We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System have been asleep too long. We have allowed our children’s education to dwindle and lie in ruins. We have stood on the sidelines and allowed this to happen. We are yet again faced with school administration changes, and ineffective teachers influencing our children’s education. We are a school system in turmoil and yet to be stabilized.
How can we expect our children to adjust if every year there are changes in administration and faculty? The system implemented a policy of stabilization to prevent a child from being uprooted and faced with the idea of having to make too many changes within the school year. This is what is happening to our children, the only difference is change comes in the form of administration, policies and procedures. We, the parents, are allowing this to happen and things to affect our children and we say nothing. We have yet to meet our new superintendent. Our new superintendent has yet to have a school-wide meeting to inform us, the parents of what is happening and why it is happening. I understand that the position is interim, but don’t we deserve to know where you are leading us and what your intentions are. We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, are tired and weary, but we cannot and will not continue to stand silent.
We have allowed a scandal, CRCT Cheating, to tell us that our children were uneducable, meaning that the teachers had to resort to cheating to get our children to pass a standardized test. How can we teach our children that our justice system works? When if found not guilty by your peers, you are still punished for a crime that your peers said you did not commit. We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, have to be careful of the message that is sent to our children when the world around you seems so unfair. Will we ever get past the CRCT scandal and get back to the business of educating? It has been too long. We have spent too much time on this issue, the tribunals have spoken, and we, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, demand that we move pass this. We are not a court system, we are an education system. This is our business, and we should be doing it, educating.
We have allowed our top administrators to toy with our children’s education by focusing on administration rather than education. What is the product at hand? The product is a quality education. The focus by the school board is administration. Whether there are personal agendas or demands made by wanting to bring in or hire those that are right for our system, we don’t know. We, the parents, have been quiet too long. We, the parents, have not taken a stand to be more involved in the educational process of our children. I am not talking about just attending a school board meeting or meeting with the teachers who teach your child. I am talking about taking a stand to influence the overall policies and procedures for the Dougherty County School System. When you think about it, who is responsible for the revenues that support the school system? We, the parents of Dougherty County, are responsible. We pay taxes, our children make up the full-time equivalent numbers for our school system to receive funding. We are the backbone of the school system, yet we remain silent and have allowed this train wreck to stand in rumbles too long.
We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System are allowing individuals to make decisions that will affect our children’s future, and we say nothing. Some don’t even have children in the system or never have had children in the system. Some have good intentions, yet others are making decisions based on personal agendas or paybacks for mistreatment in the past. The issue at hand is not your agenda or how you were mistreated, but the quality of education our children are receiving.
Education is vital and important to the lives of children, and we, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, should expect more than what is being done. We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, have the right to influence the education of our children. We, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, should become a voice that is heard, and not chatter outside the door that is ignored.
If I purchase a vehicle or any product and it is defective, what happens? It is sent back for a recall. Who is responsible? Maybe the engineer in its design, or maybe the assembly workers in putting it together, or maybe even the CEO in his disregard for quality and allow the defective product to be sold, or maybe the shareholders who have a vested interest in the company, and they have allowed the company to operate without any accountability. So, I ask you. Who is responsible for the decline in our educational system in Dougherty County? Who will help to address the recall? Who will take a stand to play an active role in producing a quality product, one that we all can be proud to say, we did that? Who, I ask you, the parents of the Dougherty County School System? Who will take a stand and no longer be silent or sit on the sidelines and watch our children be mistreated, misguided and miseducated.
The vision for Parent engagement as stated on Georgia Department of Education website:
The Parent Engagement Program believes that parents, schools, families, and communities working together can create meaningful partnerships that ultimately lead to significant gains across the board in student achievement.
Let’s make this statement a reality for community, go above and beyond what is seen as traditional engagement. The Georgia Department of Education has adopted National PTA Standards for Family-School Partnerships as the state’s model in engaging parents, students and the community. Most of the schools in the Dougherty County School System, if they have one, operates an independent Parent Teacher Organization with very little standards or participation.
I, Thelma Adams Johnson, will and I call upon you, the parents of the Dougherty County School System, to do the same, to take one with me. Let us begin the process to become fully integrated within the system that educates our children. Let’s make a difference in the lives of children during the 2013-14 school year, one that can influence positive change and not just any old change as usual.
Thelma Adams Johnson, of Dougherty County, has two children and is the president/CEO of Albany Community Together Inc.