barbarahowardweb.gifSometimes I look at the anointed, the appointed and the elected Black “leaders” and shake my head in utter disbelief.

Aug. 11 was no different. A group of the anointed, appointed and elected, led by State Sen. Frederica Wilson, a candidate for Congress this time, held a press conference protesting the FCAT – again.

Sen. Wilson, who has made her life’s work “protecting the children” from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, was accompanied by dozens of leaders from the African American community and the Miami-Dade School Board, according to a news report.

She was quoted as saying that because black children can’t pass the FCAT “they take drugs to numb their pain… they join a gang, they pick up an AK- 47, they sell drugs, they turn to crime, they’re jobless, they’re fearless, and they’re godless.”



Now the FCAT causes a life of crime? Are you serious? Does any local black politician have the courage and the character to run on their record?

I remember when former Gov. Jeb Bush was running for re-election in 2002 and Sen. Wilson was running for the Senate seat she now holds.  Her major campaign platform was that the FCAT would “take away our civil rights.”  You would have thought she was running against Jeb.

So here we are, eight years later, and the senator is still ranting and raving about the FCAT.  One would think that if her main purpose in life was to “save the children” and if her entire focus during her stint in the Florida Legislature was to continue to fund her own not-for-profit organization, “The 500 Role Models,” which morphed into “The 5000 Role Models,” she would not still be complaining about the FCAT.


If the 5000 Role Model program couldn’t even prepare the children to pass one lousy test, then what did it accomplish?

The teachers complain about “teaching the test.”  Well, if you teach the test and the children still can’t pass it, then shouldn’t we be looking for some new teachers?
And what about all the preachers at the press conference?  What happened to “I can do all things through Christ…”?  “No weapon formed against me…”?  “We must put on the whole armor of God”…? 

What happened to the encouragement that they preach every Sunday?  I guess the congregation’s children can do anything but pass a test created by a Republican Governor, huh?

From the very beginning, the black “leaders” demonized the FCAT as a tool of the evil, racist Republican Jeb Bush and his brother, then President George W. Bush, to use to leave every black child behind.  And that was before one child even took the test.

When are our anointed, appointed and elected “leaders” going to stop playing this dangerous game of creating fear and anger instead of encouragement,  just to win an election?


Do they truly believe that our children are too stupid to pass a test that every other ethnic group can pass?  If so, then why did five of my six grandchildren and my great grandson who took the test pass it the first time?  In fact one even scored in the 94 percentile. The only one who didn’t pass it on the first time is the one who spends most of his time trying to be a criminal and even he passed it the second time.

What about the young black girl who aced the FCAT and was recognized for it – just days before the now infamous press conference?  What about the thousands of children who did pass the test?  If politicians got as many votes as the children who passed the FCAT, they would call it a mandate.

Life is full of tests and each of us has to take them.  We either pass or fail.  Some you get to take over, like the FCAT which you can take up to five times.  But to tell our children that they are too stupid to pass a test that every other ethnic group can pass, because of racism, and then to say that if they don’t pass the test they become drug dealers, gang bangers and murderers is irresponsible, unethical and criminal.  In fact, it’s an outright lie.

And those who continue to promote fear and anxiety in our children just to promote themselves  are not leaders and they don’t deserve my respect.  And those who are silent  are complicit in their silence. They are the real criminals, the real gang leaders, who rule by fear and intimidation.  And we ought to do to them what we do to all criminals.

Only we black folks can stop this insanity.

To those who held the press conference,  the one thing we do agree on is, “Enough is enough.”

*Barbara Howard is president of Barbara Howard & Associates and the Florida state chair for the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E). She may be reached at