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Saturday, September 25, 2010

The EDUCATION CRISIS in America...

How many people are going to go see, Waiting For Superman? Oprah did two shows this past two days about the movie and it is a heart wrenching documentary by Oscar winning director Davis Guggenheim which is a personal journey of exploration of the current state of the United States educational system and how it is impacting our children. He travels all across America, highlighting the true stories of children in our nation's school system. One of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the movie are a group of parents from Washington DC school system waiting to see if their children will be chosen by a state lottery-like system, in which children have to depend on a lottery number being chosen in order to have the opportunity of getting into a good school. One woman whose child was selected stated that her child being chosen was a matter of him going to college or going to prison.

It is appalling that the United States Educational system has come to this.

For over 50 years, but particularly the last 35; the American education system has become a joke. You simply can not have a superior country with inferior education. We must be accountable.

The minds of our children are too valuable to be wasted.

Any teacher that miseducates a child is committing a crime in my opinion.

As relates to Black children...It is well documented how white teachers show bias toward Black students. I'll give you an example: About 15 years ago, one of my first cousin's daughters told me about a white teacher that refused to call on Black children in class when they were having oral exercises. I asked her if this happened all the time and she said, yes. At this time, I told her number one, to continue her drive to excel(she was a straight A student), I then told her not to be discouraged by this; get her mother involved and both of you go to the school principal's office and discuss this matter so that the teacher can be confronted; and third, I was just real with her and stated that in the south and other parts of America, white people have always been racist toward Black people, and many are hateful enough that they don't want to see Black people succeed at anything, even their children.

Malcolm X had a similar reference to what happened to my little cousin. In his autobiography, he illustrated when he made the unfortunate mistake of telling his dreams to a white teacher. Malcolm had dreams of becoming a lawyer and he stated this to this teacher. This was during Jim Crow and it was very normal for white folks to talk down to Black people. This teacher told Malcolm, "that he should find a trade that was more suitable for a N*gger." Yes, calling Black folks by the N-word was a normal thing. But Malcolm stated that this broke his heart and his spirit. Here he was in an all white school...where he had been so smart, he had been nominated to be class president, and then he was shot down. This was the catalyst that led Malcolm to the streets.

Be careful who you share your dreams with...

However, I'm happy to tell you that this young lady is getting ready to graduate from college "with honors" next year.

She's a success story, but what about all of the Black children who aren't getting the proper motivation to continue on to a 4-year college institution? They fall through the cracks. And what would shock people is that a study concluded over a decade ago that contrary to popular belief; most children that drop out of school are actually very intelligent.

This is the greatest tragedy of the American educational system.

Someone once said: the richest place on earth is a graveyard. Why? Because it's filled with people who never reached their potential.

We must make it our collective business to encourage people, particularly young children, because we never know who they could become.

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