Letter to the Editor

Your View 12/11: More work ahead

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Bravo! to the "Your View" letter entitled "Support Public Schools" printed in the Dec. 9 edition of the Sikeston Standard Democrat. I congratulate "Name Withheld By Request" for a well-thought out and significant contribution about the decline of Sikeston Public Schools. I have no idea who the author or authors may be, but I do know that whomever wrote that article realizes that, "Yes, Houston, we do have a problem."

I agree with the problem issues stated in the column but I must respectfully disagree with the conclusion that the current Sikeston Public School Board of Education is somehow to blame for the "loss of confidence" as quoted in your letter.

I know that Danny Jennings, Steve Millington, Bill Priday, Ken Anderson, Rick Adams and Bob Depro spend countless long hours in meetings that seem to never end, trying to solve the problems enumerated in your excellent discourse. These good men have worked very hard to try to stop the decline of our schools and reverse course.

Each of them have the children of this school system placed first in their hearts and are interested in what is best for our community. they are community-minded. And, I know that each one of them is well aware that the eyes of the community are upon them to make the hard decisions necessary for our schools. They know the future of our school system rests squarely upon their shoulders. It is an awesome responsibility that each of them must wrestle with every day as school board members.

Frankly, I think the "loss of confidence" so eloquently spoken about in your letter lies elsewhere. This current school board inherited many difficulties. These inherited difficulties centered on a declining community along with a corresponding decline in family values.

But, it is also true that the current school board faced a crisis in confidence concerning past administrative leadership. The result of that crisis was the loss of nearly 200 experienced and qualified teaching personnel over a five-year period. While it is true that some simply retired, it is also true that some retired early or just "quit" out of sheer desperation. That is not to say that the current crop of young teachers are not good teachers. They do the best they can do under the circumstances that they, too, inherited. It is the current school administration that is charged with the responsibility of fixing these difficulties. It is now up to them to restore confidence.

Thank you for your letter. I believe you have contributed to the public good.


Buck Smith, Retired Area Teacher of the Year