Welcome to the GOP, Dr. Roberson!


What do you think the left wingers who run the American public education bureaucracy would think if they heard what Richmond County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson had to say last week about the need for the church community to be more involved in the lives of at-risk minority male students?
They would likely suggest he needs to consider retirement.
Personally, I want to hug the man around the neck, and thank him for acknowledging in one seemingly innocent Friday morning confab with concerned parents, administrators and community leaders that his teachers cannot undo at public school the damage that a lack of parental and neighborhood support is doing to many of Augusta’s “urban orphans.”
That term is mine, not his, and I have used it for years to describe generations of inner city children who have been forced to enter the public school system with a very small percentage of the intellectual influence and cultural advantage that parents in the suburbs seem to effortlessly pass along to their offspring through environmental osmosis.
And I use the term “effortlessly” with tongue firmly in cheek. It takes a lot of effort; it just seems like it really doesn’t.
Ironically, as I sit in my home office this very minute knocking out this masterpiece (LOL), I can hear my wife going over my four-year-old son’s homework with him.
His pre-k homework. She is patiently spelling and sounding out U-M-B-R-E-L-L-A, and I will be darned if the little boogerhead isn’t picking it up. She says it, spells it and he knocks it right back to her.
At this very moment I think I am as taken with her as I was when she held my hand on the beach in Jamaica this past summer. Her devotion to our boy is love in its purest form.
She sends him and his worksheet in to me, so I can see what he has done. I remember umbrella as a spelling word in Mrs. Odom’s second grade class at National Hills Elementary School in 1972. I was 7. Once again, my son Beau is 4.
This homework review comes at just before 9 p.m., about two and a half hours removed from his Mom and I standing in the cold drizzling rain at ZiZi Zapata Field, where the Martinez-Evans Little League TeeBall Marlins just tied the Cardinals in an awesome game that ended all knotted at 36-36. (Everybody scores, nobody makes an out. I know, I know, I feel like a damn Vermont soccer mom… but we are just teaching fundamentals, and they are only 4 and 5 years old. May Al Bundy forgive me.)
His mom was in the dugout enthusiastically calling out the names of all the batters as they come up in a rousing cheer, “Here we go BE-AU… here we go…,” and I stand at second base quizzing the players on where they have been (first base), and where they are going (third base, then HOME!)… all the while begging them to keep their eye on the ball.
Rex Edmunds is getting rained on in business clothes, keeping the kids straight at first base, all while Beau’s Uncle (Coach) Steve teaches the batters how to make solid contact, and his Aunt Leah is keeping the batting order straight while constantly reminding her daughter Virginia not to swing her pink bat in the dugout while she waits her turn.
Parents do this stuff. I did it for my older daughter Christine on the soccer field 18 years ago. True love equals standing through 40 minutes of toddler soccer, twice a week. And lots of other stuff.
All the TV we watched together, the Steelers games, the movies, the amusement park visits, time throwing the ball, time in the pool, singing with the radio in the car… just like I did with my parents, just like my wife did with her parents, and on and on and on.
My 23-year-old daughter just called, thrilled that she got to meet Dr. Ben Carson tonight and, after hearing him speak, she is convinced he should be the next President of the United States. Can’t talk right now sweetheart. I am on deadline for the Spirit. We will catch up tomorrow. And we will.
Meanwhile, back in Richmond County’s reality, Dr. Roberson’s at-risk students rarely come from the ranks of a secure two-parent household, or even split households with equally enthusiastic and aggressively supportive parents.
Tracey McManus’ Augusta Chronicle article described the superintendent’s “come to Jesus meeting” like this:
“…yes…he is asking church leaders to join with the school system to raise the achievement of young, black males.
“Yes, he invited pastors and deacons to sit beside teachers and principals in his board room Friday to talk strategy.
“But the intention is not to ignore the separation of church and state, he said. It is to encourage churches to provide the spiritual piece for students, to shake up the dead-beat dads and inspire apathetic families the way schools cannot — because they have an access point the schools do not.
“‘That is the purpose of the church and the schools to do stuff together on purpose to help our children become productive young people and grow into results-orientated adults,’ Roberson said. ‘We owe them that.’”
Actually Dr. Roberson, as conservatives have been trying to tell the education bureaucracy for decades, it is their parents that owe them that. The proper role of the public education system is to offer technical instruction that is beyond the expertise of most average moms and dads and, locally, we are blessed with fine teachers and facilities that do just that.
But what the public education system is wholly incapable of offering is what parents are uniquely and specifically qualified to teach, and that is first-hand instruction on how to be a conscientious human being and a productive person.
Thank God there are men like Frank Roberson who do seem to understand that. May he be blessed in his attempts to convince the folks who run his industry just how important parents and homelife really are in the success of his students. In fact, they are the most important things of all.

Comment Policy