John GogickExecutive Editor for The Augusta Chronicle. | E-mail

Everyone has a stake in education

Friday, Aug 2, 2013 8:51 PM
Last updated Saturday, Aug 3, 2013 12:51 AM
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Test scores. Tax increases. Football practice. Free lunch. Sales tax holidays.

The stories and coverage mark the advent of a new school year.

It is hard to believe that Columbia County starts this Tuesday, with Richmond County the following week. Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer have long since stopped signaling the start of school.

Education and newspapers. Newspapers and education.

They have much in common beyond communication theorist James Carey’s oft-paraphrased idea on each assuming a constant audience.

What’s the connection between the two? Their connection to civic life.

Every American and taxpayer has a stake in the education of future generations. It is part of our culture.

And as part of our watchdog role, we dedicate resources to keeping those stakeholders informed.

Reporter Tracey McManus starts her third year covering education in Richmond County for The Augusta Chronicle. She has been named among the top education reporters in the state the past two years.

“Education issues affect people even without kids or school-age children,” McManus said. “What happens in the school system affects the people that grow up and affect society. And we need to keep an eye on that.”

She keeps an eye on school board meetings, where they discuss how your tax money is being spent. She will let you know when they are going to ask for another mill and when the public hearings will be held so you can voice your opinion.

She tells you how students are doing on standardized tests, an unfortunate measuring stick of a system’s success.

She goes inside the classroom to tell you about new and innovative teaching techniques. And she will tell you about the latest technology affecting how kids learn.

This Sunday’s paper marks the beginning, with pages of Back-to-School content. You’ll find key dates, in addition to registration and orientation information. There will be information on shots needed and links to busing information.

The Metro section will have advertisements with a back-to-school focus, and the Your Life front offers a guide to fashions.

One of the changes this year in local education is the new superintendent in Columbia County. News-Times Publisher Steve Crawford will have an interview with Sandra Carraway inside the Metro section Sunday.

No school coverage would be complete without sports coverage. Wayne Staats returns for another year covering prep sports. Wayne has been working all summer long getting ready for football season.

You will see the highlights from that summer of work Aug. 25, when our preseason football tab comes out – highlighting the top players in the area, along with capsules and schedules for our local teams.

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Riverman1 08/03/13 - 07:03 am
Moral Question

Moral question. If an adult uses the back-to-school tax holiday to buy a computer or something and it has nothing to do with school is that being dishonest?

ymnbde 08/03/13 - 08:20 am
actual reporting? I doubt it...

"And as part of our watchdog role, we dedicate resources to keeping those stakeholders informed."
so, we're going to get stories on how much is spent to educate the "special needs" kids? How their bad behavior affects the kids sitting beside them? How much extra time each teacher spends on them? Can't devote to teaching the rest of the kids? Whether the "special needs" programs are actually effective? The disparity in results among schools, especially private schools? How many kids have an adult whose job it is to be with that kid, and that kid only, all day? Where the money actually goes?
Or are we going to get what the education beaurocracy allows?

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 08/03/13 - 08:54 am

I'd like to see a story on the busing program. In the old days they designated "school bus stops" at strategic locations in neighborhoods (and sometimes along highways out in the rural areas). Kids would have to walk to the stops. Nowadays, school bus service is like taxi service. They pick up and drop off kids at their driveways.

Let me tell you folks; that costs money. Every braking operation, every acceleration from a stop costs more money than smooth cruising. Not to mention tire life and brake maintenance. They could save big bucks if they went back to bus stops and have a bonus on reducing childhood obesity by having the kids walk. How much money, you ask? Well, Tracey McManus could tell us.

Now, if you really want to save money on transportation, go to a four-day a week schedule, Tuesday through Friday. You've got close to a 20% reduction in transportation cost right there. And you know the teachers and kids would like those three-day weekends.

seenitB4 08/03/13 - 09:43 am

All I can say is that I'm worried...other countries are doing a better job...evidently we are lost in testing kids to death...enough already!

corgimom 08/04/13 - 03:44 pm
Aside from the elite,

Aside from the elite, cherry-picked magnet schools, what, if anything, is RC doing right in education?

avidreader 08/05/13 - 07:20 am

Good job! I admire your tenacity.

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