Submitted by Staff Writer, Kenyon Hill (

It has now become a yearly occurrence. As the school year progresses, teachers find themselves feeling more anxious as they await the dreaded ‘pink slip’, a reminder of the perilous state of their occupation.

Few states know the education crisis as intimately than we do in California, where education issues and cutbacks almost seem normal to us now. Teachers being let go, after school programs being scrapped and vital services (such as school busing) have been occurring at alarming rates for the past several years.

As with most problems, people often look for someone to blame. Teachers’ unions, administrative bigwigs and of course, teachers have often found themselves in the firing line or America’s failing education system. Often left out of this political ‘blame-game’ are parents.

As many of us know (or don’t know), education used to be our main objective as African American people as an important asset to achieving upward mobility. Students were often given the phrase ‘you have to be twice as good to be considered have as good’; I myself heard that statement from my father as a youth. Parents being hands-on with their children’s education used to be the norm, an obligation every parent needed and wanted to fulfill. Of course, this wasn’t unanimous; but it was definitely celebrated and encouraged.

I often hear stories from friends who are teachers about the struggles to cope with classrooms jam-packed with 30 students, who often are at 30 different levels in their education. Teachers speak to me about parents who don’t feel the need to attend parent-teacher conferences or check their own children’s homework nor care to. In defense, many parents are struggling to get by given our difficult economic times, but lest we forget, economic hardship and African Americans are nothing new; we persevered then and it is time to do the same now.

We hold our children’s educational destiny in our own hands.


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