Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford
We need to make great changes in our education system. Our children are ranked 17th in the world and that is no place for the world’s biggest economy to be. If we don’t change soon, our way of life will be doomed. In essence, education is a matter of national security and we should treat it as such.
At first we believed in public schools. Indianapolis Public Schools had a rule that no twins should be in the same classroom. That was fair enough at first but Harry III started to advance over Thomas in his reading level and it was clear that Thomas had an inferior teacher. We had to get him out of there. I called the school superintendent who was a friend of mine. I said, “Dr. Gilbert my boys are clinically identical, but one is falling behind the other. I want Thomas to have the same teacher as Harry. Never mind about your rules, what we have here is an assault on my child and I am willing to go to court to have it stopped.
Within two months Thomas was back in stride with Harry. The new teacher for him sent Kay a note: “Congratulations, good looking out for your son.” Yes, even the other teachers knew that one of their own was not keeping pace with the others. The sad news is that the bad teacher continued to exist. Her style and pace should have been corrected. The poor children who remained in her class were doomed to poor performance at an early age. Teachers should be monitored closer than they are now.
Parents must be cognizant of what is going on at all times. You must attend Parent Teacher Association meetings. If your children’s school does not have it, start one! This will keep you and the other parents you network with up on what is going on with your children. This will also hold your teachers and administrators accountable. What they are doing is a job. Poor performance must end or else face dismissal.
It is ironic that public schools hold these so called standards for teachers. Accreditation, post graduate degrees and such are required of the teachers and administrators. Yet, our public schools suffer with poor quality performance. Religious and private school teachers have less credentials, but perform far better than their public counterparts. Our boys, in D.C., went to the number 1 school in the nation. The tuition was high, but the credentials of their teachers was nothing too special. However, they loved the children they taught and they demanded discipline and work ethic. The fellow students the boys matriculated with have all maintained contact. Weddings are now the popular thing amongst them. It is so enjoyable knowing these guys when they were four feet tall and now grown men being productive and raising families. Quite a bit different than our public schools.
At our boys’ school, St. Albans of Washington, D.C., they learned how to study and work for high achievement. When they entered the University of Maryland it was a “snap.” From there they got hungry for a Master’s degree. Thomas earn-
ed his Master’s from the University of Southern California in Communications Management. Harry went to Georgetown University and received his Master’s in Sports Management. Thomas will now receive his Master’s in Business Administration, (MBA), from John Hopkins University this autumn. Harry just received his MBA from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. We are grateful for their achievements but we recognize the greatest thing we did for them. Oversee their performance and that of their teachers and administrators. The telling point of the Washington, D.C. public schools is that 80 percent of their school teachers send their children to schools other than D.C. public schools. That speaks volumes – they know their performance is terrible. My brothers and sisters, why do we tolerate this assault on our own children?
It gets worse. Two members of the Congressional Black Caucus have told me about “Dummy Checks” or “Stupid Checks.” This is a routine that southern rural schools use to segregate their classes from Blacks and whites. If you classify a child as being “developmentally challenged,” the parent (or rarely parents) are encouraged to put the child into “Special Education.” The parent thereby will receive a monthly check for “disability” from the Social Security Administration. Soon the classes in schools where this is practiced will have classes segregated. Whites in regular classes and Blacks in Special Ed. The Black students’ parents get hooked on the monthly checks and their children will not be able to succeed in life. Remember, two members of Congress told me about this and will not try to stop it on their own. They asked me to do something. It is time for me to pick up the pace on this. The Social Security Agency tries to play dumb about it – not a pun.
Let me close this three part series by saying two things. 1. Abolish the Department of Education. It is nothing but a charity food bank for children who should receive their nourishment at home. The states should manage our public schools systems not the bureaucratic “dinosaur” that is now handling it. Get the feds out! 2. Bust up the racket of using disability checks to segregate our public schools in the rural South. It should only take a few IG audits and Congressional hearings. Are you with me?
Mr. Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org