Superintendent optimistic about education

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2000

Features Editor

Sept. 20, 2000 10 PM

Clinton Carter, superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, brought good news about public education to members of the Troy Rotary Club Tuesday.

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Carter said the perception about public education is that America’s students can’t read, can’t write, can’t do arithmetic, are far behind the Japanese in all disciplines and, in general, public education stinks.

"If public education is failing, how then is the United States the richest, most powerful and most blessed nation on earth?," Carter said. "The answer is that public education is not failing. Public education is responsible for the successes that we enjoy."

As an advocate for public education, Carter said the public must be patient in its expectations in this fast-paced and quickly changing information and technological society.

"This is an age of instant gratification," he said. "We don’t have heroes any more and children need heroes. We must also train our teachers effectively and then give them the resources they need to do the job."

Carter said school systems must have the financial support they need to offer students the opportunities, experiences and training they need to enter the job market or go to college.

"If public education does not provide these opportunities for the students, then they will go somewhere else," Carter said.

He said Montgomery has 11 magnet school where students have opportunities for specialized education and these schools are producing outstanding graduates. He said programs for special needs students are making a positive impact on the lives on these students and the communities where they live.

Carter also said educators must not downplay the value of neighborhood schools.

He said cities need neighborhood schools where children can go to school near home and their parents can feel a close association to the school.

Carter said schools play an important role in the lives of all children and they are, therefore, deserving of the best teachers, best programs and best facilities available.

Carter is a product of the Coffee County schools and of Troy State University and of that he is very proud.

"I came to Troy State quite by accident but Troy State provided me with the foundation for success," Carter said.

After graduation from high school, Carter worked in the cotton mills in Columbus. He was home for a few days and several of his friends were going to enroll at Troy State for the fall quarter.

"They asked me to go along and I didn’t have anything else to do," Carter said. "When I got there, it looked interesting so I asked about work programs and they sent me to R. C. Kennedy. He said they had something that paid $144 a month and I asked how much it cost to go to college for a quarter – with room and board – and he said $144. So I enrolled. The circumstances that day made a difference in my life."

The circumstances of education make a difference in the lives of all children. That makes education a serious business and Clinton Carter takes his job as superintendent of Montgomery Public Schools very seriously.