School reopening worthy of discussion

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 1999

The Natchez NAACP is taking an important and proactive step today by dedicating its meeting to discussing school overcrowding.

In particular, NAACP members are going to discuss a proposal by the Natchez-Adams School Board to reopen Braden School as a kindergarten through sixth-grade school, a move designed to ease overcrowding at the two primary and elementary schools.

We look forward to learning about the outcome of those discussions.

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As NAACP member Eva Dunkley said earlier this week, &uot;we know that the learning environment would be so much better if the schools were less crowded.&uot;

Those schools – Frazier and West primaries and McLaurin and Morgantown elementaries – are incubators of education and learning.

It is in these schools that students develop lifelong habits of learning and, we hope, a lifelong love of learning.

But educators are strapped by crowded classrooms, hampered by schedules juggled to compensate for crowded lunchrooms, and challenged to find a personal connection with many of their students because of the sheer number of students in each school.

And no one – most important the students – is being served fairly by that situation.

The school board, for its part, has suggested reopening Braden (which currently houses the administrative offices) as an elementary. But that cannot happen without consent and support of the plaintiffs whose 1980s suit resulted in the district being placed under U.S. Justice Department oversight.

We have a new set of challenges in 1999, and highest among those is best serving the students in our schools.

We’re glad to see our community discussing those issues and taking an interest in resolving them.