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Kaleem Caire

"If our school systems are producing such small numbers of graduates, what is the purpose of K—12 education for black males? Why are we allowing our children to languish in schools and school systems that produce far more failures than successes?" asks Kaleem Caire in this post.

Well, I was intrigued by Caire's viewpoint. He seems to be very pro-public school AND pro-school choice. Which... doesn't quite go together for me. It just doesn't make sense that Caire could come out so scathingly against public education as it regards the black male, and yet discuss the public education system so nicely as a valid parental choice in other places on the web. I've dug around a bit and can't quite pin down his ideas here. He must be one of those "moderates" I've read about. Maybe those are the people who really get along with everyone and get things done.

The founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options, Caire has been quoted as stating that there IS school choice out there... if you're rich. "Those of us with money can choose to live in a community that has a good public school," he explained. "We happen to believe that the economic status of a child's parents should not determine whether or not that child will receive a quality education. We have lost too many of our children already and we cannot afford to lose any more."

"How many public and private prisons are we willing to pay $38,000 annually per inmate to have black men imprint license plates and pick up debris on U.S. highways?" he wondered.

I've got to concede the fellow has a point. Here, we all seem very willing to incarcerate people without a second thought, but school choice? Oh, no! Someone from Virginia asked Caire about the children "left behind" in the icky schools with like, dysfunctional families and stuff because schools have to somehow make up for that. I mean, don't you care about the children?? How dare you presume to give ANY kid a good education if you can't wave your magic wand and make things ok for ALL the kids? (Rising boats of mediocrity or something... Maybe I read that wrong.) You can read the whole exchange here. It's old, but good reading anyway.

I always think this "left behind" question is the most telling... it proves everyone KNOWS that some schools are really bad, and somehow letting one or two families escape will result in their telling the others that they can escape as well, and then we're all in trouble and NO ONE will want to be in the icky public school and then the people who are left in the icky public school will have bad self-esteem... because their school is icky...

People that spout that kind of garbage are usually the ones who "happen" to be living in ritzy McMansion town, or "happen" to not have school-aged children in public school. They're NEVER the people who feel their children are stuck in a failing, squalid school, now, are they?? I didn't think so, either.

"We believe it is important for all parents to have the opportunity to choose a learning environment that is best for their children," he responded (much more tactfully than I would have). "In fact, we believe it is their right and their responsibility to do so. In regards to what happens to the children that are left behind, we cannot assume that every school a parent chooses is going to work for their child. So we have to be careful when we make the 'left behind' statement because it makes it seem as though children are automatically going to a better school because it is private. Our organization not only supports children attending private school, but also important public school reforms as well for this very reason."

Translation: I'm pretty sure that there are dodos for parents in some of the private schools as well if that makes you feel any better. And DUH, not every private school is the best just because you have to pay to attend. Get out of sit-com land. Not everything is slum school vs. richie-rich school, ok? And I think the Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire show ended 20 years ago and all of life is not that disparate. You dork.

OK, that was sort of a LOOSE translation, maybe more along the lines of what I would have said, but you get my point. In other news... I keep wondering why people don't want to hire me as a diplomat. I'd be awesome and cut negotiation time considerably, promise.


  1. Yes, you take the guesswork out of what they are trying to say and make it more down to earth. I usually don't have the patience to read through fluff. I like the facts. If an article is super long I get frustrated. You always clear it up fast for me and add your funny comments. Love it! You always make me laugh in the things you add in articles.

  2. Maybe I should be a news analyst instead then, Virginia. I could get all sides of a debate hoppin' mad at me for my interpretation of the things they say...

    That would be a very entertaining job, so long as no one knew my real address...

  3. Because 70% of black babies are born to unmarried women, many struggling to make ends meet, the black community has a vested interest in the quality and survival of the public schools, even as we (I say "we" only because I happen to be black) acknowledge their failure to educate young people in the communities they are supposed to serve.

    Let's face it, folks need somewhere for their kids to go while they work all day, and what better way to fill that need than the free childcare offered by compulsory schooling?

    The left behind argument looms largest when other black folk (or ANY other race), whether due to enlightenment or a better financial situation, choose to rescue their kids from this dysfunctional system. Then we're accused of not caring about those we "left behind." As if I'm supposed to sacrifice my kids for the sake of some other kid whose parent won't, or even can't rescue their own? I don't think so!

  4. Terry, I'd be interested in hearing what a "compassionate conservative" viewpoint on solutions would be (because often I have NO clue, and some opinions are just plain odd). I keep coming back to the idea that government cannot be our brothers' keeper.

    And still yet, the word "keeper" has morphed of late (think: zoo-keeper) and there are so many implications to "helping" people vs. enabling or coddling, which stilts genuine growth. If "help" truly weren't there, would many of these fathers stay? Is it even possible to design a safety net without enabling some people to be irresponsible?

    I just wonder.

    Though... I do know single parents who homeschool older children. You HAVE to be able to trust your kids at home alone all day, or have relatives if your kids are younger.


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