Table Talk 2: Education

For our next issue, we’ll be taking on a big issue. An issue so huge that we’ll dedicate not one but two weeks to it. This is a personal fight of mine. I believe that 75% or more of all our problems stem from a lack of knowledge or education (My personal statbook. Don’t even bother questioning it. It is law!!)

Some more statistics; According to the Christian Science Monitor; the high school drop out rates are nearly 50% for blacks, hispanics and native Americans. This is even more alarming when you think of it this way; most schools only report students who register as a drop out. Of course a lot of students don’t register when they want to stop going to school.( The Washington Post )They simply stop showing up.

Most other publications and research on the matter agree with that. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the poorer minorities (and I say poorer minorities because Asian Americans are a minority too but have the lowest drop out rate of any group) have the higher drop out rate. The way out of a problem is to know how and simply put; we don’t know how.

Why is this? I believe that the problem is two fold. Certain educators and the system in place right now does not try hard enough to go after these troubled kids. On the other hand the same kids do not value school enough because their eyes are on other things. Education isn’t a top priority in the “hood”. When was the last time you heard a rapper say something deep about school? Or for that matter say something deep period. Knowledge is power and since we have no knowledge we have no power.

So what do we do? Well this is why I am opening up the conversation to everyone. We need to reach out to our folks and let them see the light. The word needs to get out and we need to change this culture of stupidity around. The government can do whatever it wants to do but until we as a people start to value knowledge, learning and pick up a book, things will never change. They’ll stay the same.

9 Responses to “Table Talk 2: Education”

  1. Round Table, I’ve struggled with this subject since its original posting. I still don’t have a concrete answer. I can feel you on this subject. I’ts hard for anyone to think about education when they struggle from day-to-day. It’s just not on the front burner like it should be. I, myself, was encouraged to get a job and not pursue higher education, by my family who needed the extra income when I was 18. Once I had my own family, I still had the same struggles because I wasn’t educated enough to earn the higher wages. We certainly don’t show our teachers how much we value them by giving them there fair pay. But even those who struggle must realize that in order to progress, we must endure sacrifices. We seem to have lost our ability to make great sacrifices for a better cause. We need to remind ourselves and our children of the sacrifices that were made by our ancestors and those who walked the line to ensure equal education. Some ideas are below:
    1. Read to our children when they are young. This will inspire them to love reading, inspire their imagination, and enable them to comprehend reading material.
    2. Explain history to your children once they are old enough to understand. Instill pride into the youth at the beginning.
    3. Limit time on video games and nonscence.
    4. Encourage young people to write an educational or positive rap or poem. Post it on your blogs and let them see it. This will make them and you feel proud.
    5. Instill a sense of pride in the youth; Give more Kudo to their accomplishments, and less negativity when they have a failure. Encourage them to do better next time, and to take heed in the lesson.
    6. Ask the youth questions. Ask them to make up a new invention. You’d be surprized how innovative our youth are.
    7. Live what we preach. Do whatever we can to better ourselves, and let the youth see us in a positive role, not that of the oppressed and distressed.
    8. Volunteer to teach, read, or do something, at a school, community center, etc. if only once a month. We can spare that time.
    9. Help someone with the pell grant application – help them get organized with 1040’s etc, and help them with the input. You’d be surprized how many students miss this opportunity, because they feel threatend by the application process or don’t have access to a computer.
    10. Research and pass on scholorship information and learning opportunities.

    I’ll be posting on my blog under the shared files widget(once I figure out how to work it) some scholorship and learning opportunities for youth and adults during week.

    Peace, Light and Love to you and yours . . .

  2. Thank you CordieB for coming through. I like a lot of what you said and I will look into volunteering in the youth center like you suggested. A lot of what you said is true. Have you ever considered taking some classes just for fun. You can do them online if you’d like.

  3. Of course I have. I’m fortunately enough now that my employer pays for me to continue my education. It can be quite demanding, yet very rewarding.

  4. Cordieb pretty much said it all. I struggle with the challenge to volunteer time and try instead to pass on money to the right causes whenever possible. Yet, I know the time is absolutely there and will continue to figure out how best to physically serve instead of just financially. I do agree that one of the best examples of getting youth energized on education is to make that time to do it yourself and set the example. Actions louder than words for sure. If the youth of this nation see adults going that extra mile to improve their skills, that’s the best re-enforcement you can make towards the message of “get an education.” Live what we preach is so, so true.

  5. true, but i would rduce it to 30 percent, because the desire to self inculcate via informatio is also a funstion of effort – meaning we lazy. how many folks u know will walk pass the tv looking for the remote. PS i rolled u to the blog today

  6. Happy Valentines Day to the Round Table committee, and especially to ghettophilosopher! Hope all is well with you and your love one today and always!

  7. There is a very nice article in this month’s Atlantic by Sandra Tsing Loh about the Los Angeles public schools. One of the main points of her article is the fact that white Angelinos are fleeing the public schools. The “liberal” Westside parents who lament the decay of the public schools do not have a vested interest in improving those same schools because their kids go to Crossroads or Harvard/Westlake or whatever, so they sit on the sidelines wringing their hands but doing nothing, while voting for Barack Obama and lamenting the great racial divide in this country.

    This entire issue should really should boil down to an issue of social conscience, of acknowledging the diversity of the city and the world that we share rather than being viewed as a problem of black or white or brown or yellow or red.

    I am an upper middle class white physician. I live a good life in Mar Vista. I attended Los Angeles public schools growing up, I graduated from Hamilton High School. My three children all attend public schools (my oldest daughter is now a senior at Hamilton High). I want my children to grow up with the people who share their community and their world, not hiding in a gated community watching the world slip by them on TV. I also want them to get good educations, to be able to attend UCLA (as I did) or Cal or Harvard.

    These two goals are not mutually exclusive, and the more involved parents of ALL students are in their children’s education, the more the teachers and school administrators will become involved, whether they wish to or not.

    I know I am over simplifying this greatly, but I also know that is not only a racial issue. The more people that are pushing the car, the further we can go, provided we all want to get to the same place.

  8. I was interested in davefromla’s comments as the school district “next door” to where I live in the Philly suburbs just experienced a week and a half long teacher’s strike at the beginning of February (about 12,000 students involved). Teachers are still allowed to strike in Pennsylvania (unions) but this was quite rare to have it go down dead-center in the middle of a school year. Needless to say, the subject of how important education is and how much we’re all willing to pay for quality education became a centerpiece of conversation in the street and at the water cooler alike. The local paper printed the salaries of all teachers in the school district (which is public record if you want to research it anyway) without alluding to their years of service, educational achievemements, etc. so the range of pay they make for educating our youth became crystalized without explaining the diversity in the compensation figures, further fanning the flames of discussion. At the end of the day, the strike has tentatively settled and the kids are back in school, but the real education has been earned this year by parents and teachers alike, who dealt straight-up with how important they feel education is and how much they are going to support it emotionally and financially. Everyone in that community was involved in their children’s education earlier this month, one way or the other. Hopefully, the learning experience re-enforced the notion education is important and its cost has been “aired out” and proven to be a worthy investment.


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