Thirteen was an unlucky number

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The painful reality of Alabama's financial crisis has begun to physically rear its ugly head in Covington County as 13 teachers and support personnel were officially terminated from their positions during Monday night's Andalusia Board of Education meeting.

And while we know the names and faces of these individuals, we have chosen not to release them until each educator and support staff member has been informed by their principal they will not be returning next year.

It isn't fair to them to learn about their career status in the pages of the community newspaper.

Actually, it isn't fair for them to have to worry about their career at all. These are the people who have chosen the path to educate our children. They are the ones who have chosen to put children first. To help improve our society by making sure the next generation is prepared to lead us.

And we treat them like the proverbial red-headed stepchild.

Thirteen educators. They all have names and families. Some of them have small children themselves, and yes, some of them could be considered the "bread-winner" for their family.

Let's break it down even more.

Andalusia Elementary School - three teachers. Andalusia Middle School - three teachers. Andalusia High School - five teachers, one support person.

And that's just breaking the surface. There are many more teachers retiring or resigning - and they won't be replaced.

Word is the Opp system is also facing drastic cutbacks.

People, it's time to come out of the cotton fields and into reality. We can't settle for this.

We must put the pressure on the state. On the city. On the county. On ourselves.

How much longer can we allow the educational system in Alabama to suffer? How much longer can we subject our children to a continuous ebb and flow of teachers who have to constantly fear for their livelihood?

It must stop.

The school systems in Covington County have always prided themselves on academic superiority. Are we going to allow that level of education to fall by the wayside and just settle for mediocrity?

Thirteen people, wondering what the future brings. Will it be Georgia? Will it be Florida? Will it be your child's future?