03/10/07 — Deal with issues: Political platitudes won’t move schools forward

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Deal with issues: Political platitudes won’t move schools forward

Perhaps it is time to ask someone else to take up the notion of who has the final say-so on what is to be done with education in North Carolina — specifically who will pay for it and who will supervise it and in what capacity.

There are multiple places in this state where school boards and county commissioners are clashing over how much to spend, where it will go and what policies will be implemented to improve the quality of education in North Carolina schools.

Officials and others wring their hands over graduation rates, test scores and diversity. They preach new programs, more money and better facilities.

Yet, all that seems to happen is that there is more talking, fighting and turning over the same arguments time and time again.

And in the meantime, nothing more gets done.

And in some cases, bond levies could very well could hang in the balance.

So what is best? Who should be in charge — the people who control the pursestrings or the people who work in the trenches and have to get the job done each day? And should those who are charged with improving the delivery of education to North Carolina’s children be allowed to police themselves if there are obviously problems?

And while we are at it, are we, as a community and state, really ready to tackle all the issues that affect the education of our children — no matter how uncomfortable the discussion and the solutions might be?

All are questions that will need to be asked if this county and state are really going to move the quality of schools and education in North Carolina forward — and to actually get something done in the upcoming fiscal year.

At election time, everybody talks about children and the future. Few politicians don’t have “children are our future” as part of their campaign slogans. But if the truth were told, they don’t seem to get that just saying that is not enough to get more children to the podium to receive diplomas on graduation day — or to give them the skills they need to make lives for themselves in college or the business world.

It is just talk.

A candid discussion over funding, facilities, concerns, teachers, programs and the future is critical if this state is really going to do something this time. And that sort of comprehensive look takes leaders who are willing to listen, to talk honestly and to set politics aside.

Wayne County residents have asked their leaders to take charge and to start such a dialogue, while still moving forward on improving the county’s school facilities.

It will be interesting to see if they really are committed to getting the job done.

Published in Editorials on March 10, 2007 10:44 PM