Thursday, September 13, 2007
Letter to the Editor
We must do better:
Over the years, many of us in the Holly Springs School District have discussed the need for our schools to be better. During this time, many of us have done all we could to assist and support our schools. I have personally volunteered many hours working either directly or indirectly with the schools. I have done this because I care about the future of our young people and I care about the future of our community.
As an elected official, I have always supported our schools. As an aldermen for the city I tried to do whatever I could to support the teachers, students and administration. I have not always agreed with some of the decisions but I never lost focus of the big picture. At the end of the day, it is not about individuals; it is about offering young people the best education this community can provide.
Over the last few months, I have observed a clear path of disappointing failures on the part of the Holly Springs Public Schools. Almost six months ago, the district was cited for failing 24 out of 30 state performance standards. These standards are required by the state and are the same for all districts. If a student missed 24 out of 30 questions on any test, that student would fail. For a school district to miss meeting the minimum standards by such a substantial margin is unacceptable. More recently, we got back our state test scores and while many schools in our area achieved level 3 or 4 once again our schools were level 2 or less. This is not the children’s fault! Our children are as smart as any children around. This past Friday in “The Clarion Ledger,” the Holly Springs School District was cited as one of seven school districts across the state that “need to make such serious improvements that their accreditation statuses could be questioned.” Residents of the Holly Springs School District, this is serious!
Even if the state did nothing, as a community we owe it to the children and parents of this community to provide them with good schools. God knows they pay enough taxes. Many of us talk about this and many of the current school officials talk about this but the time for talk is over! It is time for action! Each year I have been in the legislature I have fought with colleagues to fully fund all aspects of education. This has not been an easy fight, and the argument that so often is used to defeat full funding is “throwing money at the problem won’t solve anything.” Many times they point to failing school districts like ours as an example of why we should not place so much significance on money.
I know that we have many hard-working people in our school system and most of them mean well, but if I were sick I would not go to a doctor who means well and is hard-working alone. I would want a doctor who knows how to get the job done. I also know that we have people who do get the job done. I don’t know where we would be if we did not have them here.
The question now is how long are we going to fail our young people playing political games. How long are we going to force residents to scramble for alternative places and money to send their children to good schools? How long are we going to sit back while communities around us build solid schools and enjoy good paying jobs? How long are we going to continue to cheat our children out of future prosperity all because we did not have the courage to challenge the status quo?
I for one will no longer sit back and wait even if I have to do so alone. The price of waiting is too great and the time too short. While I do not blame the current conditions on the current administration, I do feel we will need someone with far more experience to deal with the problems she inherited. Therefore, today I am asking for the resignation of the superintendent, the entire Holly Springs School Board and their attorney and the business manager. We can and must do better and if that means restructuring the entire leadership then this is what we must do before it is too late.
Kelvin O. Buck
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