Commentary by Scott Coopwood
Soon, the doors of the Mississippi Delta’s elementary and high schools will open and students will fill the classrooms for the 2014-2015 school year. We always like to say that in the Delta “eduction is our top priority.” That sounds good, but the fact is, that statement is false.
Let’s take a closer look at reality.
Truly, most of our public schools in the Delta are in shambles. The material our children are studying should be reevaluated, some of it is necessary, some of it is not. One interesting aspect pertaining to this, much of the history inside our our children’s history books have been totally re-written. That means we are presenting a warped-side of history to our students compliments of our government scholarly writers who have made certain that everything in these modern day history books meet the guidelines of political correctness. Even the words in the dictionaries we use today don’t have the same meaning when compared to the dictionaries our grandparents grew up with.
Technology is another area of concern in our schools. Some Delta schools have it, some do not. The world is changing, technology is working itself into our lives more each day, so we all need to know how to use it. However, we still need should know how to use the old ways of doing things too. Most of our children today are lost when it comes to math without the crutch of their cell phones or computers when working math problems. Not good. Students need to use both. It is good for their brains to know both. However, that is not happening in the Delta.
Discipline in the classroom: how many times have we heard this? Yet, it is true – there is no real discipline today in our public schools in the Delta and each year it is getting worse. Without discipline a school cannot function properly and young people will not learn.
And, perhaps most troubling? Teachers in the Delta who cannot teach. In addition to that … superintendents who cannot manage, and others on the administrative level who cannot spell and have zero business skills. Yet, education is “…the Delta’s number one priority”? Sure doesn’t seem that way to me. No reason to even bring up these same folks are continuing to pass children, allowing them to move up to the next grade each year when they don’t deserve to be.
The Delta school systems certainly have some shining stars and these people should be applauded for their talents and their dedication. In fact, these people should be placed on a pedestal and given an award for having to put up with all of the mess they constantly endure.
I have only outlined a few of the significant problems I have seen personally in our public school systems around the Delta. There are many more problems.
If we truly want to move the Mississippi Delta forward, something must be done to improve our public education system and that first improvement should start with choosing the right teachers and administrators. We need to throw out the bad, bring in the good. But, sadly in today’s heated political environment, that is going to be hard to do. Not impossible though.
I’m still a believer in the Mississippi Delta. I believe we can move the Delta in a positive direction that will help our region and in turn help our state. Correcting our public school system is the first step and currently I don’t see anyone addressing this problem or taking any serious action.
Scott Coopwood, a seventh generation Deltan, lives in Cleveland, Mississippi, with his wife Cindy and their three children. Scott is the publisher and owner of Delta Magazine, one of the South’s leading lifestyle publications, the Delta Business Journal, the first business publication in the Mississippi Delta; and Cleveland’s weekly newspaper, The Cleveland Current.
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