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By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –

Quality education for black kids still seems out of reach sixty years after the victory of Brown vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court case that was supposed to end segregated schools and provide a path for black children and other minorities to have equal accessibility to a quality education.
It was in the month of May in 1954, that blacks believed they’d won the opportunity for a quality education. In May 2014, it appears that not a whole lot has changed. Too many blacks and other minorities are still very segregated, and they are not graduating, and not leaving with a quality education.  It begs the question: At what point will America stop the charade and get serious about addressing, in a way that is meaningful and broad, the institutional racism that pervades public instruction.
Quality education for black kids should not be an issue at this stage of American history.

We see the results that are negative on the private and societal level, year in, year out, decade after decade, generation after generation. Evidence abounds about how poor quality instruction impairs one’s ability to understand oneself, others, one’s environment in regard to culture, history, social mores and expectations. Poor quality education limits and impairs one’s ability to make respectable wages. Small earning power directly impacts buying power. When buying power is hampered, it breeds and fosters other things: hopelessness, occasionally despair, and often resignation to a poorer quality of life. It additionally, all too frequently, ends in a life of crime.

Educating black kids. Photo Credit: mediamatters.org

Quality education for black kids must be priority. Photo Credit: mediamatters.org

What’s happening to the child after he or she’s inside the school building, the classroom? Quality education for black kids is a must.

A poor education breeds these vicious cycles that impact generation after generation. They exist blatantly within our view. We find the impact of an educational system that is neglecting our kids regularly when we drive around the area and see lost faces. Yes, parents, neighbors, churches and other community organizations play a part in keeping children in school. But fundamentally, what is occurring to the child once she or he is inside the school building, the classroom.

We all know of kids who come from dysfunctional families, so called “bad neighborhood” and simply oppressive environments, who find refuge and faith in the school system and go on to apply themselves, become productive citizens, frequently achieve greatness and go on to break the cycle of inferior schooling in their own family. This scenario may be the exception and not the rule. But it can be the rule. It can happen more often than not if teachers and administrators are equipped and motivated to do the job they’re hired to do.

At what point will America get seriously interested in addressing in a broad and meaningful manner the institutional racism that pervades public instruction and stop the charade? Photo Credit: newskamataka.com

A quality education for black kids improves all of society. Photo Credit: newskamataka.com

A quality education for black kids improves all of society. Photo Credit: newskamataka.com

Beyond the individual devastation a poor quality education causes, it also reeks havoc on a community in many other ways. It is a phenomenon that is common to a school system with a reputation of poor educational accomplishment and that causes urban flight. People abandon the city and head for the suburbs. New people coming into a brand new city will buy or not purchase a home based on the standing of the public schools. Some companies choose to move or expand their operations in a neighboring suburb to accommodate their likely workers – all because of a poor quality school system’s picture and impact.

The economics don’t cease there. A city whose public educational system has a negative or poor reputation of placing our graduates with poor basic skills makes many companies cautious of being able to hire workers fit for available occupations. The location or relocation of many companies is directly linked to the understanding of being able to get skilled labor at a reasonable wage.

Why isn’t a quality schooling for blacks and other minorities higher on the list of our national priorities – Sixty years later?

Edited and Reprinted with Permission of USAonRace.com

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Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, is an award-winning author. Her book, From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers. She has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website.

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