Black churches and other institutions must open up schools serving our communities

JUSTIN SAMUELS | 4/19/2018, 3:08 p.m.
While Black activists seem to only care about fighting the police after someone is killed by the police, there’s little ...
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While Black activists seem to only care about fighting the police after someone is killed by the police, there’s little to no real conversations about the socioeconomic conditions that destroy the lives of Black people. Economic and educational marginalization destroy the lives of Black youth and cause violence in our communities, as well as ultimately lead our youth into conaflicts with the police. One big major problem that Black Lives Matter does not address in the news is the school to prison pipeline. The school to prison pipeline is the academic phrase for conditions in public schools that criminalize minority youth and essentially lead to them becoming criminals. Black students are disproportionately suspended, which leads to higher dropout rates and major issues with authority and causes lifelong if not generational economic damage because those who drop out of high school or who barely graduate are not likely to have the resources to properly raise their children.

This problem is not merely a big city urban problem. The problem is just as severe in smaller cities. It is institutional racism as its worst, and it is targeting the most vulnerable people in the Black community.  Clearly something has to be done about this problem, but what? Activists and integrationists have been reforming education for years. After the Civil Rights Movement fought to integrate public schools, most white people across the South and in large urban centers in the North and West either sent their children to private schools or moved to mostly white suburbs. Integration, loved so much by liberals, never really happened at the K-12 level. Black and other minority communities cannot afford to listen to liberals and their solutions because, quite clearly, they do not work.

So, quite clearly, antipolice rhetoric does nothing to stop the destruction of the lives of Black children. Why would people who are constantly complaining about racial discrimination hand over their children to the same people and municipalities that hire the police? Children are not able to choose what schools they attend, and if they have issues with teachers or even other students they are trapped.  In that sense, school is already a prison. Just as education is funded by local and state governments, so are the police.

There are solutions to this problem. Black institutions such as churches must open up schools for our community. Public schools are de facto prisons. But schools operated by the community would not set up our children for mass incarceration or abuse them. Some Black churches have already opened schools. The New Hope Baptist Church raised the money to open the Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, N.J.  Other churches in recent years have opened up charter and private schools. In general, white people have always had school choice, but minorities have not.  The expansion of charter schools and other private schools offered by churches helps take minorities out of public schools that are determined to institutionalize and otherwise criminalize them.  

Anyone who tries to claim Black people are uniquely ignoring integration that white Christians don’t want would need to look at the schools and school-related services set up by other ethnic groups in NYC alone. Asians and South Asians operate their own test prep schools in NYC. Because of this activity, Asians in NYC routinely place in the city’s top public schools and have excellent admission rates to top universities. Asian-Americans are doing well as a group. A number of Jewish families send their children to yeshivas. As a group, Jewish people have done very well. Communities that take charge of caring for their children and not leaving them to outsiders who hate them do much better. Black churches and other institutions must operate more schools for the community to offer our children real education, as opposed to the prison education of public schools.