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Thursday, January 21, 2021

We’re in an education epidemic, but White has a great idea

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I’ve made no secret of the fact that I detest lackadaisical parents. It infuriates me to know that there are parents out there who don’t take an interest in their child’s life.

Sadly, we have children who lack parental involvement; be it emotionally, socially, or even academically.

Last week, the Recorder’s editorial team met with IPS Superintendent Dr. Eugene White to discuss things relative to the city’s largest school district. While there are so many great things happening with IPS, there remains challenges that the district (and other school districts) continue to face: uninvolved parents.

As White began to discuss the lack of parental participation some of his students are subjected to, I desperately asked a question: What can be done to hold parents more accountable?

That’s when White shared his idea – the best idea I’ve ever heard in regards to addressing the issue.

White feels that if you’re a parent who receives public assistance, it should be your job to make sure that your kid breaks the cycle of poverty. How? By not only ensuring they attend school 95 percent of the time, but by also encouraging your child’s educational advancement by being actively involved in their progression.

Like most jobs, if you don’t do it correctly, you’ll be penalized. The way White proposes penalizing parents who receive public assistance is by hitting them where it hurts: in their pockets.

That’s right, White thinks if a parent doesn’t make their child’s education job one, they should receive a deduction in their monthly check.

Brilliant idea!

While I understand and even respect the reason the welfare system was implemented, the initial premise of providing people with short-term assistance until they are able to get on their feet has been grossly abused.

For decades, people have taken advantage of the system. Instead of using public assistance as a stepping-stone, many recipients have instead used it as a way of life. Such actions greatly contribute to the deficit this country faces today.

It is ignorant and unfair for any able-bodied human being to think that it’s OK to live life by constantly taking, yet never contributing. Unfortunately, it’s a sad mentality that so many of us (and not just Blacks) possess. I’m all about accountability and White’s suggestion would make everyone step up to the plate. I would be willing to bet that if White’s idea became reality, we’d experience an influx of parents becoming more active in their child’s studies.

The problem with White’s idea is that he can’t get any support from lawmakers. Perhaps no one is willing to take on the cause because it’s too controversial. It pains me to say it, but one thing I’ve learned over the years is that not all elected officials work for the good of the people. Instead, some work for the good of themselves.

Some may consider White’s idea radical, but I think it is genius. And even if it is radical, that’s not such a bad thing. As the old saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. We are in desperate need of solutions to problems facing our children. If we don’t do something soon, things are only going to get worse. I shudder to imagine an America where children act worse than they do now. They already disrespect their teachers, degrade their parents and don’t seem to value their own lives, let alone someone else’s. It sounds cliché, but children really are our future…something has to be done to help them have a fair chance of achieving success in life. If not, the little rug-rats (I say that with love) of today will grow to be adult rug-rats trying to lead us. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel confident with some of today’s children implementing laws that affect my life 20 years from now.

In all seriousness, we are in the middle of what appears to be an education epidemic. It all starts at home so parents have to do more.

I challenge lawmakers to seriously consider what White is suggesting. While he’s not a political leader, I do believe White’s 30-plus years in the education field have garnered him the gift of discernment. I also encourage individuals to talk with your City–County Council member or send a letter to your state representative…doing so will apply heat to the cool and aloof disposition some of them have relative to their roles as elected officials.

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