The public school system is heavy on my mind and heart the last few months. I homeschool my kids, and I grew up going to private school. My husband did too. We’ve had limited interaction with the public school system. So, why do I suddenly care?
Well, one school was brought to my attention a few months ago during a podcast I was listening to. I started looking into conditions at that school via the government website: SchoolGrades.Georgia.Gov. I was shocked to find a school with such a low percentage of students reading at grade level. I have always placed a very high emphasis on reading with my own four kids. As I did more and more research, I discovered that thousands of kids in my own city are not reading at grade level in 8th grade, and I became increasingly alarmed.
Below is data taken from SchoolGrades.Georgia.Gov on 1/16/19. I’m looking at the middle schools in downtown Atlanta in the Atlanta Public Schools system (all in italics) and the middle schools in the suburbs of Gwinnett County where I live (non-italics).
I’ve sorted the list by % of students who are economically disadvantaged (ED) from highest to lowest. That’s the first column of numbers to the left. The next column is the % of Black students at the school. The next column, % of Asian students, etc. The last column is the % of 8th graders who are reading at or above grade level at the school (Red=low percentage. Green=high percentage).
The data is a red flag to me that something in the public school system is seriously wrong. I don’t know where all the problems lie. It definitely appears I need money to be able to for sure learn to read in the public schools. Also, why are the first six schools with the highest percentage of economically disadvantaged students and the lowest reading levels all over 90% black and 0% white?
The Bible tells us over and over to help the poor. This data is helping me see where the poorest are near me. We can volunteer our time and help. We can donate supplies and money. We can send a note of encouragement to the principals. We can speak up to school boards. We can pray.
I ask you to research your area and consider how you can minister in your local school system. I pray we will have a heart of compassion and do whatever we can to help assist these children in getting the best education possible.