Tuesday, January 10, 2012

School Beat: Do Richmond County Parents Care?

School Beat
Jan. 10, 2012
By Craig Spinks, Ed.D.

Do the parents of kids in the Richmond County school system care about how well their kids learn to read, cipher, write, think et al.?

Author’s Note: To meet head-on the irrelevant, tangential criticism that the bald-headed SOB who’s writing this piece in the CityStink.net lives in Columbia County, I assert my belief that the Augusta Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area(SMSA) can be only as vital and stable as its urban core. And, inasmuch as the health of the urban core is greatly dependent upon the quality of its public school system, the vitality and stability of the Augusta SMSA will be greatly influenced- for good or ill- by how effective in graduating educated young folks the Richmond County School System(RCSS) is.

“Not much” is the unvarnished answer to the question posed above. “How can you say that?” will complain many parents of the kids in the RCSS. Easy: How many times a year do RCSS parents visit their kids’ schools during the regular school day? How many times a year do they attend PTA meetings? How many times do they talk to their kids’ teachers on the phone?

Well, obviously I don’t and can’t know exact answers to these questions. I don’t have and can’t get access to school sign-in logs, teacher phone-call lists and PTA meeting attendance rosters. But I think that I can make valid inferences from my personal experiences in a system where most of the folks are trying pretty-doggone-hard to educate RCSS students.

How many times I’ve visited RCSS schools and attended PTA meetings conducted in them during the almost-seven years since my retirement as a Special Education(SpEd) teacher in the Columbia County School System I can’t say. But I’d venture that the number is substantial. After all, I was selected Richmond County Council of PTAs’ “Volunteer of the Year” for the 2008-09 school year.
During my numerous visits to several RCSS elementary, middle and high schools, I ‘ve seen plenty of teachers, administrators, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria workers , unidentified  employees of questionable function and thousands of students, but one group has been conspicuous by its absence: you guessed it- PARENTS. I don’t remember ever seeing a RCSS parent make a classroom visit. I remember seeing more than 50 parents at only four or five  PTA functions. Now I have seen a lot of parents in school offices for conferences about their kids’ behavior, to pick up sick kids, and to check kids out early at the end of a school day, particularly a Friday. But their absences in their kids’ classrooms and at their kids’ schools’ PTAs is distressing and destructive.***

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