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We Need Better Parents Not More Money To Better Educate Children

December 17, 2013

Permit me to again quote George Kelly from his book on Personal Construct Theory, “Psychological disorder is any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation,” i.e., repeating the same thing failure after failure is a psychological disorder.

If failure from repeating the same mistakes ad nauseum were an Olympic sport, liberals would have unparalleled records of success. But it isn’t, and they do not. But they are nothing if not a persistent lot, and they are determined to not allow repeated failure to stunt their creativity pursuant to new ways to fail. Such is a recent suggestion on how to provide better educations for children, specifically black children.

Michael Holzman wrote: “How can we best provide resources, including more money, to children in order for each child to attain high-quality education, without regard to where they live or their family background?” (All Kids Deserve Great Education) He then uses four supposedly mythological children to make his point.

He goes from the obligatory child whose mother is a low-income worker and a father who, while no longer in prison, is absent from his life. The child has failed two grades and is now a dropout working on his GED. The next child has teachers for parents, and supposedly their being teachers gives them “access to knowledge and resources not afforded” the first child’s “family.”

Let me pause here to respond. First of all, while it isn’t the first child’s fault he was brought into this world (and I applaud any decision to not murder a child by abortion), it is the parents’ responsibility to make sure they have a reasonable expectation of supporting their child. Holzman doesn’t argue in favor of the parents having a plan for the future that would enable them to provide for a family at such time as they plan for one.

Human beings are not animals, but even animals in the wild prepare for the birth of their unborn by seeking birthing areas that are secure, and that provide the requisite surrounding for them to give birth and raise their offspring. Should we not expect more from human beings?

That said, I would also point out that there are many children who received GEDs for a number of valid reasons. I personally know the daughter of a Fortune 50 company senior executive whose child dropped out of school and received a GED because classroom work was neither challenging nor productive for them. Her child learned a trade and went into business for themselves. Is there any reason the make believe child Holman references couldn’t do same?

I would additionally point out that every parent and child have access to the free public libraries and free museums. They have access to historical areas in their towns and/or cities. They have access to free educational tapes from the free public libraries. They have access to free programs held at churches, Boys and Girls Clubs, and community groups. They have access to Big Brother and Big Sister programs.

Children are supposed to have access to parents who care enough to read to them and with them. They have access to free music lessons even if they are not available at within their school. To this day my son and talk about the enjoyment and benefit we both received reading to one another or sharing time together each reading a book of our choice.

Holzman continues references another child he invents as coming from a family where the father is a surgeon, the stay-at-home mother is a scientist, and the grandparents advanced hold degrees in the sciences and the humanities, and who are involved in informal education. The child in this family has taken summer school classes except the year her grandparents took her to Europe (he’s painting it thick). And the child is deciding whether to go to Princeton or UC San Diego.

And lastly, there is the child of a successful Wall Street investor who now works in a building owned by investors in the town where the family resides. This child’s mother is a successful realtor (who, he points out, sells homes and some horse ranches — as if that means anything in this equation). The child goes to private school in New England.

Holzman’s point is that the more affluent and professional families have opportunity for better educational environments, and the only way to equalize this for those who do not is to spend more federal money. Now to be fair, I want to make clear that I have truncated his treatise, and to a degree, trivialized it, as well. But that is not because same is not deserved.

I came from a family in which myself and my dozen-plus cousins and I went on to college. Every one of us excelled in some capacity in music, academics, athletics — one cousin going on to Juilliard and then touring the world as a professional dancer/performer. We became Superintendents of school districts, Air Force Jags, educators, professional athletes, professional football coaches, and front office management for professional football teams, lawyers and Judges. What we all had in common was poorly educated parents only three of whom (if memory serves me correctly) finished high school. We grew up like nearly everyone one else in our town and school, i.e., poor progeny and of poor, working parents.

Pouring more money into schools wasn’t the key to education for us or our peers. Instruction started at home. There were educational expectations and most importantly no one taught us to envy and/or blame those who came from hard-working families who were able to attain a measure of affluence.

Pouring billions of dollars after billions of dollars into education has not resulted in increased test scores nor has same resulted in elevating those who Holzman loosely alludes — the so-called minority student, specifically the black student.

My son is the beneficiary of two parents who placed a premium on education and who created learning environments. We took day trips to every historical site around us. We went to museums and libraries. We, like our peers, realized that sticking an earring in the ear of a child wasn’t as important as creating an environment that concentrated on learning.

My friends were parents who also were deeply involved and personally invested in their children’s education. They didn’t leave it to the schools. And I know for fact that many of you did same, because you’ve written telling me same.

If people such as Holzman were truly interested in the education of children, they would support vouchers. No amount of money given to teachers is going to increase education levels of today’s students. Holzman doesn’t argue to raise the bar for education; he argues for lowering it and having the taxpayers pay more for same. If he were honest, he would admit that in most instances the teachers today are nearly as unlearned as the students they are teaching. He is welcome to argue the contrary, but I suggest he investigate the New York, Ohio, Philadelphia, PA school districts, for teacher proficiency pursuant to the number of times they were tested before passing certification tests, how many are actually qualified to teach the courses they are teaching, and the number that are actually certified.

It’s easy to find new and creative ways of saying we need to spend more money on education, but history continues to show that throwing good money after bad, while a liberal operating system, accomplishes little more than higher tax-bracketed teachers.

Will there come a time when liberals realize that repeating the same failed programs over and over is a form of psychological illness? Not likely because liberalism itself is a psychological disorder.

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Mychal Massie

About the Author

Mychal Massie

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

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