LC’s Commentary

Listen To The Voice of Reason

Graduation rate keeps pace with dropping of pants


According to Charlene Muhammad, John Hopkins University has labeled approximately 2000 US high schools as dropout factories. In a report titled “locating the dropout crisis-Which High schools produce the nation’s drop outs. Where are they? Who attends them.” According to the report, blacks have the highest dropout rate-bypassing Latinos. Let me get a clear understanding of the gist of the report. Unless I am mistaken, it says black kids are dropping out of schools at unacceptable rate, not schools dropping out of black kids. I see no indication that schools are having lockouts and denying kids access. So tell me who is severing the ties between kids and education?

On the surface, this study supports what many have proclaimed for many years-schools are letting the black community and its kids down. It is foolish to put all of the blame on schools. To do so, is a copout at its worse. Why do I say this? Go back, go way back and look at what blacks went through just to learn to read and write.  Look what they went through to have a place to meet and learn the three R’s. Slavery was officially abolished 142 years ago. After its abolishment, blacks started making inroads into this thing called schooling. First attempts in many states were met with resentment and outright rage and hostility.  Buildings where schooling took place were burned and teachers threatened.  Many teachers that relocated to the south to teach were threatened and quickly shuttled back to Northern cities where teaching blacks was more acceptable. Educating blacks in some Northern cities was not without issues.  Despite many obstacles, blacks were not to be dissuaded and continued their pursuit of education. There was an “I will, in spite of” attitude. There was a stick-to-it-ness that encompassed the black masses for many years. Despite being deprived of any significant education, blacks knew without it, they would be forever trapped in a quagmire of ignorance, uncouthness and unknowing. I keep thinking about those whose schools were burned in the 1800’s.  Instead of giving up, they just gathered under a tree, in a barn, in a chicken coop, or other places and continued their quest for education.

As I read the article about the high dropout rate of black youth, I tried to formulate in my mind, not what is just cause for dropping out of school, but what is just cause to stay in school. Reasons to stay in school far outweighs reasons to drop out. Those who use their stead in life as a reason to drop out should use it as reason to stay in school, and get some of the tools necessary to get out of the rut.

Entirely too many of our kids are looking for a reason to drop out of school. I suppose there were kids of my era who really didn’t like to attend school. Why? Some were poorly dressed, hungry, walked many miles to school and only attended school when there was nothing to do on the farm. Farm work, taking precedence over attending school was the main reason many older kids were in class with younger kids. These older kids were not ashamed to be in class with kids half their age. They wanted to get some education. This attitude toward attaining an education, despite pitfalls, shortcoming must be drilled in our children. They must fully understand the purpose of education. Sometimes I think they think they are doing their parents and society a favor by attending school. Far from it- kids go to school to better themselves, not parents.

Many of us remember the old saying” You can take a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink”. At least, make sure your child gets to the trough of education. Parents, you must make certain your children attend school. There is absolutely no reason for a child to decide when it will no longer attend school. Children are not mature enough to make this monumental decision and parents who allow them to do so are doing the child a grave disservice. Some kids have to be force-fed this thing called education.


December 5, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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