From the Pig Pen Rhetoric vs. Reality By Gregory Peele

The long hot days of summer are lurking as I write this column for the June issue of the Buzz. I hope that each of you loyal readers can find some measure of rest and relaxation this summer. The summers of my youth were carefree and each day a new adventure. As much as my heart would like to revisit those kinder, more gentile days of years long since passed, I feel compelled to write about more pressing issues.

I will not dwell on HB2 or the presidential race, as I don’t see either of these issues going away. Anyway, most citizens seem to have strong feelings in these regards, and I seriously doubt are going to change their minds regardless of how these two dilemmas unfold.

Our state legislators are presently hashing out a budget for the next two years. Politicians have to be real careful during election years. They aspire to make everyone feel needed and nobody slighted. But the stark reality is that there are never enough funds available to fill all of the wholes. To no one’s surprise, as is always the case, teacher pay is headlining these discussions. Wouldn’t it be nice if bringing teacher pay up to the national level would solve all of the problems our educational system faces? As deserving as are our teachers, and despite the ill state of the physical condition of many schools, just throwing more money in this direction is not the total solution.

Yes, we need to attract our brightest minds toward careers in education, and we need to compensate those experienced educators in a fashion adequate to retain them. I also agree that every student in Wayne County needs to be able to attend a school, which is conducive to learning, has the necessary resources to meet each child’s needs, and provide an environment which is safe and secure from harm.

However, with that being said, I see the home life, or the lack there of and a positive working relationship between parents, teachers, and administration as the ultimate key to successful education. The whole community must be willing to rally around our students, our teachers, and our schools. The schools we attended growing up, along with our churches, were the hubs of our community and a source of great pride. All meaningful activities and personal growth can be traced directly back to these two institutions.

I probably need to draw this dissertation to a close. Remember, everything which glitters is not gold. Quick fixes are seldom viable solutions to complex problems. You be the judge as to what is best for you and yours. As always, until we next meet, be of good cheer.

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