The Five E's - Economics, Education, Employment, Ex-Offenders and Excuses (none accepted) - are still the major forces facing the black community. Last week I discussed what is going on in this city and on the West Side when it comes to economics. It is a slow process, but there are changes taking place because of Chicago's Black Wall Street.
There are also changes taking place in education, but it is not being done to really give our children the best opportunities in life. Rather, many business people have looked at education and the money that flows to it and have made our children products that they process.
When Renaissance 2010 was first announced in June 2004 it seemed like the year 2010 was a long way down the road. But time is moving swiftly and the year 2010 is here. All Renaissance 2010 has done is replaced many experienced African-American educators with young white college graduates hired at a lower salary.
It is another attack on our community. When a child is properly educated, the entire world is open to him or her. But the continuous "Mis-education of the Negro" is a guaranteed source of individuals to fuel the prison-industrial complex. And even sadder, once they are incarcerated for life, many prisoners finally learn to read, write and critically think but are forever prevented from turning that knowledge into something productive.
When all our children attend local public schools, they benefit equally from all the forces involved in it. Within the schools I attended while growing up, there were activist parents, trifling parents, working parents and contributing-when-they-could parents.
When activist parents got something done for our school, we all benefited. Working parents sent money and other parents did when they could. And the trifling parents? Well they never added anything into the betterment of the school. But their children benefited from all the other forces, so there was equality for all of us.
Now charter schools are also public schools. But they can have rules that every parent must agree to in order for their children to attend. If the school requires parents to participate X number of times per year, activist parents will always be there to make sure their children get every benefit out of their school years.
Working parents will do what they can, especially if it means giving money more than time. So will the when-they-can parents. But the trifling parents are not going to change. And, therefore, their children are being left to fend for themselves and become the bottom rung of the educational ladder.
Why should we care when Pookie and Nay-nay don't get involved? Because more than likely, it will be their children who will create the havoc in the community, pull the trigger and leave children with so much potential dead.
We must also pay attention to business people who are using education as their manner of income. These individuals are not educators. They look at our children as something they process and are not involved into how and why a child learns.
Our children learn something everyday. They retain certain things and can do an instant recall on the latest rap record while not being able to recite the multiplication table. Our boys are enthusiastic about school until the third grade and then lose interest.
Years ago it was stated that many black parents went overboard on the eighth-grade graduation because high school graduation rates were so dismal. We need to reverse that trend to make eighth-grade graduation a "clap," high school graduation an "applause" and college graduation a "standing ovation." Parents, your child's education is your job.
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