Black Boys Not Reading At Grade Level Is Fault Of Parents
I don’t give a rat’s tail how bad the public schools are: if children are not reading up to their grade level the greater preponderance of responsibility for same lies with the parents. We can blame public schools for a lot of things; we can certainly lay blame at their feet, in part, for children not reading at grade level, but I repeat — the greater weight of responsibility for children not knowing how to read lies with the parents.
I’m not engaging in double-speak. Children go to school to learn, that is the function of the school. But schools are not replacement parents. There is a black group out of Chicago that is trying their best to blame schools for black children not learning to read. But, as I pointed out, schools are only fractionally responsible.
Reading is the one thing that parents can engage their children in at home, and they can do it from the womb.
A group called The Black Star Project has been banging the drum blaming schools for black boys not reading up to grade level. If those black children can recite the lyrics for countless songs that they’ve learned at home, they can learn to read at home.
They list Milwaukee; Cleveland; Detroit, Washington, D.C.; San Diego; Dallas; baltimore City; Chicago; Jefferson County-Kentucky; Atlanta; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Austin; Houston; Hillsborough County-Florida; Boston; Miami-Dade; Charlotte; and New York City as the most transpicuous examples of black boys reading below grade level. What they omitted is that the schools in those areas are in large part staffed by black administrators and teachers.
The site headlined an article titled, “In America, Only 10% Of 8th-Grade Black Boys Can Read Proficiently.” I’ve got news for them; “That is not America’s fault.” Black children have been discouraged from learning and striving for academic excellence with what can be called a chronic aversion to modernity.
I’ve shared this story many times over the years. My late mother and father divorced when I was a year old. Ergo, I was raised by a single mother who worked outside the home. But, every evening when she came home from work, we sat down together, and she taught me to read and how to do math. Her teaching and instruction were effective to the point that my second grade teacher, Mrs. Brown, asked my mother to stop teaching me at home because I was too far ahead of the students in my class, and Mrs. Brown feared I would become bored. My mother, as only she could, told my teacher “she wasn’t about to stop teaching me at home.” I should here point out that my mother had only an 8th-grade education which she had received in six years of schooling because when she attended school children who were performing ahead of the others were skipped to the next grade.
My mother did not expect, nor did she want, the school to be my de facto parent. I was expected to give a full accounting of what took place in class. She checked my homework (yes, we had homework in second grade in those days) each evening. She did this until I entered 4th grade. At that time, my cousins and extended family were involved in my learning progress.
My son was raised the same way. His mother and I read to him daily and not just at bedtime. My son and I still reminisce about my reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” to him when he was three years old. When he was nine years old, he read “Lord Of The Rings.” He was able to phonetically sound out the words, and those he couldn’t he would ask his mother or me. When I was growing up, learning wasn’t an option, and it wasn’t an option for my son.
There is an article that appears on the group’s website by a 13 year old, 8th-grade girl who wrote an essay about deplorable learning conditions in her school. The website states that in her essay she “asserted that in her experience, today’s education system is a modern-day version of slavery.”
The article continues, saying she wrote, “that overcrowded, poorly managed classrooms prevent real learning from happening and thus the same results as Mr. Auld’s managed outright ban.”
Auld was the slave owner who is credited with saying of Frederick Douglass, “If you teach that nigger how to read, there will be no keeping him. It will forever unfit him to be a slave. He would at once become unmanageable, and of no value to his master.” And while the racialists are quick to point out what Mr. Auld said, they are loathe to point out that Mrs. Auld defied him and most societal norms of the day and taught Frederick Douglass, anyway.
There you have it. At 13 years of age, she is blaming whites for her poor learning environment. That said, I must say that Marxist liberals have been very successful in the devolvement of education. But specific to that point, much of their deconstruction of the educational system has been done under the guise of helping poor children.
The article says, “She wrote that her white teachers — the vast majority of Rochester students are black and Hispanic, but very few teachers are people of color — and in a ‘position of power to dictate what I can, cannot, and will learn, only desiring that I may get bored because of the inconsistency and the mismanagement of the classroom.’
“Instead of truly teaching, most teachers simply ‘pass out pamphlets and packets’ and then expect students to complete them independently…’ Most of my peers cannot read and or comprehend the material that has been provided.’ …As a result…not much has changed since the time of Douglass, ‘just different people, different era’ and ‘the same old discrimination still resides in the heart of the white man.’”
The idea of black children needing black teachers is an affront to reasonable minds. In some 22 years of formal education and 2 years of additional training, I never had a black teacher, albeit, I did have a professor who was from Pakistan. My son never had a black teacher. Is this 13-year-old, or those applauding her, to argue that my education or my son’s education is somehow lacking because our teachers were white?
I will say the girl has it partially right, but she is misguided in her approach to criticism. The criticism goes to so-called black leaders and activists who lobbied to have books by Mark Twain and other authors banned because they used verbiage of their period in their writing. They are in the same category with those who said the teaching of Ebonics and rap music were necessary educational components because they were part of “black culture.”
Look, let me curtail what I could turn into a novella by saying that learning, proper behavior, and respect for authority begin at home. If the parents aren’t doing their job, failure is the ultimate outcome when children are thrown into the sewers of public education. Obama’s Secretary of Education made dismantling of school vouchers his first order of business even though vouchers enabled children to attend learning-appropriate schools. Even before his dismantling of same, Marxist liberals protested the use of vouchers because black families were opting to send their children to private Christian schools.
I want to be crystal clear. I am not dismissing, nor am I denying that the overwhelming majority of public schools are the equivalent of pissoirs on a hot, humid day, i.e., they stink to high heaven. But the fault for that lies with parents abdicating their role as responsible parents. The fault for that lies with the so-called black leaders and activists, and it sure as heck lies with Jimmy Carter and the Obama administration. It lies with Carter because he is responsible for allowing Marxists to determine educational policy when he created the Department of Education, and it lies with Obama for appointing the Secretary of Education he did.
This black group needs to stop whining and blaming the schools and starting challenging parents to behave as responsible parents. They need to stop blaming the schools as such and take to task those Marxist individuals responsible for the deconstruction and devolvement of public education. They need to stop whining and faulting the schools as such, and tell the children that there are free libraries and free tutors and to take advantage of them both.
But as I view the complaints raised in the article referenced, and the articles that appear near daily, they are nothing more than another “blame the white man” for the failure of blacks to take personal responsibility for themselves.
About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here