Archived Story

Why no public anger about Franklin schools

Published 11:15am Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Earlier this year, when a group of concerned citizens banded together to voice their complaints over what they perceived to be extremely high utility bills, they made their feelings publicly known. Group members filled city hall and signed up to speak during council meetings. They called local television stations and organized protests. They wrote letters to the editor of this newspaper and made it very clear that they were unhappy and wanted some action taken. And while it remains unclear at best if their complaints were valid, that group of citizens got the city’s attention in a hurry, and city council took action.

In September, The Tidewater News reported that the Virginia Department of Education had completed numerous audits and investigations, revealing division-level failures that contributed to the poor performance of Franklin’s schools (“VDOE cites Franklin division for several standard violations,” Cain Madden, Sept. 15, 2013). Numerous follow-up stories and reports in this newspaper provided additional evidence to support the state’s assertions. Many speculated that the public reaction would be loud and swift.

To date, it has been neither.

The Franklin School Board met on Thursday, Sept. 19, just days after The Tidewater News’ initial report that the school system was in violation of several state codes. Yet despite all of the hand wringing and criticism over the system’s abysmal performance of the past several years, the only person who spoke during the citizen’s time portion of the meeting was a school employee. Not one concerned citizen rose to ask questions. Not one parent who is worried that their child attends an underperforming school. Not one community leader who knows how important a thriving school system is to the future wellbeing of this community.

Not one.

So it begs some questions. Why will a handful of residents concerned about high heating bills raise hell, but a city that claims to be up in arms about one of the worst school systems in the state hardly make a peep? Is the real problem with our schools poor central office and school board leadership, or a citizenry too apathetic to do anything about it?

  • Really

    We don’t need the TV stations to come to the meetings or report this on the local news. We need the parents of the students to get involved. They have got to do it now. Not when your child comes home and is failing or can’t read or write. Not when the Police come to their house because their child has not been at school and is in trouble. We as a community have to stop blaming the parents who some see as the problem because they receive public assistance. Yes there are some of these parents who make our schools worse, but there are parents who can provide very well for their children who cause the same problems.Yes, our school system is small, but we have become a small system with the same problems as a large inner city school. We allowed the GPA to be managed to keep the kids in school just to play sports that can tell you where and when to buy all the drugs you want. Go on You Tube and put in Franklin Gangs and watch very close and see how many Franklin students you may know. We have got to stop making this a black and white issue. We all have to go to school together. College students don’t major in teaching thinking they will only teach where the SOL’s are the best. They teach because that is what they want to do. Let’s not go down memory lane any more remembering how great the schools were. Look at today first and get involved so tomorrow we as a community can remember how bad the schools use to be.

    Suggest Removal

  • G8

    Good indicator of where certain priorities lie.

    Suggest Removal

  • employee2

    Doesn’t make any sense does it. I hope someone from the numerous news channels will attend one of these meetings.

    Suggest Removal

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