Shame on us for showing little interest

Published 1:16 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A man who could lead the Selma City School System for the next several years sat alone on a stage Monday in the Striplin Performing Arts Center.

He fielded questions articulately and thoroughly.

Austin Obasohan of Concord, N.C., appeared engaged and enthusiastic about teaching, curriculum, working with teachers and staff and — ultimately — children.

Email newsletter signup

But here’s the problem: Only about 35 or 40 people from the community heard this man talk about his qualifications.

The Census Bureau’s 2006 estimate placed Selma’s population at 20,512. Of that number, 4,823 residents are between the ages of 5 and 19, or about 25 percent of the total.

Now, take the high end of the number of people who attended Monday night’s interview, or about 0.00195 of the population.

We should hang our heads in shame that not even 1 percent of the population of this city is interested enough to attend an interview to see who educates a majority of children who live in this city.

And we wonder why we cannot attract businesses.

And we wonder why stores begin to close.

And we wonder why our workers in some stores cannot count change.

And we wonder why our children’s scores are so low.

We need not wonder anymore.

With apologies to cartoonist Walt Kelly, “We have met the cause, and it is us.”

The next interview is at 6 p.m. today in the same place with a different candidate.

Anyone who can should make a point to attend.