“Creating Quality Education” Making Michigan a Better Place for Kids

Making Michigan a Better Place for Kids
By Bill Cobbs
Candidate for Governor of Michigan, 2018

Education is a fundamental building block for Michigan’s future. Investing in a quality k-12 education for our children is a moral imperative. The investment we make today will be the dividends we gain tomorrow.

Literacy Is Fundamental

Literacy is important to both our democracy and freedom as a nation. From all that I’ve read, one of the most important aspects of the slave trade was denying slaves the ability to read and write to maintain servitude. While slavery has ended, even to enjoy Freedom of the Press, we must be able to read what our journalists print.

Without literacy, we can’t study our nation’s history, to understand why our nation granted the freedoms we now enjoy. Without literacy, what remains is a dumbed down society plagued by the virus of cognitive dissonance eating away one by one, at our critical thinking, our attention span, and our very moral fiber. And here we are. Trump.

Today’s bondage may not be physical, but it is even more insidious. Children are being deprived of basic literacy both in our schools and in the home.

In educational policy, we are being drawn into the trap of privatization by “school of choice” marketing. This marketing is not for our benefit. Listen closely when a Governor says he is taking over academic control of your school, but he is not accountable for a quality education! A Governor that would rather spend $35,000 to imprison an illiterate juvenile, than $10,000 to teach a child, has another agenda. Governor Snyder has been deaf to our cries, and out of touch with the components of good Governance. Literacy is all the more difficult to achieve when the average charter school teacher has only one year of experience.

There are four steps to this immoral and unethical scheme to profit from the destabilization of our neighborhoods:

  1. Defunding neighborhood schools so they lack books, staff, and proper maintenance
  2. Labeling public schools which lack critical resources as “failing” to drive students away
  3. Closing the schools lacking critical resources
  4. Privatizing by giving away publicly funded community assets to for-profit charters

There was a time that brothers and sisters went to the same school, knew the same teachers, and were proud to root for the home team at high school football games. The viability of every neighborhood and its cultural institutions is important to literacy. When neighborhoods have safe, clean schools, people desire to put down roots and property values rise.

Conversely, destroying our neighborhood institutions creates crime and instability. It has been shown that closing schools and making children cross into unknown territories increased gang activity and gang membership in Detroit. Poor areas are easy victims because more families are renters, and these families have fewer connections to the neighborhood. Therefore, children who attend charters may have an even more difficult time forming stable positive relationships.

Yet, the opportunity to send our child to a charter school across town with a fancier name is so tempting; we may forget momentarily the impact on our property values when our neighborhood school is boarded up. Let’s remember, we are in this together. Destabilizing neighborhood institutions to benefit a business is counter-intuitive to government efficiency, transparency, and accountability. It also creates segregation by dividing children into two classes:

  • Children who will be accepted at a charter and have transportation
  • Children who are not accepted at a charter and do not have transportation
Around the country, brown and black communities are being pushed off the precipice into privatization. Have you noticed that when the public accountability of an elected board is removed, we have the Charles Pughs, and Eddie Longs, eager to step right up to “mentor” a fresh crop of fatherless victims?
There are many examples I won’t name, but you have heard about them, too. If we want literacy, we have a moral responsibility to shore up deficiencies that exist in our neighborhood schools and empower teachers and parents with the resources they need.
In our homes, we must reinforce the importance of reading. Some families have every game system and shoes with three-figure price tags. These same homes may not have a book. This is the Slavery of Consumerism which keeps us in a financial bondage our children may never escape from.
There are still lessons to be learned from Oliver Twist, and I Know Why the Mockingbird Sings. Books can teach us about faraway places. Books can show a child that his or her self-worth cannot be determined by things. When we hunger for things, we can never have enough things. Things are secondary to character and community pride. Things are secondary to dreams.
At home, we must reinforce education’s role in opportunity. We cannot allow the television and gaming systems to be the educational tools in our home. Whatever neighborhood we live in, we as parents must expose our children to reading at an early age.
Reading is power. We must find creative ways to make learning fun. We break the stranglehold of illiteracy by having strong community-based schools and homes that stress reading skills early. We must praise education and make it paramount to the children’s future.
We can fix this. We must properly fund public K-12 education. We cannot abandon our neighborhood schools. We must stop blaming educators and empower them. We must not allow education of our children to be driven by economic standing. We must not abandon our special needs students. Some charter schools have done excellent work, but destabilization of our public institutions for school privatization is not the answer.
We must increase educational spending, and use our resources more effectively. We must move money from the incarceration process to the educational process. We have to provide our children with the tools to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, and public servants and productive contributors to our community.
After nearly 17 years of school choice, it is estimated that Michigan is 40th of 50 states in child literacy. With this in mind, we can no longer allow one family in West Michigan to decide the fate of every child via political contributions.
If we want to throw off the choke hold of illiteracy, we must do our duty as citizens. Many died for our right to vote. Staying home on Election Day has laid the red carpet for politicians beholden to corporations which turn our children into commodities for sale like corn or wheat.
We must care about the policy being written for our community and make our voices heard. We must groom leaders with moral character. We must get in the voting line and we must pull the lever for people who value funding quality education in every Michigan neighborhood. We must open a book, and read to our kids. Literacy is fundamental.

Source: Creating Quality Education – Bill Cobbs for Governor in MI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s