We all agree that quality education is increasingly important for our young people to get good paying jobs - and to attract companies offering those jobs. We must be smart, innovative, and open to different ways of thinking.
The near-term prospects in Lauderdale County for advancing quality education and livelihoods are not good. The seven public high schools in the county are just average in the state of Alabama – only two barely made the top 20%.
Lest we forget, Alabama public schools rank only 46th in quality and 42nd in student-teacher ratios among the 50 states. Yet, there seems to be scant concern among state and county officials.
For example, there is little discussion about increasing property and income tax revenue to improve educational outcomes. The Agriculture Authority was allowed to capture tax revenue that could have benefitted Lauderdale schools.
Voters tend to elect Republican good old boys (e.g., white male coaches who became principals) to the school board as well as most other offices. There they perpetuate the same mindset and hiring practices that inhibit improvement.
Most school staff and half of students are female, but there are no women (or minorities) on the Lauderdale County School Board or administration leadership. Only one high school principal is female.
How can we prepare our young to compete in this complex and diverse world when residents continue to elect representatives from the same stale mold? When will WE ever learn – so that our children and grandchildren can?