Everyone has a stake in education

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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