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Nolen: High school masks problems

10 months 17 days 9 hours ago |47 Views | | | Email | Print

There is probably something positive to say about all human endeavors, but if you want to be honest you have to admit that many things have a negative aspect to them, as well. That’s why there are usually two sides to every story.



One doesn’t have to be a Scotland Yard detective to observe that we are a country divided. And probably, every town, village and hamlet including Sedalia shares this fate. Where you stand on various issues facing this community probably depends on your knowledge and experience in dealing with Sedalia and Sedalians.



Sedalians have gone to the polls several times in the past and voted against a city manager form of government. I was on their side of the argument then and I still am. Now, I realize that many communities thrive under city managers. But frankly, that kind of system reminds me too much of dictatorships.



There’s something that rubs me the wrong way about one person deciding for the many. So, I prefer an elected mayor and council form of government, with a city administrator as a paid employee. My only objection is to the fact that with a city administrator in place, the council members no longer work as actively with various city departments as they once did, so they are not as intimately connected to the problems in their wards as they once were.



The thing that bothers me most about individuals who insist on making an opposum into a pearl is that whether they intend to or not, they are advocating for the status quo no matter how inadequate it may be. They stamp out the opportunity to improve anything by refusing to acknowledge the problems that exist. They may succeed in pleasing a portion of the population, but even those who agree with them do not always trust their integrity.



For example, I can understand that champions of the new Smith-Cotton High School think of it as all things wonderful, but I also recognize that there is a loyal opposition to that premise. People who refuse to recognize that fact are those who have not lived here long or spend a lot of their time in la-la land. This is an issue with a long history.



Personally, I have no opinion on the subject since as an advocate for education, concerned about high-school dropout rates, I have little or no interest in the cosmetics of high school buildings and am only concerned about academic outcomes.



I am a member of that demographic of Sedalians who are seriously concerned about the literacy rate, and see our country falling behind other countries around the globe in educational accomplishment. We look around and we find that some school districts across the country are losing half of their high school seniors before graduation.



The Democrat carried a story by the Associated Press on Monday about the availability of high-paying jobs for skilled workers that have no takers. Undoubtedly, workers will have to be brought in from Japan and other countries where people take education more seriously to fill these positions. In these financially stressed times, that’s not good for America.



Still, on the positive side, we have a nice looking new school building.



This one’s tough to solve



I love a mystery and I hated to throw in the towel on this one, but facts are facts.



One of the things that has always fascinated me about Sedalia’s centennial publication, “The First One Hundred Years,” is the list in the back naming Sedalia’s Famous Sons. Along with well-known figures such as Charles Yeater and Jack Oakie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” author Dale Carnegie’s name appears. For years I have been searching for a mention of Carnegie in Sedalia history. Time passes and I forget about the search because, after all, 1960 was a long time ago.



Then, last week I was browsing through the books at the public library’s book sale and I spotted a copy of Dale Carnegie’s most famous book. Well, I couldn’t resist it, so I brought the book home and again took up the search.



I found out that Carnegie was born in 1888 in Maryville. As far as I could find out, the nearest he came to Sedalia was that he attended and graduated from the University of Central Missouri (formerly the State Teacher’s College) in Warrensburg. I’ve asked around among other Sedalia scholars and so far as I know no one else has any information that places him closer.



The other interesting thing about the famous author and lecturer was that somewhere along the way he changed the spelling of his last name from Carnagey to Carnegie. I’ve searched for this man in Sedalia history for 40 years now, so if anybody knows any way he’s connected to Sedalia, would you let me know?



I hate it when I can’t solve a mystery and this one eludes me.


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