Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kids Need Discipline and Infrastructure

Hats off to acknowledging the need for vocational education, or votech as we used to call it. (Although I do have to say I cringed when I read the line in the MAJ, "The idea is to give more options to students who are unsuccessful in a traditional environment...") However, this is 2012 and not 1982. What will be put into place to insure a steady and engaged, enthusiastic and willing group of students, and enough so that this investment is maximized, as well as justified? What will the offerings be that will make it seem a viable option and worth the while of the students? Will certain students be tracked into it, or will the curricula and offerings put the demand for an opportunity to be a part of the program on par with the demand for a slot in some of our area magnet schools. Any input forthcoming or expected from our area's largest employers, e.g. the State of Alabama or Hyundai, which is the size of a small rural or northern city in itself? Our district is being inundated with options, ideas and examples of new avenues and venues for education--new schools, charter schools--all within the day-to-day workings of a Lee, minimum standards not being met, and the addressed knowledge that many of the system's current students are not on track to graduate. And further, what is enrollment currently like overall? How are birthrates and population shifts trending? There doesn't seem to be a tremendous amount of household growth in the more established parts of the city. I mean I could be wrong, but it seems that the only thing we have to contend with as far as population growth and shifts are the sprouting up of neighborhoods in the outlying areas of our MSA, I.e. Hampstead, the Waters etc... For me, that appears to be an advantage, possibly allowing us to focus our attention and our funds on addressing and investing in the improvement of our current facilities and programming as opposed to embarking on an overly ambitious and possibly not expedient building plan. Quite often, our strategies seem like a zip drive, as opposed to a Windows patch. They address, gather and store without actually providing an executable in the form of a solution or a fix. However, much like a zip drive, fortunately, they don't appear to add to it. Be mindful, K-12, plus seven to eight years is a career. In about 20 years there will be a need for quite a few people to work on that $94 million (?) airport expansion. We saw the turn out for that, and that's just one example of what I can only hope is not a growing sense of apathy or active disassociation regarding what goes on in our city. The epiphany and ah ha moment: realizing today's schoolchildren are the future's employees public and private, small businesses, employers with 50+ employees, and initiatives that get completed on time, within or over budget. Yes, that group of second graders at Winton Blount Cultural Park is a part of your future. One kid at Montgomery Academy could be the determing factor of whether or not there will be a Jubilee. It's time to get selfish. A commitment to their future is a commitment to yours. So shop, spend, get involved. It is all about the jobs.

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