By Courier publisher
JOE BUCK COATES
Finally, somebody who lives in the district and who was fed up enough stepped forward and said what everyone else has been thinking for years. The problem is, Dr. Akin’s attempt at putting a charge in those members of the HCSD Board of Trustees went unanswered, at least verbally. It was almost as if the four members present at last Tuesday’s meeting agreed with Dr.. Akin, saying with their body language, “Yeah, so what…”.
Well, here’s what: Dr. Akin painted a pretty good picture of what has long been suspected by the taxpayers and stakeholders of the district, and now proven by Mississippi Department of Education statistics–that, even though the children are mentioned as being the top priority of the district at meetings and other functions, the reality is that administration in the district and at each school is drawing the most benefit.
So, what will be the response? With two schools in State Improvement Status–the high school in year one, and the middle school in year two–it needs to be strong, and it should result in a total about-face. Immediate change is needed.
The district has a tall task to not only improve test scores, but also to shift its focus to students learning. I’ve talked with or know many of the teachers in the district, and I truly believe that this group as a whole is getting about as good a result as can be expected with as much shakiness that goes on in the upper management levels of the district. If the focus was shifted entirely on student learning, and teachers were outfitted with an impressive arsenal of proven teaching tools, the schools could achieve results that were once reached. Of course, that means, in one instance, that several layers of bureaucracy would have to be eliminated or consolidated–a huge leap that would require tough decision-making by the board and a superintendent less concerned about his benefits and bent on fostering a learning environment.
Something has to change. The same broken system keeps getting the same poor results. As Dr. Akin concluded in his talk last week, “…Demand excellence and nothing less…we will all benefit from that.”