Originally created 06/11/02

The reason why our kids aren't learning

I know a 9-year-old child who's in the fourth grade. If you do your math, you would figure out that she is a year behind. In inner-cities this is common because of the lack of resources and breakdown of the family structure.

In moving to the South, I expected the educational system to be less rigid than the North; however, I expected the sense of family to offset that and make a more rounded child. This child that I am speaking of cannot subtract and reads on a third-grade level.

Yet this same child can tell me every song on the radio and when she is allowed to watch TV, she can tell me every video that is playing.

The child has two parents, but they are not married, don't speak and have nothing in common but a child. Whose fault is it that the child is so far behind in comparison with children her own age?

The educational system that I was brought up in had me doing multiplication in the third grade followed by fractions, decimals and so forth.

Teachers expressed an interest and did not allow a child to be left back... We learned to tell time by an analog clock, not a digital clock. Using our fingers or writing down sticks was unheard of.

Where are those teachers who took pride in their work? They're still out there, but they're underpaid and need help to achieve the American dream of buying a home.

The heroes of this generation are the rappers and the drug dealers. Fast cars, fast money and living for today have erased all hope for the future. We pay athletes millions to entertain us but will not pay teachers who hold the most precious gifts - our children's minds.

Children today cannot tell you anything about their past, because they have no future. I asked this child who Martin Luther King Jr. was and she said, "he had a dream," and that was the end of her answer.

This summer I will try to bring the 9-year-old up to speed on her reading, math and social sciences. As for me, love is not only discipline but excellence in education.

Jerome Rico Knox, Augusta


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