Thursday, August 28, 2008

Clayton County Schools Fail

Most of you know that my wife and I homeschool our children. If you know this, it is not because I have championed the homeschool movement on my blog. It is our conviction that homeschooling best represents our values at this time and we find that it best allows us to develop the minds and character of our children according to our faith and convictions. Yet, I will be the first to admit that homeschooling is not perfect. We are not perfect parents or perfect teachers, nor do we have perfect students. Yet, for us we believe it is best and so we continue. We do not make it an issue of legalism and support the decision of other Christian to choose a different path for the education of their children. Nevertheless, I could give you list of reasons why we homeschool even as many could give a litany of reasons why they don't. However, today the list of reason for homeschooling in the county in which we live grew.

Today the sad news came down that the public schools in Clayton County GA, the county of our residence and the public school district in which we reside, have lost their accreditation. According to reports, Clayton County schools are the first in the nation in the past 40 years to lose accreditation, failing to meet eight of nine improvement mandates. (Read more).

This is tragic news, as many of the children in our neighborhood - children who spend many afternoons playing in our yard; children we have come to know well and to love are going to school everyday not knowing their future or the status of their education simply because the grown-ups, those who are suppose to be responsible, were anything but responsible and risked squandering the children's education for their 0wn personal, financial, and political gain. Though our children are not enrolled in the public schools, my heart still breaks for those who are. If this is not a strong argument for school choice, I don't know what is. I pray for the sake of these children that responsible grown-ups can get this thing together. God help them.

8 comments:

Pastor Jim said...

Wow. That article is heart-wrenching. I have been following this story from south Cobb county where three schools have state supervision. Makes me wonder 'what next' if there is no improvement here.

I'm glad your kids have two parents who can homeschool them. My heart breaks for the single moms and dads who don't have that option for their children.

Seems that marriage, leadership and accountability are vital after all.

(Enjoying the rest of your blog Pastor.)

Celucien L. Joseph said...

This is a terrible news for these poor children and parents. I pray things will be resolved as soon as possible.

Graham said...

I applaud you for homeschooling (and for not condemning those who don't). We've chosen it for the same reason: it is the best way to discharge the responsibility God has given us as parents.

So when I read your sentence, "This is tragic news, as many of the children in our neighborhood - children who spend many afternoons playing in our yard; children we have come to know well and to love are going to school everyday not knowing their future or the status of their education simply because the grown-ups, those who are suppose to be responsible, were anything but responsible and risked squandering the children's education for their 0wn personal, financial, and political gain," I automatically assumed that you were talking about their parents. And on that note, I heard nothing.

Isn't the education crisis a crisis of parenting? And isn't that precisely why homeschooling is the best option for you (and me), because we are taking responsibility for the nurture (spiritual and educational) of our children? And if that is so, can we expect positive change without addressing the root?

ajcarter said...

Hey Graham,
Actually I was not referring to the parents, but to the School Board Members. I don't know the familial situation of all the children and was not building a case for parental responsibility (though you are right). The issue here is the responsibility of the school board to discharge their duties with the best interest of the children. They have not.

Graham said...

Thanks for the clarification. I agree with you entirely that the school board has not fulfilled its responsibilities, and as a consequence children are suffering. And I totally agree that the school board should be held accountable (as they are by losing their accreditation, and hopefully their jobs).

But as a former teacher in one of those kinds of schools, my concern is that the language of accountability applies to schools only, and not to parents. Statistically, parent involvement is the most accurate predictor of student achievement, regardless of income, ethnicity or parent educational level. Furthermore, 86% of brain growth occurs during the first 5 years of life, which affects the physical structure of the brain, and makes parents the most important teachers in their children's lives.

Until all the stakeholders in education are held accountable (and equipped to fulfill their responsibilities), can there be meaningful change?

ajcarter said...

Well said. As one who has been on the inside, you obviously have first hand knowledge. Thanks.

Graham said...

I pray that more will follow your example of homeschooling - not to abandon the public schools, but to rebuild the communities in which they exist.

God's peace to you!

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Rev. Robert Wright
rev.robertwright@gmail.com
www.christian.com