01/12/06 — Combined effort: Solving inner city problems requires a united approach

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Combined effort: Solving inner city problems requires a united approach

Nobody really likes to talk about what children who live in the inner city face each day.

No one wants to think about a little girl or boy who must worry about walking home through a dangerous neighborhood, or about a 7-year-old who might not be able to sleep at night because he or she is worried about the gunshots outside.

We don’t like to acknowledge that all the school reform in the world will not make some children value education or want to improve their reading and math skills if their parents do not encourage them to do so.

And we like it even less when we have to admit that wanting these children to grow into productive and happy adults is not going to make that wish a reality if their parents are raising them in a cycle of poverty and with a sense of entitlement that will cripple their ability to succeed or even have futures.

So, that is what makes Monday’s comments by the Wayne County Board of Education so important — and yet so difficult to hear.

There are problems in Goldsboro’s inner city neighborhoods, the board members said, and those issues are affecting the district’s ability to educate the children who live there. That is the reason, in part, they say, for the continued problems with keeping these children focused in school — and showing them that they have futures.

The board members asked to form a partnership with the mayor and the city of Goldsboro officials to talk about the conditions in the city’s neighborhoods, and to see if a combined effort could make a difference there.

And that is a great idea.

Mayor Al King and City Manager Joe Huffman have also mentioned working to improve the lives of the city’s working poor and others who live in some of the city’s most challenging neighborhoods.

That is part of the reason for the neighborhood meetings the city introduced this past year.

If the Board of Education and the city combine their efforts, who knows what might get accomplished — and whose lives might be changed for the better.

The first — and most difficult — step in this process was really talking about the problems. Without acknowledging the real reasons and the real issues, there is no way to determine a solution that will work and effect change.

The Board of Education took the first step by addressing those problems that nobody really wants to discuss — or admit.

Now, it is time to open up the discussion and to get to work on finding solutions.

Goldsboro’s strength is not in its buildings or its officials. It is its citizens who will determine what sort of future this city and, by extension, county, will have.

This is our chance to stay on the right path.

Published in Editorials on January 12, 2006 11:10 AM