November 28, 2013 Issue


State superintendent thanks parents, encourages involvement

Dear Editor:

November is Parent Engagement Month in Georgia, and schools across the state are highlighting the role parents play in a student’s education. In addition, Nov. 21 is National Parent Involvement Day, a time for all parents to consider how they can get more involved in the education of their children, regardless of the grade level.

So far, it’s been a busy year with many changes, from the implementation of the Career Pathways/Clusters initiative in all our high schools to the continued roll out of the state’s new teacher and leader evaluation system. We want to challenge our students and elevate our teaching methods to meet the demands of the 21st century economy. We want to not only test knowledge, but teach students how to apply it in real-world situations. Most of all, we want students to see the relevance of the classes they’re taking and how they will use that knowledge after graduation.



We are also working hard on the second year of our College and Career Ready Performance Index, a great way for parents and the community to keep up with how schools are performing on a number of measures – not just one test score. The index will let teachers put their focus back on the child in the classroom instead of just worrying about the test - because there’s so much more to accountability than testing. We want to put the focus back on the children, which will ultimately lead to improved student achievement.

The only way we will be successful with these initiatives is if parents are actively engaged in them. I encourage you to look for more ways to become involved in your child’s school and hope that you will urge your friends who have children to do the same. Engaged parents can make the difference between a school that’s barely getting by and a school that’s thriving.

When it comes to parent engagement, the research is clear: when schools, families and communities support each other, students of all backgrounds and ability levels achieve at the highest levels.

As the father of a high school senior, I know how challenging it is to stay engaged in the lives of our children. Life is demanding and there is almost never enough time to get everything done; but, being involved in your child’s education is arguably one of the most important roles we play as parents.

Anyone can be an involved parent by just showing up, but I challenge each parent to become more engaged in the process by asking questions, getting the facts and getting more connected to your child’s education.

To assist parents in the process, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) provides Get the facts…get connected…GET INVOLVED! resources for parents and schools to encourage parent engagement. One of the resources is a Parent Engagement Month calendar that provides specific activities for parents to do with their children at home each day during the month to support learning and academic achievement. While the calendar is designed to be used in the month of November, parents can also use it to find ways to engage in meaningful conversations and positive interactions with their children throughout the year.

To access an electronic copy of the calendar or to check out other parent engagement month resources such as brochures, videos, letters, and tip sheets provided by the GaDOE, please contact our Parent Engagement office at 404-656-2633 or visit our website at:http://www.gadoe.org/School-Improvement/Federal-Programs/Pages/Parent-Month.aspx

Parents, the strength of your support is immeasurable. When we educators hit a bump, help us plow through it. We simply cannot succeed without you and your support.

On behalf of our schools and school systems, I want to thank all the parents and families who have taken on the demanding job of being engaged in your child’s education. Throughout this month, I hope you will take time to become more involved, but please do not stop there. When November is over, please continue being a part of your child’s education. With actively engaged parents and families, my vision of making education work for all Georgians will become a reality.

Dr. John Barge, a parent and a former school administrator, is Georgia’s State School Superintendent.

Courage and compassion are all around us

At this Thanksgiving season, discouraging behavior abounds. But I offer this good news. My family has made a new friend, a soldier on active duty. Gravely wounded by an IED in Iraq, he spent 18 months in Walter Reed Hospital, not knowing if he would be able to walk again. Thankfully, he made an astonishing recovery. When offered disability retirement, he chose instead another tour of duty in a combat zone. Along the way, upon the advice of friends, he made a $30,000 investment in an innovative product currently enjoying great popularity. To reward his risk, the product’s developer now pays him $30,000 every month. He is using his new wealth to do good things…helping his friends and family. Recently, he sponsored a trip for three other wounded warriors to our hunting preserve. Such courage and compassion are all around us if we open our eyes. America. Still the land of the free. Still the home of the brave.

Roger Burge

So where is the republican health care plan?

Now that the democrats have nuked the way things are done in the Senate, the GOP, and their far right (tea party) wing are crying foul. If anything is foul in Washington, it’s been the smell of those on the right doing nothing but saying “no” and blocking everything they think will help move forward the president’s plans for the middle class and poor of this nation.

I read today that Congressman Issa is taking his smear campaign about the Affordable Care Act on the road to North Carolina , Texas, Arizona, and you guessed it, the state of Georgia. And by the way, if you didn’t know, these four states are controlled by republican governors and are not participating in the ACA. Here’s hoping the good people of Georgia will see this crook for what he is, a rich multi- millionaire, with no care in the world about those that need, good and decent heath care. His main goal is to do what those in the Senate were doing, but won’t be able to do anymore. With all of the hearings he’s done in the last few months on the ACA in Washington and failed, you would wonder why he’s going on this circus tour, wasting more of the tax payers’ money.

Bottom line: The republicans know there will be no significant changes to federal health care statutes until after Obama is out of office. So, one would think they would have by this time, come up with their own plan since the ACA has been a law and to help the under-insured/non-insured get decent health care.

Instead, here is what they said....The republican health care policy will be defined in the 2016 presidential primary. Whoever emerges as the party’s candidate in 2016 will have their own health care plan, and republicans will own, and run, on that. In other words, the under-insured/non-insured can fend for themselves, as they were doing before the ACA became a law.

Clyde D’Antignac
Future Wadley Resident


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