Total Pageviews

Search This Blog

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Duped, how Jacksonville's African American comunity was tricked by the school board

The Times Union says we are failing young black males pointing to the fact that only one in four graduate high school, and where I completely agree with that, hey Times Union we’re not doing much better with young white males either. In fact how good of a job are we doing with any of our students if only a little over six in ten graduate.

The Times Unions solution however is wrong. The answer shouldn’t be vouchers and charter schools that take much needed resources away from the public school system; the answer should be to make the public school system better. And even though their hearts may be in the right place, The Times Union right and the group calling itself, Reclaiming young black males for Jacksonville’s Future, are missing the boat. Especially since the boat is sinking and talking so many of our students down with it.

Why can’t the public schools adopt some of the policies from the successful private school the paper references in its editorials? Where I am not completely sold on school uniforms we could have them and barring that we could at least change and strictly enforce the dress code. At a recent during school party I thought I was in the middle of a girls gone wild video and I can’t tell you how many pants around the knees, boxer combos I see daily. Schools often choose not to fight those battles because there are so many more battles going on.

Also why can’t public schools require students to stay longer after school? Hey little Johnny I see that you failed math would you like to stay after and get some tutoring? No? Okay we’ll see you tomorrow. This is what we do now. Why isn’t it, Johnny everyday you’re staying after for two hours until you get that math grade up and there will be no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Is it really any wonder why we have so many dropouts? We socially promote until there is nowhere to go and sink or swim is the their only option. We eliminate class after class that children enjoy like art, music and other electives and replace them with classes many aren’t prepared for or interested in, like algebra II and chemistry, when the best plan is having a good mix of both. Furthermore we just have a one size fit’s all curriculum that says every child if going to go to continue their education, do so right after high school and finish within four years. This is absurd not every child has the appetitive or desire to do that, but we wedge them in classes regardless of that and then shake our heads in wonderment when they stop showing up.

The school system is not designed to fix what is wrong in society but it should never make society worse and that’s what our system is doing in many cases. It doesn’t say to the children from tough surroundings, what’s happening in your neighborhoods and homes isn’t how it is supposed to be. At school from the moment you get here to the moment you leave we’re going to show you how it is. Hard work will be rewarded and there will be consequences for bad behavior. Instead in many instances schools tolerate bad behavior and don’t instill anything approaching a work ethic or citizenship in its students.

Jacksonville doesn’t need vouchers or charter schools. Jacksonville doesn’t need groups just concerned with one segment of the population especially since so many aren’t reaching their capabilities. What Jacksonville needs is a leader who is going to stand up and say, Duval County schools will no longer pass kids along without the skills they need to be successful at the next level. Duval schools will remove children that disrupt the learning process stopping teachers from teaching and other students from learning. Then we’re going to do what we can to get them help and find out why they are acting that way.

We need a leader who stands up and says we’re going to have more after school and summer school opportunities and we’re going to develop curriculums that serve children interested in trades, skills and liberal arts subjects and I am going to go into the community and turn over every rock and beat every drum until I get the resources to make it happen because the children of Jacksonville deserve it and we as a city can’t survive and prosper without it.

That not vouchers, charter schools and organizations that support just one group of children is both what Jacksonville needs and what it is lacking.

1 comment: