Richmond County schools forum leaves unanswered questions

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

August 7, 2006

It was a chance to talk about federal standards and what they really mean for Richmond County children, but a forum in Augusta Monday aiming to clear things up for parents may not have answered a whole lot of questions.

A parent forum and workshop was held at Glenn Hills Middle School August 7.

Richmond County board members Barbara Pulliam and Joe Scott gave parents in their districts a chance to find out "all you want to know about schools you didn't ask."

But some left the forum with the same questions they had when they first walked in.

"Parental empowerment is important in a child's education," said parent Dora Hawes at the meeting.

That's exactly the message Richmond County School Board member Barbara Pulliam wanted to get across the room.

"Hopefully parents will realize how important they are," she said.

But after talking to a few parents, one issue seemed to be coming up time and time again: AYP, short for Adequate Yearly Progress. It's a federal measure to see if schools are making the grade.

17 schools in Richmond County failed to make AYP last year.

But Pulliam contends just looking at AYP scores doesn't give parents a complete picture.

"If you got a child taught on third grade level and come test time is tested chronologically by age with fifth graders because he's supposed to be in fifth grade, that's a problem," she said.

Still, parents say they don't want their child in a "failing school".

"The law says we have a choice, but then we have a school doesn't meet AYP then we don't have a choice," said Hawes.

Jackson wants to know why her son has been making the grade on his report card but won't be moving on because of one test.

"Why would a child that passed all year come to take a test and he fails? Puzzling."

With educators given a time limit, many questions were left unanswered, leaving some parents even more frustrated.

"They addressed some issues, some have not," Jackson said.

Board members allowed educators on hand to directly address some of those issues after both the parent workshop and forum were completed.

But after one portion, some parents didn't even bother to stay for the rest.

More forums are planned, so if parents do still have questions, there will be a place to voice them.


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