President Donald Trump has targeted federal funding, traditional public school programs and even DACA. The state of public education in this country is in a state of emergency. Will Georgia put children first or continue to allow agencies to profit off the school to prison pipeline?
How many Educators, parents and students know the stats on Georgia’s ranking in education from best to worst school systems in 2017? Georgia still isn’t making the cut for all of our children and it is time that we face the hard facts. We won’t see the level of gains in school turnaround strategies until we properly support the contributing factors to the lack of success! Here’s my list of needs improvement areas in Georgia schools that need immediate turn around and support:
- School Funding Formula
- Family & Community Engagement
- Early Learning
- Adult Education
- Leader & Teacher Quality
School funding is critical in helping ensure the our educators and students have all the resources needed for student achievement to successfully take place . This includes resources to effectively continuing education at home through family and community engagement. We all see it yet continue to allow it to happen. We have school Districts that are too busy paying salaries and schools are lacking resources and students aren’t achieving the levels of success they should. We aren’t capitalizing on technology! Have you been into a Georgia school that actually has good reception for your wi-fi service, working copiers/printers for teachers, Internet access and laptops for all? It’s always a hit or miss in this area yet technology is a leading factor of our society.
Our Literacy rates are very low for the State of Georgia. Children won’t get excited about reading if families and communities aren’t. Where are our elders riding the newspapers, bibles and doing cross word puzzles in the community? Where are the summer enrichment, summer camps, vacation bible schools that are reinforcing the importance of reading and character building? We need more reading incentives from companies, corporations, celebrities and most importantly from the center of our communities which is the home. We can’t rely on Google and technology. Picking up a book and reading is still critically important for development, understanding and healthy growth of our children. Early learning and development is where this begins! We’re simply not cutting it when it comes to providing quality learning environments for our children. It begins at home. It’s reinforced by the communities we live in and supported by our schools. We have mixed this up somewhere along the way were we believe education started and ends at school. This is why it takes a village to raise a child. School can’t be the only place where our children experience learning. Parents, families, communities you must teach the children too!
Adult education has to be taken more seriously. I believe in order to apply for any government assistance, adults should be registered in some type of program to help them build their educational background. We see so many parents at Juvenile Detention Centers and even schools just signing their child’s life away. It’s not so much of always being a hurry that causes it, for that’s an excuse. The real reason is that the majority of the adults can’t read and/or interpret the information being presented. If adults aren’t able to read or lack basic educational knowledge, how can they help their children academically? School Districts and our State Department of Education must partner with Higher Education institutions to help adults reach higher levels of education so that our children can.
Accountability matters! No one likes this area but it is needed for balance and success. The way in which we hold our educators, policy makers and parents accountable determines the quality of education we want to see in our schools. Student accountability helps them to reach their highest potential. Education is a gift! The value of a gift is determined by the receiver’s ability to cherish it.
I say this quote often by former Interim Atlanta City Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis, “We don’t have a failing school problem, we have a failing leader problem!” In order to successfully turn around school and student success, we must improve school leader and teacher quality. Teacher pay, culture and climate, employee wellness, resources and professional development all matter to building and maintaining faculty and staff. The turn over rate in schools is so consistently high. People aren’t staying in the field 20 – 30 years anymore which also changes quality. The passion of an educator is what helps to make quality key. In order for quality to improve, you must have the right people in place. Educators don’t perform well when they are disregarded, disrespected, placed in unwelcoming and unsupported environments, are not properly trained or have adequate resources to perform well. If we truly want our education system to change, we need to put our money where our mouth is.