Sunday, May 13, 2007

Flint Needs Educational Choice Today by Akindele Akinyemi

For many, many moons I have been keeping my eye on the City of Flint and their educational system.

The Flint Community Schools, like many other school districts in Michigan, are based on a factory model. Ironically, this is the same city where General Motors was founded at the turn of the 20th century. So I guess the schools would fit right into the factory model.

When I say factory model I am speaking on how students were to go to school, become programmed and upon graduation find a job or go to college. Many of our people who migrated from the South to escape Jim Crow (which was created by liberal Democrats) found themselves working at the auto plants.

So guess what? We find that many brothers and sisters in Flint did not have to go to college. Why? Because many of us were making money building cars for GM in Flint. I mean how many people remember Buick City right off I-475?

Now the City of Flint is in complete decline. Auto plants have closed as well as massive layoffs. Along with that a liberal leadership in Flint has placed the city in reverse.

How do we bring back Flint? Can this even be done?

We have to ask those questions because Flint is in the same boat as Detroit. High crime, high STD rate and failing schools.

Flint can be brought back to life by utilizing several steps.

First, the educational system needs to be completely overhauled. I recommend that community and educational leadership begin to break the mode of thinking liberal as if you are stuck on a plantation. This city needs a spiritual revolution. What happened when liberals took God out of schools? The self dignity, respect and love of the school system went right out the window.

Second, the recent elections to the school board in Flint demonstrates that we are comfortable with the same old thing. School boards are going to be a thing in the past in the next 20 years (if not less than that). Parents are tired of the infighting as well as broken promises.

The City of Flint will begin to bounce back by the installation of educational empowerment zones. The concept originally comes from the Buckeye Institute in Ohio. However this version had to be modified because here in Michigan we do not have vouchers.

While in Ohio the Buckeye Institute are proposing to have EEZs as a combination of continued Community School growth and an expanded education voucher available to the middle-class in Flint we would use EEZs as a combination of charter school and traditional schools that will be available to both lower and middle-class. EEZs encourage urban living, helping to reverse the exodus of residents to the suburbs.

Parents want to live where they have access to good schools. The declining quality of the public schools in Flint, among other factors, has led to the loss of hundreds of thousands of residents in recent decades. The poor quality of traditional public schools in these cities hinders any attempts at revitalization.

Working and middle class families with children are vital to neighborhood and city building because they have higher incomes and are more economically and socially stable.

In addition to giving city residents access to quality schools, EEZs are estimated to have a number of positive effects on the city as a whole. Higher school quality will boost housing values. By raising the quality of schools available to city residents through EEZs, housing prices will rise and in turn raise the average incomes of city residents.

The City of Flint should lobby for the University of Michigan-Flint to establish alternative teacher certification programs for those who are making the transition from one career to the next without taking up 2-3 years to become certified in the State of Michigan. This would speed up the transition from those teachers who have been teaching for 30 years in the school district to bringing new people with a fresh perspective on education.

Democratic control of Flint has hurt the city politically. This is due to the unions. Remember, these are the same teacher unions that are against charter schools, yet, they have kept the status quo for decades as people have been moving out the city. No change yet. It does not make any logical sense to run for office for a party that has never had our best interest. Democrats run all the time in Flint, yet, no change. It does not matter if they are young or old how come the city is STILL in the same condition it was 20 years ago?

Let me take it from this angle. During slavery, the slavemasters kept the status quo by having the field slaves work in the field all day. If you tried to escape massa would kill you or maim you. If you were caught reading during slavery you were either subjugated to go into the field with the rest of the illiterate slaves or killed. They used psychological influences to keep you physically in check.

Today, when we look at Flint this mentality is still present. The very educational system that people rely on in Flint has failed them. Yet, you have teacher unions who are against charter schools and other educational choices. Why? To keep you in check. They fabricate information about charters so you will not free yourself.

The Democratic Party were in charge of slavery back in the 18th-19th century. They were the ones lynching Blacks at the turn of the 20th century. Now, they do not want to give your children an educational choice. When I was in Flint recently I asked several people in both middle-class and low-income families about charter schools. Surprisingly, they want more options.

The only way the City of Flint can bounce back from an economic depression is to begin to look at various ways to revolutionizing the school system. Part of that is allowing educational options for our children as well as alternative teacher certification programs and universal tax credits.

This network, through our One Choice PAC, do not support ANY candidate who is anti-charter. Anyone who wants to continue keeping us on the plantation will be targeted. It is about time that the parents and community leaders in Flint support our efforts for more choice.

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