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April 30th, 2014

Candidates Should Run for the Children

Lillie Howard

Taking into consideration that the upcoming school board election will be taking place on Tuesday May 20th I felt that I would give my readers some very serious food for thought. So far there are 11 individuals running for those four seats on the school board. Therefore I want to place some serious thoughts within your minds as it pertains to our children. These issues that I’m listing are very serious and should be given some very serious thought by not only our school board candidates but also the parents.

1) When children are chronically absent from school, their educational outcomes diminish and state funding for the school district dries up. Improving attendance and reducing truancy not only improves educational outcomes but it also seriously addresses our crime outcomes. What are your plans to seriously begin to address this issue?

2) In America, only 10% of 8th grade Black boys can read proficiently. If elected to the school board, how will you begin to seriously address this?

3) Black teachers throughout the nation are being seriously "Structured Out" of Education. How many African-American teachers do we have in our school district and what are your plans to seriously begin to address this issue?

4) Preschool Suspensions is a New Data Point for Civil Rights Data Collection. "School-to-prison pipeline starts in preschool for Black students with disproportionate suspensions and disciplinary action." Black children represent 18% of the students enrolled in preschool, but 48% of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspensions, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection. If elected to the school board what would be your way of addressing this most important issue?

These are only some of the major issues that needs to be seriously addressed, not only nationwide, but also within our own school district. Hopefully, there will be serious discussions held whereby we can hear what you, as our school board candidates, have to say on these issues. Our children are our most precious possessions, therefore we must be concerned about everything that concerns them. It takes numbers to get things done, therefore if once you are elected to the school board are you going to work with those whose concerns are for our students or will you side with those whose only concerns and interests are for them and their personal friends. Let your conscious be your guide.

It makes perfectly good sense to get directions when you are traveling to a new place. Culture and heritage are directions that will help you move forward. We have a rich culture and a powerful heritage. Yet we forget that our ancestors built the world, healed the sick and educated the ignorant. Why should we forget the African minds, bodies and spirits of the past who paved the way into today? We must accept and understand that they didn’t do it "because" they were Africans; rather they were Africans and they knew how to do it. Also, they didn’t do it for it to be lost. Culture is a rock in a hard place, and we know the Africans knew a great deal about rocks. Let us stand on the knowing of our ancestors, remembering the heritage of the people, the traditions of the family, and the wisdom and strength they used to make it through the rough days. To that I say that we must help our children to make it through these rough days that they are being faced with due to the negligence of the various school systems throughout the land.

This is Lillie’s Point of View!

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