Education at core of community, economy

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, September 13, 2017

As the founding members of Natchez United met at Natchez Coffee to consider ways to support growth of the local economy, we realized the need to seek wisdom from our mentors and fathers.  They made it clear that supporting the reform of education was paramount. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Knowledge is Power.’  So what we learn, whether at home, at school, or in society, has the potential to help or hinder our future including successful employment.

What is the highest level of education you’ve completed? This is one question that almost every applicant hears when applying for a job.  Our society has continued progressing over the last 100 years, but unfortunately we have attempted to succeed with virtually the same traditional education provided for decades — indeed, this has led to an uphill battle.

Technological advancements are becoming more and more prevalent in our economy.  For some companies, this means that instead of hiring more employees they can purchase equipment that will replace human labor.  As a result this will save the business money and the company can expect consistency, that is until the machine breaks. Jobs that traditionally required physical strength to harvest, assemble and produce have been minimized.  A prime example of this change that comes to mind here in the Natchez and our surrounding communities is farming.  Farmers now have tractors that have wifi access, air conditioning, radio, timers and all of the bells and whistles. These tractors are able to produce the workload of 50 men in a fraction of the time.  This advancement is great for the business, but now society is left with 50 men that are left without jobs.  Recently in other cities fast-food restaurants have been replacing employees with machines.

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One expert wrote that “People with only very limited education often find it difficult to function at all in advanced societies.  Education is needed for people to benefit from scientific innovation as well as to actively engage in its progression.” One part of the body that hasn’t been replaced is the mind.  Although machines are able to perform tasks, one thing they cannot do is to think for us.  As participants in society, it is important that we stay ahead of the game by continuing to use our critical thinking skills to continue creating solutions for problems we encounter.  Education is the vehicle for developing such thinking required for continued innovation. Change is inevitable!

Proverbs 29:18 tells us that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  As employees retire, it is important for a community to have an education system that is succeeding so that every year, high school seniors graduate more prepared to enter the work force and more able to contribute to society.  If our city wants to continue to thrive, it is important that the change is embraced, and one of the ways this can be done is through revamping education.  Employers are willing to relocate to cities where the various communities work together and the local schools graduate high performing students prepared and motivated with a high work ethic.

Natchez United invites you to join us for our weekly events at the Natchez Grand Hotel:

  • Community Prayers for Natchez —  7 p.m. on Mondays.
  • Community Meeting to Support Natchez — 7 p.m. on Tuesdays.
  • Open Mic Night on the Natchez Grand Porch — 7 p.m. on  Thursdays.

Jeremiah Rios

Natchez resident