Letter: Focus on students and the basics

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 25, 2006

What must the citizen on the street be thinking about our school system’s testing rank? We’re now one of the worst-ranked school systems in North Carolina — among the bottom 11, out of 115 systems. I’m past surprised; I’m downright angry!

Aside from the fact that voters stepped up and passed two bond referendums with potential future tax increases and taxpayers spend more than $30 million a year for schools, the real tragedy is that our children are not receiving the sufficiently funded education they deserve.

Not to worry; the administrators who were responsible for planning the instructional program and knew what was happening still receive their paychecks each month. The Post mentioned there may need to be a “cultural change” — an understatement at best. Yes, openness and honesty would be a good start. However, those responsible should be held accountable.

If you want different results, start with a clean slate — now!

The red flags were there from the very beginning. The former superintendent’s and Rowan County School Board’s slogan of becoming one of the best school systems in America made the folks in the county happy. In reality, the Rowan-Salisbury School System never compared favorably with school systems in our region of the state. All you had to do was look around at the other systems.

Dr. Grissom, you don’t need slick brochures or slogans. Insist on openness and honesty throughout the school system. Support the teachers with quality staff development and sufficient tools such as the required books. Monitor the staff to ensure the Standard Course of Study is indeed being followed at an appropriate pace. The focus has to be on children and the basics (reading, writing and math) first and foremost. Enough about pretty buildings.

Our children, the future, are staring you in the face. You can and must do it.

— Dennis Isaacson