Thirty. That's the total number of people who attended the school board's pubic forums on Tuesday. 30.
Thirty-two thousand. That's approximately the number of students in the Muscogee County School District. 32,000.
I have always been told that numbers don't lie. If that is the case, it appears that only 30 people are concerned about who will lead a school system that will educate 32,000 students in Columbus. Only 30 people care to have their say about the person who will lead a school system that will produce the bulk of our area's workforce. Just 30 people took the time to learn more about the search for the school leader who will be responsible for maintaining our schools' accreditation and overall credibility.
I fully appreciate the fact that civic engagement is hard. The practical matters of our everyday lives make it hard to devote time to public meetings, hearings and other similar things. After a long day at work, making dinner for the family and helping the kids with their homework, the idea of spending another hour or two at a public hearing sounds excruciatingly painful.
But building a bright and shining city on the hill has never been easy work. The work of building any community's public assets requires both focused effort and common sacrifice. When a group of young people decided in the 1960s that our government should be consolidated, they sacrificed countless hours to bring that vision to fruition. When a group of citizens decided that we should "Cool Our Kids" in 1988, they had to to spend inordinate amounts of time talking with people throughout the community.
The decision of choosing a school leader for our community is no less important than either of these. So, we all need to give a little to help the process. The important work of making our community better requires us all to do things that we would not do normally in order to achieve the desired result.
I am certain that more than 30 people care about the future of our schools and the selection of a new superintendent. And there is still time to prove the fact. Today is the last day to complete the school district's online survey about the superintendent search. When you finish reading this column, take a few minutes to go to the district web site and express your opinion. Whether you believe it or not, it will make a difference.
Karl Douglass, Columbus native and resident, is a frequent commenter on local, state and federal politics. Follow him on Twitter@KarlDouglass or facebook.com/karldouglass.