Bice’s meeting in Selma too vital to miss

Published 11:07 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

As a reporter responsible for writing a majority of the Times-Journal’s education-related stories, I’ve heard plenty of people voice their suggestions, questions and issues when it comes to the Selma City and Dallas County School System.

The attendance at most board meetings and work sessions, which present the perfect opportunity to address those concerns, does not reflect the amount of complaints or ideas I’ve heard about since I arrived in here in late September 2013.

It’s evident that the public has let the chance to speak up go by too often, but those normally absent from vital meetings will have a great chance to makeup for missed opportunities next month, when State Superintendent of Education Tommy Bice’s visit to Selma.

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As part of the State Department of Education’s 12-stop Future of Education Tour, Bice will be at Selma High Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. to discuss education topics, such as Plan 2020, Alabama College-and Career-Ready Standards, student testing, accountability and the importance of parental and community involvement.

Business and industry partners and representatives from Alabama’s Community Colleges and other education stakeholders will join the conversation.

An hour-long question and answer session will follow the presentation, presenting the public with a great chance to talk directly to the state superintendent.

Needless to say, Bice has the resources to better inform the public, the authority to correct issues he sees fit to correct, patience to hear the public’s concerns and open-mindedness to listen to our suggestions for a better state public school system.

Plus, we have all been blessed to with a state superintendent who cares enough to listen to us in person, and we should take advantage of that.

I understand that we all have a busy schedule, but the Dallas County community, especially those who have children in the school system, should try their best to make it to the informative event.

Not only should adults attend, but they should also bring their children to the event.

Young people should be aware about what goes on in the system.

The focus of one of the major topics is Plan 2020, which is the Alabama State Department of Education’s goal to have state public schools reach a high school graduation rate of 80 percent by 2016 and rate of 90 percent or more by 2020.

Obviously, one of the best ways to do reach that goal is to have the targeted students listen to the plan themselves. It is time we stop limiting these discussions about our school systems to dinner table conversations, social media rants and gossip among friends and make our voices heard in setting where it can reach the ears of those who have the authority to make changes for the better.