Saturday, February 16, 2008

Education in the Delta

Whatever the original reasons for the creation of private schools in the Delta, the fact is that they remain today. In 1970, there may have been a knee-jerk reaction to the unknown as well as the Federal Government's mandating forced integration. It was a major change for both black and white citizens and neither group fully understood why it was being done.

The fact is that they remain today because they serve a purpose. Had forced integration of the public schools proved that there was no need for private and parochial schools, they would have died on the vine. Why would anyone want to spend thousands of dollars on their childrens education when they could get the same quality education via their tax dollars?

Public education has had 30+ years to prove their "equality". They have more federal and state funding, their teachers are paid significantly higher salaries than their counterparts in the private schools and yet they continue to miss the mark in ratings of quality.

Sure, "white-flight" created the private schools, but what sustains them today? Quality education... even at a higher price. Look at the enrollment of Washington School. It is comprised of numerous races, ethnicities, religions and lifestyles. The one thing these parents share in common is that they do not want to sacrifice their childrens' future with a substandard education... and are willing to pay "twice" for that security.

Public education in the Delta is in the mess that it is because we do not demand better. We have allowed our public schools to become "day care" and "free lunch programs" by those parents who do not value true education. At the end of the day, parents are responsible for their childrens education. Private schools will always thrive as long as public education continues to fail to meet our educational needs.

Our children's education is far too important for us to risk being "politically correct". The reality is that our public school system has failed us all, reagardless of race or relgion. The cost of a quality education is now the same for all. When will privte schools diminish... when we demand quality from our public educational systems.


PS: Great political debate! Thanks to all of you who have commented. Keep it up... we have many months to decide on our future!


Anonymous said...

"Whatever the original reasons for the creation of private schools in the Delta..."

The reason was that white people didn't think black children deserved to go to school with white kids. The reason was racism, plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Not at my mama and daddy simply didn't want me to be in a classroom where the teacher didn't speak the King's English. Nuff said. If you have a problem with that, I'm sorry. I want my children to know what subjects and verbs are, and how to use them together in a sentence.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is just an observation, but has anyone else noticed that our kids are growing up in a time when you don't hear the N-word? Of course, I'm speaking of the white middle-and-upper classes. But my kids didn't hear that word growing up, and now that they are essentially grown, it's certainly not a part of their vocabulary. My parents didn't make a habit of invoking prejudiced speech or behavior either, but it was common to do so among their peers in the 60's. My point is: the current generation in the private schools likely doesn't have a clue about the racism that's being assigned to them on this blog. It's a totally foreign idea. I know this firsthand.

A voice from that past said...

Integration and the times were no doubt two of the causes of white flight from public schools, but keep in mind, the main cause was busing. Before busing there were neighborhood schools. There were neighborhoods full of families who knew each other, knew the parents, kids and even extended family members like grandparents. With this network, kids were kept in line, there was always someone who knew them.

Busing was a factor that frightened parents about putting their child on a bus and sending him/her across town to a foreign neighborhood. Not only that, but one with a high crime rate and higher rate of poverty. On the flip side, other kids were brought from these areas into the quiet burbs of the whites and their was disruption, walk outs, fights and anger.

I graduated during this time, I know what I saw, neither black nor white kids were happy about these changes. Both sides were full of resentments and rightfully so, each side had lost "their" school and their school history. We could not have the normal events of our predecessors, no proms, no dances, no school party events. Fear of conflicts kept the authorities from allowing such intermixes. So who lost out?? We did, the kids that had no control of our own circumstances. So, some parents decided enough, created their own schools where their kids could safely attend without fear and have the social events without disturbances. Not the best answer, but everyone has a right to feel safe in whatever way that they can.

I think the closest chance, to get back to basics, is to once again go back to neighborhood schools. With all the mixed areas now in Greenville, it should be a more balanced mix. Give the kids back the pride of their own neighborhood schools and things might change. As long as the school system is considered a black school system only, nothing will change.

Surprisingly, there are a hand full of white kids attending the GHS school and cudos for them for not letting anything or anyone stand in their way of a free education. I hope their examples shines through the den of animosity between races..they do what few can do....they get along with each other and learn what they need to succeed!

A voice from that past said...

P. S. One additional inclusion: the walk outs in the white high school at that time were not done by the white kids, the walks outs came from the black kids. Most resented losing their Coleman High School, their investments in their Senior rings, invitations, whatever they had already pre-paid for or the fact that most of their lives they had aspired to graduate from the same high school as their parents and that school was no more. I don't blame them one bit, it was unfair and poorly planned of how it would all come together. I am truly surprised it was not worse than it was, overall most of us coped well with the mix of the two races. We did what we had to do to graduate. Other than a few typical testosterone fights, to my knowledge, during those two worst years, no one was seriously hurt and certainly no one was killed.

Looking back, considering all the news of the same events happening up north and the riots taking place, Greenville handled it all fairly peacefully in comparison. No buses were turned over, no riots in the streets, no protest marches. Just a few walk outs by the resentful black kids...and all that blew over as well. The school was no worse for the wear of that time and considering all of the things happening, that is pretty amazing!

Anonymous said...

The reason Catholic schools are not viewed the same way as "private schools"? Catholic Schools were in Greenville over 100 years and were NOT created as a reaction against integration. Both Washington County Day School and Greenville "Christian" School opened as a result of forced integration. Yes at one time Sacred Heart was "black" and St Rose of Lima was "white" but no more. Now the Catholic schools are no more than 65% of any one race. By the way, black students who were schooled at Sacred Heart most certainly can speak the Kings English. Anyone who knows someone who went to Sacred Heart knows that is true. The color of someone's skin has nothing to do with their ability to speak the Kings English. or French or Spanish or Chinese. It is all in what they are taught at home and at school.

Anonymous said...

"Yes at one time Sacred Heart was "black" and St Rose of Lima was "white" but no more." your own logic, we should hold that against them, right?

Forgive one, forgive them all. We are all human.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find it ironic that a bunch of white people on this blog are talking about how people in Greenville are not racist? And that the school integration of the 70's was peaceful? I'm sure an African-American from Greenville would have a different picture of school integration.

As a white person I can't tell you the number of times another white person has used the N word in front of me, usually in the context of: "Well, you got your blacks and you got your N_____."

To argue that racism does not exist in Greenville, or that it is not a problem, is to argue that the world is flat; all you are doing is illuminating your own ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should court a different group of friends if your acquaintances are in the habit of using offensive terms. My friends don't speak that way.

And I think I can speak for the white children who remained at Solomon Junior High and Greenville High in the 70's. There was no violence in our school, although resentment was present on both sides, as has been previously mentioned. Those who were not there may assume that it was not that way, but they'd be wrong---wouldn't they? I was there.

My children attended the private school, which by that time had long since shed its former past. Enrollment was and is open to everyone, and my children received a top-notch education. They have excelled in every area, and I wouldn't have trusted their education to a system that has deteriorated to the degree that the GPSD has. And as for the quality of the environment there, I'd take the security of Washington School over parent-volunteers-policing-the-halls at GHS any day. My kids never had to worry for their physical safety when they were in school.

Anonymous said...

You couldn't ask for better teachers than Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Giachelli, Mr. Michael Ray and Mrs. Dunaway to name a few. They are well liked, respected and all motivate students to learn. They are all part of the Riverside School. My children have been very fortunate to receive a good education AND attend public school. So, yes, it is possible.

Additionally, as a former teacher, I would like to add that much of any student's success depends on emotional and academic support and encouragement received at home. The school can only do so much and at some point the parent has to define some expectations as well as assist the student to achieve success.

I have also had the pleasure of teaching on the college level and I can assure you that not every student from our private schools here in Greenville are "top notch". Unfortunately, some students are passed through because Daddy paid the tuition and the student often lacks basic writing skills.

So, don't be so quick to judge a student's predicted success in college based on public vs. private education. It is a very individualized issue.
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