Spend time focusing on solutions

Published 7:27 am Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It never feels good to be harshly criticized. It takes a special characteristic to be told you are failing at something, being told your are wrong, and turn that into fuel to improve.

Such is the case with the Dallas County School System and their response to having five system schools be declared “failing” by the Alabama Department of Education.

It is obvious by their responses this past week, that casting blame somewhere else seems to be the main solution to getting these schools off the list of “failing” schools.

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During their meeting, board members and Superintendent of Education Fannie McKenzie, cast doubt on the criteria used to judge schools and said community factors and “environment” have led to these schools’ issues.

“You have student A and student B,” McKenzie told the board. “These students come from different cultures, different environments. If you test those students using those traditional assessments, there is going to be a gap.”

We agree that there is plenty of evidence the environment at home goes a long way in making a young person more successful at home. We agree that if parents are more involved in the educational process, then both the child and the overall school is more successful.

But instead of spending valuable board meeting time discussing the reasons — or providing the excuses — these particular schools have failed, we challenge the board to discuss solutions for these schools, for these communities for these children.

Spending time complaining about the criteria, the impact on recruiting teachers and lack of parental involvement, discuss ideas on how better to involve the school community, the parent-teacher organizations and community leaders.

Find ways to go out and bring the best and brightest teaching candidates to Dallas County, stressing the challenge and the opportunity to have a positive impact on communities where strong educational leaders can make a difference.

In short, instead of spending time crying over spilled milk, grab a towel, clean it up and move on. The milk’s not going to wipe up itself.