Christi Roberts letter to editor

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 17, 2007

Letter to the editor

NP challenged to provide better information about school conditions

I was in attendance at the first PTO meeting of the year for Como Elementary on August 13th. I was beside myself, when I heard some of the statements made by those whose duty is to protect and educate the children in our community. I was appalled at the lack of attendance as well. After subtracting the faculty members present, the room was practically empty!

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The main topic discussed at the meeting was meant to warn parents about attendance requirements and the consequences of not making sure your child attends school, presented by Charles Blakley. The state is forcing attendance officers to crack down on this, with the drop-out rate being so high in Mississippi. I can’t believe the nerve to bully parents into sending their children to a school with such a poor academic record!

The new principal of Como for the year, Gregory Hodges, introduced the faculty and later introduced himself. He explained his intent as principal and hopes for the school. He welcomed all parents and promised to offer their children the education and tools they need to survive successfully in their adult life.

Only two board members were in attendance, Ms. Wilson, vice-president, and Ms. Thompson, secretary. After introducing herself and explaining that she had four boys excelling academically, despite being educated in Panola County, Ms. Wilson saw fit to use her boys as examples of how well the North Panola County School District is operating, by adamantly stating that, “Our children are not stupid.” Ms. Thompson, an alumni of North Panola Schools, introduced herself and stated that she agreed with everything Ms. Wilson just said.

Lucinda Carter, the Superintendent, was an intellectual breath of fresh air, yet I was surprised she didn’t make an effort to correct and truly inform. Even Hank Bounds, the State Superintendent of Mississippi Schools, is willing to divulge the statistics representing deplorable conditions and students with embarrassingly low academic achievement levels in the state! Why continue to convince this community they are successful, unless the goal is to keep the community right where it is?

In Mississippi each district is given the right to run their schools the way they see fit. This allows the State to throw up their hands and let the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy to reproduce. Como will never know how great they can be until they are informed about where they really are. The more intelligent bodies with the power to change things aren’t willing to tell them, because it would mean they’d have to actually work for their money.

Azria Lewers and James Birge made the promise to do anything they can to help improve the schools in Como at this PTO meeting and stated that they would attend more meetings than just this first one. Make them keep their promise to our children by attending the next PTO meeting, or calling them. Tell them what you want changed, give your children the chance to succeed by holding everyone accountable. Their numbers are in the phone book, but if you stand before them, they can’t deny your presence.

I will be at the next PTO meeting, if you have any questions. Do you know what’s available to your children? There is a lot they aren’t receiving at Como Elementary that is standard stuff in other schools across the nation. Don’t let anyone tell you what you ask for is not an option. Remember, the community runs the district, you are in charge.

/s/ Christi Roberts