The Blueprint for Long Term Success in Newark - Part 1

By Osman Sharif Shabazz

Inner Cities all across America find themselves dealing with many challenges. They generally run the gamut of steep poverty, single head of households above the National average, high crime, failing Public Schools, and selfish corrupt Politicians on the take looking out for themselves. The multitude of problems that has become endemic in Newark and Inner Cities across the Nation is why the rest of the Country cringe. They throw up their hands believing things will never change with “those” people. Those people being the Minority population that dominates most Inner Cities that the rest of society has securely isolated themselves from.

The rise of inner cities will only come about if the culture of poverty is eliminated and replaced with a set of values in line with 21st Century America and its competitors in the world economy. The most significant change has to start with households in poor neighborhoods putting a very high value on education. It can no longer be acceptable for Parents to be happy if their kids “pass” a course. We have to set high academic goals for our children and help them to reach those aspirations by organizing our households around a peaceful non hectic environment for our kids to learn in. That may mean turning off BET, loud Rap Music, and taking away video games until the homework and studies have been completed at a satisfactory level. We are our kid’s primary example and if the Parents are not reading and show no intellectual curiosity, then you can bet the child will follow that path not caring about developing their mind to its highest level.

The emphasis on education has become such a cliché that its real significance in the advancement of a Community has lost steam. At the end of the day it has become an empty slogan by Politicians seeking higher office without any genuine plan to make it happen in reality. Educational advancement will only occur when Parents step up to the plate and form partnerships with Teachers followed by maximum pressure on Politicians to support local Schools achievement goals. We can no longer cheer Principals that only make progress graduating a higher percentage of poorly trained kids. We should only present awards and give accolades when their percentage rate of kids going to College is 75% and their SAT Average scores rise above 1700. We can no longer afford to engage in applause and give out awards for mediocrity and low level achievement from educational leaders, especially from the State Commissioner.

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