Teachers have it a good deal easier in middle- or upper-income communities, where students are generally attentive and parents are involved in their children's education; teaching in low-income or poverty-stricken schools, where kids often come from broken homes or where there are other serious family or social problems, is a lot harder.
It is to recognize the success of the latter schools that the Georgia Public Policy Foundation made up a list of "No Excuses Schools."
There are 23 of them from around the state this year, including two from Richmond County - Terrace Manor Elementary School and Glenn Hills Middle School. We commend them for making the list.
These schools and the others on the list, explains Holly Robinson, GPPF's executive director, are not deterred from their education mission by their students' off-campus problems. They demonstrate that all children can learn.
No Excuses Schools, notes Robinson, are saying, "If English is your second language, if you're from a split family, you drop all those excuses at the door and we're going to teach you how to read."
This marked the second time this year Terrace Manor has been cited by the foundation. Earlier the school received a Distinguished rating in the annual Title 1 review.
Drawing attention to schools that do a good job isn't just about patting them on the back. It's also about getting other schools that aren't doing quite so well to learn how to improve their performance.
Schools that collect honors and win awards are the template for schools that struggle. There's no excuse not to learn from the best.