With Black History Month concluded, let us not put our history or race problems in the background because of the nation’s first African-American president of whom we are all proud. A major issue that will test our unity as a people was Mayor Daley’s recent appointment of Ron Huberman as the new CEO of Chicago Public Schools. It was an insult mainly to African-American parents, whose children make up more that 60 percent of CPS’s enrollment.
Mr. Huberman’s resume disqualifies him to be in charge of any school system that deals with children, public or private, in this city or any other city in the country. The reality in 2009 is that, historically, the Chicago public school system has not, is not now, and conceivably by the major’s recent action, will not educate mainly all black children and Latinos to their maximum potential. Why black children mainly? Because research data shows that the white/black student achievement gap is the widest among any other races in Chicago public schools. After over 10 years of school reform, the majority of African-American students are still failing.
Adding insult to injury, Mayor Daley’s action proves that education exploitation and institutional white racism is alive and well as an indigenous cancer in Chicago. Daley’s action proves that he’s only concerned about controlling state and federal funds for education in order to keep the apartheid school system in place. There is an African proverb that says: “Children are the rewards of life.” The only resources that we exercise any degree of ownership over are the products of our life: our children.
Therefore, black parents must always ask themselves, “What are our children worth to us?” Do we, as I do, consider them priceless and worth every ounce of energy – mental and physical? Now the question becomes critically important: How much do we really value our children’s future? Do we permit them to fail in life because of a faulty educational appointment at the top? Or, do we struggle to ensure them of educational success? What price is the glory if our children continue to remain behind in reading and cannot count efficiently?
Voice your choice – Huberman or your children? Regardless of what we say we believe, our actions will always speak louder than words. Do we love Daley so much and his silent black aldermen that we allow them to continue 10 more years of not educating the majority of black students to their maximum potential? What does it profit a community materially if its children become academic outcasts?
Remember, during the historic last month, and the remaining months of the year, the major media will focus all its attention on our new president; rightly so given the state of our nation. Thus, we African-American adults must not lose sight of our mission and responsibility to our children. What must we do?
First of all, it is incumbent on all serious black men to stand up, come forward and reclaim our rights to control our destiny and not be afraid to support black mothers in this serious protest. This is an affirmation that we will not deviate from: regardless of aberrant social pressures from City Hall.
Secondly, let us be examples to our children by showing up or calling organizations for future bold actions against Daley’s appointment, even if it takes all year. Huberman must be replaced by any means necessary.
Black parents: stand firm in the belief that indeed -“Children are the rewards of life.”