In response to all the rants occurring in the paper concerning the Columbia County School calendar, I feel that some information is needed.
During the 1991-2000 school year, a survey was conducted polling parents on their feelings toward the start times of the school year and day. Surveys were sent home with all students. The Columbia County Board of Education asked that only one survey per family be returned (yes, there was a section that allowed for all your children to be represented).
I had served on my school's PTO board for many years and I helped compile the results for my school. As our team tabulated the results, our instructions were to list the objections and how many times each objection was repeated in the survey. Then, as the surveys were sent to the county administration building, all negative responses were placed on the top so they could be read by county administrators. The results were published in the CCBOE's newsletter.
At that time, enrollment in the county schools was at 18,473. The number of surveys returned was 6,471, representing 12,094 students. That is roughly a 65 percent participation rate county wide. The results were as follows: 5,163 surveys agreed with the change in school calendar, with 986 disagreeing with the change. Approximately 85 percent of participants were in favor. For the record, I was against the change then, and I haven't changed my position. I doubt if teachers and stay-at-home moms account for such a high favorability rate.
There is way too much complacency here in Columbia County. Watch your local paper for information on School Board members conducting town hall meetings on Saturday mornings. Go to them. Ask questions. State your concerns. These informal meetings are a great source of information. School Board members are receptive to parents and children. Go to the school board meetings, including the meetings held in Appling.
Becoming involved will empower you and your children. Get your kids involved. There is a certain pride and gratification seeing students involved with their local governments and boards. Our children's education depends on it.
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