School Board president Fred Wile addressed the first meeting of the "What Works Task Force," appointed recently by the school board. He minced no words.
"If we say things are as they should be, then we're fooling ourselves," said Wile.
The "What Works" name describes its mission--tell board members what presently is or is not working for Meridian's school system.
"If the outcome of this committee is a window dressing of everything that is good and wonderful, not only will your peers not believe it, the community won't believe it," said Wile. "On the other hand, to have the outcome of this committee be a listing of everything that's wrong doesn't help us understand what we need to do that is right."
"Quite frankly, this district is below the state average in test scores," Wile said. "If we keep doing things as we have been doing things, there's no reason to expect we're going to get any different results than we have been getting in the past. The results we've been getting from the community standpoint is not good enough. We have to do a better job."
Then board vice president Ed Lynch spoke to the group of nine.
"We're asking you to help us to have the courage to discard those things that are not working, regardless as to who loves them, whose pet it is, or how much we spend on it," said Lynch.
A citizen's task force called "New Expectations" has also been formed. It will meet and add its input to the board's ultimate decision.