Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 11:17:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Tom Gooding <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Why the Chamber Supports Unification
Dear Chamber Members:
Some ask why the Chamber supports school system unification, instead of focusing on poverty. The answer is very simple: The Chamber’s mission is to build a strong and healthy community, resulting in job opportunities for our citizens, which addresses poverty. Improving public education is the single most important thing we can do to build a strong community, grow jobs, and reduce poverty.
Valdosta’s business community consistently ranks
“lack of an educated, qualified workforce” at or near the top of their biggest challenges in growing their businesses. Our community has a large high school drop-out rate, affecting the quality of our workforce. Residents without a high school diploma have limited job prospects and little disposable income to spend in our businesses. Lack of education leads to poverty. It is a vicious circle.I’m not going to bother to refute this one point by point, because there are no points in it that actually argue for school consolidation, except the magical thinking that somehow “unification” will solve all problems, despite all the evidence amassed that it won’t.
We have two separate school systems whose educational outcomes are merely average in one of the lowest ranked states in the country. The Chamber believes that “being average” hurts our community. We must combine our resources and our efforts and work together – as a community – to transform two average school systems into one great public school system.
Working separately-even with extraordinary effort by our educators-our school systems have experienced limited success. We believe that unification will provide the platform upon which our community can transform public education – and help us grow jobs, reduce poverty and increase our quality of life.
Chairman of the Board
Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce