By Roy Douglas Malonson, Publisher
Malcolm X once stated that, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
As I reflect back over the address delivered by HISD’s Superintendent, Dr. Terry Grier at the Acres Homes Chamber for Business and Economic Development on February 7, one thing that everyone agreed on is that children need a quality education. In order to compliment children with such, it is highly important to make sure that there are quality teachers first. Quality teachers produce quality students.
I have listened to parents complain about the public school system and the dissatisfaction thereof. But as spoken by Dr. Grier, we must all realize that educating a child is a team effort. As it is, times have changed now and there appears to be some people who have lost sight of what is really important to our children and the future of our communities. But at African-American News & Issues it is a central objective of ours to report and distribute current and historical realities affecting our communities.
Educators when I was coming up had just as much affect and authority over children as parents did. If you got in trouble at school, it was the teachers who corrected the problem with corporal punishment. And no Children Protective Services were ever called on the teachers or administrators and definitely not our parents. In fact if you got in trouble at school you begged and pleaded with the teachers not to inform your parents of the trouble or problems you had. Because anyone raised in the era that I was raised in knew that if you were out of your parents presence ‘acting a fool’ then that constituted a ‘good ole fashion’ behind whipping when you returned home. Not only did our parents instill the fear of God in us, they instilled the fear of them in us as well. As a result, we were better off then and many of us are better off today because of it.
I must address another concern that affects the youth of our community in regards to education. For, I am not oblivious to the fact that there are some educators who already have preconceived notions about how they view the students that they are responsible for educating.
When this occurs, there is generally no way that a teacher or instructor can effectively educate a student if they already feel that, that student is a loss cause to begin with.
We must understand, that the same mental deficiencies and disciplinarian problems that exist today were prevalent when I was in school. Now I don’t won’t to get carried away too much, back then we didn’t bring guns and rifles to school at an attempt to kill the principals, teachers and our classmates. But we did face many issues. However, one thing that made the difference was that, teachers were patient and had a genuine overall concern for the betterment of their students.
Another relevant topic that was mentioned at the Business Networking Luncheon is the fact that there is a need to ensure that students have the opportunity to interact with teachers who look like them; or who can relate and identify with some of the issues that they are facing and dealing with. Encouragement and motivation may be received better from individuals who can share with students that they came from environments similar students and were able to make it and become successful.
Dr. Grier informed those in attendance that the new building of Booker T. Washington is already underway. Although we all agree that it is a much needed project we should be mindful of the fact that a new building has never taught nor educated anyone. Everybody wants to enjoy something new and there is nothing wrong with that. We should want to build and construct a facility that will be comfortable for our children to enjoy while they learn. But at the end of the day, the building is just a building. It is the individuals who are employed within a building that uphold the obligation of educating the total child.
Concluding, I would have to agree with Roy Wilkins who conveyed that, “Nothing should be overlooked in fighting for better education. Be persistent and ornery: this will be good for the lethargic educational establishment and will aid the whole cause of public education.” Therefore, if as many parents, teachers, administrators, neighbors and otherwise were to adhere to this philosophy we are all contributing our part to ensuring that our children are receiving a quality education.