Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blog 105: The Loss of a Friend and a Brother

By Vernon M. Herron

     Dr. Edward W. Robinson, Jr. of Philadelphia, PA passed on Wednesday June 13, 2012. While he was a long time mentor of mine, he was an educator, an Attorney, a historian, an author, a producer, an entrepreneur, a friend, and a fraternal brother as well, who wrote the “Foreward” page of the Herron Speaks collection of the 100 blog postings.

     “Brother Ed’s” influence and writings can be seen in blogs 10 and 24 when he  describes the life and times of Queen Charlotte, and how Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte got their names and his description of the Medulla Oblongata Overlay.

     Philadelphia Tribune’s staff writer Bobbie Booker reports that “for generations, Robinson was directed toward one goal, to effect a positive change of attitude toward the ancestral value of people of African descent by the total world society through dramatically exposing the beauty, grandeur and sophistication of an Ancient Egypt and the Songhai Empire.”

     Another said, “his intellectual capacity was overwhelming including his knowledge of the true contribution and history of all peoples, especially Africans in the Diaspora which was encyclopedic.”

     At age 80, brother Ed produced a “tri-Racial comparative time line” which was commissioned by the National Keystone Mercy Health Corporation. “Black Rhapsody” was his noble piece according to author Charles L. Blockson.

     At age 94, brother Robinson departed this life, leaving behind Harriett, his beloved AKA wife of 41 years, as well as many friends and brothers.

     Let it be said with brotherly love, “To God be the glory.”

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blog 104: Why We Can't Fix Public Education

By Kenneth A. Simmons

   Whoever said that public education is broken? Public education does continue to work well for many students in Charlotte and across the country. Take a look at the crowded conditions our colleges and universities are currently facing with their freshmen enrollments. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte reports of its difficulty in containing the rising number of freshmen who are enrolling there in the fall of 2012. 
     On the other hand, take a close look at the overwhelming number of students who are failing and dropping out of our schools locally and throughout the nation. A fifty percent graduation rate and a fifty percent drop-out rate are horrible in 2012 and should be unacceptable. Don’t mention all the other horrible statistics that accompany such a scenario. 
     It is because of these facts that a handful of urban educators argue that education is seriously broken and will not be repaired anytime in the near future until a sufficient number of good citizens come to understand the cleverly engineered design that has been put in place to assure that these same conditions and circumstances will prevail for some time to come.
     Though the same outcome for children is occurring in our Northern schools as well, I am convinced that the political and social culture in the South has had a way of deceptively redirecting its good citizens to “look away.” 
     As those who are negatively affected and impacted practice “gentility” and good manners, our systems work frantically to implement practices and programs to guarantee that these horrible outcomes are not only pervasive but perpetuated.   
     Too many impacted and affected citizens become lulled into a hypnotic state that is fueled and guided by a lack of genuine understanding. Such reality has had the same intoxicating impact on their ancestors for over a century. This serious lack of information has made it almost impossible for a people to even begin to repair such a perplexing problem that exists in a system supported by local, state and federally generated funds. Shouldn’t the success and failure of all children be of concern to us all? 
     One of my heroes, the late Ron Edmonds, founder of Effective Schools Research, stated a few decades ago, “We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven’t so far.”    
      As I prepare to close, please allow me to share with you a piece that I have come to learn over the past almost forty years that is of the utmost importance if we truly are to make the much-needed repairs in education mentioned in this essay. 
     Though many of us are quick to blame poor parents for the plight of poor children’s education, this practice must come to a halt. While ineffective parenting is a major part of the problem, it is an outcome – just as the miseducation is. 
     Allow me to pause and apologize for what I am about to disclose because I know how much I will offend the so-called do-gooders in our community who are very much a part of the real problem. 
     They stand and have stood in our way throughout history. Unfortunately, their standing in the way has benefited them personally, which continues to motivate others to do the same, thus hurting the masses.
     Here in the South and at this hour, the only way to repair the damages inflicted on our failing youth and on our failing schools is to take a serious look at who is making the major decisions as to what is good for all children on a daily basis.
     Also, take a close look at those individuals who are placed in positions by the major decision makers to implement the decisions on a daily basis. If you are fair, courageous and insightful enough, you will see that “status quo” continues to be the name of the game. 
     The implementers who are appointed by the decision-makers are more pleased with their earned perks than they would ever be with making a difference for poor children.
     What was perceived by the major decision-makers to be good for everybody in 1865 has not changed dramatically today, though some improvements have been made.  It is my fervent desire that even though some big toes may be stepped on as a result of this delivery, there will be those who will comprehend and care enough to say ‘write on.”
Kenneth Allen Simmons is a graduate of West Charlotte High School and the University of North Carolina. He has served in 15 administrative positions with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System and has received numerous affiliations, awards and recognitions.