It’s all the same, only the names will change

It’s all the same, only the names will change
Everyday it seems we’re wasting away
Another place where the faces are so cold
I’d drive all night just to get back home.
– Bon Jovi


Almost exclusively Black Clayton County (Georgia) loses its accreditation in 2009.

We could have been on Mars…

The Atlanta Public School (APS) scandal of 2011, perhaps the biggest academic scandal in America. 83 percent of those enrolled in APS are Black. The Atlanta Journal Constitution investigates other school systems – almost all majority Black- and finds massive cheating going on across the nation.

The city leaders in almost exclusively Black Memphis voted to dissolve Memphis City Schools (an insolvent system), and merge with the county:

About 85% of students in the city are African-American, and about 87% are considered “low-income,” according to court records. By contrast, many schools in the mostly suburban county have a majority of white, middle-class students. 

The county had resisted the merger and had filed a federal lawsuit, worried about the added responsibility of funding the city schools in a weak economy. Under the judge’s ruling, Shelby County officials will now be responsible for funding both systems.

Kansas City School District (another majority Black district) lost its accreditation in late 2011.

Detroit Public Schools (home to the lowest scoring students in America) was taken over by the state of Michigan in 2010. At 88 percent Black, every student eats a free lunch courtesy of you, the taxpayer. Plans for this takeover were started in 1999.

Philadelphia and Washington D.C. are under intense scrutiny for “miracle” test gains that stretch the credulity of those who privately know the findings of The Bell Curve to be true, but publicly know that giving credence to this racist screed would be career suicide.

But it is in Birmingham City Schools (located in Jefferson County, Alabama, which recently declared the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history) that a new low has been reached. Birmingham City Schools are 98 percent Black – yes, you read that correctly: 98 percent of students are Black! – and routinely battle with Detroit Public Schools for the worst test scores in America. In 2010, The Birmingham News reported:

Fifty-one schools in the Birmingham metro area — including 31 Birmingham city schools — are chronic failures, according to a list created by the state under new federal guidelines. 

Alabama has 264 “persistently low-achieving” schools, defined by a formula that factored in standardized reading and math test scores, graduation rates and other data from the past three years. 

All of the schools on the list serve poor populations and either receive federal Title I funds or are eligible for them. Title I funds are given to schools that have a high poverty level, where at least 35 percent of students participate in the free and reduced-price lunch program. 

The list includes 31 schools in Birmingham, six in Jefferson County, all four Tarrant schools, all three Midfield schools, three in Fairfield, two in Bessemer, one in Leeds and one in Shelby County. Birmingham has more failing schools than any other district in the state, including Mobile, which has more than twice as many students and 10 schools on the list. 

“We have more Title I schools than any other school system, so of course we have more schools on that list,” said Claudia Williams, chief academic officer for Birmingham City Schools.

On April 14, 2012, Tommy Bice – Alabama superintendent of education – assumed control of Birmingham City Schools from one of the most corrupt organs in all of America, the incredibly Black Birmingham Board of Education.

Remember, 98 percent of the students in Birmingham City Schools are Black. 85 percent of these students receive a free lunch at school.

The dysfunction of those in charge of the systems (all of these mentioned above were run by Black people before adults stepped in to takeover) that have come under intense scrutiny is mirrored in the poor academic performance of their Black children.

This is a snapshot of America in 2012. If one of these schools systems was failing, blaming Black people   wouldn’t be prudent. But because Detroit is not an anomaly; because Birmingham, Memphis, Atlanta, Kansas City, Houston, D.C., Philadelphia, and many other districts are faltering… well, it’s all the same.

Only the names will change.

The world is preparing for a post-American order; we’re still busy trying to find a way to close the racial gap in learning, without understanding that nature isn’t inclined to lend a helping hand to see this delusional goal come to fruition.

No matter what Teach for America hopes to accomplish, nature will always come crashing back to bust up the education party.

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