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Civic awareness is vital for a growing public. This is the very reason why ACCG (Association County Commissioners of Georgia), a nonprofit instrumentality of Georgia’s county governments agreed to form the GCAPS (Georgia Civic Awareness Program for Students) program to help increase and foster political education and civic and local government awareness among citizens of youth and students in Georgia counties. This would include educating the youth citizens about the importance of being consciously active in their local governments and politics, the opportunities available to them in the public sector, and exposing them to first hand experiences of the roles and services their local governments provide for all persons within their communities. However, according to pro essaytyper, there have been some issues concerning the GCAPS of Dougherty County, and how trustworthy the program has been in establishing a network of confidence among the youth and other various constituents of the community. This was particularly the case for the program surrounding a recent field trip where inappropriate behavior was allegedly witnessed between adults. County commissioners were compelled to call a meeting to discuss the vitality and usefulness of the program in the mist of those allegations. These discussions included whether or not the program should continue. Some important constituents in the community, including the Dougherty County School System’s Superintendent Butch Mosely, expressed concerns over the matter. “Our students were exposed to inappropriate behavior” during a recent field trip with GCAPS, said Butch Mosely. However, according to Mosley, the program is beneficial because it “builds on lessons taught in the classroom” and is not worth losing.District 4 Commissioner Ewell Lyle expressed concerns as well about recent news headlines, in addition to, the important role the school system plays in funding the program. “First of all, I think the school system should have some input on the budget,” Lyle said. “The School Board is funded way beyond what we are and, going forward, I think it only appropriate that they participate from a financial standpoint.” “I also don’t think any of us can deny that we have a black eye with our program based on the articles that were in the newspaper.”

With all of this in light of the recent news allegations of inappropriate behavior, the most important agenda at hand is to maintain the presence of a program that exposes children, students, and youth citizens of the community to the benefits, roles, and services their local government plays and politics play in their communities at their grasp. “GCAPS didn’t originate in Dougherty County, it’s an Association County Commissioners of Georgia program,” District 6 Commissioner Anthony Jones said. “No matter what we decide to do, going forward this program has to be about the students. I don’t know where the animal we have in place originated, but it can’t continue in its current form.”

Persons of the community who may want to sponsor this program and increase political education within their communities should contact their respective local governments for more information at engage@civicaffarirs.org. Starting GCAPS in the county you reside, you should contact the appropriate GCAPS representative and ACCG External Relations representative at this address kbowen@accg.org.

The local city of Albany, Georgia government is also partnering with the local school system to help expose the youth of the city to the politics of their city. Another political education initiative enacted for students. Recently in April, the Albany, Georgia City Commission meeting was held where students from all four local public high schools gathered in attendance. The students were all members of their respective high school student governments, and all were exposed to what the politics of their community all entails. City of Albany Mayor read a proclamation recognizing the week in the city at the end of the meeting.

The meeting served several purposes including discussions of local political education and statistical knowledge, in addition to the importance of keeping Albany, Dougherty county Georgia a vibrant city and community. Although many students expressed desires to leave the city upon graduation from high school, Ward III Commissioner BJ Fletcher found the gesture one that should be viewed upon critically. “I guess everyone’s nervous and decided to laugh at that response, but I don’t believe it’s a laughing matter,” Fletcher said. “I do encourage our young people to go out and see as much of the world as you can, to experience all that you can. But you are a vital part of our future…..you are the generation that will take care of us when we get older…..so I ask you young people to be a part of your community’s future, to help us turn this community around.” “Albany is always going to be a part of you, it will always be home. And we encourage you to join us in making it a better place.” Persons should want to go out and experience the world, and return home and share in the distribution of knowledge learned outside their home communities. A great gesture certainly.

According the Dougherty County Superintendent, the local public school system is making progress. Going from a 13 system wide principal change, including interchanging six elementary school principals recently, the school system, upon his arrival, was in deep water concerning inadequate incompetent staffing, and low graduation rates. “I want to stress that not all of those principals were asked to leave. Some retired or quit, and others were not performing to our expectations,” Mosely said. However, recent developments and progress reports include, “Discipline reports and dropout are down; the graduation rate is moving up, as are out test scores.” Improving education continuously in the district would include the continued implementation of new school district and system wide initiatives such as, the new charter school system, 1-to-1 technology initiatives that has helped increased students exposure to technology and its use inside the classroom, and the new Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy for students, which will allow them to participate in dual enrollment education opportunities with local post-secondary institutions.

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