Breaking News

ASU coach Mike White resigns December 17, 2014

0

Educational system the root of Albany’s problems

Guest commentary

Lawrence Knighton

Lawrence Knighton

After reading the article in The Albany Herald in regards to the downtown restaurant owners looking for the city to help with their businesses, I felt like it was time to write another article.

I say it all of the time and I will repeat it again, “Downtown Albany and no other area of Albany will prosper until we do something about our broken and dysfunctional educational system.” The success of any community will only happen when the city and county governments, businesses, churches and individuals get involved and make a difference in the plight of education in the community.

I have lived in Albany, GA for 24 years, and I have never seen the Chamber of Commerce, city or county governments, and other entities come together for the most important issue for a community, which is education. In a community with the third-highest poverty rate in the country, it should be obvious that education needs to be addressed. Realistically speaking, poverty and crime all stem from a lack of education and until all of the community comes together, nothing will change.

I admire Aaron Blair and his staff for what they are trying to do with ADICA and downtown, but I can assure you that they are wasting their time and the taxpayers’ money if this community does not band together and help our sunken school system. I am not saying for one minute that DCSS does not have a lot of great things going for it. What I am saying is that out of all of the great things going for it, at the end of the day, DCSS has a dismal graduation rate and that must be addressed.

To be frank with you, nothing that ADICA is doing or will do will work until we raise the bar of our expectations for the DCSS. For those of you who are not aware, DCSS is in the bottom 15 percent in the state as it relates to education.

In an article I wrote in the local papers more than 10 years ago, I shared that Dougherty County was going to become another Detroit if we do not deal with the real pressing issues in this community. If you look close enough, the state of Georgia’s revenue is decreasing every year and that has a major impact on local governments. Every year, the school system, county and city governments, and other agencies that depend on state funding are trying to do more with less.

If you look at all of the projects that ADICA spent our tax money on, you will see that the majority of those projects were a good waste of money. From the arch on Oglethorpe, Albany Civil Rights Institute, skate park, First Tee program, Flint RiverQuarium and the list goes on, these projects were doomed from the beginning. The lofts that are now being built will be another waste of taxpayer money until we deal with the root cause of Albany’s problems.

In closing, I will say this, “God honors our faithfulness and our motives.” Until we deal with the pressing issues in this community, things will not get better, they will get worse.

Lawrence Knighton of Albany is pastor of St. James Baptist Church in Baconton.

Comments

FryarTuk 2 years ago

You are preaching on the correct scripture and using the right words. Keep holding forth.

2

LoneCycler 2 years ago

Well written, well said. Please, please, find JuneBug and tell him this personally.

1

tiger12 2 years ago

Sir, I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the situation. Window dressing and wishful thinking will not provide opportunities for those who are not equipped to recognize them. I believe that we owe it to our children to teach and hold them accountable for being responsible, productive members of society. Its evident that we're failing at that task. Where we once held rigorous studies and aspirations sacred, we now celebrate mediocrity and tomfoolery.

1

Tonto 2 years ago

Great article, which means only five or six folks will probably read and absorb it. In all the fuss about the School board, no on seems to want to know how to fix the schools. Ask some teachers, ask some students. Ask the parents who attend PTA meetings. Quit focusing on trival things like how low someone's pants ride on their butt. I distinctly remember how the establishment reacted to halter tops and hip-hugger jeans and we grew into the next intolerant group.

1

southernbelle 2 years ago

Rev. Knighton is certainly on the right track when he states: "Realistically speaking, poverty and crime all stem from a lack of education... ...until we deal with the root cause of Albany’s problems"

Until children are raised in loving, caring households with parents who aren't acting like children themselves, seeking only shallow, materialistic, immediate gratifications...until children aren't around parents and other adults whose relationship life skills are about the size of an English pea...until children have "childhoods" instead of becoming jaded, world-wise adults at the age of eight after being exposed to the junk emanating from stupid TV "family" sitcoms, reality shows, and ridiculous sharing on Facebook of every breath they take...UNTIL life values change, the educational system, no matter how good or improved and important, will continue to fight an uphill battle.

You just can't tiptoe around the fact that many children today are growing up in hideous home environments---and a hideous home environment can be found in Doublegate as well as on Corn Avenue. Sure, poverty makes life harder, and poverty can certainly be a generational, repeating cyclical entity which is hard to pull out from, but rich folks can ignore and emotionally abuse their children too. All the wealth in the world won't nurture a child into a caring and decent adult.

Improving the school system?? Absolutely, hugely important!! But...the potential for a good life starts in the home.

1

beenhereawhile 2 years ago

I agree with southernbelle saying Mr. Knighton is on the right track. The school system in Dougherty county is horrendous. But education is not the only answer, but everything starts in the home. If a child is living in a situation where no one values education, they will fail in even a good school system. It is up to the school system to take all the children and give them the best education that they can. Dougherty County is certainly not doing that.

0

Parent 2 years ago

Amen! Your comment is so true!!

0

Outtahere 2 years ago

I couldn't have said it better myself!! The children are neglected and treated horribly which continues the cycle of poverty and/or abuse. It's worse to be poor and abused, than comfortable and abused though. Some of those children don't have decent clothes or food to eat but they all have access to inappropriate music, shows, facebook, and they are shown a horrible example by their "parents". Children as young as six or eight are responsible for younger siblings and cousins and most of the time the children are not supervised but left to guide themselves. WHAT A SHAME!!

0

Momof3 2 years ago

Mr. Knighton,

Why didn't you run for school board?? Boh article you wrote about our system were right on point and you are so correct. I have always said, and have gotten flack for it, that it is about the children but no adults seem to want to think about children, only what THEY can get out of it (money, power, ect.). And so we keep going on, losing out children to the streets and anything else negative they can get in.

0

waltspecht 2 years ago

So we have stated the problem. Now what is a viable, doable solution to this problem? How does Society hold Parents accountable for the performance of their children? Can we successfully tie support payments to a childs behavior and school grades? Without those masters at playing the system figuring ways around it? Can we possibly keep the ACLU out of it? Do we really believe there is a solution within the constraints of the current DCSS School Board? I will venture the opinion that until we can show folks that working for a living pays better than playing the system, or doing illegal things we can't push education because the answer is and has been "Why do I need an Education? I won't have a job whether I have one or not. I will however make more off the system than working at Micky Dee's." Give them a viable goal to shoot for, and make sure it is delivered upon.

0

billybob 2 years ago

The problem isn't the school system, it's the homes and families. You could take this school system with these same administrators, teachers and facilities and fill the school with Asians and the schools would be first class with high graduation rates and academic success. It's a cultural thing and throwing money at the problem won't fix the problem. But we can't point that out. That's inappropriate.

0

DennisCLatham 1 year, 7 months ago

@billybob - it's thinking like yours - that keeps America held back. You respond like this on a totally positive article - because you hate that someone is standing up to show the way to solve many problems. FIND JESUS - you need HIM bad.

0

Outtahere 2 years ago

As I've stated many times, if monies are cut for out- of -wedlock children, this cycle would stop!!! IT ONLY CONTINUES BECAUSE THEY ARE REWARDED FOR THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR!!! CUT OUT THE MONEY; MAKE A CHANGE!!!! THE DOWNFALL OF THE FAMILY IS ALMOST COMPLETE!!! STOP CHILDREN FROM HAVING CHILDREN FOR A WELFARE CHECK!! THE CHILDREN ARE THE ONES THAT SUFFER!!!

0

Jax 2 years ago

That is the root of almost all of this town's problems, outtahere. As long as the government keeps subsidizing children for people can not afford them, the problem will continue to multiply. The government pretty much guarantees that no matter what choice you make, they will be there for you to bail you out. I wish the government would step aside and let natural selection take its course.

0

southernbelle 2 years ago

BillyBob---I love "pointing that out" (your statement of "It's a cultural thing and throwing money at the problem won't fix the problem")

I guess I just get sick and tired of most people tiptoeing around the core, basic problem---children being raised up in sorry environments because their parents are sorry. And that's not racial---it's cultural/sociological in that it crosses racial/skin color lines.

Good teachers should be our heroes---they have to work with what they're given (the student, whether "good" or "bad"), and if they are a good person and a good teacher with their students' best interests at heart, they know they oftentimes fight an uphill battle, but they continue to try.

0

Black_Falcon 2 years ago

“Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to.”

For some reason this quote has always remained in my memory. Perhaps it is because, in some ways, it describes the story of my life. I grew up in the 1970’s in Calhoun County. My father was a sharecropper and my mother, a housewife. We did not have running water and, at times, very little food to eat. All of our clothes (myself and my two older brothers) were hand-me-downs. We did not wear any clothes someone had not worn first until we started working paid jobs. As for our education, by no stretch of the imagination were our schools “good” schools. Our curriculum was substandard and most of our teachers did not care about three nappy headed poor black boys living in a shotgun house with no running water. We were the epitome of a poor Black family in the rural south. Further, when my father died, all he left my brothers and I was a belief in God and a strong work ethic.

Fast forward a few decades and things have changed. One of my brothers is a regional director for Hewlett Packard; another is a lawyer/professor in Virginia; and I am a psychiatrist in the metro Atlanta area. I say all of that to say this; some people believe that motivation can somehow be manufactured. That somehow, if we really TRY, we can make people want to learn and do better. It doesn’t work. People have to WANT to do better. Many Asian countries recognize this. They do not have compulsory education like we do in the US. True, children in these countries do go to school, but only to a certain point. The children who show academic potential go on to secondary school while those who do not learn a trade. Moreover, these countries do not subsidize laziness like we do in America.

Changing the DCSS school board might bring some success, but Albany’s problem (as with much of the nation) is cultural. It is an ingrained mindset reminiscent of the culture of poverty written about by the anthropologist Oscar Lewis. They view education as abnormal; a sort of counterculture that is in opposition to their worldview. However, we must not over generalize. Not all children Black, White, or otherwise adhere to this way of thinking. There are many students who will graduate from DCSS and go on to do great things, just as my brothers and I. However, they will do so because they are determined to. And, this determination cannot be given to students regardless of who drives the bus, teaches the class or sits on the board. This determination comes from within.

2

waltspecht 2 years ago

I have the strong belief that it is instilled by our Parents, more so than coming from within. The spirit of the Soul is created and nurtured by the growth enviornment. That seems to have shifted away from Parents to Peers. The Peers are often far more influentual than the Parent, because the Parent is too sorry to care. However, I agree with all you wrote.

1

FryarTuk 2 years ago

Doc, as much as I like what you have said in other remarks, I must say that we are at variance here and you also have an avalanche of behaviorial scientists who disagree as well. The importance of internal drives, not withstanding, environmental factors are substantial in the development of character, intelligence and achievement. Native elements, such as intelligence or endurance can beat back the repressiveness of external deprivation, abuse or neglect. It is, however, the exception not the rule. Harvard behaviorist B. F. Skinner is probably the most artful in his descriptions of operant conditioning. His probablem was that he wanted to change the behavior of the rat by entering his brain hence changing the nature of the being. He nevertheless made a significant contribution on the proof of environment shaping the development of the human species. The quote from Henry Ford is romantic though. A tip of the hat to you and your brothers on your magnificent achievements. Somewhere in your conversations and memories are those caring parents who refused to spare the rod, I'll bet.

DCSS students will have much better chances of success with better opportunities.

0

Black_Falcon 2 years ago

I agree whole heartedly with what you said. I do not discount for a second the importance of environmental factors in shaping our worldview. Behaviorism was my preferred theoretical orientation for a long time. I have since become more eclectic (or multimodal) in my practice. When I wrote my earlier comment I was thinking about some children I work with who come from some of the most horrendous environments; mother addicted to drugs, father (if known) incarcerated; sexually abused (often by relatives), yet they thrive. After our sessions, I want to cry, and sometimes, I do. I think to myself, how do they keep going? Many are on the honor roll, or they excel in sports, music or the theatre. If you did not know their story, you would think they came from a well-adjusted family, when nothing could be further from the truth. While my brothers and I didn’t have much, we at least had an intact family structure. I cannot say the same for many of my adolescent patients. This is why I was on my soap box about determination coming from within.

0

Black_Falcon 2 years ago

But as you stated, this is the exception and not the rule. Sad, but true.

1

FryarTuk 2 years ago

I hear you loud and clear. Your tears cleanse the grief of the soul in angst.

1

KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You are on the mark about the city officials, when confronted, will tell you they don't have a say in the school system, but that's a lie. If they try and support the school system and talk to these people and let them know the community is concerned and would be willing to help there might be a change in attitudes from the school board members. No one seems to really want to help the situation at city hall and IT IS PASSED TIME for THEM to get involved in helping us sort out the broken schools here. No new businesses will come here, no new citizens will come here... Well you get my drift.

0

henryslittleboy 2 years ago

Thanks for the article. It was right on target. Having said that, if I were the CEO of Albany I would do a complete reorganization. Get rid of the dead weight and fill positions with only the very best qualified personnel. This includes the mayor and all other staff positions. As they say in sports, "you are as strong as your weakest link". Start fresh and make sure everyone understands that progress means moving every department in a positive direction. Change the community mentality and culture from a give- me to a what can I do to improve the success for me and my family. I no longer live in Albany and will never return the way things are. In case you haven't figured it out, Albany is now a welfare city. Do the right thing and make the tough decisions to change before it's too late.

0

chinaberry25 2 years ago

Privatize the schools and you will see a change. No hilly nilly and catering to the parents of future deadbeats.

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Brother Knighton: Based on what the "hidden agend" folks did to the people trying to propose the right direction for the DoCo Library............I suggest you take your phone off the hook at night. Just unplug the damn thing entirely and you will sleep like a babe with the Blessing of God.

0

agirl_25 2 years ago

Mr. Knighton....I take my hat off to you and offer you my congratulations on the best commentary I have seen written on the dismal educational status in DoCo ever, in plain English for everyone to understand. You, my good man, should be on the school board, not the nitwitted twits that are there.... for you seem to have something they lack....vision... and a sincere desire to see the children get the best possible education they can, so they can lift themselves up out of the cycle of poverty they are caught up in. Oh that is not to say there are not a few good people on the board, but you know yourself that the few rotten apples there that have spoiled the bunch have tainted the basket so badly that it may take a while before things can be "fresh" again. What a brave man you are to say the things you said...I am sure your family is very proud of you and your congregation is just as proud to have someone of such conviction as their pastor.

0

Citizen1 2 years ago

Mr.Knighton:

What are you and your congregation doing to help solve this educational problem? DCSS can't do it alone. Children must come to the classroom ready to learn. This starts in the home and community. Talk is cheap unless it is backed up with work. I expect to see you and your church involved in solving this problem unless you are like the armchair quarterback all talk and no action.

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Please give us one concrete example of what would be "involvement in solving this problem" that a church could do. What would it be? What would it look like? Just one example. Maybe the one YOU are participating in?

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

1 day later Citizen1......

As usual, no concrete specific response. There never is!

0

Citizen1 2 years ago

Sister_Ruby... You and Mr Knighton are doing the talking. What are you doing to solve this problem? You always have something negative to say. All talk no action! Talk is cheap! You talk too much about everything. What are you doing? You are the one talking! Talk! Talk! Talk! Negative comments! Say something positive for once! Make a positive suggestion!

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Still nothing concrete from you...........talk about talking! What are YOU doing? What is YOUR church congregation doing? Still waiting for something........anything from you.

0

lknighton 2 years ago

Citizen 1, thank you for the comment. I usually don't respond to comments like this but I must. It is always easy to hide behind emails as you do. My question to you is "what are you doing to help?" As for me and the congregation, we are always involved in making a difference. We started a GED program at the church in 2010, tutoring for students, scholarship program for students and the list goes on. I am at just about every school board meeting and I am also in the schools 5 days a week talking to kids and adminstrators trying to make a difference. Now tell me what do you do?

1

DennisCLatham 1 year, 7 months ago

@Lawrence - LOL - I didn't think you would get a reply back on a response like that -

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

The biggest contributor to the DCSS children's problem is the behavior and lifestyle of the Black Male in the community. Turn on the radio (WJIZ for example) and listen to it for ten minutes. If every Black Male is trying to emulate what they hear in those songs....well then the root of the problem should be clear to everybody.

Who is doing something about that?

1

Bubbavet_rureel 2 years ago

Talk is cheep, come to the hood, start doing........

0

Black_Falcon 2 years ago

I came to the "hood" and brought 10 friends of mine. We offered free tutoring to students in the areas of math, reading and science. We offered these services from 4-6 pm M-W-F at a recreational center in southwest Atlanta. In a months time we served(as a group) maybe 15-20 children. It seems many of the children would rather play basketball or just plain do nothing than receive FREE tutoring services from highly trained individuals.

1

agirl_25 2 years ago

And why was that Falcon, was it because they didn't want their friends to make fun of them for trying to better themselves? When I was working as a nurse in a small rural community which was very poor, we had a young patient who had asthma and had to come to the ER a lot. She pratically raised herself, had a sorry ass mother who was always laying out drunk with some man, so the girl was on her own. We loved the girl and skirted the law a lot, by tending to her needs by not having a guardian there to sign for her but when she was in such distress with a terrible asthma attack there was no time. We sort of adopted her and followed her from a 6th grader up until she was an 10th grader, and she had blossomed into a lovely young woman, making fantastic grades in school, making the honor roll, and primed, we knew for college scholarships. Then the problems began..peer pressure...the girls in school started making fun of her, calling her "whitie's little girl" and other things I won't print, but you can imagine. Soon she was having some worthless piece of human excrement's baby, because her new friends told her it was what she should do. If you are what you say you are, you know this to be a fact. Having a baby for some piece of garbage is the ultimate goal for so many of the girls...sad to say...so they can prance up and down the street with them....just as the boys want to play basketball with big dreams of one day being another Jordan.....sad but true.....It is so sad your efforts failed...I know how that felt...for now when I call my friends at the hospital where I used to work and ask about her it breaks my heart to hear she has 3 kids now, is of course on welfare, and looks terrible...so the circle of poverty is never broken...and she had a chance at education.

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Here is the naked truth that cuts through all the ethnical B.S. It's repeated thousands of times a day across this country in the hood.

0

Black_Falcon 2 years ago

The notion of “acting White” is not a new phenomenon. A sociologist named Signithia Fordham wrote about it circa 1980. I know children who struggle with this every day. It is a sad day for Black folk when excelling academically, obeying the law, and taking personal ownership of one’s life is considered White. If that be the case, what does it mean to be Black?

0

agirl_25 2 years ago

If I answered the question, I would be called a racist.....sorry, I won't respond.

0

budcollier1956 2 years ago

Thanks for the article and concern, seems like everyone however barks on DCSS. Problem is not it, the problem is us. Collectively we have exactly what we want and for which we are willing to work and sacrifice. Albany's problem is a cultural one, not only racial black and white, but a stuck in the 1960 mode of thinking, without vision, lacking a cohesive leadership and a core bitterness and sorriness that manifest itself everywhere from cheating in the classroom, driveby shootings, dumping ashtrays out at stoplights, pushing in Walmart lines, vulgar pants to your knees, boombox rap and a pervasive in-your-face disrespect to each other. The problem is core not curriculum.

Thankfully, there are those wonderful people who try, give, sacrifice and volunteer. The County, City, even school commissions honestly try. Leadership Albany, the Chamber, and hundreds of serving organizations dump tens of thousands of hours and dollars into this city. There is much good done, but they cannot do it alone or for the rest of us. The city remains decaying with problems greatly beyond its ability (vision) to solve.

My purpose is not to be correct with this lewd, skewed and perhaps erroneous reasonings but rather to be alarming. What we are doing is not working ... its time to quit putting 4 star failing restaurants in a 1 star downtown and thinking we are a tourist or retirement destination point.

In this city of 1000 churches, there is there alone enough power, influence and resource to change the world if they ever could come together and add a bit of "stand-up" and "get up" to all praying and complaining for a city in need of help, A little righteous fed-up, kick-ass against those who perpetuate sorriness, self-interest, poverty, crime, separateness and hate just might start the ball rolling. You marched in the streets for your civil rights now are you willing to take to the streets for your salvation?

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Everywhere I look all over town I see huge fancy new churches being built by the predominant demographic in town.........but there's not enough money to run the city, the schools, various attractions...........I don't get it?!?!

2

Momof3 2 years ago

I have to agree. If we put as much time and money into our kids as we do in some of the buildings and things that are being funded in Dougherty County... well....

0

Citizen1 2 years ago

You don't get anything! Why don't get in there and help! Talk is cheap! Do something?

0

Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

I asked you a querstion. Name 1 positive thing a church could do to help change the educational future of the children of Dougherty County. You say do somethng. You must be doing something yourself to make such a demand. You say churches should do something. Name 1 thing. Still waiting on an answer from you to that question.

Repeating: You asked Mr. Knighton this "What are you and your congregation doing to help solve this educational problem?" Please name 1 concrete thing that a church congregation could do to help solve this educational problem. Still waiting. It's s very simple request. PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!

0

Sign in to comment