Black Excellence

Cormell Padillow, a great debater in the making

Photo Credit | The BWSTimes; Cormell Padillow poses after successfully debating Joshua Tacha at TU. 


Write Up By Nehemiah D. Frank 

TULSA — Cormell Padillow, known as CJ to his family, friends, and teachers, is a fierce debater and a sophomore at Langston Hughes Academy. 

This past spring, Padillow traveled with his debate coach and teacher, Justin Daniels, to Washington D.C., for the 2018 Urban Debate National Championship.

He’s a young black male who takes his debating seriously.

Last Friday, at the University of Tulsa, CJ participated in Tulsa Debate League’s Debating Educational Equity event.

His opponent, Joshua Tacha, another bright star and a Junior from Will Rogers High School, argued in the affirmative.

However, Padillow’s candid syllogisms were methodically brilliant. To the likes of a veteran, his points were orderly, relevant, and logical.

His first contention is perhaps the most thought-provoking objection, which challenges every American to take heed of the little-known fact that most white Americans are obliviously privileged from recognizing: Brown v. Board of Education dramatically decreased the African-American pedagogical presence in US schools.

Although tough to swallow, Padillow’s statement profoundly examines and exposes a fracture in a major US landmark supreme court case, and he’s just a teenager who’s only been debating for two years. 

“Brown v. Board of Education saw a huge decrease in the amounts of African-American teachers, principals, and staff in general,” he explained to an audience filled with educators, elected officials, and college professors. Next, he backed his claim up with factual evidence: “A professor of educational policy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison stated ‘after Brown v. Board of Education 38,000 black teachers and administrators lost their jobs.'”

Padillow’s next counterargument, against the affirmative’s, trails his concerns regarding how those implementing the educational policies of Brown v. Board of Education mishandled the process in reaching equity and equality in education.

“Low-income minority schools are unequal because of a lack of funding and resources,” and that as a result “most minority schools can’t compete with higher-income schools.”

He subsequently contextualized his syllogistic points by injecting race into the discourse. He was frank in laying-out the hard facts: Most well-funded schools happen to possess a majority white student population.

“They [policy makers] think that because there is more diversity in the school that thereby means they [black students] will have less educational attainment,” which is why less funding gets allocated to schools with a majority black student population. This  social-theory on inequitable funding practices applies to traditional public and free public charters with a majority black student population.

Padillow thoroughly believes, “Equitable funding is the best way to solve the inequalities in education today. There is no other solution.” 

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Nehemiah D. Frank is the Founder & Executive Editor of the Black Wall St. Times.  Frank graduated from Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL in General Studies,  and  earned a Political Science degree from Oklahoma State University. He is highly involved in community activism, a middle school teacher at Sankofa School of the Performing Arts, a blogger for Education Post, and dedicates most of his time to empowering and uplifting his community of North Tulsa, home to America’s Black Wall Street. Frank is a 2017 Terence Crutcher Foundation Honoree and the Community Impact Award for the MET Cares Foundation and has been featured on NBC, Blavity, and Tulsa People. Frank recently gave a TEDx Talk at the University of Tulsa.

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