School problems can’t be blamed on one person

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 24, 2002

Two phrases uttered by Natchez-Adams School District administrators last week infuriated some people, including me.

Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis referred to the district’s Mississippi Curriculum Test results as “pretty decent.”

His comments were followed by district testing coordinator Joel Guyer who said the test scores were “not bad.”

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While some categories of the lower grades tested showed the district was ahead of the state average, many district students – particularly those in the upper grades – performed below average.

For example, 65.1 percent of 338 seventh-graders in Adams County scored at the minimal level.

How could they be satisfied with largely subpar test results?

Well, the answer is, the administrators aren’t satisfied. I can’t imagine they are happy with such mediocrity.

If administrators are happy with the status quo, they we need to find some new administrators.

I suspect more likely what’s happening is that we’ve lost our focus as a community – or, perhaps, we’ve never had a clear focus on our public education.

If Natchez-Adams students are doing poorly, simply blaming Dr. Davis, Mr. Guyer or another administrator may make us all feel good, as if we’ve solved the problem. But putting the blame on someone and solving the problems are two separate things.

One man cannot make a school district successful and one man cannot break a school district either.

The public school district is important to all of us – regardless of whether a person has a child in the district.

If you have a child in the district, wake up and realize your child’s future is on the line. An education is something that will help your child realize his or her dreams.

If you don’t have a child in the district think about it this way. With a budget of about $40 million, the district is one of the largest corporations in our community. And, it is community funded with your tax dollars.

So consider your tax money as an investment. If you owned stock in Ford Motor Co., for example, wouldn’t you pay attention to Ford’s stock performance? And, wouldn’t you likely support the company by showing an interest and buying a Ford?

The same loyalty and interest needs to be put into our school district.

The district has some of the best facilities, equipment, teachers and administrators in the state, yet weren’t not at the top of the state’s academic lists.


If the answer could be solved with a simple newspaper column I’d solve it by myself. If it could be solved by a lone administrator, I’m sure Dr. Davis or Mr. Guyer would solve it, too.

But this is an issue that is not simply a matter of one person’s action; it requires teamwork.

And perhaps the best place to start is by turning our anger and frustration at the district’s lackluster test results into action.

What can we do to solve the school district’s problems?

Well, showing a little concern and care would be a great beginning, as would ending the finger pointing and starting the problem solving.

Kevin Cooper is editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 445-3541 or by e-mail to &160;