Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Brinkley boycott

Last week was significant for Arkansas’ public schools. Every spring students take the benchmark exams, which supposedly help chart the progress being made to improve the system. Most of us probably have out doubts about the validity of such statistical snapshots, but these tests are important.

Some local activists contend that the Brinkley school board and administration does not pay attention to minority concerns. In order to draw attention to these grievances, the grownups decided to keep the children out of class. Yes, on what some would say is the most important week of the year, the children were kept out of class. That certainly did no good for their grades, and there is another small problem.

At the risk of being branded an irrelevant dinosaur, this decision to use the youngsters to make a point is doubly bad because it also teaches disrespect for education. Being a student should always be job one, and staying home sends the wrong message. I think the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolete, my teachers in grade school, would agree.

It would seem logical that children would value the same things that their elders treat with respect.

(Broadcast April 24, 2007)

I think it is unfortunate that Blacks in Brinkley had to resort to such a drastic tactic to get their concerns addressed. Budget cuts should not have just "happened" to remove all the Black administrators from the school system. Blacks in Brinkley have a history of having to resort to school boycotts to get anything done about their children's education. Perhaps they should consider the formation of a private school or charter school.
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