By Lexington Dispatch
Published: Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10:26 p.m.
News linked to economy dominates the headlines once again
In a week when Davidson County residents learned the unemployment rate increased again in February, jumping to 13.4 percent, we were pleased to see county Commissioner Sam Watford begin a discussion with fellow commissioners regarding ways county government can help existing businesses expand and encourage new businesses to set up shop in Davidson County.
Watford's list of ideas suggested a variety of efforts, including expediting the county's planning and zoning process, waiving or reducing different fees and even cutting or eliminating property taxes. Watford hopes to encourage county government, along with city governments and utilities, to make it easier for businesses to start up or expand in Davidson County.
It is a proposal worth thorough discussion and speedy implementation, just as soon as Watford's proposal evolves from a list of ideas into a practical policy. While the nation follows the up-and-down struggle of U.S. auto makers, banks and other large corporations, we would all be wise to remember that local businesses are essential providers of jobs and services in our community and communities across the state and nation.
While local government can and should play a role in assisting local businesses during these trying economic times, we can't ignore the integral role that others must play in helping those who have lost jobs and homes. The folks at Rich Fork Baptist Church deserve praise for their efforts to restore hope in the community with last week's "Hope Lives" event. The event drew hundreds of volunteers, along with several agencies and organizations, and offered a wide variety of services and giveaways meant to help people who are unemployed. Hope, indeed, lives
We are intrigued by the single-gender class experiment under way at Lexington Senior High School. Those of us who aren't education professionals might wonder if putting male students in one classroom and female students in another can make a difference in learning. But reaction from students seems to indicate they are more open to discussion in class without the pressure of talking in front of members of the opposite sex. Students also say they enjoy the freedom to explore literature choices that opposite-gender students might not enjoy as readily.
A different approach to education was also on the minds of people who gathered this week for a presentation regarding the technical high school concept. Supporters of the idea say a technical high school could draw together the collaborative efforts of local school systems, higher education, business and industry to better prepare local students for their careers.
While the concept requires local support from the school systems and funding, probably from a variety of sources, to progress beyond more than an idea, the mere discussion of a new technical high school shows that local residents are willing to be innovative in their approach to education, just as Lexington Senior High School's willingness to try a different class makeup shows innovative thinking, too.
In both instances, we applaud teachers, school administrators and other supporters of education and urge them to continue working to improve educational opportunities for our students.
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