Failing schools, failing city. Those are usually synonymous. Philadelphia is passing.

No one wants to be negative about our schools,  but some difficult truths can’t continue to be ignored without putting the future of our entire county at risk long-term.

Embezzlers have walked out of the courthouse with millions. There was the city court clerk scandal. The mayor and board have raised taxes so many times we’ve lost count — and jobs! Where are the new jobs?  And lest we forget the Alphagen boondoggle.

As the Philadelphia schools go, so will go the city and eventually Neshoba County. There should be no glee in seeing the Philadelphia schools merely passing. 

Yes, there are gains and good people in our schools. We can all applaud the successes and encourage the students, teachers and administrators. We want success for all.

There are no simple solutions to the socio-economic challenges facing Philadelphia or many other small towns for that matter. 

Decades of failed government policies have held back an entire race of people and left many of our neighbors in an oppressive cycle of dependency — and with that comes poverty, crime and, perhaps most unfortunate, fatherless households.

We can’t blame testing, the teachers, the administrators — much less the children — for all of the social ills dumped on our schools daily.

Unstable, chaotic and desperate households, some of them simply trying to feed faces and stay warm in the wintertime, are the norm for many struggling children.

Teaching to tests may be what’s wrong, but other districts are holding up. That’s a state problem, not a local excuse.

Education is an economic development issue because we need a more qualified workforce to attract better jobs.

The only thing more negative than a D is an F. With no real economic development, have we’ve settled for Ds? 

Some point to other towns that are failing, as if that absolves bad decisions here. Anything but discussing what’s wrong.

The main economic development theme is the notion Marty Stuart is going to miraculously save the town — and we genuinely hope he does. We need a miracle.

When Gov. Bryant came to town two weeks ago, no one acknowledged the troubles in the halls behind the podium at Philadelphia High School, ironically.

Keeping up appearances is exhausting, but that’s where we are. We must have the difficult discussions about our schools.

The Community Development Partnership has been in existence for almost two decades and still no four-lane highway to town.

The No. 1 economic development issue is education and Philadelphia is staring at a D grade. That’s just not acceptable.

The mayor and all but one alderman last month granted themselves a pay raise, yet we’re stuck. Be bold leaders. 

We’re running out of time to take corrective action. We need the kind of bold leaderhip seen in the 1980s. It’s time to step up.