05/05/09 — Moye's point: Board chairman's comments worth taking to heart

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Moye's point: Board chairman's comments worth taking to heart

Wayne County Board of Education Chairman George Moye has a point -- and raises a concern that some people ought to take to heart.

They should think about it as they begin their work to help create an even-better school system -- one that all of us hope will draw more residential and business investment to Wayne County.

They should mull over his message before they decide to make public statements or to critique the daily workings of the schools -- and before they tout a new cooperative relationship between the county and the schools.

And they should think about this:

There are more than 3,100 people who work in the Wayne County School District every day -- and just like in many other organizations, including Wayne County government -- most of them are dedicated, hard-working and do everything they can to make sure the children of this community get the best education they can.

They do not have an easy job. Teaching children to read is not merely a matter of sitting them down and ordering them to open their books and master phonetics and vocabulary. There is much more to it than that -- and good teachers and administrators are constantly trying to find ways to capture and sustain their students' interest.

But there are more factors that play a part in the success or failure of those efforts.

There are children who come to school without proper nutrition or clothing and others who return home to houses where there is little to no parental supervision or support. Good work in school can often be undone by peer influence or a bad home life.

Those are the battles teachers and administrators fight every day.

And that is just in the classroom.

Running a school or a school district -- just like running a county or a city -- takes bosses and supervisors. Just as a county cannot send the county manager out to assist with grounds work just because there is a shortage of lawn mowers, a school district has to have administrators who can handle discipline concerns, personnel matters and other duties that are required to keep a district running.

But the bottom line -- and the key to Moye's message -- is this: If we do not believe in our schools and the people who work in them every day, how can we expect those who are trying so hard to make them better to be anything but discouraged.

If you heard criticism constantly about what you were doing -- and comments that sometimes seem ill-informed at best -- what would that do to your morale?

And, just as importantly, how can we sell the schools as an asset to anyone considering coming here to raise a family if we cannot find anything good to say about them?

This is not to say that there is not room for improvement in the schools -- and that there should not be room for comments and suggestions to be made for improvement.

But right now, with money such a big concern and so much to work on, perhaps a little unity is one of the most important ingredients to success.

It is an idea worth considering.

Published in Editorials on May 5, 2009 11:49 AM