Thursday, March 23, 2006
Letters To The Editor
Upon my retirement, I vowed I would not get involved with the political posturing I have observed during my 27 years in this community. However, when a matter, education, so dear and near to my heart continues to be an issue, in this community, I would like to take this opportunity to voice my concerns.
First and foremost, I think that all of us would agree that whether public or private, schools are the fiber of any community. Secondly, we would agree that children are our greatest resource and our future.
Currently, we are in the midst of a painful clash with ideal and reality. Ideally, public schools would be fully funded, all schools would achieve level three or above, all school communities would believe that all children can learn and have a right to a free and appropriate education, and all school districts (boards, superintendents, principals, staff, and students) would be supported by the total community.
However, the painful reality is that public education suffers from political posturing from the local community to the big house, and I am not talking about the Mississippi Coliseum.
The state legislature has only fully funded public school education during one session, and that was an election year. The reality is that most likely public school education will not be fully funded this year. With unfunded mandates (teachers and staff, textbooks, library books, supply money, etc.) more responsibility will be placed on local communities.
This community needs to look at a realistic plan with solid public support, and that is consolidation of the school districts (Holly Springs and Marshall County). The reality is that you have two school districts and a private school who are graduating less than three hundred students from the five high schools (three Marshall County, one each Holly Springs and Marshall Academy).
In this county, we have school districts whose average core ACT score is 16.4 (2004-2005---Holly Springs 16.1; Marshall County 16.6; States 19.9; National 21.9), districts who will find it difficult to offer the new high school requirements (26 Carnegie units, advanced courses, etc.; starting 2008-2009; current 6th graders), and districts who will not be fully funded to meet those mandates. These problems coupled with a weak economy will make it very difficult for school districts and communities to continue to survive day to day.
Finally, the dropout and graduation rates issues, what stands out for Mississippi is there is not that much difference in dropout and graduation rates between high and low performing districts (levels one-five), the racial make-up of the districts, or between small town versus rural versus suburban districts. In fact, all school districts need to improve their dropout and graduation rates.
The above analysis, from the Urban Institute as well as ACT scores, indicates we are not meeting the needs of all students. Also, Mississippi performance levels give districts a false sense of the reality of educating all children as required by No Child Left Behind.
Please understand that leveling is only a small bandage placed on a big problem in Mississippi.
As you evaluate individual schools and school districts look at all data.
The children of this county need real commitments, not more political posturing.
Bob on national
I am writing this letter in regards to a story that was written in your paper a couple of weeks ago about Tyson Drug Store, Bob Lomenick, pharmacist and owner. With all the changes with medicare and some insurance companies calling for some drugs to go sky high, for some of us, its taking most of our income to buy these different medications. A couple of years ago my sister got sick and was unable to buy her medication. I called Mr. Lomenick on the phone and asked him if there was anything he could do to help. The bottle of her medication was $150. At that time she was on eight different medications. He asked me what was she taking and I told him. I didnt know him and he didnt know me. The only thing he said was come and get it. When I got there (to the store) the medication was ready. The only thing he told me was Im holding you responsible for this bill. I didnt exchange words with him no more than I said thanks. I know I can speak for a lot of people who have gone through the same thing my sister and family did. Thanks for all you have done to help out the people in this town who cant afford to buy their medication. May God forever bless you. It has once been said, Be careful how you treat a stranger. That stranger could be an angel. Mr. Lomenick, you have been that angel for my sister and family.
Hes gone but not forgotten
His kindness Ill always remember.
Earl Price was his name, but for me it was PaPa Earl. He was a righteous man, so mellow and easygoing and Gods worker. I truly admired him, the way he prayed always asking for mercy and forgiveness. He touched my spirit many times, when closing the service at his church, Mt. Zion CME (on Little Snow Creek Road). His smile was always great even when times were tough.
He was the head deacon at Mt. Zion and even in his 80s he made sure his church looked super. When times were not so good, he kept a quiet type anger, knowing God would take care of things. And did.
He passed away months ago and now his wife Verlene carries the touch sharing her courage, kindness and love.
As a great neighbor she cant be beat. Im so glad that I was able to share my life with PaPa Earl and his wife.
It will always be a great pleasure held deep in my heart.
(662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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