I was asked a poignant question today and at the time some limited sputtering managed to escape my mouth and enter the radio sphere. The question that hit me like a ton of bricks was: “Would Martin Luther King Jr. be happy with the education of children?”
The answer quite simply is NO….but what I really wanted to say was…..
LAZY GOOD FOR…..?
There is a painful truth that is on the horizon. People do not want to read as much anymore. “Readers” would rather have abbreviated versions of the extended versions of their literary selections.
Basically, we have become a CLIFF NOTE SOCIETY.
Everything is instant. If it’s not at our fingertips then it is an unnecessary chore. Society has become lazy and uninterested in the pursuit of anything other than a dollar. However, to be successful at any job one must be masterful. In order to be masterful the old rule of thumb was that one must be educated.
Interestingly, with the economic horror that has enveloped much of the 21st century-many very successful people have gained on the job training, have changed careers several times (voluntarily or involuntarily) or have opted to enter non-traditional job markets for purposes of survival.
Academia has become hated. In some communities, the pursuit of education is associated with assimilating with the oppressors. Anything that could be found within books is now easily accessed via internet searches. The information is right at our finger tips as a matter of fact it no longer requires exertion. The process of studying or sitting completely silent in places that are reverently reserved for dedicated learners is obsolete.
GET YOUR HANDS OUT OF OUR POCKETS…AND OFF OF OUR KIDS!
Government agencies, big businesses, and even pharmaceutical companies have inserted themselves into a once sacred trust. They have systemically poisoned the well spring of knowledge for the United States of America.
The government has created so many convoluted legislative doctrines, that even the administrators need one page cheat sheets to decipher through all of the minutia. Obscure language, inconsistent practice, corruption, high turnover rates among leadership and incompetence have put our kids squarely in the middle of a turf war that has absolutely no regard for the academic causalities lost along the way of economic gain. MLK Jr. would turn over in his grave if he knew that our schools are having meetings to determine if little black boys and girls need to be sedated so they can hold hands with the other little children safely.
I truly believe that Dr. King would be back on the sojourn to eliminate “NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND”. The educational legislation that allegedly provides so many benefits for the “title I” (low income in layman’s terms)-actually encourages students to travel great distances to a “better school” because the local school is defunct. Essentially, it is modernized bussing. There are other hidden pearls within the legislation that speak directly to a 21st century new world order..
If the great leader knew just how much money education is generating on the backs of little brown babies he’d be appalled. Tests have become the module of monitor used by school districts all across the nation. Tests that are “standardized”…who’s STANDARD? Examinations which may or may not have been vetted to determine cultural relevance are systematically keeping our children stuck in quick sand.
George H. Bush initiated yet another test that graduating seniors must pass in order to receive their diplomas. The problem with this test is that what the student learned in the ninth grade may have been forgotten or perhaps never retained. Some students opt for the Certificate of Completion which disenfranchises the student from enlisting in any armed forces. The choice to “opt out” was designed for low level learners. The struggling students could be excused from the rigorous testing processes but at a step cost to their future earning potential for themselves and their families? GW Bush should have taken the test. It is very likely that he would not have passed.
With all of these advances and educational tools available right at our fingertips, Dr. King would be disgusted by the level of sheer disinterest. Knowledge is everywhere yet wisdom has been significantly diminished. Access to adequate public education is being denied to those who are right in the heart of urban communities, rural areas and even certain pockets of “main street”.
People seem feebler now than ever before though we should be highly intelligent if for no other reason-we have it all. The social intelligence of people has suffered tremendous loss as well. With the onset of social networking and technological innovations, people have stopped really communicating with one another. Humanity is losing. People are becoming more isolated, families have fractured into splinters and children are no longer disciplined but rather encouraged to take what they want from whomever they want when they want it.
BLIND SHEPHERDS Would Dr. King be happy with our education? What education?
THE FACTS:• Inundating kids with standardized testing is not proving to be a viable determinant of student success. In some states, the tests have been falsified to produce faulty results and have proven to be an ineffectual accountability measure.
• In fall 2008, some 95 percent of 6- to 21-year-old students with disabilities were served in regular schools; 3 percent were served in a separate school for students with disabilities; 1 percent were placed in regular private schools by their parents; and less than 1 percent each were served in one of the following environments: in a separate residential facility, homebound or in a hospital, or in a correctional facility.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2011). Digest of Education Statistics, 2010 (NCES 2011-015), Chapter 2.
• North Carolina Board of Education is currently (August 2011) attempting to RESEGREGATE classes from K-12. Efforts posed (particularly in Southern regions) will extract low level learners, who are often low income, impoverished and of color-from the regular academic setting. The name itself makes no bones about reviving the very thing Dr. King fought so hard to eliminate. The mere fact that this is a strategy being seriously considered by educators is of serious concern.
o From 1993 to 2007, the percentage of children attending a “chosen” public school (a public school other than their assigned public school) increased from 11 to 16 percent, while the percentage of children attending an assigned public school decreased from 80 to 73 percent. The percentages of children attending private schools also increased between 1993 and 2007 (from 8 to 9 percent for private church-related schools and from 2 to 3 percent for private not church-related schools).
Another form of parental choice is to move to a neighborhood so one’s child can attend a particular school. In 2007, the parents of 27 percent of public school students reported that they had moved to their current neighborhood so that their child could attend his or her current school. A greater percentage of Whites (29 percent) than Blacks (18 percent) and Hispanics (25 percent), and suburban students (33 percent) than students living in other locales (20-23 percent) moved to their current neighborhood so their child could attend the school.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2009). The Condition of Education 2009 (NCES 2009-081), Table A-32-1 .
• Students are increasingly afraid to go to school.
o In 2007, a greater percentage of students ages 12-18 reported that they were afraid of attack or harm at school (5 percent) than away from school (3 percent) during the school year.
Between 1995 and 2007, the percentage of students who feared attack or harm at school decreased from 12 to 5 percent. Between the two most recent survey years, 2005 and 2007, the percentage of students who feared attack or harm at school decreased from 6 percent to 5 percent. Away from school, there was no pattern of increase or decrease in the percentage of students who feared attack or harm between 1999 and 2007. However, the percentage of students who feared attack or harm away from school was smaller in 2007 (3 percent) than in 2005 (5 percent).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2010). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2010 (NCES 2011-002).