Originally created 06/02/04

Keep looking at ties between race, schools



The article "Equal but separate" (The Augusta Chronicle, May 16) was long overdue. It represents a good attempt at bringing the skeleton out of the closet. By publicizing that one-third of Richmond County schools are at least 90 percent black, we may now confront the implications of this fact.

The comments of Laney senior Ashley Williamson were particularly striking. In attending a school where she is but one of five whites, she contends that many look down on her education with "disgust." It is as if, by definition, her schooling in a black school is inferior. ...

It has been my experience in education that there is a close connection between perception and expectation. Indeed, every education major is exposed to studies in which teachers treat differently those whom they believe have the capability to achieve.

In turn, teachers are influenced by community perceptions. If one school receives enrichment services while another receives remediation programs, the implications are not lost on the teaching staff.

It is unfortunate that so many black students from low-income families are segregated in certain schools. In the news article, Hephzibah High School senior Lea Nicole Ross was on target when she touted the benefits of a diversified student body.

So many of our Richmond County students do not have such benefits. Many will not experience diversity until they reach the job market. To many of our youth in the inner city, schools are seen as an extension of the neighborhood, not a way out of the neighborhood.

In your ongoing series on race, I suggest an in-depth look on how teachers from different schools view their jobs. I also suggest that the public school system in Columbia County be brought into the equation. To what degree does the county line between Richmond and Columbia counties distort the education of our children?

Greg Davis, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is the guidance counselor at Tubman Middle School in Augusta.)