Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Last Straw in Public Education

Public education is like a maze through which a child must traverse in order to arrive at a viable and productive career. Nonetheless, it is a maze, with some paths that lead to nowhere.

We keep bumping into dead-end walls, trying to figure our way out.

Which is smarter, a rat going through a maze or a black boy trying to graduate from high school? Right, the rat gets the cheese. The black boy gets life in prison, albeit on an installment plan.

Education is supposed to produce intelligence. The rat traverses the maze because he “learns” from his mistakes. The black male child never learns from his mistakes. Why? Because he rarely gets the chance to make a second mistake. One strike, he’s out.

With public schools preparing to go into session, there is compelling reason to look more closely at why 50% of our black male students do not graduate and why one-of-three wound up in prison. There must be a line from Point A to Point B. But before now, that line has been obscured. We tend to reason that “it just happened overnight”.

When ever time I criticize a teacher or a school administrator, they tell me to shut my mouth and go back to my corner, as if I am a 5-year old. On the other hand, publicly the school system is clamoring for parents and volunteers to become more involved.

Involved, for what? They give us these highfalutin jingoisms and prep talks, promising this and promising that, but the minute a parent or volunteer adds their two-cent worth, they treat us like kids in a classroom.


Never start a sentence with the word FIRE. Teachers will fight you, tooth and nail, all the way to the courts. Then the teachers union looks at you, as if to say, “You can’t fire the union.” DAMMIT!

Fire the Superintendent, maybe the rank-and-file will get the message.

The results of our public education system are as unacceptable as teachers and educators are entrenched in conceit. If you leave it to their own self-assessment, of course they are all doing a good job- considering the challenges. And, so are the troops in Iraq. But is the job getting done? That is the question.


Let No Child Be Left Behind because of disciplinary infractions

We detest the coercive use of Zero Tolerance policies that give teachers more incentive to discipline than to teach. This is nothing but a carte blanche means of social control and suppression. And, such policies are have been routinely used discriminatorily against African-American children, and particularly black boys.

Give us Our Children back if the school system has trouble teaching them

Somewhere in the life of a dropout is the “One Bad Day” that starts the downward spiral to leads to failure. We want to benchmark that “one bad day”. The first time a student is sent to the principal’s office for a disciplinary infraction, we want that child back.

It makes no sense for the student to receive a second, third, or fourth infraction. That would be like tying a child to a whipping post and not allowing him a reprieve. Every child deserves an out, especially if the school system sees fit to remove him from the classroom setting. There is no education outside of the classroom, except that provided in the home or a quasi-educational institution in the community.

Herein is the solution. We can teach our kids better by ourselves. The public school system is only one of many choices, probably more popular to parents because of its convenience as a “babysitter”. If parents were given a better choice, they would use it.

This does not advocate abolishing public education in lieu of charter schools or a voucher system. But, if education money allocated to each student followed that student to an alternative education program, we (in the community) could do much better than a 50% dropout rate and 1 of every 3 black boys going to jail and prison.

We have our own methodologies and pedagogy. The public school system is not the only game in town.


The Baby Moses Project began with the biblical character Moses as a child. The important lesson learned from this character was how the government attempted to destroy all male children of slaves.

This does not suggest genocide or conspiracy to destroy all black male children. It just happens that way. The statistics are impersonal and impartial.

But Moses parents put him into an ark (of safety) and set him upon the waters of the Nile. Why didn’t all the other parents do the same? They must have been convinced that the government had a right to kill their children, just as some people believe the authorities in Jena, Louisiana have the right to prosecute six high school black boys for retaliating against white students who started a racial fracas. The Law is the law, they say. But the administration of justice is not fair.

The same with the public school systems that hold our children hostage and then hold them accountable for their resistance, with threat of punishment and incarceration, compulsive education is the law. But our children do not have to stay in the system, if teachers and administrators put them out of the classroom. This is not a yo-yo situation, where the education authorities throw them out, then pull them back in, only to throw them out again.


We are not asking, but demanding: For every child sent out of class to the principal’s office for disciplinary reason, we want that child OUT. We have an educational institution for them- and one that works.

Will they give us our children back?

As long as the student remains on the rolls of public schools, the money allocated to each student goes into the system. There is no financial incentive to place these at-risk students in the care of those who best understand their learning style and are capable of more effectively teaching them. The big scare tactic is this: Taking students out of public schools will destroy the system.

To this, I say FIRE ‘EM ALL and let the bricks fall where they may- ANYTHING, but another dime down the drain.

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