Posts Tagged ‘education’


We will work together as brothers or perish as fools.  Lawd, I evidently have a wide array of friends and this election season has created a civil war on my facebook page.  As Rodney King famously said, “Can’t we all just get along.”  Hell nawl  .

This country was built on a shaky foundation—stolen from the Natives, stolen labor from Africa, women were second class citizens.  At some point, there would be a correction or reconciliation.  Of course, those who benefited would be reluctant to change.

Donald P. Trump didn’t create the current climate.  Hell, Trump is a professional personality—more P.T. Barnum than anything.  The guy is an opportunist who recognized the anger of a certain part of the population…a part of the population that really has nothing to do with him.

I appreciate Donald Trump for saying out loud what others are thinking.  Basically, they want their country back—the country they stole fair and square.  The country that affords certain privileges based on skin color.  (Oh, don’t act like African Americans didn’t do the same thing inside our race…running behind redbones, so-called good hair etc….cast the first stone, my brother.)

Malcolm X often taught that progress starts with putting your true feelings on the table—even if you are considered wrong by others.  If he was with us today, he would hate Trump’s views of Islam but appreciate him saying what was really in his twisted head.

To me, the biggest supporter of Hillary Clinton for president is Donald Trump with a properly functioning microphone.  Mr. Trump, please continue to speak your mind.  If Trump becomes president, those who Democrats seek to help deserve whatever the blank happens to them because they didn’t vote.  I don’t like being separated from my brothers but my brothers vote.

I also appreciate the debate surrounding the Georgia amendment that would give the governor’s office the right to privatize or closed under performing schools.  First, many of these schools are in our communities and kids should have good educations.  However, this horrible amendment is a Trojan Horse; a hidden effort to open up school choice.  Again, Malcolm X acknowledged men and women who spoke their minds rather than those who had undisclosed agendas.

Actually, school choice is a debate we can have because parents should have the options of moving their kids to private schools with a little of their money or teaching them at home.  Personally, I think homeschool kids are too sheltered but that is just me.

Our community must vote because leaders make decisions involving everyone based on what they hear from the few who vote and speak up.  The same people seeking to get their nation back with Trump are also trying to figure out a way to keep their kids away from certain kids and certain teachers.  It’s the resegregation of the school systems.

Let me say something rough: many schools are jacked up for real.  However, I am the only one who will honestly say that poor schools start with poorly prepared kids and parents.  Oh, the school is a lovely building and the teachers well-trained but rotten, half-raised kids will deflate the spirit of teachers and poison the educational process for the majority of youth.

Some kids are raised by the streets and crime-oriented sexy music videos.  They don’t know how to focus in school because video games have spoiled their minds.  Of course, we could focus at school because we learned how to pay attention at church.

We should consider the path Blacks have taken into the middle class. If you think about it, the surest way into the middle class for many Blacks was government work: the military, civil service, nursing and most of all teaching.  This election is an attack on that path because a Trump White House would make the military risky for everyone, the state governments want to privatize civil jobs and the Opportunity School Board Amendment would lead to private companies running schools.  Those companies would replace experienced teachers with new educators who cost less.


Bottomline: Good communities, schools and nations don’t happen without honest debate, focused people and hard work.

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Is every college really a college? An industry has developed around funneling unwitting people into a questionable segment of the educational system and the federal government could be directly or indirectly involved.  Today the for profit higher education sector is mired daily in controversies and its benefits to those it purports to serve is questionable at  best.  This press release is an example of the problem.



Firstly, college and technical college, like anything worth doing, should be hard. In my day, students said they “took” this degree and that degree from creditable institutions. You knew the creditability because the schools were state institutions or private ones accredited by known sources. While I loved President Obama, I disagree with his effort to have everyone go to college (higher training and life-long learning, yes) but college is different. I hate commercials about making college easy and working around busy schedules. If I spent the first six years of my adult life eating noodles and writing papers, a person who went directly into the workforce to make money is in a different situation. Many of my friends who make six-figures simply took a job weeks after high school or went into the military and worked their way up.

To be honest, people who are “between opportunities” often consider school as an educational option that brings money into the household and there is nothing wrong with that. They should enroll in the local state college or select a major at the state-run technical colleges.

However, proprietary or for-profit schools are signing up loads of students from minority communities who aren’t familiar with the financial aid process. “Just sign here and you will have some cash in your hand every few months.” These students don’t know that most of this money is simply a student loan, the cost of the school is higher than a state school and some of the diplomas they might receive wouldn’t be as accepted as traditional ones. The wiki page on this topic is a real eye opener.


“If this problem was true, surely my congressman would be on top of this matter.” Child, please. The Wall Street firms behind these schools are some of the biggest contributors to both political parties. The student loan default rate for these schools is astronomically high and taxpayers’ money ultimately secures the loans. We are starting to hear more and more from former employees of the corporations behind these schools and the federal investigators are learning the real deal.

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hill harper
Between Barrack Obama and his Harvard Law School classmate actor Hill Harper, I surprisingly think that Harper could have as big an impact on young Americans of all colors.  Hill has dedicated his life to sharing positive information with others.  Below are my notes from his first book.  The underline sections are the beings of paragraphs that I really found useful.

Letters To A Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny         Author: Hill Harper

Xii           I want young men to have knowledge of the things that bring them true empowerment: education, a strong sense of purpose, compassion, confidence, and humility to name a few.

Xvi          It is no coincidence that both my mother and father became doctors just as it is no accident that I graduated from Brown University magna cum laude and received graduate degrees with honors from Harvard Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government.  My family taught me that doing my best, educating myself, and being in service to others were not optional and that having values and being truthful were not negotiable.

p. 5         You will live longer, become better educated, make more money and be happier than the previous generation.  You are here to improve the human race, and you need to embrace that.

p. 8         A good man is honest, lives his life with integrity, and behaves responsibly.

p. 9         Be Balanced

p. 13      You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.

p. 14      While it is important to have friends, it’s also important to realize that you, completely on your own, have to be able to make yourself happy.

p. 17      There is nothing wrong

p.  20     Luckily, as I matured

p. 21      Rejection is God’s protection

p. 21      So the most important thing I learned is that my absentee parent didn’t leave me, she left the situation.  My mom left the relationship with my father because she felt she had no other choice.  Even though your father may have left when you were a baby, it’s important that you realize he didn’t leave you.  He didn’t even know you.  Your father left for reasons that had nothing to do with you.

p. 24      Truth be told

p. 24      Also, you may not

p. 33      Will Smith: Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.

p. 34      School, as hard as it may seem, is easier than the real world.

p. 36      The only two areas in your life where you should allow yourself to owe someone else money is for school (education debt) and when you buy your house – and notice I’m saying “when” you buy your house not “if” – that’s what we call “mortgage debt.”

p. 42      Hey, man

p. 44      General Colin Powell: “There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

p. 44      “Working smart” means using your brains first to formulate a plan of how to “work” most effectively.  If you are working smart, you are first very clear about what you want to achieve – that’s your goal. Then, before you take the first step toward achieving that goal, you use all the knowledge and information you have at your disposal to decide what the most effective route will be to get there.

p. 66      “There are some things that money can’t buy.”  In fact,, if you break it down, money can buy one thing, and one thing only and you know what that is?  Options.  Money cannot buy you freedom or happiness or love.  If you have enough money, it gives you options as to what you can do in your life and with your life.

p. 68      More focus needs to be put on developing an inner happiness, doing what you love, and having faith that if you do these things, the money will come.

p. 69      For instance

p. 74      The first car

p. 79      Girls are attracted

p. 81      Women care about much more than just external things.  A woman wants a man who will treat her with respect and wants to do fun things with her and make her laugh.

p. 82      Sanaa Lathan: All I want to know is can I talk to him?  Is he really interested in getting to know how my mind works?  Does he truly listen when we talk?  Do we have fun, do we laugh, and ultimately how do I feel when we’re together?  Be careful of wearing too much bling cuz it might outshine your better qualities.

p. 87      Throughout the history of the world more men have been brought down and had their lives destroyed because of their irresponsible sexual activity than by any other single act.

p. 88      Sex is not a bad thing.

p. 89      And remember, just because a woman wants to have sex with you, it doesn’t mean you should feel you have to have sex with her.

p. 90      Men have lost

p.  92     Gabrielle Union: Oftentimes as girls and women

p. 99      Let’s face it-mistakes

p. 101    Mistakes are decisions we have control over.  And you can make a mistake in an instant, which is why it’s important to know who you are and what you stand for before you find yourself in a situation where you make a wrong decision.

p.  103   It seems a recurring theme

p.  111   So let me set you straight- making money is not a goal.  Making money is a result.

p. 114    If you find what you love to do then, ‘hard work’ becomes easy – it’s more fun than just chillin’ or doing some job just for the money.  If you’re doing something you love, working hard at it is more fun than working just to work; now that’s hard!

p. 116    Venus Williams: School is very important

p. 122    Here are some questions

p. 128    I’ll give you an example….Barrack Obama

p. 129    You have to first, dream; and second, work hard to achieve those dreams.

p. 135    “There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen; those who wait for things to happen; and those who sit and wonder what happen.”

p.  155   Every day we are faced with challenges and choices.  Some are harder than others.  And sometimes, what seems like a big deal at the time doesn’t matter at all a week later.  The one thing I’ve learned is that if I approach each day with an attitude of gratitude, even the most difficult challenges fail to bring me down.

p. 156    Obama: Life appears to be hard

p. 161    Wealth comes from knowing both your value in the world, as well as the value of the blessings life has brought you- family, friends, future opportunities, health, and the opportunity for true unreasonable happiness.  You win when you embrace all of these and look toward the future with a positive attitude.  So yes, you are wealthy already if you just look around you.

p. 163    Another wealth component


p. 167    Mantras and affirmations are strong tools that have been used for thousands of years in prayer and meditation.

I promise:

–          To be strong so that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.

–          To make everyone feel that there is something special in them.

–          To look at the positive side of everything and make my optimism come true.

–          To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.

–          To learn from the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

–          To have a cheerful presence at all times and give every living creature I meet a smile.

–          To give so much time and effort to the improvement of myself that I have no time to criticize others.

–          To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

–          To be a light for others, not a judge of others.

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School choice and family planning are two topics I would love to hear discussed in my community because they are at the foundation of our futures.  However, I want that discussion to take place around a discussion table sixty or seventy years ago. 

A.G. Sadler Sr., third seated from left

A photo of my father and his fraternity brothers meeting at the local Black college hangs in my mother’s den.  The organization wore Black and Gold and he was old enough to actually know founders personally but it could have been a meeting of any Black fraternity or sorority of that time because they were all committed to moving the race forward.  You can see the steely determination in their eyes: we as a people would have the opportunity to learn, earn and prosper in this great nation and the sky would be the limit once those doors of opportunity opened. 

If we had a time machine or a portal to the past (like a smart phone app), we could tell these gentlemen that we were from 2012 and that a Black man was in the White House…a Black man without a mop.  Since most of the men in that picture were college professors or public school educators, I want to know their opinions on school choice.

Today, we recognize that public school K-12 education needs a top to bottom overhaul.  I personally think that the teachers enter the profession ready to teach and that the facilities are generally acceptable in my area.  For a myriad of reasons, some of the kids just aren’t ready, willing and able to learn.  I think the foundation of education is discipline or obedience learned at home and church. 

Those guys in that photo didn’t question their parents in their generation and neither did we in my generation.  Today, I hear kids ask their parents “What?” and “Why?” with a tone that would have never happened in my day.  One of the men in that photo was likely the dentist that my father would have taken me to see after he knocked my teeth out for saying “What.”

We should discuss parents having a tax credit or voucher to put their children in the best quality educational situation.  When schools in the South were integrated, White private schools popped up in every county.  But, I can remember the dedication of the educators from the all-Black schools.  A period of “separate but equal” would have been fine with many Blacks because they wanted fairly funded schools more than forcing us to attend school with people who thought of us wrongly. 

When we debated school choice as congressional staffers in the 1990s, I would always argue that private schools would cherry-pick the best students and those remaining in the public schools would be students from families that couldn’t afford to get out.  If the best 20% opted for private schools, the worst 20% should have a voucher to attend a special school after getting kick out of regular school. 

Public policy can’t solve the education problem because the ultimate problem is that some people are having children before they are prepared to raise and nurture them.  To me, people shouldn’t get married until they are around 24 years old and they should then wait 24 months before having kids (a waiting period to ensure that the marriage is viable.)  Before 24 years of age, people could be finishing their education and training, moving up in the workplace and having fun socially.  Children should come into the mix when folks are ready to be parents like those Alphas in that old photo.  Instead, we have kids having kids and early grade teachers are half educators and half parents. 

Current conservatives trip me out with talk of abortion and welfare.  The guys around that table never envisioned people having the government deeply involved in their lives. They were concerned more with anti-lynch and opportunity.  The conservative men in that photo would have a lot to say about the long-term effect of LBJ’s policy that would come in a decade or two. 

A recent study indicates free birth control dramatically reduces abortion and teen pregnancy.  Since the far Right conservatives are rightfully concerned with governmental spending, they should know that abortions and public assistance goes down if fewer pregnancies occur in the first place.  The guys in that picture could discuss the wrongness of abortion and premarital sex as well as the wrongness of hungry children and struggling families.  Reasonable people know that you can’t always push your faith’s beliefs into the public policy of a diverse nation. 


The achievement-oriented Blacks of my fathers’ generation would be disappointed to learn that music is crime and sin-based and hip hop shapes the mindset of our youth more than parents and church.  If those guys in that picture were transported into current times, they would figure out a way to get the best education for their families.  Unfortunately, those pioneers in education would be compelled to seek schools for their families that kept their kids away from certain elements without regard to race.  Oh, I would teach government and tennis at an all-male school that brought academic heat all day every day–a place where gentlemen were built.

Teaching the guys in that photo was easy because they were enthusiastic about learning; it was learn or be an unofficial slave during Jim Crow.  If they had a window on today at that table, they would be flabbergasted with the way our youth are carrying themselves and disappointed with the squandering of opportunities.

I enjoyed hearing this speech by Kappa founder Edward G. Irvin.


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It’s madness to do the same things year after year and expect difference results.  So, I decide to acknowledge the brilliance of the guy who started the Khan Academy to reform education.  But first, I would like to invite anyone to join our ESPN NCAA basketball groups for the men and women tournaments.  The group names are “Jawja Hoops” in both contests.  Let the basketball and rethink ranting begin.

Rethink Education: Clearly, our education system needs retooling and Salman Khan has a fresh approach.  In my community, I simply wish parents would start with using better grammar 24/7 to stop contradicting what is taught at school.

Rethink College Basketball: College basketball shouldn’t be a stepping stone for the NBA and we should have a farm system in smaller cities (similar to baseball) for those who want to be pros.  Student athletes should be just that.  In other words, the NBA D-League should be developed.

Rethink Politics and Religion: In America, we have the freedom to select our faith and politicians’ faith walks should be the foundation of their character.  They shouldn’t attempt to force their particular church on the population as a whole.  So, Mitt Romney should put the nutty factions in his party in their places about his church and any other faiths that they find “different.”

Rethink Political Leaders: The next crop of political leaders should be much better than the current ones.  On the Right, conservatives should get back to being pro-business and smaller government rather than the promoters of the next Civil War.  On the Left, liberals are actually limiting personal development with their socialist policies.  We need leaders who will speak to the people (straight, no chaser) about the limited role of government and importance personal responsibility.

Rethink Campaign Finance:  My new congressman is Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia and he was a true campaign finance rebel as a candidate for governor.  He spoke wisely of limiting the amount of contributions and that got me thinking.  Everyone knows that money runs campaigns and that those who gave money will later want something from officeholders.  If I designed a congressional candidate from the ground up or from day one, I would tell my guy to take the average income in the area, add a few zeros and that would be the total amount raised for the campaign.  (For example, 32K in average income = 320,000 funding limited.)  If elected, that person would belong to the people and wouldn’t spend time kissing up to lobbyists. 

Rethink Black Conservatives: Peace to my brothers and sisters on the political Right…I feel you…I really do.  To me, your side is right (pun intended) more often than not; but the ugly ways and methods of the far Right make the GOP unacceptable for most Blacks.  There is no place for less bitter, moderate Americans in that party.  If Jon Huntsman won the GOP nomination, I would have strongly considered voting for him in November but you cats gave cool people the boot. 

Rethink Black Liberals:  At some point, it’s not about “the man” holding us down.  It’s about us holding us down.  We must return to the driven African-Americans who beat Jim Crow; the people who knew who they were and whose they were.  The next generation of CBC members must honestly inform the community that improves start in your house…not the U.S. House.   

Rethink Hip Hop: Most of current hip hop stinks out loud.  The music glorifies the worst elements of our community and I can’t tell college students from thugs and strippers.  I know artists are free to express themselves but come on now.

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What are soft skills?  The front of the Albany (Georgia) Herald today has a story about state official Melvin Everson coming to Albany to emphasis soft skills in K-12 education.


Soft skills include punctuality, ability to learn, appropriate business attire and teamwork.  Really?  Reading that article was a long blink second for me.  My homeboy Richardson (Fort Valley State, Omega, teacher) talks about long blinks when realizing what the youth today don’t know or refuse to learn—it’s called good, old fashion common sense or home training.  You learn it from the community, church, sports, band or working (as we did) in the “fields.”

Because I could talk and dress, I got out of the watermelon fields in high school and behind the microphone at “WRSG…radio Sylvester.”  To be honest, I did say there was a 60% chance of precipitation during a downpour but I was trying.   A lady called and said, “genius…there is a 100 percent chance..look out the freaking window.”

Many Americans learned soft skills from watching Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best, Family Ties, The Cosby Show, Family Matters and Good Times.  James and Florida raised quality kids in a rough environment; they were a strong family. 

Guys learn it by listening to oldheads in the barbershop and I imagine girls do the same in hair salons.  Everson learned it at our Albany State University and in the U.S. Army.  During his candidacy for state labor commissioner, I told Melvin that he would have had my vote in the general election because he was a Golden Rams and gets it. 

Everson is a conservative and fully conscious of the budget constraints facing the state and national governments.  So, I want to help Everson and former congressman, now Governor Nathan Deal save some money (Deal is cool because he always supported peanuts and other south Georgia crops.)

Georgia should create a program called the “Chameleon Project.”  As we know, the chameleon is a little lizard that changes to camouflage itself in different settings.  Of course, today’s youth want to be hard and thuggish like some hip hop stars.   Newsflash: your hip hop heroes send their kids to prep school in the suburbs because only a nut wants to be in the hard life–ask prisoners.  As the late, great Bernie Mack said, “If you went to jail for someone else…you aren’t a punk…you are a new fool.”  The Mack man said he would have been jumping up and down in court with his hand up, “he kilt that boy, your honor..I tried to call you but I didn’t have your number.”   I digress. 

The Chameleon Project would show young people how to learn from everyone, how to switch attire to secure the cool mall job and how to speak clearly and properly.  Watching the right T.V. shows can improve soft skills.  If a person says “youknowwhatIsayin” constantly, I don’t.  The smooth tone on NPR radio would give a young person a vocal camouflage option.  Cuban immigrant and former CEO of Coca Cola Robert Goizueta taught himself English by watching the same movies over and over.  We know some people can turn it on and off like a faucet but if you can’t, default to the manner of speech that puts legal money in your pocket.

It is a shame that young people spend so much money on clothes (not made in America) but don’t have a dark suit to wear to their grandmother’s funeral.  FYI: cut the tag off the sleeve.  The unofficial hero on the Chameleon Project is Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver.  Eddie was a cutup but he could pour on the charm when parents were around.  In the courtship and employment interview processes, we oldheads like to see a young man who can rock the classics….Blue Blazer…presses white button-down…khakis..penny loafs… prep tie.  I was crushing the sweethearts’ mommies with that gear in 82 and it was the same gear my father wore at A&T in 32.  That functional outfit could be put together in Wal-mart for under $100 bucks.  

That Eddie Haskell

I once worked in a job skill training program and the clients/students always said that this information should have been introduced to them ten years earlier–before certain paths were chosen.   So, Deal and Everson are on the right track because moving into management will require more than the basic technical skills.   I bet the youth in developing nations are as sharp as a razor and clean as a whistle; they have the eye of the Tiger.

Melvin, check this out, oldschool..holla at your boy.”  Translation: “Mr. Everson, look here, fellow alum..contact me for additional discussions regarding this matter.”

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What should children learn as they head back to school?

The start of the school year is filled with promise but I have serious concerns about the American education system.  First, kids have much better resources than we had but we had home training, which was actually home, church, and community training.  It was important that we knew when to sit down, be quiet and focus.  From 150 T.V. channels to Xbox, today’s kids like flashy and that makes good old fashion teaching boring.

Newsflash: much of life in the real world is boring and making yourself do what you don’t want to do is an important part of growth and development.  Children should arrive at the logical conclusion that they will be in school anyway so why not gain knowledge that will make their futures better.  Every subject from my school years has come up in life at some point and in some way.  When Black kids study American history, they should develop an understanding about the past and their obligations to strive into the future.  The revolving door on American prisons indicates that should young people don’t value the freedom many fought to obtain. 

High school economics is a needed subject in my opinion because kids need to know about conspicuous consumption, cost-benefit analysis, risk/reward and delayed gratification.  Even people who make 60K plus working in industry without college degrees should know that material things aren’t that important and everyone shouldn’t know what you have.  We should hope that kids learn to be balanced, law-abiding, happy citizens.  They should also learn that it’s not the government’s job to take care of you; the government doesn’t love you like that.

Teachers enter the profession fully prepare to perform but the half-raised part of the student body will ruin the learning process for all involved.  A stress-out teacher’s thoughts turn to mortgage and SUV payments—so they take it.  As the Negro hymn goes, “before I be a slave..I will be buried in my grave.” I would sooner stave that allow a student to disrupt school while disrespecting me.  To be honest, the wrong folks are having too many kids at the wrong time and they would be the first to tell you that—ten years later.


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