Why We Defend The Defenseless!

A psalm of Asaph. God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”: “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. Psalm 82:1-5 NIV

Because of all the injustice in our society and in the world, it is the responsibility of every Born-Again Believer to defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed, the weak and the needy. This is our duty–when these groups are unable to stand up to the pressures imposed upon them, by the bullies in our society.

The bullies in our society are not just kids in schools–picking on those who are smaller and younger, but it is all those who think that their size, wealth, and intellect make them superior to others. We have also seen this scenario play out in the media–especially with politicians–the poor get poorer because they have no spokesperson speaking up for them and the politicians only care about themselves. Those in charge of making policies for educational equality are remiss in their duties to consider all the children in every city when they overlook the disadvantaged and turn their heads when wrongs are reported.

Specifically, the situation that exists in Michigan regarding education and water safety has blown the minds of many, but it has existed for decades and only now is coming to light. The biggest problem with both (DPS and Flint) is the laxity in those governing is the imposition of Emergency Managers who have done nothing other than to line their pockets with money that should have been used for education and the continuation of safe water. Because it has not been a concern of the greedy, the end results now impact the needy.

In reviewing the steady decline in Detroit Public Schools providing a quality education for all students, we must look at economics, transience in people moving, and the greed that has overshadowed the district for decades. Every would-be, wanna-be superintendent in the country knows how easy it is to put one over the unsuspecting. When greed supersedes the desire to do right, everyone suffers. But now, the teachers and students are fighting back–being extremely vocal about the dire situations and those in power are attempting to silence them with punitive actions. Since I am a retired educator–fully aware of the existing climate–I can support and promote the cause of the students and teachers without fear of repercussions for there is nothing they can do to me to silence me.

While the water issue in Flint is not exactly the same, the results are devastating. Once again, greed as opposed to need has led the way to the potential harm of thousands of people. The villains in the both situation are the emergency managers and the governors who appointed them. If every-day citizens had committed same acts of theft and potential manslaughter, they would be jailed. It’s time for the governor in Michigan and Darnell Earley to own up to their responsibility in both situations and resign or be jailed.

God’s mandate to defend and uphold those in a position who cannot defend themselves against the army of those who have more political clout and money is clear--we have to speak up for them and their defend their rights against the enemy of greed. I pray that more people will join the effort to make sure all students have an opportunity for a quality education and that safe drinking water is available for all–without risking health and life.



Where There Is Hope!

For in You, O LORD, I hope;
You will hear, O Lord my God. Psalm 38:15 NKJV

We, mere human beings, place our hope in a myriad of things–and people–and usually when we have placed all of our eggs in one basket–we are eventually disappointed and many are discouraged. Why? Our hope–in things and people–is misplaced. When our hope is totally in God–we are never disappointed–if we are willing to hear and obey.

There were many people who had hopes of winning the billion dollar lottery. We know because of the size of the jackpot and the number of people who had hopes of winning. But the reality is–no matter how many tickets a person purchased, only one was going to win. In this case–three people had the same numbers and shared the jackpot. How many others were disappointed?

And even when we “win” at some things, the victory brings with it other challenges. When professional sports team win a game, the expectation is they will keep winning and when they don’t, fans, coaches, teams and owners are disappointed. Why? Their hope was in their individual and collective abilities, but someone had to lose in order for someone to win.

We place our hope in our leaders and are often disappointed when they fail to live up to our expectations and then we seek to replace them. This is especially true when leaders fail to consider the big picture in making decisions about those they lead. The primary example for this misguided hope is the situation that now exists in Flint, Michigan with its water crisis. Trying to save the city money is going to cost–the city, the residents and the governor–when the fallout of using contaminated water is determined. It is already costing the families who live there–those who have ingested lead-laced water.

We place our hope in teachers and educational systems when corruption runs rampant and greed reigns and children are the biggest losers because those in charge–forgot about them. The situation with the teachers in the Detroit Public School system is not new; it has been germinating for decades, but it has finally sprouted and all the ugliness revealed–because it is time to fight back with teachers taking up the banner, saying enough is enough.

This post is not intended to address the political ramifications of corruption and complacency, but to demonstrate how misplaced hope (without God) will always end in disappointment.

Not so with God–in Him–we can rest assured that He will do and accomplish all He says in His Word when we hear and obey Him. The problem is most of us won’t trust Him completely and when we try to trust–just a little bit–we are disappointed because we lacked the ability to trust Him completely. Our hope and trust have to be in Him since He is the only constant in our lives. We cannot trust people who don’t honor Him and we certainly cannot trust–things–that have no soul or spirit–no conscience or feelings regarding right or wrong.

In You, O Lord, do we place our complete trust and hope, now and forever. For there is none like You who holds our future in Your hand, knowing all there is know about us and yet loving us anyway.

Educating Our Future!

Some schools–depending upon where one lives–are already in session for a new school year. Others are going back soon! What are the students going back to do?

Speaking from experience with Detroit Public Schools, many of the inner city students are going back to chaos–overcrowded classrooms, overused testing, and demoralized, unhappy teachers. None the chaos is the fault of the students, but they are the ones who will be negatively impacted by it the most.

First of all–PARENTS–get your act in gear and teach your children to respect authority and property of others. One of the reasons for the overcrowded classrooms is the budget allocation for textbooks which students either take home to keep or deliberately desecrate with profanity–making them inaccessible to others. The other reason for much of the chaos–ill-mannered, ill-behaved students who interfere with the process of learning. They have never learned to do school and when a teacher meets some of the parents–they know the apple truly did not fall far from the tree.

If parents truly want a quality education for their children, they need to engage in the process–get actively involved with the schools and the legislators making decisions about the schools.

The Detroit Public School district has had an assigned Emergency Manager for five years now that has not made a difference in the debt accrued. Why? Too many people coming into the system with the sole purpose of “lining their pockets” and totally forgetting about the kids they are supposed to help educate. This would not happen if we had anyone with integrity having oversight of the Detroit Public Schools. For those who know the power of prayer–it’s prayer time–pray for all Emergency Managers to develop a conscience and do their jobs–not line their pockets with the funds that should be spent on educating the children. Everyone needs to get out and vote–getting rid of all those politicians who are only interested in promoting their own–self-serving agendas–not the benefit of all the people.

EDUCATORS–FIGHT BACK–and stop the testing nonsense and spend the time–TEACHING your students. Students do not learn anything from over-testing; they learn from educators who have time to teach them the skills for which they are being tested. If they have not been taught, why are they being tested? A little common sense is needed here.

ADMINISTRATORS–grow a pair–and move out of the way of those teachers who are “still interested” in teaching children what they need to know to survive in this world. Using threats, being demeaning, humiliation and coercion will not accomplish anything other than unhappy, rebellious staff who will only do the minimum required to get you off their backs.Abusing your staff does not make you a great administrator–understanding what your staff needs and supporting them in their efforts will get the job done. If you are an administrator and are only a doormat to the district–resign! Get out of the way so our children can learn!

From observation and research, I know there is a conspiracy afoot to keep students from Detroit in a rut–for manual labor only and everyone who is involved in the system and is not willing to change the way we do education in Detroit is guilty of being a participant in the conspiracy. Our students need to know grammar–for conversational purposes as well for writing. When the District decided that grammar did not need to be taught (almost 20 years ago)–that should have been a signal for all to understand the complicity in keeping our children–illiterate. Now, we graduate functionally illiterate students who cannot read above the seventh-grade level. Where do they get to work? Fast–food restaurants and anywhere they do not have to think or read with comprehension. Just take a look at the cash registers being used today and you’ll understand my point.

So now, what are you going to do? Get mad at me or do something about educating our future?

You can read more in my book, If Parents Cared Enough, Johnny and Juaneshia Could Read  found here: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-M-Hall-Rayford/e/B00BAW31CQ/

Get mad, but get busy when you get over being mad!

Educational Idiocy!

There are many things that one can look at in our society and see just how idiotic things are and yet, most do nothing to change it. One specific area of idiocy is the way educational leaders leap without looking into the pits of “educational reform” that do more harm than good.

Specifically–in Michigan–and even more specifically–the demise of the Detroit Public School system–is the result of educational idiocy–the origins of which are yet being determined. The real problem however is in the fact that those in position of authority and supposed leadership have allowed this demise to occur simply because they did not think about the ramifications of the “so-called research” that ignited the changes in how we do education.

Some years ago–approximately twenty years or so–someone had the bright idea that students in Detroit, did not need to be taught grammar skills and as such–teaching grammar was forbidden and rather rigidly enforced. Since I learned grammar the way that works–constant repetition (skill and drill)–I could not understand why anyone in their right mind would ever think that the “whole language theory” would benefit children who were “not raised in environments using Standard English.” For those students across the country who were living in environments where Standard English was the rule of the day and not the exception–whole language teaching might have worked. Unfortunately, since college professors all over the land and the business industry have great concerns about college students and employees not knowing how to write, it would appear that “whole language” learning was a bust. 

But now we have “data-driven” theories which subject students to testing to the degree of overkill and then teachers are being subjected to unfair evaluations when the test scores do not improve. How is a teacher supposed to clear the way for improvement in learning (anything) if they never have time to “teach” because they only have time to “test” what has not been taught? The whole process of testing, testing, and never teaching, is total idiocy! No one has ever learned anything by being constantly tested and never taught. Now, I believe Einstein said, “to keep doing things the same way, expecting a different outcome is insanity.”

What I don’t understand is why–those in positions to make decisions--educational leaders have failed to understand that they did not need to change what worked.  What worked? Repetition–this is how most human beings learn–constant repetition and the addition of new concepts introduced–when learning is evidenced of what had been introduced. To expect students to learn new concepts, when they did not understand what had already been taught, is ludicrous–total idiocy!

We have a number of people who are responsible for the demise of education in the Detroit Public School system: The State Superintendents who did not exercise judicious oversight of what was being represented as “educational reform” simply because of those who developed the research (not everyone with a degree is a credible source of information); and a systematic problem of not having a credible system in place to determine that those teaching–knew what they were teaching; the school board members who only wanted a position on the school board as a step forward in their political ambitions and who had no clue as to how to have oversight of what the superintendents were doing, they hired; the negligible parents who didn’t care enough to know anything about who they electing and positioning politicians to govern the educational process; and refuse to stay actively involved in their child’s education; the students who come because “socializing” is their priority, not learning-but if their parents had cared enough to teach them how to do school, before they ever started school, this would not be a problem; and last, but not least–the teachers–who did not and do not think that continuous education is important and so they mis-teach information they did not understand and now we have a colossal mess on our hands with people who did not learn what they should have and they keep perpetuating a vicious cycle of illiteracy and idiocy.

How do we climb out of this pit of idiocy? Someone has to have enough nerve to bring the problem to the forefront and confront the idiots in-charge to make changes in how we educate children that will make a difference. Since those in positions of authority have really screwed it up–they should all be fired! In the case of anyone who chooses to accept “new research” as the catalyst that will bring about miracles; they really need to look at who’s behind the research and understand their purpose or intent. I believe there has been a conspiracy–to maintain a manual labor force with the students of Detroit–which is why–the idiocy has been allowed to blossom to the nuclear mess we now have.

If people are incapable of critical analysis of anything before forcing others to join the melee, they should be lined up and made to suffer penance for the damage they have inflicted upon others. Where do we start in Detroit? Perhaps with a white male, Mike Lamb who decided that Detroit students did not need to be taught grammar (I’m sure his own children were raised in an environment using Standard English). Where do we stop? Perhaps with Karen Ridgeway and those who hired her since she thinks testing is the only way to get children to learn. And then there are all of those who fit in the middle–some I know by name, some I do not. They know who they are and they should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating such idiocy in the guise of a quality education. Now that the cover has been pulled off and the idiocy exposed, what are you (especially if you live in Michigan) going to do about it?

I have addressed this issue more extensively in my book, If Parents Cared Enough, Johnny and Juaneshia Could Read (available on amazon.com). My intent is not just to make money or to point fingers at those who caused the problems, but to ignite real change–that will benefit all children. Get involved and change the landscape of idiocy so all children will have a quality education!