

9" May 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

mandatory abortions for stupid people

drop the kids in bad homes off at disney world,and forget about em

Reply
shifty henry May 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

9″ — a mother told me that she was tempted to leave her kid on “It’s A Small World” ride – forever….

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A Friend June 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm

“A child needs a mother. A child also needs a father and to know who is his/her father.”

So you’re not okay with same-sex couples parenting their adopted children?

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Just saying May 31, 2013 at 8:06 am

This is not a big surprise. The problem here is the family unit and support that these kids have. You can’t replace it with first start. A child needs a mother. A child also needs a father and to know who is his/her father. Many negro children have no idea who fathered them. They are off to a bad start from the start!

Reply
So May 31, 2013 at 8:12 am

Plenty of white kids have that problem, too. So how do we fix the problem, and what do we do about the kids in bad homes in the meantime?

Reply
Just saying May 31, 2013 at 8:16 am

We look for other solutions. Kiddie daycare is not the right answer. It is not achieving goals.

Reply
Jan May 31, 2013 at 8:56 am

What are your suggestions?

Reply
Just saying May 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

End the program and immediately. It is not working. The government cannot raise all of these kids

The Cracker May 31, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I think they’re called African Americans now. Just Saying…

Just saying May 31, 2013 at 12:37 pm

The correct term is Negro. African Americans are persons who immigrated to the US as first generation descendants. There are Mexican Americans, ect. Most of these are negros. We have not experienced large influxes of Africans recently. Blacks is another acceptable term. These are the same terms seen on the US Census.

Ken E. May 31, 2013 at 9:05 pm

US Census said “Black, African Am., or Negro” and they only included Negro for older Blacks that still self identified with the term.

Brea Bennett May 31, 2013 at 10:00 pm

I have no issue with Negro, black, or AA

9" May 31, 2013 at 12:27 pm

mandatory abortions for stupid people

drop the kids in bad homes off at disney world,and forget about em

Reply
shifty henry May 31, 2013 at 3:56 pm

9″ — a mother told me that she was tempted to leave her kid on “It’s A Small World” ride – forever….

Reply
A Friend June 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm

“A child needs a mother. A child also needs a father and to know who is his/her father.”

So you’re not okay with same-sex couples parenting their adopted children?

Reply
Nellie May 31, 2013 at 9:03 am

Finally someone starts asking serious questions about those fools at First Steps (which includes their incestuous sisters at the the Institute for Child Success – you go H2O Joe!)

Getting that LAC report delayed until after the legislature votes for your one year extension is awesome. Hard to do since it was due in JANUARY.

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Nofan May 31, 2013 at 6:31 pm

That LAC report was requested in 2010. You know it must be bad to be delayed this long.

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Marla Anderson June 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Institute for Child Success (ICS) is more correctly named Institute for Shi Success.
Its director, Susan Shi, ex Furman president’s wife, reigns over another early childhood agency that has had no impact on children.
The “Institute” http://www.instituteforchildsuccess.org/index.php does nothing for kids but plenty to sustain funding for its staff.
A well known “secret” is that ICS ghost-wrote the new First Steps bill increasing First Steps’ power and dismantling accountability. Legislators refused to pass the bill until the LAC report was out- to their credit.
The unsavory Furman-First Steps association was supposed to prop up the directionless Institute but First Steps director Susan DeVenny’s reputation is hurting ICS credibility.
Finally Susan Shi is starting to realize her friend DeVenny’s assurances about First Steps’ are damaging her own career plans.

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Nellie May 31, 2013 at 9:03 am

Finally someone starts asking serious questions about those fools at First Steps (which includes their incestuous sisters at the the Institute for Child Success – you go H2O Joe!)

Getting that LAC report delayed until after the legislature votes for your one year extension is awesome. Hard to do since it was due in JANUARY.

Reply
Nofan May 31, 2013 at 6:31 pm

That LAC report was requested in 2010. You know it must be bad to be delayed this long.

Reply
Marla Anderson June 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Institute for Child Success (ICS) is more correctly named Institute for Shi Success.
Its director, Susan Shi, ex Furman president’s wife, reigns over another early childhood agency that has had no impact on children.
The “Institute” http://www.instituteforchildsuccess.org/index.php does nothing for kids but plenty to sustain funding for its staff.
A well known “secret” is that ICS ghost-wrote the new First Steps bill increasing First Steps’ power and dismantling accountability. Legislators refused to pass the bill until the LAC report was out- to their credit.
The unsavory Furman-First Steps association was supposed to prop up the directionless Institute but First Steps director Susan DeVenny’s reputation is hurting ICS credibility.
Finally Susan Shi is starting to realize her friend DeVenny’s assurances about First Steps’ are damaging her own career plans.

Reply
GrandTango May 31, 2013 at 9:15 am

Considering all the Scandals in Washington and Robert Ford (the de-facto leader of the democrat party in SC) liberals can ILL-AFFORD for this failure to define them even more, at this time…

I’m guessing all the crap coming out now, about what Obama did, spells a Blood-Bath in 2014 for the dems…this is just pile on…

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Prez Perry May 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Dems must be doing awesome if you’re predicting a blood bath scenario…

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GrandTango May 31, 2013 at 12:34 pm

I know I’ve kicked you Dumb@$$#$ Square in the N*t$, and you’re idea-less, when you break out you ‘Prez Perry’ Cliché….thanks for the “confirm”..

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Prez Perry May 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Glad to help, Nate Silver!

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It's N The Mail, Bitch June 1, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Ahem! Like the time after time predictions that never manifested?

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Sick and Tired May 31, 2013 at 10:18 am

Didn’t I read in the paper that even more millions are going into 4K in the current budget? Won’t that go to First Steps too? We need to DEMAND that legislators delete that funding.

That money could go to pay for the roads that are so crappy.

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Sick and Tired May 31, 2013 at 10:18 am

Didn’t I read in the paper that even more millions are going into 4K in the current budget? Won’t that go to First Steps too? We need to DEMAND that legislators delete that funding.

That money could go to pay for the roads that are so crappy.

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Joe Don May 31, 2013 at 10:27 am

How much longer am I going to have to see that First Steps still exists? Where is that 2012 evaluation? Apparently another evaluation has come out (looks like Education Oversight Committee). Check it out:

http://thenerve.org/news/2013/05/06/kindergarten-cost/

And we want to throw more money at this worthless sham agency? I checked the state salary database. Susan Devenny makes MORE THAN $120,000 A YEAR!!!!!

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Joe Don May 31, 2013 at 10:27 am

How much longer am I going to have to see that First Steps still exists? Where is that 2012 evaluation? Apparently another evaluation has come out (looks like Education Oversight Committee). Check it out:

http://thenerve.org/news/2013/05/06/kindergarten-cost/

And we want to throw more money at this worthless sham agency? I checked the state salary database. Susan Devenny makes MORE THAN $120,000 A YEAR!!!!!

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Bufferin May 31, 2013 at 11:08 am

I am all for helping kids, but not for lining the pockets of bureaucrats. Have you looked at all the blowhard info on the First Steps (let’s call them LAst Steps) website? I clicked on that evaluation page. They have a lead-in that looks like the evaluations are good, but if you click on the reports and read them they are HORRIBLE! Looks like Last Steps only looks good until you scratch the surface. And I mean BARELY scratch the surface.

Who has not been paying attention?

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Bufferin May 31, 2013 at 11:08 am

I am all for helping kids, but not for lining the pockets of bureaucrats. Have you looked at all the blowhard info on the First Steps (let’s call them LAst Steps) website? I clicked on that evaluation page. They have a lead-in that looks like the evaluations are good, but if you click on the reports and read them they are HORRIBLE! Looks like Last Steps only looks good until you scratch the surface. And I mean BARELY scratch the surface.

Who has not been paying attention?

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MaizieMae May 31, 2013 at 11:54 am

Just looked at the evaluation page. If these First Steps evaluations are due in January of the year they are due, why do they all appear to be submitted late – like REAL late? The 2009 evaluation that would have been due in January 2009 was submitted on 11/10/10!!!!!

Just how crooked are these people?

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MaizieMae May 31, 2013 at 11:54 am

Just looked at the evaluation page. If these First Steps evaluations are due in January of the year they are due, why do they all appear to be submitted late – like REAL late? The 2009 evaluation that would have been due in January 2009 was submitted on 11/10/10!!!!!

Just how crooked are these people?

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carolinaonefor May 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

So why has the Institute for Child Suckcess (ICS) out of Greenville gotten into bed with First Steps? They have some good folks – heavy hitters – on their board. Is it that goober Joe Waters they are listening to? Wake up ICS board! 1950 called; it wants its irrelevancy back.

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Dr. J May 31, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Joe wrote the new First Steps reauthorization bill.

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carolinaonefor May 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

So why has the Institute for Child Suckcess (ICS) out of Greenville gotten into bed with First Steps? They have some good folks – heavy hitters – on their board. Is it that goober Joe Waters they are listening to? Wake up ICS board! 1950 called; it wants its irrelevancy back.

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Dr. J May 31, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Joe wrote the new First Steps reauthorization bill.

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nitrat May 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm

First Steps may have been a good idea. I really don’t know. I never liked the idea of state money going to private day cares. It does that, right? First Steps came into being in lieu of 4K during the Hodges admin, right?
Now, we have 8 years of Mark Sanford appointees like the failed director he had at DSS during his first 4 years. Then, he moved that LAWYER – no reason to be in social services OR education – to First Steps (I cannot remember her name).
I don’t know what’s happened since, but it is full of political patronage jobs up and down the line. And, I’m sure every bit of office space it rents out across the state belongs to some politician or other well connected scum.
You know, before “restructuring” we had a meritocracy. You actually had to pass a state civil service test to get a job. Now, we’ve got nothing but cronyism.

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nitrat May 31, 2013 at 1:20 pm

First Steps may have been a good idea. I really don’t know. I never liked the idea of state money going to private day cares. It does that, right? First Steps came into being in lieu of 4K during the Hodges admin, right?
Now, we have 8 years of Mark Sanford appointees like the failed director he had at DSS during his first 4 years. Then, he moved that LAWYER – no reason to be in social services OR education – to First Steps (I cannot remember her name).
I don’t know what’s happened since, but it is full of political patronage jobs up and down the line. And, I’m sure every bit of office space it rents out across the state belongs to some politician or other well connected scum.
You know, before “restructuring” we had a meritocracy. You actually had to pass a state civil service test to get a job. Now, we’ve got nothing but cronyism.

Reply
Polyphemos May 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Why don’t we call it what it is? I mean, “SC First Steps for School Readiness” is a fine name for a program which does nothing and has no result other than freeing up parents who can’t otherwise afford child care while they work. It’s a Child Care Service, so let’s call it that.. or maybe *The Crackas Pay for All their Civil War Guilt – Again – Program*.

But we can’t, because then, those parents who are actually paying for child care would be very wroth with people like Leatherman and othermen.

So, before anybody finds out what it really is, let’s call it the *Emergency Children’s Affordable Health Program*. That way, you don’t have to prove whether it works at all.

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Slartibartfast May 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Why don’t we call it what it is? I mean, “SC First Steps for School Readiness” is a fine name for a program which does nothing and has no result other than freeing up parents who can’t otherwise afford child care while they work. It’s a Child Care Service, so let’s call it that.. or maybe *The Crackas Pay for All their Civil War Guilt – Again – Program*.

But we can’t, because then, those parents who are actually paying for child care would be very wroth with people like Leatherman and othermen.

So, before anybody finds out what it really is, let’s call it the *Emergency Children’s Affordable Health Program*. That way, you don’t have to prove whether it works at all.

Reply
Marla Anderson May 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm

The image of a healthy child reading a book in a nice room filled with learning materials is what the local First Steps organizations work hard to achieve. Do not confuse the missteps of the state office with the good work of the locals. Volunteers on the First Steps board work hard to bring literacy to children who would never have a chance to look at books. Their families get services through local involvement. Do not let Columbia’s politics hurt little children.

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Marla Anderson May 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm

The image of a healthy child reading a book in a nice room filled with learning materials is what the local First Steps organizations work hard to achieve. Do not confuse the missteps of the state office with the good work of the locals. Volunteers on the First Steps board work hard to bring literacy to children who would never have a chance to look at books. Their families get services through local involvement. Do not let Columbia’s politics hurt little children.

Reply
chickenoregg May 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm

First Steps was Jim Hodges’ main (and really only) initiative as governor. It was designed as separate from the main educational system and has never been integrated. Thus, structurally, it had little chance for long existence. It’s first leader was a lawyer with no understanding of child development. (Hodges, who was a lawyer, believed they were the only ones who could do anything which, we all know, is absurd.) It was ill-conceived, poorly implemented and not integrated into the educational culture. I am surprised it lasted this long. It was a horrible waste of money.

Reply
chickenoregg May 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm

First Steps was Jim Hodges’ main (and really only) initiative as governor. It was designed as separate from the main educational system and has never been integrated. Thus, structurally, it had little chance for long existence. It’s first leader was a lawyer with no understanding of child development. (Hodges, who was a lawyer, believed they were the only ones who could do anything which, we all know, is absurd.) It was ill-conceived, poorly implemented and not integrated into the educational culture. I am surprised it lasted this long. It was a horrible waste of money.

Reply

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