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Community meeting on Aberdeen schools

ABERDEEN — Conservator Bob Strebeck and other education officials will host a community meeting Tuesday to discuss the future of the district and the time line of the conservatorship.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m at the Aberdeen High School gymnasium.

The state Board of Education on Friday approved hiring of Strebeck as conservator in the district.

Gov. Phil Bryant approved the state takeover. Bryant says violations of accreditation standards, state law and federal law as well as poor academic performance contributed to his decision to agree to the takeover.


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About Megan Wright

One comment


    My father the Navy Master Chief moved every couple of years in my younger days so I attended three high schools. My first two high schools were in Virginia and South Carolina. My father’s last Navy assignment was to Great Lakes Naval Base, forty miles north of Chicago. I graduated from North Chicago High School in the suburban town of North Chicago, IL which was right outside the gate of Great Lakes Navy Base. I was only there for a couple of years and never returned to the campus until I was retired from the Air Force. I was teaching AF Junior ROTC at Aberdeen High School in Aberdeen, Mississippi and while in Illinois I stopped by my alma mater to visit the Navy Junior ROTC unit. On the outside my old high school looked just about the same. On the inside it was full of guards and metal detector machines. It looked like some inner-city school you would see on a police/crime-drama TV series. Recently I called the Master Sergeant I taught ROTC with in Aberdeen, Mississippi just to catch up. He asked me if I had heard about Aberdeen High School and of course I had not. The State of Mississippi had taken over the operation of the Aberdeen school district. They had dissolved the school board even after the City of Aberdeen had promised to fix all the problems if only the State would stay out of local school running business. There have been at least two different district superintendents and I am not sure how many principals of Aberdeen High School since I left in 2003. The first thing the State did was perform a scrub on the records of the seniors of 2012 just weeks before graduation to see how many were not eligible to graduate. Ten did not meet the minimum requirements. Reviewing records of recent previous graduating classes found students who were graduated that should not have because of deficiencies. The students and parents were allegedly shocked when it was discovered little Tommy or Sally was failing. Parents were supposed to come and sign for their children’s end of year report card when I taught there. This way they would have a written record each year so there would be a profound understanding of just how their child was performing and positioned for graduation. At the beginning of each new school year I was there, hundreds of report cards still sat on the main office counter unsigned for and of course not picked up by a caring parent. When the temporary school administration installed by the State held their first (heavily guarded by police) meeting with parents, the issue of accommodation and exception was requested for some of the hopefully to be graduating students, who did not meet the minimums. To the shock of the parents the interim Superintendent said “no.” Minimum standards would be met, so seniors failed to graduate. As I started to do research on the State of Mississippi taking over my old workplace high school I discovered that the State of Illinois had taken over my old alma mater, North Chicago
    High School. This was done at North Chicago for almost all the same reasons that Aberdeen was taken over by the State of Mississippi. The alleged failed leadership of both school boards, the superintendents, the principals, the teaching staff, the maliciously meddling parents, and students who fail to meet minimum learning standards. How does any state department of education fix all those problems over a summer and then reopen the school doors this fall prepared to meet the educational needs of the students? I would suggest you cannot. The Navy kids who live on Great Lakes Naval base have to attend North Chicago High School. What a tragic mess for Navy children from outside the lives and local politics of North Chicago, who are forced to try to continue their education in that school district simply because their active duty parent is stationed at Great Lakes. After almost four years in the state, I still say that Mississippi is broken. Their education system was rated 49th worst in the Nation when I taught there (48th eight years later). The 4th of July is in few days. The home of the free has got to have educated and motivated children to move up and take charge of this country. Aberdeen, MS and North Chicago, IL, are not helping to meet the Nation’s needs for future American leaders.

    Major Van Harl USAF Ret

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