Good education requires parental responsibility by Miguel A. Faria, MD

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Article Type: 
Editorial
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Race baiting by several Telegraph (Macon) columnists seems to be on the rise. Faulty arguments and misleading information are being propounded about alleged discrimination and segregation in the Bibb County School System to sow dissension in the Middle Georgia community. This fabricated but politically motivated animosity instead of bringing the community together, is causing dissension, and is hurting most the very “minority and disadvantaged” children they claim to speak for. 

The title of the recent article by Leroy Mack, “Bibb’s schools: Separate but not equal,” is needlessly inflammatory, and the narrative that follows is more of the same and contains misleading information to force through a point of view that is more tendentious than constructive. His essay is based in part on a previous article in the Telegraph that the author did not cite and which he chose to cherry pick in his statistics. The data Mr. Mack chose to cite for the 2016 Bibb County public school system, contrary to what he wrote, is not “in stark contrast to 20 years ago.” In fact, the difference in black and white student enrollment in those 20 years is relatively small and some of it can be accounted, as the initial article stated, because of the changes in the Macon-Bibb population at large: While the black population is increasing, the white population has been decreasing over the years. The facts are that demographics in the United States are changing and white population is decreasing while minority populations are increasing, and the public school systems nationally are reflecting that reality.

Parental responsibility in educationChanges in enrollment are also taking place because more families are exercising their free choice of either homeschooling or placing their children in private schools in search of better and safer education for their children. Some private schools are even enticing poor students and minority enrollment by participating voluntarily in the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program. But there is a caveat for receiving such scholarships; the children must be able to meet scholastic requirements at the private school they wish to attend. Last year (2016) 44% of Goal scholarship awards were given to minority recipients and 50% were awarded to children whose families had an adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $24,000.

The truth is black and Hispanic families have the same free choice to educate their children at homeschooling or sending their children to the different options of the public schools, including charter schools and cyber academies, or private school. Democrats and other progressive politicians seem to forget that our nation was founded on liberty and freedom of choice, not authoritarian government compulsion. Discrimination and legal segregation as took place in the wicked system of the 1950s and early 60s, have been righteously dumped in the dustbin of history. If Mr. Mack could prove that the Academy for Classical Education (ACE) has a discriminatory policy based on race or ethnicity, then I would agree that some punitive action should be taken. Orchestrated school segregation based on race or ethnicity is not only immoral but also illegal. We would have expected Mr. Mack to provide a modicum of evidence for such orchestrated segregation, which he characterizes as “separate but not equal,” but he provided not an iota of evidence, only the venting of anger and hostility to anyone who listens.

If school segregation in Bibb County, then, is on the rise, it is by choice and perhaps inattention of some parents who haven’t done their homework in finding for their children the best schools available to them. Mr. Mack’s article implies there is some conspiracy by parents or the school system to segregate the children by racial or ethnic discrimination. That insinuation is wrong, misplaced, and irresponsible. Continually telling black children they cannot succeed because the system is stacked against them, does not benefit them but hinders them in their ability to achieve a good education and reach their full human potential. Is Mr. Mack implying that the government needs to exercise compulsion to achieve equal racial enrollment in all public schools? He will probably deny his compulsory intention, even though in reality that is where he is heading in a disingenuous and roundabout way. Or is Mr. Mack simply upset because a family member was not able to attain admission to ACE, not because of racial, ethnic discrimination or financial need, but because of the scholastic rules or the lottery aspect of that system?

Mr. Mack goes on to further lambast the system: “Charter schools like ACE are ‘white flight academies’ because they are simply ways for middle class populations to create a publicly financed private school, which I believe is morally and ethically problematic.”  I disagree. Middle class citizens are part of the population, and they are paying the lion’s share of property and income taxes. They deserve to receive some of their money back in educating their children via vouches or charter schools, like anybody else. Mr. Mack seems to be using false logic when he demands that the “ACE come up with a weighted system that allows poor and disadvantage minority students better access to ACE.” What is impeding parents of those children from entering ACE within the objective rules already in place? Does he want to make it obligatory for some of those children to be forced into certain schools by government fiat or quotas, regardless of scholastic achievement or lottery regulations? Until parents of students, minority or otherwise, begin to take personal responsibility for their children’s education, this segregation based on freedom of choice may continue. Creating an adversarial environment for our children via race baiting is counterproductive, irresponsible and detrimental to “the poor and disadvantaged minority children” that Mr. Mack thinks he is championing. Parents need to do their part to help the teachers, as well as to pick the schools that best fit their children. 

All that Mr. Mack and some of the other race baiting writers have been doing is fostering racial animosity and attempting to create racial strife — only because white, black, and Hispanic families are voluntarily exercising their right to place their children in the public school systems of their choice. Some parents have been relinquishing that responsibility totally to the government. Others have been inattentive to their children’s mediocre scholastic performance so that their children have no chance of participating, for example, in the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program. Therefore, a better topic for Mr. Mack’s essay would have been providing information to parents of the “poor, disadvantage and minority” students in how they can best pursue a better education for their children by actively researching and also paying attention to what is available in terms of charter schools, such as ACE, or even better in my opinion, in Georgia’s cyber academies.   

Besides charter schools like ACE, there is another charter school option for families in Georgia. I refer to cyber academies, such as Georgia Virtual School, Georgia Cyber Academy, and Georgia Connection Academy. We have personally found Georgia Cyber Academy to be an excellent school that helped propel our last child to do successful academic work in college. Parents who are very much interested in the education of their children and are willing to go the extra mile should look into these cyber academies. They are considered part of the public school system as a tuition-free, online alternative to homeschooling. They are more than deserving of the amount of their share of public education funds. They are open to all Georgia children who apply. The student works at home during the day, attending classes online, completing assignments, and studying. All books and supplies, including a computer if the child does not own one or cannot afford one, are provided for them. School materials, textbooks, and computers are mailed to the student’s home address via UPS, and return packaging and a postage paid return receipt is enclosed for use at the end of the school year. The only item a parent must provide is reliable internet connection. Since so many people are streaming movies online, they already have a reliable internet connection and can afford this minimal expense. Let’s be constructive, not needlessly disruptive and divisive; our children are too important to be used in personal or political agendas.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

 Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is a retired clinical professor of neurosurgery and long time medical editor. He is the author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). His website is http://www.haciendapub.com

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Good education requires parental responsibility. HaciendaPublishing.com, May 17, 2017. Available from:
http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/good-education-requires-parental-responsibility-miguel-faria-md

Copyright ©2017 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Comments on this post

Education, control, and free choice!

This is an excellent article and much needed in the public forum. It is always interesting to note that the left/liberals always resort to compulsion to attain the utopian vision that swims through their muddled heads. As Von Mises always stated, the essence of socialism is compulsion and its enemy is the independently thinking and acting person. To justify compulsion they use time-tested nostrums, such as racial disparity, institutional discrimination and implied white flight. By manipulating statistics and prestidigitation of numbers they make a mystical case for forcing quotas upon society, quotas that mainly harm the persons they claim to be representing.

Racial quotas do much greater harm than they do benefit to the poor, racial minorities and other anointed groups. When a system of forced quotas is used the poorly prepared child is thrown into a situation in which they cannot compete and the answer by the left is such idiotic and destructive ideas as the pass-fail system. These attempts at forcing everyone into noncompeting, socially designed groups means that the poor child is allowed to graduate without being able to read or write and has no educational foundation for higher educational attainment. When my mother was teaching, the policy was that for the minority student all they had to do to pass was attend class every day--they could make a 0% on every exam and still pass.

This was sold as a way to make up for past discriminations and to prevent the child from "feeling bad about themselves"--as if they would not know they were given a fake diploma. It also meant that the truly bright black students had the same grades as the poorest students--is that fair? I witnessed the same thing in one of the medical schools I was familiar with. The students told me that the white medical students wanted to get in classes that had black students because the grading was easier. Does anyone of normal mental abilities think this helps the black person who wants to be a physician? Do they think he or she will not know that they were given special advantages? In fact, the left is insulting the black students by implying that they are intellectually inferior and need "special assistance" from their liberal guardians. Tom Sowell said that when he went to college he was so poorly prepared by his high school that he had to take special courses to catch up to the other students. The left wants all black to be in this situation.

The NEA is responsible for much of this mayhem and destruction of true education. As a hard core, extremist left wing propaganda collective, the NEA has transformed education based on true liberal teaching methods into blatant propaganda and indoctrination of our children. To do that, they needed compulsory attendance in public schools, with curricula set by the left's ideology.

With the flight to homeschooling and alternative schools, the extremist of the NEA launched attempts to first destroy these intellectually free schools and when that didn't work they insisted that state school boards force the homeschoolers to use the same propaganda-filled teaching material as the NEA-controlled public schools. It is important to appreciate that the flight to these alternative schools was not an attempt to escape a racial group, but rather first and foremost to provide quality education for their children. Also important was safety (as schools became more dangerous), avoiding the rampant drug culture in public schools and rejections of forced indoctrination with extremist ideas. Many also wanted religious instruction returned to their child's education.

As Miguel states, one of the most important elements, that has been destroyed by this leftist culture, is involvement of the parents. For decades we were told that education should be left to the "professionals," when in fact they meant professional brainwashing experts. Parents of all races need to take an active role in their child's education. If their child is in a public school, they should read their textbooks and workbooks and expose the use of propaganda and political correctness being sold as education. Recalcitrant principals and school board members, who refuse to stop this educational abuse should be removed.

As our Bible tell us, teach a child when he (or she) is small and he shall never depart from the ways of God. The teacher's unions are the greatest enemies to true education and should be removed. It is time for us to stop listening to the race baiters and take control of our children's education. All of us need to get more involved in education--our survival and the survival of our culture depend on it.
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Wally Walters (Macon Telegraph): The real split is between children who have 1) parents that 2) care, and those who don't. A child with one parent or no parents is behind to start, and may never catch up.
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Dr. Faria: Wally, that comes in Western civilization in decline— Part 3 in another series. Russell, great supplementary comment. Instead of leveling the playing field as the Left claims it wants to do in every political, economic, or social endeavor — they want to regimental, control, and virtually level society to the lowest common denominator. It is all about control and not "about the children"! As to "All of us need to get more involved in education--our survival and the survival of our culture depend on it." I fully agree. Thank you, again!

"Bags of weeds & seeds"

In a recent article, Mr. Charles Richardson, the Editorial Page Editor of the Telegraph (Macon), wrote an article entitled, “Pilots, bankers and bags of weed and seed” (May 20, 2017). Apparently the version of this article delivered as a public oration raised eyebrows, even though the speech mostly praised foster parents in short supply in the Middle Georgia area. He wrote:

I called these [foster] parents investment bankers because while the child is with them they are constantly making deposits into their lives. And believe me, no foster parent will ever strike it rich raising foster children. The per diem barely covers the cost of groceries. The investment, however, pays off in several ways. Society gets to make the withdrawals because foster parents have been making deposits into the children’s accounts. Their portfolios include love, security and stability. Our jails and prisons are filled with examples of overdrawn societal accounts. When I reached the point in my speech where I described them as bags of weed and seed, I must admit I got some strange looks, eyes asking, “Weed and seed, really? What are you talking about Richardson?” In the spring of the year we think of getting out of doors and lawn care. My problem is dandelions. It’s a constant fight. I spray and spray, but they keep coming back. Children who are allowed to grow wild are like weeds taking over a lawn. Pretty soon they are out of control and are capable of doing almost anything imaginable.

Apparently, Mr. Richardson felt obligated to conclude the editorial with “call me if you need an explanation.” Privately, I congratulated Mr. Richardson on his article, and to further expound on his simile, I suggested, “if you don’t pull the dandelion weeds and their flower/seeds, those yellow flowers become airborne hairy “blowball” that disperse and further contaminate your yard, just as the disruption students disrupt classes, distract teachers and prevent other students from learning!” But I also reminded him, “it is politically incorrect to discuss “the elephant in the room” topic, and some of the concomitant problems in the public education system that causes informed and responsible parents to flee the system. I wrote: “Basically you are not to describe the children, even the bad apples in such a fashion! The PC position is that everything today is done for the children, who are deemed perfect and all are able to reach for the stars with self-esteem enhancement and PC indoctrination. So given his allusion to a politically-incorrect and reproving simile, it is no surprising that he received ‘some strange looks, eyes asking, Weed and seed, really? What are you talking about Richardson' ”

In our politically correct environment, critics are not supposed to say anything like what Mr. Richardson said, even if they are self-evident propositions. All children now are little philosophers with ebullient self-esteem, more than able to instruct their old fashioned and ignorant parents, as to what is right and wrong— natural judges of proper situational ethics and moral relativism! And so all that children do today is permissible or forgivable, even substandard scholastics, all except carrying toy guns or even drawing them on a piece of paper.

Forget John Locke’s tabula rasa, a ready mind for imprinting knowledge from lessons derived from the senses; it is no more! Wisdom is naturally present and emanates from the mind of the little brats, no matter what bad apples they may be in the school barrel. I wrote Mr. Richardson to refer complaining parents to read my article on Parental Responsibility. And so a few years down the road we find many of them in the crime pages!---MAF