Schools should go down Reset Road

Published 12:04am Sunday, November 17, 2013

Facing possible state takeover of two of its schools, the Natchez-Adams School District is at a crossroads.

Three roads apparently lie ahead.

Road No. 1 is a little like a road to a casino. It’s a gamble. The district could avoid a state takeover of Morgantown Middle School and Natchez High School if the two schools improve state test scores. The results won’t be known until September 2014.

Road No. 2 could also be called Apathy Road. Supporters of heading down that road simply want to allow the chips to fall where they may. Their logic being, if failing ratings continue next year and the state chooses to take over, then maybe the state can do what local school administrators and leaders couldn’t do.

Road No. 3, ironically apparently shown to local school leaders by officials with the Mississippi Department of Education, is Reset Road. Heading on this path means the school district opts to change the schools enough — name, structure, curriculum, etc. — enough so that the schools get a pass on a technicality. The idea here is that after the changes, the old, failing schools don’t technically exist any more. Somehow that just doesn’t seem fair; it almost seems like cheating.

The fact that the state offered such an option to Natchez-Adams Superintendent Frederick Hill suggests to us that the state doesn’t really want to take over failing districts.

If that’s the case, then perhaps our best option is Road No. 3; at least traveling that road would mean the trip would be led by a navigator who wants success.