The School's Problem Isn't Financial, It's Spiritual And Political - And Response

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

People think my heart has grown cold against young people in Chattanooga. That's not the case.
I saw this coming from a mile away after spending 15 years in the school system. My heart has grown cold to adults who use and abuse these children for salaries and money to keep funding schools that are failing. We care more about state championships than state tests.

These failing schools should be shut down immediately because they are nothing but pipelines to prison, pregnancy and problems. 

Are there good students at these schools? Yes. But they would be greater if they were not trapped in these failings schools because of their zip codes. 

When I had my mentoring program I made sure that kids were accountable and obedient. I even created jobs and put money in their pocket. I targeted young men that had family gang ties. Many of them had the same thing in common. They struggled with reading. They were always suspended or put out right before state testing. They were never suspended during the first 40 days of school. If they turned 18 and were a problem, I never saw them again. I connected the dots. They are being used as pawns for money, salaries, pension and paying off student loans. 

When I ran for school board, I did not run for myself. I ran because of these young men in my mentoring program who were being used and abused and falling through the cracks of a corrupt and broken system. I'm never running again; I can do more outside the system. 

No one on the school board or commission is bold enough to state the obvious. Inner city schools are failing "black" kids. If money could solve this problem, it would have been solved years ago. The problem is not financial; it's spiritual and political. Young people are not being taught basic morals. Democrats are using poor people for power. But that power is only producing more prisoners and slaves. This can be measured by the constituents and districts they represent. Republicans need to fight for more school choice at the state level. Yes, we will be called racists. So what? Let's rescue kids from this cesspool of despair. 

I warned that Chattanooga needs an all-male Christian school. I warned that it's the last hope for educating these boys and introducing them to Jesus Christ of the Bible. People laughed at me. Now they are crying because their sons are being killed in the streets. All of these victims of violence come from the same five-mile radius and attend the same failing schools. 

I'm praying for the city and schools, but I hate to tell you that you were warned and judgment is already here. The blood is on your hands. 

Our only hope is more Christian schools, Charter schools and repentance. 

Patrick Hampton

 * * * 

There's a lot of talk these days about the failings of primarily inner-city schools, but the success or failure of schools boils down to one word and one word only, relationship.  

Students at successful schools aren't necessarily smarter, neither are the teachers and rest of the staff. It's the positive relationship the school has with the parents and students who attend the school that determines success. It's not about the Board of Education either, but how each school interpret policies and mandates.  

The relationship in inner-city schools was pretty much destroyed when enforcing zero tolerance policies in primarily inner-city schools went way beyond being extreme. Zero tolerance policies weren't routinely enforced at predominately white schools, and certainly not to the extreme. It's why I removed my sons from inner-city schools and placed them in a then predominately white school where I knew they could face racial hostility, and to an extent they did. However, even there was a balance I could deal with. But the zero tolerance policies enforced to the extreme in primarily inner-city schools nearly destroyed my boys. My only regret is I couldn't round up more of those young boys and remove them too.

Why are we at times so harsh on our young I'm not sure. However, some experts watching over the years tend to believe it may have to do with the belief, subconscious or otherwise, the harshness will better prepare young blacks for a world that's often hostile to them. But that harshness all to often do irreparable harm by breaking them instead. And by breaking them, in the end society as a whole pays a high price.  

And don't be fooled by charter schools, either.  Do your research. They're only as good as the people in charge of running them. There are studies that have shown charter schools don't produce any better academic results than public schools. They're just not held to the same standards and oversight as public schools. Charter schools also can basically pick and choose their students, giving the impression of being successful, because they get to pick students already performing on or above level.  

Then there's that voucher program some of y'all are cheering. In Wisconsin it was found 75 percent of the students who applied for vouchers were already enrolled in private schools anyway. Plus the amount vouchers pay weren't enough to cover the tuition for lower income students that would enable poor children to attend private schools.  

There's also less transparency in both charter schools and where vouchers for schools. Another belief is the charter schools and alternatives to public school idea will be like the boom and bust housing industry. Once investors see they're not getting the return they expected they're going to pull their dollars and invest elsewhere, abandoning the concept altogether. That will leave most families who came to demand on vouchers and charter schools in limbo. All I'm saying is do your research before jumping off the cliff believing there's a net at the bottom. There isn't.  

Finally, no matter if it's public, private or religious schooling, young people are going to act out and behave like young people, finding their way, are designed to do. The same as many of us adults acted out in our youth. Forcing religion isn't going to change that. Children taught at religiously based schools, home schooled etc. are no different than children at public schools.  The punishment is often just more severe for inner-city students, no matter how minor or non-existing the offense.  

Brenda Washington 


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