home arrow OPINIONS arrow Credit and support public schools

AP Political Videos

Login Form

Lost Password?
No account yet? Register
Credit and support public schools PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Swain   
Saturday, 24 August 2013

jeffrey-swain_cc_fc_web.jpgPublic schools have become the whipping horse for America’s ills, yet they educate more than 50 million students annually amidst violence, insufficient funding and a culture of disrespect in which standardized testing falsely mischaracterizes all their work as ineffective.

Ill-informed commentators make unsubstantiated statements against public education while ignoring the plight of the schools. We give more attention to arming teachers than correcting the inequities in educational opportunity that Jonathan Kozol (Savage Inequalities) and other champions of education have delineated. It is morally wrong and statistically impractical to compare these schools to private or charter schools. 

Public schools produce some of our best professionals. In my graduating class of 1979 from Miami Northwestern High School in Miami’s Liberty City community, the top five graduates include Hazel Dean, who has a Ph.D. and works at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control; Joycelyn Lawrence, a pediatrician in Miami; Darlene Goring, a law professor at Louisiana State University; and yours truly, director of Academic Support Services at Florida Memorial University and teaching criminal and constitutional law. For added measure, Lorenzo Jackson, an attorney in South Florida, is also a stellar graduate.

I am certain the above list can be repeated across the country for other public schools.

How could Miami Northwestern produce graduates who can compete anywhere with anyone? Whatever we are, we owe it to public schools and public school teachers, one in particular, the late Ellen Heidt.

Teachers in public schools rarely get public credit for the tens of thousands of lives they impact during their careers and I have never heard one public school instructor say he or she cared more about tenure than children – not ever. I worked for Miami-Dade schools for 12 years.

Public schools take all students and cannot question citizenship, cannot turn down students who are not proficient in English and must accept and teach students with varying disabilities and exceptionalities.

Many charter schools take in none of these groups. The documentary Waiting for Superman shows parents agonizing over getting their children into coveted charter school slots through lottery. 

School funding usually has three levels: 70 percent from the state, 23 percent from local taxes and about 7 percent from the federal government.  It was when local tax bases were decimated after integration that city schools began to suffer.
After Orchard Villa Elementary School, also in Liberty City, was integrated around 1959 by the late community activist

and businesswoman M. Athalie Range and other black parents, whites abandoned the neighborhood and land values fell drastically, hindering funding of public schools.

That was repeated in many urban centers.

Perhaps Detroit’s collapse is the most notable modern example of an education system’s decline after businesses and whites left town, sapping the economic life out of the tax base and the overall economy.

“Pathetic” does not describe what was left behind.

Urban blight is really racial, economic and social isolation that leaves inner city schools with brilliant students who must go into prison-like environments surrounded by poverty.  However, that is not a reason to fail.
Finally, 50 million children cannot just opt out of public schools.

We must not let the detractors broadly paint all of the schools and educators negatively. Teachers were producing brilliant graduates long before standardized testing stole the spotlight and claimed false victories.

Tests don’t make successful students; teachers and principals do. Public school teachers are not lax. “Everyone,” says Dean Mildred Berry of Florida Memorial University, “owes his career to a teacher.”  

Dr. Jeffrey Dean Swain is vice-president of the International Black Doctorates Association Inc., an administrator/instructor of law at Florida Memorial University, author and minister. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College and he holds juris doctor and Ph.D. degrees.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 24 August 2013 )
< Prev   Next >
Google Glass, good for cooking, needs InternetGoogle Glass, good for cooking, needs Internet
NEW YORK — Google Glass is like a fickle friend. Surprises await, such as the time it took a photo of my ceiling while...
Microsoft reveals Siri-like Windows Phone featureMicrosoft reveals Siri-like Windows Phone feature
NEW YORK — Microsoft unveiled a new virtual assistant for Windows Phone devices last Wednesday as it seeks to gain tra...
FTC says operators of jerk.com deceived consumersFTC says operators of jerk.com deceived consumers
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Trade Commission says the operators of a website called Jerk.com are the ones behaving badl...
‘Rio 2’ dazzling but overloaded ‘Rio 2’ dazzling but overloaded
A vivid and delightful animated spectacle, Rio 2 is chock-full of colorful 3-D wonder and jubilant musical numbers set ...

News Article Comments

NRA-backed ‘warning-shot’ law on Scott’s desk
The proposed law changes deal with threatening to use deadly force, warning shots are the use of deadly force. The changes will actually water down the SYG law a bit like suggested by Taryvon Martin ...
Miami Gardens chief from North Miami
Congratulations and welcome to the City of Miami Gardens!
Doctors say prepare kids for summer camp
As a camp Director of Swift Nature Camp , I understand and see all the benefits of camp each and every summer. However, it is important to pick the right camp, especially in Fla. At this time they a...
Minority Groups defend Florida's Gay marriage ban
The kettle once called the pan black, the ignorance and arrogance of this group is mind blowing
National Civil Rights Museum reopens at site of King shooting
So happy to see this important museum reopen. Let's hope the politics stay out of the way of success.
Minority Groups defend Florida's Gay marriage ban
Can these groups not see the foolishness of their stance? Ignorance is not always bliss when you're so concerned with what other humans lives. Don't like gay marriage? Don't get gay married. DuH!
Workers to mark MLK assassination anniversary with rally
We cannot forget this important anniversary. Dr. King was murdered partly because of this strike.
Washington Park in need of improvement: OIC offering assistance
thanks for sharing this buon gi bay gio | may tinh de ban | tri ho |
Broward mayor’s success a tribute to late father
What a Great story! I stopped reading the article to say, "This is news that is Current, Local, about Living Legends and their descendants contributing to the African Diaspora. Keep Telling The Stor...
Minority Groups defend Florida's Gay marriage ban
Oh the shear hypocrisy of Blacks and Hispanics not supporting equal rights for all. We should be ashamed for using the same techniques used on us to deny rights to others which are guaranteed by the c...
Mall project a big break for 2 women
Congratulations are in Order! You BOTH Work Hard and Smart, and know how to have Fun while doing it. Your Intelligence and Hearts of Gold Will Pay off....GOD'S ABUNDANT BLESSINGS
Mall project a big break for 2 women
Your enthusiasm, drive and insight is truly inspiring. I wish you bot! many years of great achievements! Keep up the great work!
Mall project a big break for 2 women
What an awesome job ladies! This is the type is professionalism and success that motivates me and my business venture. I'm truly proud of you both. Keep up the fantastic work!
Broward mayor’s success a tribute to late father
Good story, anyone should be applauded for turning around their situation. But sometimes people don't act like they know where they came from and have not done anything for their community except to a...
Mall project a big break for 2 women
Congrats Ladies! Job well done!
Mall project a big break for 2 women
Congratulations Ann Marie!!! I'm so proud of you!!! Way to go! Keep your passion, and God will do the rest! Love you!
Mall project a big break for 2 women
I am so proud of both of you ladies! What a great example and a great job! I am most proud of Ann for defying the stereotypes and proving awesome things do come from the muck! Much continued success!
Miami Gardens: Don’t cut us out
If I were Ross I would move the team and dump the stadium. It is obvious Miami Gardens no longer appreciates what the Dolphins bring to the area but rather collect that guaranteed check. Great example...
Clinton says she's still considering future plans
Mushtaq Dean In this interview session, a woman showed her desire that Hillary should try to win the highest position and represent female population. She was single in her physical appearance but was...
The young are trapped by obsession with wealth
This is a well-conceived and well-written article and does, indeed, express my observations as well as my sentiments. In July, I will be on a panel at The Futurist Conference in Orlando discussing the...

The most influential African American weekly newspaper in South Florida

Beatty Media LLC