Augusta Area Schools: Separate But Unequal

In Monday’s column, I referenced this piece by WJBF’s Anne Maxwell:

It’s well worth a watch on it’s own. In it, it talks about how Richmond County schools (the City of Augusta) have many failing schools (despite the claims by district spox Kaden Jacobs that failing schools don’t exist post November’s election), but neighboring Columbia County has schools that rank above average for the state.

Here’s how that is explained by the same spokesperson:

“I do know that folks do go to Columbia County, and that’s great. Columbia County is the suburban area for Richmond County,” Jacobs said. “We have a great urban core here, and in order for that to be sustainable, you have to have a good suburban area.”

Stop, and re-read that again. Watch the video again.

The entire discussion is about the economic sustainability and viability of the education produced in Richmond County Schools. When asked to compare to neighboring Columbia County, the spokesman for Richmond says that in order for the urban core to be sustainable, you have to have a good suburban area.

Richmond County’s population is 55% African American. Neighboring Columbia County is 16%. Richmond County Schools have among the highest percentage of failing schools in the state. But that’s sustainable. Because there’s a good suburban area nearby.

Separate and unequal is alive in Georgia’s education system. And the folks in charge of Augusta’s schools don’t care, because they have white folks one county over, and because an amendment that would have forced them to care lost on the November ballot.

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EllynnDave BearsePM Recent comment authors
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AMAZING: I went on line to check how someone moving to RC would view the system.
Look under the academics portion of the ranking. 62% cohort graduation rate????

Your summation is spot on.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

The primary problem is poverty. Isolating poverty and holding spending constant isn’t going to fix low income schools.


Same thing down in Savannah. The middle class who could afford to move to Rincon and Richmond Hill then commute into Savannah moved into the Effingham and Bryan county school systems starting back in the late 90’s with their new schools and homes, no crime and lots of space to grow.

Columbia’s school system is growing so fast that it is adding a school each year to the district. Not replacement or renovated schools like Richmond County, new schools for a new population. As the military scope of people employed in the Augusta area increases, Columbia will keep growing.