Education plays role in county’s growth

As another school year begins, it is worth noting how the last school year ended — with Shelby County Schools making AYP!

Without attempting to reach too far beyond my area of expertise, Average Yearly Progress is a standard by which the performance of our schools is measured. While there is a wide range of criteria that make up the overall AYP scores, and there is always more room for improvement in certain categories and at certain schools, the students, teachers, administrators and parents of Shelby County deserve our most sincere congratulations.

It may sound trite, but education is essential to individual success, and a strong educational system is essential to a community’s success. Here again, those of us living in Shelby County are extremely fortunate to have a public education system, which, as a whole, performs quite well.

As a mayor, former chamber president and businessman, I can tell you from personal experience that a healthy and productive school system (at all educational levels) is critical to the long-term growth and development of any community. Certainly, the continued improvement of our local schools has played a major role in our county’s 36-percent growth over the past decade.

As a parent, although my children are all now grown, I can also tell you with some degree of expertise that education is not just the responsibility of our schools. Students that do the best are the ones whose families place a premium on education and are actively involved in the educational process.

Therefore, if you want to ensure that our schools continue to meet their performance goals and continue to improve year after year, I urge parents (and everyone else) to get involved. Not only will your children do better in school and have more opportunities open to them later in life, but our entire community will continue to grow and prosper.

In addition, I want to take this opportunity to mention how fortunate we in Shelby County are to be the home of our state’s only public liberal arts college — The University of Montevallo.

Those of us in Montevallo know better than anyone how important that is.

Ben McCrory is mayor of Montevallo.