Don’t Send Our Third Graders to Prison!!
By Brother Tracy Gibson
I heard some statistics about how Black third graders who can’t read to proficiency levels are pigeon holed by the government and educational powers that be. The governments in some states actually allocate money for them to have a place in the prison system later because they know they will be a problem for our society. The money to be spent for them to have a place in prison when they get older adds up to thousands of dollars that should be spent on their being given the best educations now while they are young. The system has no faith that these mostly Black children will become productive, tax-paying and job-holding citizens, so the system actually provides the space for youths, many Black I would suppose, to have a place in prison for many years of their life.
This is a bellicose, highly suspect, annoying, anger-causing and quiet bothersome statistic for me and many other Black People who have faith that our young Black People will indeed be able to work and be productive citizens in future societies. I heard this statistic on WURD Black Talk Radio 900 AM, during Solomen Jones’ show in the morning, I believe. WURD is based in Philadelphia & is quite popular in the more informed Black community here.
It took me a while, but I thought and thought about this so-called ``fact’’ and How I might change it for myself overnight because doing al the work it will take to get our youth to understand the seriousness of their situations is difficult at best. What I came up with is very simple and if enough Black People do it, it will have an incredible positive impact on the education system and How we treat our Black youth in the education system. I said to myself, every time I see a Black baby or a Black child, I would think of which of the 30 to 40 some odd Black colleges I would send them to with full funding, scholarships and even money for them to be paid to go to school.
My thinking was that if we can afford, as Black People, if we can afford expensive cigars, a cigarette habit, alcohol, cake, candy, hotel rooms to cheat on our husbands and wives and girlfriends and boyfriends, Pop-Eyes Chicken, Duncan Donuts, Mickey Dee hamburgers and Burger King hamburgers (which have been proven to be lethal), sodas, fried chicken, pork skins, pork and a host of other things we consume all too often, but are not good for us or wasteful or downright a waste of money like lottery tickets usually are, we can afford to start finding ways to privately send our children to Black colleges even if we have to pay them to study. Our children are not dumb. I’m convinced that they often just learn at a different rate and in a different Way. Some of them are much smarter than their White counterparts, but have not been given the opportunities to learn in a safe environment, with plenty of Black teachers who really LOVe and care about them. Such a safe and LOVing and Caring environment really makes a big difference.
My sister says we need to home teach our children. I agree. Until we get a positive and successful network of Black private schools, or even with that in place, Home Teaching is a real option. The lack of good Black male teachers and good Black male role models is also a big part of the problem. In Philadelphia the Public School system is stuck on 7% Black male teachers and has been for quite some time—at least 5 years. We need many more than that. Unfortunately, many Black male teachers have actually thrown in the towel with teaching because the children (especially young males) are so rowdy and out of control. The teachers can’t control these very large class rooms that often have 40 children. Students who want to be rowdy must, in my humble opinion, be separated from the students who are there to really study and take full advantage of the teacher’s knowledge. (If you have a rowdy student, parents, don’t lose hope. When I was in elementary school I would fight in the fire tower when I was supposed to be cleaning the erasers and I once had a fist fight with a female student because she called me a faggot. I ended up graduating from The Ohio State University with a 3.3 GPA.).
Don’t give up on your children, no matter what. There is a Black guy who has found a effective Way to teach Black students science and math using rap and Hip Hop music. (I have to do the research on this. This is the reason I want money for my company.).