TSD Memphis

Fri04182014

Education or the lack thereof determines our youth’s future

If African-Americans are to rise above poverty and despair, it must be through education — the foundation of success. However, many of us, especially young males, have been duped into believing that seeking an education is “acting White,” being “square,” or, even worse, an “Uncle Tom.”... If African-Americans are to rise above poverty and despair, it must be through education — the foundation of success. However, many of us, especially young males, have been duped into believing that seeking an education is “acting White,” being “square,” or, even worse, an “Uncle Tom.”

This attitude has led many bright young people to abandon a classroom education for a street diploma, which leads to poverty, crime and, all too often, an early death.

A number of predominantly Black churches have decided they are going to make a difference by launching after-school programs to help elevate the level of achievement in elementary schools. This is a growing movement that is moving beyond the traditional limits churches place upon themselves and are once again becoming viable advocates in addressing the secular needs of Black people.

Studies have shown that from 3 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, are critical hours for students. School is out and many have no adult supervision. Most parents are at work and many students are not involved in after-school programs — a structured environment where they are tutored in academics and exposed to positive role models.

After-school programs should never be just a baby-sitting program, but an effort to propel students forward academically.

It would be good if all churches had a ministry that supplements education. This would go a long way toward making the slogan “Leave No Child Behind” a reality. If we can save one child, we will have accomplished something, but why not try to save as many as we possibly can?

We must come up with creative programs that capture the imagination of Black youth and inspire them to want to achieve. We must work to make sure children understand the benefits that accrue to them by mastering the various subject matter disciplines they are required to study.

Most experts are in general agreement that it is at about third grade level that young people who fall behind in school begin to do so. It is at this point that many parents whose academic accomplishments have been limited are at a disadvantage when it comes to helping their children with homework. When this factor is combined with the students’ lack of an understanding of the benefits they can expect from learning, students will find themselves at a crucial crossroads.

We must make sure that none of our children fall through the cracks of the educational system. The schools cannot do it all. The community must be there for our children particularly when circumstances dictate that the parents cannot.

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