It should not be a news flash that people with more resources have more choices in education. Welcome to personal freedom, Pastor Davis. People living in a relatively free society, with resources, have more choices in food, vehicles, homes, travel, medical care - the list goes on and on. I think it is good if a person with fewer resources sees the advantages of having more resources. That person might see the value in working more, working harder and trying to better his financial prospects.
PASTOR DAVIS speaks of the plight of black people in particular lacking enough resources. However, it should be noted that there are more white people in poverty in the United States than black people. Having fewer resources is not something that only applies to black people. It should be noted that, more than ever before, black people own their own businesses and homes. More than ever, black people are elected to serve as judges, sheriffs, school superintendents, county commissioners, mayors and legislators. Black people are in every profession now - not only in the military and education. People, regardless of their skin color, benefit from our few remaining freedoms that allow everybody the opportunity to make a good life for themselves.
I got the distinct feeling that Pastor Davis has the belief that the school building, teachers or neighborhood in which a school is located is the problem. Does he feel that the darling, attentive, healthy, bright and eager-to-learn students show up and get ruined somehow by bad schools? I believe that poorly prepared, ill-equipped, bad-mannered, unruly undisciplined children of bad parents show up and get a horrible educational experience. This relates to school children of all skin colors.
I am happy that Pastor Davis states that he would allow white families to have choices in where their children are educated, as well as blacks. I am a white man. Should I be mad if a black man with resources can send his child to a very expensive, out-of-state university while my white children went to Augusta State? That fact does not make me lie awake at night or feel resentment. My point is that the color of skin has nothing to do with this discussion.
Pastor Davis needs to realize that when government gets involved, it strives for sameness, not excellence. Education has been striving for years and years to make the speed with which all children learn the same, not the best. They standardize the curriculum from school to school, and from county to county, and nationally, the No Schools Left Behind movement tries to do the same thing across the nation.
OUR FEDERAL court orders governing where children attend school in Richmond County, and many other counties in the United States, take only skin color into consideration, not educational opportunity, and particularly not the quality of the outcome.
I do agree with Pastor Davis that government needs to get out of the way of education. One-hundred years ago, when there was no formal government education system here, people in the United States were the most literate in the world. Families, communities and churches saw to the education of their children. Sadly, as government has grown, so has the fact that the government and federal courts tell us how, when and where our children will be educated. The same parents who would hold a march on the capital if they were told where to grocery shop will allow the government to say where their child attends school. As for me, I would trust my local school board members before I would trust one of the 20,000 federal bureaucrats at the U.S. Department of Education, or even the several hundred in Atlanta at the Georgia Department of Education.
THE GENERAL public thinks that public education is "free." It is very expensive. That cost is in your income tax, sales tax, property tax and many other taxes that land in the coffers of the local, state and federal governments. The funding of education is buried in thousands of pieces of legislation and hundreds of federal and state court orders. That is what is so hard about trying to rein it in again.
After reading Pastor Davis's opinion, I did not find out what he wanted to happen. Does he want vouchers? Does he want a tax credit for people paying private or church school tuition? Does he want the public school system to pay his church to run a church school? Does he want parents to be able to take their child from a failing or unsafe school and put them in a safer and higher-performing school? If so, he better not be a member of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is repeatedly on record to be against all those initiatives. And don't forget the fact that the Republican Party has not delivered any of those initiatives to their constituents, either.
(The writer, a Martinez resident, is a former Richmond County Board of Education member.)