Thinking Aloud: Alabaster expectations high for schools

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I am not a teacher; only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead-ahead of myself as well as of you.

&8212; George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British dramatist, critic, writer.

My faith in consulting firms has been renewed.

That is to say, when I have hired consultants in the past, typically, my hope was that they would tell me what I had already planned to do was the correct course of action; better still, that they would also tell me how bright I was for coming up with the idea in the first place.

Thankfully, the city of Alabaster had higher expectations for their consultants when they secured the services of H&H Associates to conduct a feasibility study on whether the city could pay for its own school system.

That report was made public on Monday evening and confirmed what many had expected: that the city of Alabaster most likely could afford to create an independent school system but that the city, students and parents were better off if they remained part of the Shelby County School System.

No question that a city with the resources and leadership such as that found in Alabaster can accomplish most anything it commits itself to.

But, when your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews are already receiving one of the state&8217;s finest educations, why go out on your own?

Any independent school system in Alabama&8217;s fastest growing county will face the same challenges faced by the Shelby County Board of Education: dramatically increasing school enrollment, the desperate need for more schools year after year, the need to better compensate teachers and support personnel and a myriad of other obstacles.

The citizens of Alabaster, as recommended by the feasibility study, might well consider what ways they can help the Shelby County Board of Education provide new or expanded resources for students in their city; doing so would at least accomplish one thing in my estimation: it would help better prepare our children to be productive citizens.

And that, after all, is our ultimate goal