Divisions may spell trouble for schools

Published 12:07 am Thursday, November 3, 2011

A dozen people talked, a few people listened and a handful offered up amens Tuesday night, but when the sermons were over disappointment prevailed.

Nothing went particularly wrong at Tuesday night’s public forum to discuss the qualities our community wants in a new superintendent. But nothing went right either.

Just as it was the last time Natchez embarked on the hiring process — and the time before that, and the time before that — the voices in the choir sang different tunes.

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“We need someone who knows us.”

“We need someone who is not from here and knows no one here.”

“We need someone whose race reflects the population of the schools.”

“We don’t care if he’s black or white.”

“We need fresh ideas.”

“We need experience.”

The division in the room, which was filled by mostly people of one race, was overtly apparent.

The message to the future superintendent is obvious — Welcome to Natchez, a divided city.

It’s highly likely that the ideal candidate some factions in town seem to seek may not exist, or, if he does he may not want to come here.

The man or woman we do end up with may inevitably be a disappointment to one or more local factions from day 1. Those groups have proven in the past that they can’t, or won’t, support someone else’s man. And the result is evidenced in our community’s test scores.

Before we decide what kind of superintendent we seek, perhaps Natchez and Adams County should first ask itself what kind of community we are, and what kind of community we want to be?