FIXING MANY OF the things that ail Luzerne County – from subpar job opportunities to strained social services to street crime – hinges on establishing a more well-educated workforce, which in turn depends on high literacy and low dropout rates, which are byproducts of having good public schools.
And that brings us, once again, to the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board's nine members.
To reach their consciences, and thereby try to compel them to make significant strides toward reforming a historically corrupt and lackluster school district, we have printed many editorials in recent months that criticized, cajoled and even lampooned. Today, we try another tact: positive reinforcement.
Board members, you made a smart move by hiring the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to handle many aspects of the search for a new district superintendent. The man, or woman, selected for this job will hold much sway over whether this urban school district remains mired in business-as-usual mode or seizes upon bold, new strategies.
Skeptics wonder if a board majority already has agreed to hire an in-house candidate to replace longtime leader Jeff Namey, who retires at month's end, and are using the association's good name only for show. Prove those doubters wrong. Embrace the search process and dare to signal a fresh start.
Certain board members also deserve praise for not only seeking public input, but also drawing upon it when considering matters such as the district's newly proposed personnel hiring policy – a long overdue but much-needed outward sign of change.
Every transparent move, each attempt on your part to be responsive and upright, inspires hope.
By contrast, when you vote to hire board members' relatives and otherwise cling to old, unacceptable habits, you hold back progress: a school district's and a community's. Don't delay things any longer; this county simply can't afford it.
Complete an online survey used in the search for the Wilkes-Barre Area School District's next superintendent. Visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/Wilkes_Barre_Search