REGISTER VIEWPOINT: It takes a bullhorn to raise a community

School districts face an array of challenges, one among them being the goal of diversification in teaching and administrative staffs
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010


School districts face an array of challenges, one among them being the goal of diversification in teaching and administrative staffs.

The importance of the need to consider race in hiring decisions is not taken for granted at Sandusky schools, but some community members say its not given the priority it should have to serve the diverse student population of the district.

The argument is strong: The staff should reflect its student population. Leadership should reflect those who are being led.

Just a few generations ago it was unheard of for minority members of the community to attain high positions within government bureaucracies, and the bar for teachers and other workers -- both private industry and government -- were most definitely not equal but separate.

Activists Richard Koonce and Danny Leavell are determined to keep the spotlight on every school hiring decision. In light of history that can only be a good thing despite the discomfort it brings to the superintendent and the school board.

But for any school district or company -- even newspapers -- diversity questions and hiring practices overall already are uncomfortable. Larger cities, larger school district and larger companies offer more attractive pay packages. That's a hard and simple truth. Larger cities also, in some instances, offer cultural and living opportunities that cannot be found in this region.

There are great advantages to living in America's great heartland, but local and state political leaders have not done nearly enough to enhance them. Squabbling and turf power wars are the hallmarks of our leadership and take precedence over progress, cooperation and regionalization.

Who wants to move to a city with so many empty and dilapidated houses where government officials are too incompetent to fill out the paperwork to bring in federal rehab grant money to rebuild? Who wants to move to a city with blighted neighborhoods, bumpy streets and empty storefronts?

Those disappointing results from county and city leaders hinder recruitment from outside the region, making it all the more important for the school district -- and the Register -- to recruit from within the community. Employees with family connections to here will always be more apt to stay.

A focus on those future local leaders requires new thinking and long-term planning, and the school district is in the most advantageous position to provide the leadership.