Our city – our kids

Published 11:19 am Wednesday, February 26, 2014

by Clyde Johnson

Several weeks ago an article in The Tidewater News reported the findings of a special team from the Virginia Department of Education put in place to review the Franklin City Public School System (FCPSS). The team interviewed several individuals and groups who have concern and interest in the education of the children of Franklin. The results revealed several weaknesses in the school system and provided required actions to address these weaknesses. The requirements are important and should be acted on as soon as possible to facilitate efforts to get the school system back on solid ground. In addition to this, I think it is also important for us as citizens to become more involved in the education of our children.

A good school system is vital to the growth of a city. The school system is first and foremost on the minds of people when moving to an area. Franklin is our city. We pay taxes here. We should want to make our house the best it can be. We can do this by providing all the help and support we can to an ailing school system.

The “No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB) was authorized by Congress during the administration of President George W. Bush in 2001. This does not suggest social promotion. The act was designed to increase performance of students on standardized tests all across the country, especially those in low socioeconomic areas. The act contains provisions for physical plant improvement, after school tutorial programs, and smaller student-teacher ratio, just to mention a few. We as concern citizens need to lend more support where the rubber meets the road. One-on-one and individualized instructions are vital if we are truly interested in improving student performance on standardized tests and regaining accreditation.

I received a call from a friend a few weeks ago. He was concerned about pulling together a group of concern citizens to put together strategies and tactics to address the needs of our children. I think this is something that is much needed. It is a matter of taking ownership of our children, the children of our city, the children of our house.

I have had the opportunity to tutor some children this New Year. It has been the most rewarding experience I have had in a long time. I found that on a whole most of them are eager to learn, they just needed a little more individualized attention. They are most appreciative of the help they are receiving. A few more proved to be a little more challenging but nothing to be alarmed about.

Franklin is our town and these are our kids. If we don’t take ownership and help them, who will? If you are interested in putting together a program to embrace our children’s education, please contact me. Don’t be idle in this situation. It is imperative that we become involved.

CLYDE JOHNSON is a retired health physicist with the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. He lives in Franklin. He can be contacted at 562-4402.