Dear Governor Huckabee,
Certainly not by creed, but by centuries-long practice, racial prejudice remains a festering pustule on the American psyche. Your erroneous comments last week, asserting that the Dred Scott vs. Sanford decision remains the law of the land, make it abundantly clear how institutional racism remains ‘a thing’ in 2015.
In his new work “Between the World and Me”, Ta-Nehisi Coates laments the hypocritical nature of the message he received in the Baltimore City Schools, “I was a curious boy, but the schools were not concerned with curiosity. They were concerned with compliance.” When managing misbehavior replaces academic instruction, intellectual development is stifled.
An old Winston Churchill quote has been getting a lot of play of late, but it bears repeating. “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, but only after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” The quip is applicable for so many of our endeavors, except for public education where we try the same thing over and over while expecting a different result.
When with peers the topic of conversation often turns to public education. One curmudgeon in the group invariably makes reference to “the good old days” marked by rote recitation of the times-tables, a time when all children were little engines of on-demand knowledge acquisition, and all teachers found a way to convey critical knowledge.
In his Remarks on the Youth Fitness Program in 1961, John F. Kennedy proposed that, “The Strength of our democracy and our country is really no greater in the final analysis than the well-being of our citizens.” That was more than fifty years ago.