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My Turn, John Leatherman: Where is outrage over RSS scores?

Writer

Leatherman

We the citizens of Rowan-Salisbury are the reason for poor education results.

Where is the outcry about the recent state report card? Failure is accepted. What else can we do with the population (students and parents) that we have?

If that is your attitude, do the students a favor and get another job. However, if you believe it can be done, get started. It starts at the bottom. The community must be involved in a positive manner. They are our children.

Then, we need to hold our school board and administration accountable. The superintendent has to support the principals. They in turn must support the teachers. If any of these do not believe it can be done, please move on.

For those that refuse to move on or help, the public has a responsibility to take action.

It is my understanding that only 45 percent of third-grade students are reading on grade level. Unacceptable! Please see my letter to the editor from earlier this year reprinted below.

Good jobs do not come to a community because the community needs the good jobs. Good jobs come when the community has a dependable, skilled workforce.

This workforce does not occur by accident. It starts in the home and continues in the schools. If by third grade a child is not reading well — there is trouble ahead.

We have no control in the home. We have lots of potential input in the schools. But not as much as we should. For us to have good schools, the community must be more involved. The involvement must be perpetual and allow citizens to actually make a difference. People will lose interest and any organization will fail if members feel they are not able to make a difference.

The school board, school administration, county commissioners and municipalities cannot get the education job done without the positive involvement of the community. I am reminded of a Mark Vitner saying that any area that solves its educational challenges can write its own economic ticket.

I propose a district-wide group organized on elementary, middle and high school levels. This group would include School Improvement Teams, PTA and Communities in Schools. Their purpose would be to involve the citizens and provide networking opportunities. The group must be independent of the school board and administration. They would discuss challenges and opportunities and what is necessary to improve the schools.

We have the opportunity. If we do not do it for ourselves, who will?

The youth in our community deserve an opportunity at good jobs. We need good jobs to have a better life for all. Do we want to solve the educational challenges and write a better economic ticket?

John Leatherman is a resident of Rowan County.

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