WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT?
Now, let’s be honest. Many of today’s parents don’t value an education the way many of us ‘P-Schoolers’ do. Some of the stuff I read about in the local papers or see on the local news would NOT play out when I was a mere tyke. My mother, who WAS a teacher, would have–simply–dug my grave, and my father would have tossed me in, and put the dirt on top of me, if I DARED to cut-up in school.
I went to school, graduated, and went to college, and graduated. No tricks, no ‘psychological excuses’, and NO RITALIN. I had a healthy fear of my parents—that was the best ‘behavioral drug’. Even kids from single parent homes did the same thing…out of fear that their Daddy OR their Mama would KILL them. You remember the mantra: “Get in trouble in school, already in trouble at home!”
Back in the day, many of the teachers would not PLAY with their students, the way many teachers do today, even with video learning. Teachers INSISTED on respect, and corporal punishment was administered swiftly. The ‘Board Of Education’ hung in every classroom, and teachers KNEW how to swing some lumber when the situation called for it!
Once corporal punishment was removed; once discipline and respect were removed; once parents were removed; and once God, the Pledge of Allegiance and once hard work were removed, you have the current environment—even WITH the pandemic. No amount of technology will replace the need for teacher authority and teacher control over their OWN classes.
When teenage girls can arrive to school looking like streetwalkers; when teenage boys can pack ‘nines’ and dress like thugs; when teachers who pray and read the Bible are fired; when ‘Harry Potter’ is valued higher than ‘William Shakespeare’; when more concern is shown over self-esteem rather than how to pass the SAT and the ACT, you have a serious problem in the school house.
It does little good to be Black and proud—if you can’t read!
A BRIEF DETOUR:
Time and again I see articles written about how BLACK students are ‘picked’ on by public schools. Of course, many of the parents fail to tell you that those who are doing the ‘picking’ are BLACK teachers, counselors, deans, secretaries and principals. Also, I have seen articles written by ‘so-called’ church leaders about the ‘evils’ of public education, like there are no Christians in the public schools?
Let’s set this record straight–right out the gate: There is NOTHING that hurts ANY Black education professional more than to see THEIR OWN kind, cutting up in the schoolhouse! WE are great to talk about ‘…giving a brother/sister a break…’. However, that stops when our kids DON’T want to listen to sound advice from their elders. If Mama and Daddy are not teaching their children how to respect authority in the home, they should not be shocked when their little ‘darling’ is repeatedly kicked out of school.
On the matter of the church DOWNING public education, let me say this. ANY church that seeks to open a school and NOT pay a better wage, nor offer benefits to their staff BETTER than the public schools are doing IS a DISSERVICE! CHRISTIAN organizations should pay their workers BETTER than the commercial rate! This is a show of our faith.
There are MORE Black educators and administrators involved in public education TODAY than ever before who are Bible believers. They may have taken the Bible out of the public education arena, but they have not removed Christians—yet!
GOOD TEACHERS STILL NOT BEING SUPPORTED!
The reason why there are teacher shortages is the same reason why there is a shortage of nurses; bungling leadership, lack of respect for those who dare to set standards, limited ability to enforce discipline, and overworking those who are committed to the profession.
Remember the late Marva Collins out of Chicago? She saw what was going on in public schools, and eventually had to take her talents into private schools because of the district policies put in place by the local School Board. The same ‘educated fools’ that would not let her do her job as a teacher were shocked with her successes.
It’s not just Black teachers leaving the field. I read about a white teacher, in a white, suburban school district, who busted some of her white students plagiarizing some of their work with Internet sources. She was overruled by the local white School Board after she had warned the students against such behavior at the beginning of the school year. She left her job, and the education profession lost another good teacher.
Now you see this issue in Black and white.
FIRING COMPETENT ADMINISTRATORS:
Thus, the ‘crisis’ is not just in the inner city, and in our communities. The major problem: the education establishment won’t admit that they are wrong, even after the evidence comes in, and they are caught with the smoking gun.
Brothers, do you remember the late Joe Clark? That no-nonsense Principal who turned an urban high school around with discipline, respect, and ‘tough love’? He was shown the door, because the education establishment valued the kids who didn’t want an education over the kids that did. Here was a man who had the credentials; but the ‘suits and skirts’ downtown cared more for their ‘cushy jobs’ rather than the children they were elected to watch over and protect.
GETTING BACK TO HISTORY AND PRIDE:
It was not THAT long ago that the ONLY job a Black man or woman with a degree could get is teaching in the public schools. Black folks in education were highly prized in the community! Many public school teachers used to double as Sunday School teachers in our churches.
I think that far too many of us have forgotten this piece of Black History.
African American men and women entered the classroom; the field of education, because they saw the need of our youth to succeed in the next generation. Some School Boards have killed their dream, with all the cunning of a Yakuza warlord. Sadly and more frightening: SOME of the School Board members in on the kill have been BLACK!
This is why the field of education is losing its best and brightest and won’t let others in to teach. Forget the pandemic. Too many School Boards are content to take a check and duck the heat; they let the school systems crumble under the weight of red tape, cost cutting, and retreats. They get paid and our kids suffer. The public is dumb enough to keep re-electing them because they do not want to understand who is responsible, nor bother to hold them accountable.
Schools succeed when there are people at the top who have a sense of history, moral character, and a love for students. When the people at the top don’t care, the schools are in a constant state of disrepair, confusion, and despair. It’s time for parents to fill their local School Boards, rather than ‘professional educators’.
Over the years, I’ve told students in my classes that were approaching voting age: “If YOU voted as a block, YOU could force the School Board to better your education environment!” Sounds like good advice for us adults. WE are going to have to get back to the basics–which means voting in each and every election. Put ‘em in, and let them know that IF they don’t keep true to their word: Put ‘em out!
If WE don’t vote, we have NO room to complain! If we CONTINUE to vote in lousy candidates out of party ‘loyalty’ we have no room to complain! Not only this, but we are saying to the ‘education establishment’ it is ‘fine’ for them to ‘miseducate’ our children. Not voting for school board members is giving silent consent to education neglect—which is a CRIME in many parts of this country.
In the military, the one in command is held responsible for the actions of those under him or her. In the corporate world, the CEO is the man or woman who ultimately determines the success or failure of a company. In a church, it is the Pastor who is held responsible by the Lord, and by the congregation for leadership. Every two years, we HIRE or FIRE members of Congress. Even in CRIMINAL enterprises, leadership is held responsible for the successes or failures of the group–often with their very LIVES if things don’t change for the better.
The reason why education is in such chaos; some of the people at the top of education in your community simply do not care what you think about how they mistreat your kids in the schoolhouse!
Now that you know why, what are YOU going to do about it?
Your communities–and your children–are waiting for an answer.
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Syndicated Columnist and Modern Street Gangs Specialist and Consultant from Indianapolis, Indiana. Ramey is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE: THE GOLD FILES. Bringing back some of the classic THE MANHOOD LINE columns for a new generation of men. THE MANHOOD LINE was and is a syndicated, monthly column, written from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective for men. Email welcome to email@example.com. ©2002, 2021 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (6).