Our Children Perish – A Blogging While Blue Contributor shares his views on education vouchers

Our Children Perish
By Clyde Anderson

As a financial advisor and consultant, I often spend my time addressing the economy and personal finance. But I am also a father and lately the recent attention on education both locally and nationally—had me thinking about a conversation that I had recently. Many of us are familiar with the debates over Education Vouchers-and whether they hurt or help inner city schools.  In a recent conversation with some of my peers, brewed reservations boiled over when posed with the idea that many voucher programs generally take funds given directly to public schools and then allocate them to parents who decide where the money should be spent-usually resulting in spending public dollars for private school education.  This is where a particular discussion with a friend quickly grew to a heated exchange.

My friend (who we’ll call Mary) is an African American woman who lives outside the city and pays for her children to attend private school. Mary feels that education vouchers are merely a Band-Aid to a much bigger wound and if we just fix the problems that plague public education, we wouldn’t have to worry about busing kids to the suburbs to attend private schools.  Mary continued to rant about how this started during segregation when black children integrated public schools. She contended that African Americans gave away the opportunity to build a strong education foundation within their own communities when African American children were forced into an education system that accepted separate but equal as a premise for educating children.

I asked Mary if she believed that inner city school children with education vouchers should be permitted to attend private schools. She quickly responded that she did not want “them” attending school with her children and “they” need to fix the problems in their neighborhoods, instead of shipping children off to other schools. After hearing her words, the harsh reality for me was that there are quite a few others who share Mary’s contempt. My immediate response to her was that you’d rather have innocent kids suffer while politics dictate their future and closed-minded people determine if they have a right to a quality education.  Aren’t we all responsible for our communities whether inner city or suburban and shouldn’t all children from both sides of the tracks receive the best education possible even if it means moving the chess pieces around?

While we debate how the problem can or should be fixed, there are bright children suffering in a lack luster system waiting on their chance for a successful future. How many minds must be wasted while we spew rhetoric, debate political viewpoints and scream, “Not in my backyard?” While we wait, intelligent children who have the ability to achieve greatness if given the opportunity are “Waiting on Superman”.  It’s true; many of “OUR” children are stuck in inadequate schools that do need to be fixed and “WE” as a community should be committed to providing quality education to all of our children. I thought it took a village to raise a child. I guess some would argue it does- as long as the village isn’t in their backyard.

Clyde Anderson is a nationally acclaimed speaker, commentator, financial consultant and author who covers topics from the state of the housing market to crisis budgeting in an ever changing economy. You can catch Clyde every Saturday on CNN where his “Home School” segment offers education on personal finance and housing during CNN Weekend Newsroom. 

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