Rodnie Jamison Moragne, MSW
– Education has been put into boxes. There is the box of suburban education, the box of Urban Education, the box of Higher Education and so forth. All of the boxes contain miss education. All of the boxes teach us that Christopher Columbus discovered America, “The Pledge of Alliance,” and, that we are segregated by Black and White.
From these boxes we teach our children. But, what is it that they are learning. Most of the children being taught are able to pass a math test but can they apply math in their daily lives? Can they make more or less of a recipe and feed themselves? Can they give you change as a cashier if the register fails?
The children are placed in boxes mostly by race. They learn with their own kind. Can they grow to respect other cultures? Can they compete fairly in the global world? Can they get out of debt to China?
Many school reports tell us how poorly the inner city Black children are doing educationally but if the students in the white box with books only compete against the children in the black box with no books, does that make the children in the white box smarter?
The higher education box has become so square that many children graduate with multiple degrees and can’t find a job and they can’t figure out anything to do? Did education only prepare our children for corporate slavery at the mercy of corporate leaders from Wall Street? For many, the degree means nothing without someone giving them a job and a title.
After American slavery, white education leaders determined that Blacks needed to be taught morality and the dignity of labor in order to be eligible to join the workforce. The education black box used to, at least, somewhat produce the join the workforce outcome. But, now the children in the white box need those jobs. So what kind of education is left for children in the black box?
Corporate leaders educate their children in a box too and as they burn up the earth with endless greed, all the children suffer, rich children too.
None of the boxes are filling children’s bellies with the knowledge to determine their own destiny. Many of the children are all grown up and can’t leave home. They can’t do for themselves. They were educated in a box. Mother may have, father may have but the children are being boxed out of having their own!
So as decisions are made to cut schools in poor, mostly Black neighborhoods, we better fight to reclaim the right to life through education. We better fight for our money/tax dollars to be invested in our children. We all better fight for our children so they can grow as people and create, invent, produce, and feel useful enough to curtail the frustration that is plaguing them. The body and mind must both work for healthy living. If a body and mind are unused, it withers away.
Education is in the spirit of a people seeking knowledge in order to help themselves, their family, and their community. It is the quest for a quality of life that is good. It is guaranteed that if we keep messing up the children, they will wither and die like plants that get no water. We can enforce gun restriction laws but that won’t save our children. We cannot stop the violence with policy debates. We cannot stop the drug epidemic plaguing every race, and every socio-economic class of American youth by hiring another Drug Czar. You can’t stop the destruction of American youth until you let them out of the box. Sitting in that box makes them crazy because it goes against human nature to just sit there, in that box.
The freedom to receive an education is not in the charter school corporate take-over of acclimating children to go to the prison industrial complex or prepare for corporate slavery. It’s not in tearing down and building new buildings. It’s not in closing neighborhood schools and putting our children in territorial street wars. It’s not in what politicians bellow out while taking kick backs from the highest Charter School bidder.
We should applaud the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools. They see the foundations putting money into charter schools, not because they love poor children, but because there is money to be made. Many charter school boards are comprised of CEO’s and hedge fund managers. What is it exactly that corporate CEO’s want from urban children? Perhaps, the Charter box may provide labor, even cheaper than outsourcing to China. Hum, free and cheap labor, sounds like we’ve been here before. Is it time for another Civil War or is this the making of something else, perhaps revolutionary?
Hopefully, we find a better way. Hopefully, we can move forward and replace the boxes with buildings of knowledge, dignity and the spirit of democracy that we all want to proclaim!