By Nehemiah D. Frank
Sometimes, reading in-between the lines can uncloak the scariest revelation imaginable: the undesirable self-truth that the “system” is a living and breathing bio-mechanical beast. And when the creature feels, threatened, provoked, or hungry, it “intervenes,” coming out of the shadows to vie with whatever entity that seemingly appears to counter it.
Moving about like a chameleon, the institution boasts of equity for every student in the state because it appears to have evolved with the times. Yet still, we have educational institutes named after men who committed treason to the U.S. government. And somehow, the names of these institutions were approved and continue to exist today – Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma is just one.
Sheriff Scott Walton’s rebuke of Oklahoman Rep. Regina Goodwin and Sen. Kevin Matthews’ efforts to issue a citation to honor the life of Terence Crutcher and the Terence Crutcher Foundation, is a tough reality check of where we really are when it comes to educating black children. The Terence Crutcher Foundation is an organization dedicated to sending young African-American men to college.
And even worse, the education system falling back on its promise of equity for all of its students.
Now, I’m not here to call out individuals by name, at least not today, but I was born to hold them accountable by echoing:
“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” – the Book.
Caution: I will call them by name if they don’t get their acts together.
Because it is their responsibility to fix the system. Especially for the least among us; for it is a harsh and nasty reality that those living on the margins of society, those closet to the bottom, always suffer the most. Even when it comes to education.
And stealing from the minds of marginalized children in order to save your failing institutions of superficial and gentrifying learning is the worst crime against humanity because you are aiding the hands of White Supremacy and you don’t even realize it.
Just remember that a lawsuit against the equity in schools, even if they are “public” charters that unequivocally serve a majority student that are of color, in this state means you are following in the footsteps of the dark legacy of Jim Crow.
“As noted, the original 1907 Oklahoma Constitution authorized the Oklahoma Legislature to provide separate schools for white and ‘colored’ children. Such schools were to be offered on a ‘separate-but-equal’ basis. The phrase ‘separate schools’ referred to the schools maintained for the minority race in particular districts. Different funding streams financed regular schools and separate schools.
‘Separate but equal,’ with emphasis on the ‘separate’ and little attention to the ‘equal,’ became the state of the state in America’s number forty-six.” – Apartheid in Indian Country? Seeing Red Over Black Disenfranchisement by Hannibal B. Johnson
Today, America’s forty-sixth state is ranked forty-eighth for education in the nation. And its public schools suspend African-American students at a rate over three times the national average.
These are just two reasons why black parents want options about where they send their children to school. They refuse to be forced to send their sons and daughters into schools where they fear they won’t be treated fairly.
And knowing that the Oklahoma state legislature has failed black children, why would anyone recommend this same entity, an entity that has also failed the majority of the students statewide, take the lead on equitable funding?
The sad fact is that the state legislature doesn’t care about education.
It is time for reform; we can do this together!
Nehemiah D. Frank is the Founder & Editor in Chief of the Black Wall St. Times. Frank is also the Co-Producer of “Black Coffee” and Co-Producer of the “Dominic Durant Sports Show.” He graduated from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL in General Studies, and earned a 2nd degree in Political Science from Oklahoma State University. Frank is a middle school History and English teacher, a blogger for Education Post, and has been nationally recognized for his activism work on NBC and Blavity. Nehemiah dedicates most of his time to empowering and uplifting his community and was recently awarded as a Terence Crutcher Foundation Honoree.