Students are the future

Published 1:59 am Sunday, September 9, 2012

Reading the Sept. 2 editorial in Our Opinion, I was moved to respond to the statement “High school students are not the future of this district.”

As a former teacher of the Vicksburg Warren School District, I know there was a high caliber of quality educators who worked in this system. Unfortunately, I now find myself wondering what has happened to education in this district?

There is still an excellent pool of students and while the curriculum has seen minor changes, it has remained consistent. However, the district can be resilient by improving leadership, teaching preparation, implementation and making “high expectations” widespread.

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VWSD has a rich academic history and was sustaining when I retired in 1998. This district was one of the first to offer gifted education classes in Mississippi. When parents leave Little Johnny for the first time in kindergarten, they leave with vivid visions of high expectations, one being graduation. They leave expecting the same outcome as the immigrants did many years ago when they left their children: a good education and high school graduation.

What if the schools were still teaching toward these goals? The immigrants received this, they were not involved in the schools, and they could not speak English. Everyone benefits from increased graduation rates. The graduates themselves, on average, will earn higher wages and enjoy more comfortable and secure lifestyles. At the same time, the local economy benefits from their increased purchasing power, collects higher tax receipts and sees higher levels of worker productivity.

These students are the district’s future workforce. Recently, the State Department of Education committee members voted to conceal the high school graduation dropout rates. We need to know why. The past local leaders of the NAACP would have questioned that decision.

Let’s make sure that every child has access to a quality education; and we should continue to appreciate the role education plays in keeping our city a compassionate and pleasant retirement community.

Patsy Gibbs