Editor, Commonwealth:

The 5th of November has come and gone, and all of the professional politicians have finished promising to cure everything, including Ebola. Now may we please begin the process of sincere dialogue that will make our community a better place to live.

I am of the opinion that a career desk-jockey who works in the political sector will stay on the public dole until retirement. These individuals will promise you the shirt off their back, even when they are barebacked. Some of these clever politicians use politics as a source of gainful employment; they rarely ever devote their time and energy to real public service.

However, as we have awakened to this beautiful gift called another day, here is the absolutely good news: The changes that we must make to improve our quality of life can only be done through us.

I personally believe that improving the quality of life for everyone living in the Delta starts with raising standards for our struggling public school system. The real data show that the greatest challenges our public schools are facing are: a lack of positive parental involvement, poor student attitudes and behaviors, a lack of real intervention programs to serve the at-risk population, gimmicks such as the political nonsense called “No Child Left Behind” and some school officials who are willing to disguise test data as teaching. The idea that a bureaucrat knows more about educating a child than a classroom teacher is absurd.

Another key variable that we must confront in the Mississippi Delta is a lack of economic opportunity that promotes a high standard of living. The vast majority of the workforce in the Delta is low-skilled workers receiving minimum wages. Those who are skilled often don’t have the certification to demand higher wages. The end result is that a great number of people are forced to survive from paycheck to paycheck, and large portions of the Delta’s population have migrated to other regions. These economic problems have led to the absence of a tax base and is the primary reason why many Delta communities cannot repair or restore their failing infrastructure.

What are we going to do? Frankly, I don’t know. However, I do believe that by working as the “Mississippi Delta” and networking with others who have similar problems, we can find solutions. But let us please vow not to keep doing what we are presently doing, which has been mostly “nothing.”

Charles Brady

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