By Mary Snow
Don’t know where our country went wrong…I just know that we have
incredible educational challenges. This was the discussion one recent
evening with friends. Now everyone present in this conversation has
adult children…many with grandchildren, but everyone feels the need
to be part of the solution to our current academic challenges.
I came away from that discussion with the feeling that somehow we
cannot overcome all of these challenges, but then I reminded myself
of what I live by “if one child is saved that is enough”.
Okay baby boomers…retired teachers…senior citizens…people who are
motivated by an internal need to make a difference…it’s time for
action. We have done it before and we can do it again. It is time to
right the course of our challenges in the educational system. It is
time to work together to save our children and it will probably take
all of us.
Here are some statistics. If a child is not reading by the end of 3rd
grade, he/she cannot read to learn. Beginning in the fourth grade, a
student is required to read to learn. If a student cannot read,
statistics show that young people are more apt to develop learning
problems, have behavioral issues, truancy, high dropout rates,
unemployment issues and incarcerations. That’s when it really costs!
What an opportunity for those of us who have the time to volunteer in
our schools to read, nurture, hold accountable these children K
through 3rd. We need to make sure that at the end of 3rd grade, we
have all of our children reading according to grade level.
In the 1960’s and 70’s, our country was number one in math and
sciences. We are now 25th in math and the sciences. We wonder why
jobs are being outsourced!
Now, none of this is about money! There are children in Shanghai
(where students are learning at a rate three times of the American
student) and in India who are learning on dirt floors…no desks, no
equipment. They are simply outperforming our children. They are
filling all the jobs here in America that our students are
unqualified to fill. It is not about money!
I feel it is the attitude that must change. We must form the
partnerships that are necessary to make education a priority again.
We must support each other in these partnerships.
We must partner with administrations that motivate and inspire, that
support the teachers on the “front lines” nurturing them
professionally, that nurture all of our children and their parents.
We must partner with teachers whose main job is to teach and to
nurture the children
who are placed in their care. We must partner with parents who are
part of the education of their children. We must encourage parents to
work with administration and teachers to help provide their children
with enrichment activities and uninterrupted time at home to study.
It is a total “child centered” cause…and it is so very simple. We
must keep the main thing…the main thing…the child.
Just imagine what we all can do…
Several months ago, an e-mail blast from our Economic Director,
Gerald Mills, appeared on my computer with information regarding 2
open slots for a math-science camp at the Oak Ridge National
Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I immediately thought of a high
school student who might not only grow from such an experience, but
also someone who would represent our county well. This experience is
fully funded by our Appalachian Regional Commission and is of no
expense to parents and student. The student must show aptitude in
math and science and be from a rural community. We had to have all
the paperwork done in less than 24 hours, and we did it!!!
We are pleased to announce that we have a student from Noxapater High
School Attendance Center who will be going this summer. Colby Jones
is the son of Steve and Lisa Jones…is on track to be a Mississippi
Scholar…is a member of Tiger Stripes and Fellowship of Christian
Athletes…plays football and baseball and is an active member of
Liberty Baptist Church.
This is a huge opportunity for Colby as he travels to Tennessee this
summer. 26 students and 26 teachers will work with research
scientists on relevant math and scientific topics facing the world in
the 21st century. He will meet and work with people from all over the
country. What a great way to grow as a person! Congratulations, Colby…
we want a full report when you return!
“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally
astound ourselves.” Thomas A. Edison
Editori’s note: Mary Snow is an active community member and coowner
of the Jewel Shoppe.