Mayor Unveils Handpicked Education Committee To Tackle School Problems

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Mayor Michael Coleman said the city is not where it needs to be when it comes to education.

That’s why he’s put together a 25 person committee that will look at getting children what they need to succeed.

“And I want to thank them in advance for all the work that they are about to undergo,” said Coleman.

Columbus City Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Gene Harris announced in September she would retire at the end of the school year.

The next day Mayor Michael Coleman praised her work, but said there was much more that need to be done to make sure students are prepared.

"We've got to get them ready and getting them ready means doing what we have to do today to insure the future of our city tomorrow,” said Coleman.

The panel will have three co-chairs, including U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley who said the panel has already identified some challenges.

"Our students are not kindergarten ready, more often than not, so we have to look at some of those issues and those issues cascade,” said Marbley.

And while Columbus City Schools has traditionally reached out to the community for partnerships, a former school board president said the commission demonstrates true investment.

"When I was on the school board, yes, the business community started to become more participatory on some of our committees but to have them lock arms and say we're in this we have skin in this game. That’s huge,” said Stephanie Hightower, Columbus Urban League.

The mayor said this is not just about Columbus City Schools but also students who attend charter schools.

The commission is expected to make its recommendations to Coleman and Council President Andrew Ginther.

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