By Kevin Palmer
The biblical parable of the sower could be used to explain the difference in academic performance of Black students who attend Richmond County and Columbia County schools in Georgia. The seed in the parable represent Black students. The two school systems represent the soil. The seed which fell on bad soil produced low quality plants. But, the seed which fell on good soil produced high quality plants. According to the 2017 Georgia Milestones, End of Grade Report, the performance of Black students was noticeably higher in Columbia County than Richmond County.
For Columbia County, English Language Arts produced 27.5 percent Black proficient learners, Mathematics, 26.6 percent, Science, 25.1 percent, and Social Studies, 22.5 percent Conversely, in Richmond County, English Language Arts produced only 15.7 percent Black proficient learners, Mathematics, 12.8 percent, Science, 8.8 percent, and Social Studies, 9.6 percent.
In the core subject areas, Black students who attended Columbia County schools scored twice as high as Black students who attended Richmond County schools. Not only that, Black Columbia County students had a higher percentage than white Richmond County students in 3 of the 4 core subject areas. In Richmond County, Mathematics produced 26.5 percent white proficient learners, Science, 22.7 percent, and Social Studies, 21.0 percent.
Therefore, the parable and data suggest the academic issues of Black students in Richmond County lie not with the seed, but with the soil, the school system itself.