I read this amazing post and was moved, encouraged, inspired and all the good stuff. I decided to leave this wordy comment.
OMG!! This is an amazing piece of literature. And I love the first comment from Ms Claire!!! Being both African-American and born and raised in Detroit, MI (where the public schools are failing and closing at a heart aching rate) here is my two cents:
Education reform has been needed for years now. I attended public schools but because of my great test taking abilities I was granted a magnet school middle school education and graduated with a high school diploma in Chemical Biological Science from Cass Technical High School (one of the top HS’s in Detroit and one that you have to test to get in as well as maintain a certain GPA to stay in). Despite all of that I am a dreamer, as well as an avid reader; so by my junior year I stopped caring so much about the education the schools were offering. I did not fully comprehend what qualitative & quantitative analysis, physiology & antimony; and all of the other things I was supposed to be learning had to do with me learning to live. Furthermore, my home life was rocky and I had bigger life issues that were not being address at school. I still decided to go to college and for a year and a half I drifted. Eventually, I was broken to discover that college or a higher education was not the answer to life questions of “why am I here”, “what is my purpose”, and “how can I help solve all the problems I so easily see”?
Recently I discovered this book that I love by Peter McWilliams called the Portable Life 101. The first lesson in the book is:“That our educational system is not designed to teach us the “secrets of life” is no secret. In school, we learn how to do everything-except how to live.” Also on that first lesson page is: “At college age, you can tell who is best at taking tests and going to school, but you can’t tell who the best people are. That worries the hell out of me.” –Barnaby C. Keeney
Starting from scratch may be our best bet in anytime of reformation. Other than that we need to begin to learn from our children (by watching them) to see how they learn so we can create an education system that better caters to their needs. My sister is one who slipped through the cracks of America’s flawed education system. She went from being a failing student at the same magnet middle school I attended, to becoming a 4.0 student while attending a charter school. I never once got a 4.0 and wondered how in the hell a student who could barely form a complete sentence made such a drastic change so quickly. Come to find out they weren’t teaching her, they were passing her along, some of her teachers were even known to blow a blunt with her. The teachers are failing their students and not giving them all that they deserve. Other countries regard teaching as a highly respected occupation, where America treats their teachers like barely paid baby sitters. The documentaries Waiting on Superman and American Teacher are amazing!!
The African-American Community needs help. We suffer from mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial lack. Love can conquer a lot of this but unfortunately so many in our community don’t know what love is nor how to receive or give it. I work in a Jewish “old money” community at the local public library. I have only begun to see the vast difference in the children’s upbringing here versus the upbringing I had myself and saw firsthand growing up in Detroit. Worlds apart though apart of the same world.
I also work as a parent/youth mentor and for the first time I can clearly see the bondage that is still to this day keeping us enslaved. The cycle has to be broken but so much has to be in place for that to successfully happen. A person has to recognize there is a problem (the MAIN problem). We have been doing things the same way for so long that the lies have been sold to us as the truth. It is an uphill battle to try to make the horse drink though the water is right in front of him. Yet I believe that once that horse gets a taster, naturally he will want more. Another thing is that we have to want help. The AA community has the hardest time asking for help but have been trapped into accepting handouts. Though it does help in some cases, for the most part it has become a dependency that is hindering. Some have come to even believe that it is something that we are owed. Because of this laziness is common and there is no accountability.
Then if we get over ourselves enough to see that there is a problem and humble enough to ask for help, we then have to begin the process of creating new habits. “Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into but hard to get out of.” Most in our community don’t like hard work because we are so used to things being done for us or handed to us. Then you have others that think as a African-American “so many of us have worked so hard for so long” that we shouldn’t have to work hard anymore. Then you have others that work so hard for others that they never do the hard work necessary for themselves. There are some that are learning how to work smart and not so hard but it is difficult to become successful if you have never seen success. It is hard to see yourself as great when you don’t see the greatness that you have come from. Our history is full of people that have changed the course of life and the times. But unfortunately the greatness has been lost in the mentalities of the naysayers. There lies are what have been passed down generation after generation.
I am the change I want to see in those that look like me, this is only aiding my fight, strength, and faith in who I am and what I am here for!! I know I can be the difference! I am, and I will continue to be!! ♥ Peace & Blessings