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Second forum gathers feedback on education

New ideas were presented Tuesday at the community’s second “Cradle to Career” forum on opportunities and challenges in local education.

As they did Monday night, participants were separated into different groups to answer questions about what assets Troy has for education, what opportunities are available to seize and what challenges must be overcome.

Some of Monday night’s answers resurfaced Tuesday, including parental involvement as a major challenge facing the education system and Troy City Schools’ teachers and Troy University as some of the strongest assets available to education in Troy.

There were also new opportunities and challenges brought forth during the meeting Tuesday at the Troy Recreation Center.

One of the major themes that came out of several group discussions was on “holistic education” of children, teaching basic skills such as work ethic and respect alongside rudimentary schooling such as how many words per minute a child can read and whether students know their “times-tables.”

“We sometimes have so much rigidity we forget they are children,” said one group.

The format of the forum does not attribute quotes to any specific individuals to provide a space where residents are comfortable voicing their opinions and suggestions.

Groups also mention a false, sometimes negative, narrative about Troy City Schools that is “somewhat out of fear.”

The groups suggested that residents and parents need to be more involved, not just with their children, but with the education system as a whole, including the political process with elected officials in the city and appointed school board members.

More communication also needs to happen between the school administration and parents, the groups said, and it must be facilitated on both ends by parents and faculty.

Now that the notes have been taken on what residents view as assets, opportunities and challenges, the David Matthews Center for Civic Life, who moderated the forums, will return to Troy on November 5 to discuss action plans for the suggestions made.

The time and location are still to be decided, as well as the exact format of the forums.

There were questions from some participants about involving school administration and elected officials in the discussions, rather than having them merely observe the forums as they did Monday and Tuesday.

Cristin Brawner of the Matthews Center said the center made the suggestion for officials to observe the meetings and that that could change for future meetings.