COMMENTARY: Tangipahoa school deseg case should not be downplayed
Needless to say, the importance of this particular desegregation case definitely should not be downplayed as arguments from every side are well understood. However, there are things that must take precedence as this process continues. Things like the assurance that every single one of our public schools has equitable resources and programs needed to be competitive, for instance, should be a priority. Planning strategically for each school by fairly balancing the clientele it needs to thrive and invigorate the community it services is of equal importance. Likewise, the life of every single one of the 307 children from the Magazine Street area is even more important. And, doing what is best for these children (all children for that matter) has to be top priority.
When considering the latest court report, it is pretty apparent that reflection must take place in all who are involved in the future of our schools and communities. Somewhere and somehow, we seem to have lost sight of what is really important. Of course, storms can impair vision. Therefore, leaders must strive to ensure all of our children and families are equipped to “weather” the remainder of this storm by practicing sound leadership in the midst. True leaders always acknowledge and stand for what is right. They always stand for what is honorable and just. They always advocate for the underdog. They always fight for those who do not know exactly how to fight for themselves. And they always love everyone.
With these same thoughts in mind, at some point we must sincerely question our own motives and leader actions. By no means am I saying that the actions cited in the most recent court document were intentional. However, I am saying that more consideration regarding the long term success of all schools, families, and children probably should have been given when engaging in the planning process. This is especially important when considering kids who are already placed at a statistical disadvantage due to various risk factors. Providing children with an opportunity to break family poverty cycles through education is a responsibility that should not and cannot be taken lightly. Think about it. If the same educational practices and planning that may have very well guided many of these families into poverty for generations in the first place are continued, then it can almost be guaranteed that these same families will continue to remain in poverty for generations to come. With the dedicated people we have throughout this parish, there is absolutely no excuse for this to continue to be.
Let’s move forward by planning properly and responsibly for all of our children, schools, and families.
Greater Tangipahoa Parish Branch NAACP