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The Rinaldi Report
by Peter Rinaldi
There’s nothing like going on a vacation to renew the spirit. That’s what some of our local politicians believe, especially when they go on taxpayer-funded trips. There are all sorts of bogus reasons given for going on those trips. The one used most often, “We’re going to D.C. to get grants.” Often, the trips are scheduled for weekends, when most of Congress leaves town for Thursday-Monday. It’s not much of a surprise that few grants are obtained through these vacations, as grants, like other subsidies, must be applied for in writing, months in advance. The grant application process does not normally require a visit.
Just this past month, Mayors Copeland and Brown traveled to D.C. to
If you remember last year, a plan was
hatched to take a bunch of buddies to
It’s hard to forget the Rentech travel saga, when Adams County
Supervisor Darryl Grennell and his traveling bud, then County
Attorney Bob Latham, spent thousands going to visit a Rentech plant
Quite awhile ago, a delegation from the Natchez CVB traveled to
Taxpayers understand that these trips are bogus. They know baloney when they see it. So whether our bigwigs are traveling to D.C. for grants or visiting fly-by-night industrial prospect, the folks know the truth.
In the end, the travel abuse is self-defeating for the politicians. They gain free vacations and then lose community respect. Instead of making themselves look “so big,” they end up looking so very small.
The Natchez Adams School Board and Superintendent Dr. Frederick Hill have proposed reorganizing the local schools, a last gasp of activity before the state takes over the local schools for their failing record.
Hill’s idea is that smaller schools, academies within schools, might do the trick and perform some kind of miracle, raising student performance, which has been declining for more than a decade.
It’s hard to tell whether the proposition has merit or not. Certainly, we’re at the stage where the community is ready to accept any idea in hopes of a turn-around.
However, one idea absent from Hill’s scheme is a change in personnel. Apparently, we’re going to try a new system with the same leadership (teachers and administrators) we already have in place.
The premise is that we will reach new heights of accomplishment with the same crew that’s put us in the mess we’re in now. Can that really happen?
When a company has non-performing personnel, it is likely to have bad service or create poor products. Eventually, it will go out of business. Since public schools are government-funded, once failure is “achieved,” the workers and their leaders simply ask for more money to make things right. And things never get right.
Such is the state we’re in. We need better, experienced teachers and we can’t get them, as those experienced teachers don’t want to be a system full of rot and failure.
I believe Hill is sincerely interested in performing a turn-around.
And if he can pull it off, he’ll be a true miracle worker. But the
answer to “reforming the schools” is probably going to be found at
black public charter schools across the nation. Some, not all, have
achieved remarkable things and attained measurable success (such as
The ones that have been successful include inner-city, poor and minority schools. They stand as exceptions to the rule. So what are they doing that we’re not doing?
To create a good or excellent product or service, you have to have
good or excellent personnel. I am convinced that the leadership of
What we need is a revolution in thinking, management and restaffing. I don’t believe half measures will work. But Hill is the only designated magician of the moment. Can he pull the rabbit out of the hat? My fear is that in a year or two, he’ll just give up and move on to a better and higher-paying job. And we’ll be stuck with the mess created by his predecessors.
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