Archived Story

Parents must shoulder responsibility for children failing

Published 10:07am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

To the Editor:

I’m beginning to think it is time to bring up a politically incorrect view of the problems we are experiencing in the Franklin School System. It may offend some people, but I’m offended by the lack of progress in the schools. I have read with interest the recent front- page article and the thoughtful letters from Mr. [Howie] Soucek (I had to scurry to my dictionary; I thought “paradigm” was 20 cents) and Mrs. [Edna] King. The front-page article (“State board to consider review of city schools’) read like a legal document.

I think we all know deep down that the education problem is rooted in the lack of parents’ involvement with and parents’ caring about their students. Too many parents look at school as a convenient, free baby-sitting arrangement for their children for eight or nine hours a day so they can go off and work or drink beer or do whatever they wish without the interruption of their children. Some method must be devised by which the parents of failing or underachieving students are held accountable.

If they are drawing welfare, their payments should be docked as long as their children are underachieving. If welfare can be withheld for failing drug tests, it can be withheld for failing their children. And the children are not stupid; they can learn when given the proper support and encouragement at home.

You may say that I’m picking on welfare parents. Well, as long as I’m paying them, I should be able to set some minimum level of acceptable performance. I’d guess that correcting the level of achievement of children of welfare parents in the Franklin School System would boost collective performance by over 50 percent. And there should be economic sanctions against parents who are not welfare recipients. If we can fine them for letting their dogs run loose, we can fine them for letting their children fail.

I think that for too long the responsibility for our miserable school situation has been placed at the feet of educators and administrators. It should be placed where the process begins, with the students’ homes and families.

Holt Livesay
Franklin

  • Kmart3008

    @ got30fum, stop with the games and the so called sarcasim. Being real and without any doubts there is racial overtones in the article. For me that is fine that Mr. Livesay is stating his opinions of what he feels should take place. Everyone has an xxxxxxx and everyone has an opinion. The words in the article does not apply to me the way I look at it. Well said, Jigganva. Your comments are well stated and in no way implies negativity. Your comments encompuses the big picture. Thank you for keeping it real.

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    • TaxMax

      Obviously, Kmart and jigganva are on the “same team.”

      Encompuses??? Really? What is the definition of that word? Did you know you can type just the word in the address bar on your web browser and it will help you?
      The word you were looking for would be encompasses.

      Enough said… SMH!

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      • Kmart3008

        Encompuses or encompasses thank you for pointing that out!!! REALLY, for what its worth, I responded to this discussion not only in a rush but from my phone. So, If I misspelled a word charge it to my head. Because just you pointing that out lets me know you really don’t have anything of value to say. Enough said, SMH too!!!

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    • jigganva

      Thanks, I grew up in Franklin and graduated in 90 something! We were the best outbid all the area school including the Academies! I know the potential tht is there! I and many orhers owe who We are today I our parents, teachers and administration of FCPS. I came from a single family home and got in trouble and did stupid things. I don’t think anyone pointed fingers at my mom but looked in the mirror and said what can I do for this child. I’m proud of who I’ve become! Again thank for the encouragement!

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  • thomasmore

    I love some people’s logic. As soon as you mention the elephant in the room, you’re a racist. Unbelieveable. Sounding like a dumb dum, has never been more en vogue.

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    • jigganva

      I don’t think I called you or anyone a racists. You don’t seem adult enough to carry a debate with me sayin hints like “dumb”. Did I offend you somehow? Shows a lot of maturity on your part. Did you attend FHS? Mr. Ray buck taught me a lot about debating and public speaking! Who was your language arts teacher?

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      • thomasmore

        “Drop the hatred and racial overtones”. Your words. “Dumb” isn’t a hint. It’s an adjective. I appreciate your compliment with regards to my maturity. I do consider myself to be mature—so much so that I believe in NOT mincing words. The system is broke. We can debate this till we’re blue in the face. SOME parents need to be more involved in their kid’s education. Which parents? Well, the overwhelming majority of those parents happen to be on welfare and also happen to have kids that are falling below average on the SOLs. To put it plainly, these parents are CONTRIBUTING TO THE DELINQUENCY OF A MINOR. If they don’t want to be involved with their kid’s education, that’s cool. Put the kid in a foster home and take away government assistance from the parents.

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  • got3ofum

    the word “race” was not mentioned in the article. What was mentioned was responsibility, accountability, performance. If you find “racial overtones” that is your issue and your perception.

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    • jigganva

      Responsibly, accountability for “welfare moms”. Why single out one small group of people. How about docking the pay of government workers whose children are not successful. After all we pay their salaries as tax payers. While you’re at it add police officers, teachers, shipyard workers! Plenty of them have failing children as well. Bring some logical solutions to the table!

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  • jigganva

    I happen to be an educator, parent, and an African American. I understand that as a parent, I am my child’s first and possibly most important teacher. I am fully vested in my child’s education both, physically and academically. I have witnessed many parents from all backgrounds who are not involved in their child’s development. Some simply don’t have the tools or education to help their Children succeed. Everyone knows of that kid that came from an affluent family and ran into trouble or did not rePresent his family well. Is the parent solely to blame or the ills of society. Drop the hatred and racial overtones. In my observations students who come from Dircester Square, Berkley, Suburban Gardens have made tremendous cOntributions to society.

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    • jusdlh

      jigganva, your mistakes in grammar, sentence structure, and spelling highlight another huge problem with the system. “Educators” who cannot intelligently even handle a simple editorial comment are responsible for the education of our children. Sad

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      • TaxMax

        Well jigganva, first off I agree with jusdlh. If you are an educator maybe you need to learn to edit your statements and use spell check.

        Secondly, Mr. Livesay sent a very well-written letter to the editor of the newspaper about his thoughts on the school system. He is white, he is not an educator, and his children are grown, but did attend the public schools in Franklin in their heyday. As a concerned taxpayer in the city he voiced his opinion.

        Thirdly, where is you letter as an American, (I don’t associate the term African-American with anyone who is born in the United States, you are an American. I reserve that for my friends who were born in Africa and have the privilege of earning their American citizenship. And if you didn’t realize it, calling yourself by this moniker is a racial overtone you so disparage.)a parent and educator to the editor of the Tidewater News encouraging other parents, no matter their ethnicity and socio-economic background to stand up and demand better for all of their children to be educated to the fullest extent? Why aren’t you organizing and calling for the resignation of the superintendent? As an educator it is your first duty to help these kids.

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      • jigganva

        FYI I am typing from an IPhone. There may be spelling and all types of mistakes but you get my message! People who live in a glass house should not throw stones. I get your kind though, all you know how to do is name call and never offer real solutions!

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    • formerresident

      I find it extremely hard to believe you are an educator, and if you are than you are summing up the full extent of what is wrong with FHS these days. The problem is in Franklin itself, and until the city fixes their problems the school system will continue to flounder. The mayor of Franklin is an absolute joke who is as clueless as these so called “educators” both in the administrative roles as well as in the actual teaching roles. If you surround yourselves with dummies you raise dummies.

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      • jigganva

        Flounder is a fish! Pot calling the kettle black!

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  • handkusp45

    I could not agree more with Mr. Livesay. And I believe that not only should parents be held responsible for their child’s education but also held responsible to support them. They shouldn’t be fed and clothed by the government. If you aren’t going to take care of them don’t have them. And if you can’t support your family you shouldn’t have a vote either. There I’ve said it.

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  • thomasmore

    I agree completely!

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  • chilimac72

    Those who should want the education the most, those that have no where to go but up, should be the most invested. The system has failed these youth, not their parents. Screw asking the parents to get involved, hold them accountable. If you look up the definition of “contributing to the delinquency of a child” I would personally say not support an education is worse than buying them beer. Book’em!!!!

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  • TaxMax

    I believe Mr. Livesay hit the mark! And yes, he blamed the elephant in the room! And yet, he also states, “And there should be economic sanctions against parents who are not welfare recipients.” So I think he encompassed all here.

    I guarantee FCPS uses the “welfare” label of their students to gain extra time and monies from the state, so why is it such a big deal when he calls out these parents or parent. Does the truth hurt? Sure it does.

    The biggest problem with Franklin is we can cry racism when it is needed, but we can’t talk about race without it being racism. Hence the Halloween display on Clay St. that McLemore decided was racist because of a black wig. Well now the skeleton doesn’t have a wig and I think that pokes fun at all the bald people!

    To fix Franklin, we need the parents involved, the kids to care (most of the teachers do) and offer them something better than what their parents do to just get by. We need checks and balances to find the people who are “gaming” the system and throw them out and do like the rest of us and work for a hard earned dollar!

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    • formerresident

      Pointing fingers at lesser off individuals is not the direction you need to go in. In other areas where there is a divide between low income and higher income areas there are generally 2 seperate schools. In Franklin due to the size of the area you have 1 high school that lumps all the kids together.

      You end up with a melting pot of ideologies and moral beliefs as well. The divide in Franklin is overwhealming, and literally an across the tracks issue. Affluent and middle class families are forced to intermingle with poor and impoverished kids. Parents should work with both targets to help the situation.

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      • TaxMax

        I’m not pointing fingers, it is fact. Franklin has the HIGHEST spending per student in the commonwealth of Virginia and the LOWEST scores.

        And the schools are intermingled because if they weren’t the kids going to the “good” school would be racist and the “bad” school would be bad because all the poor people go there.

        There is no excuse why the school can’t thrive, as it once did after integration. Only in the last decade has FCPS started a decline.

        Students of different social and economic backgrounds can thrive in a system. Look at Carrsville Elementary, just named a Blue Ribbon School. You have kids from all over southern Isle of Wight County who are predominately white mixed with the predominately black Camptown area and other ethnicities from the county and that school is AWESOME!

        So what is Franklin excuse???? Just sayin’….

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    • jigganva

      Your view of the world is flawed. In my opinion you need to get out I this area more.

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  • formerresident

    To point the blame solely at welfare receipants is pretty brave to say the least. I’m a complete outsider looking in and I haven’t lived in the area in about 20 years, but I do visit back home quite often and keep up with events. It seems the biggest problem is quite frankly lack of economical security in the area. Southampton county and Franklin are in a prime position to attract major distribution hubs and businesses in the manufacturing and transportation industries. It is perfectly positioned for incoming and outgoing traffic to move thru the area relatively easy. Why this has not been more of a focus I have no idea? There is a big reason that Franklin at one time was considered the better academic destination and that correlates 100% to IP. IP allowed for the area to recieve a nice influx of money and working laborers who wanted their children to do better and move upward and outward. The problem now is these folks are no longer in the area, and too much emphasis has been placed on diversification and hiring less than adequate and underqualified people to run the system. Franklin is a dying town as is the entire region. This is what happens when industry dies! First the jobs and money go and than the schools and order. I’m willing to bet crime and drug use is way up as is drinking I’m sure also. Change in Franklin and the Southampton area needs to come from the top to the bottom and a complete cleaning of the current leaders and also new ideas on how to attract business. The old school mentality of we like our land and such is fine and dandy, but that attitude doesn’t bring prosperity. Sure you few that own huge farms I’m sure are sitting pretty, but if you want your area to be something and the school systems to be something you must accept and embrace change!!!

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    • wahoohick

      Don’t even give IP any of that credit! Union Camp was responsible for that economic growth in Franklin. Industrial Relations was heavily involved in the areas schools. But when UC sold out to IP, all of that changed. It was the beginning of the end for Franklin all the way around. IP did not care NOTHING about this area nor the results of their closing of the mill.

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  • jigganva

    The problem with this ideology is that there are students from all socioeconomic backgrounds who are not performing well. To single out one minority set of parents as not being supportive or caring is counterproductive.

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    • mbrya023

      Well said!

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    • handkusp45

      It may be counterproductive in your opinion. In mine it is nothing but the truth. To deny it is to be naive.

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    • formerresident

      It is certainly not counterproductive to point out the problem and discuss an efficient way to seek change and improvement. Maybe you need to pull a Joe Clark and kick all the bad seeds out of the system. When the bad elements is allowed to intermingle and infect the good kids you have an epidemic on your hands. I’ve spoken to plenty of families of children who are still in FHS and the majority have told me if you eliminated the drug dealers, wannabe gang members, and some of the other less desirables the school system would began to flourish again. It certainly sounds like the problem lies in the moral values of these young men and woman. There has to be hope presented and reasons to want to be better. For too long race has been the calling card in that area, but just look at what you have. There is a black femal mayor, black council members, black school board members, black principles, etc.. The children should be looking to these individuals and these individuals should be taking an interest in the kids and show them there is more to life than as one poster said Dorchester, South Street, Berkeley, etc. One bad apple spoils the bunch, and sounds like Franklin has a lot of spoiled apples in their lot.

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