By Robert L. Hall
So, I’m watching television — you know, the trafficking in alternate realities that one has come to expect from Memphis broadcasters, such as they are — when I hear it. Angry parents of children enrolled in four failing Memphis schools. And they are hot. Some are cursing and ranting and screaming, flailing arms and slinging words with abandon. But, not for what people with common sense might think they would be mad about. Were they not upset about the four failing schools? No, no, no. About the sub-par teachers that allow their children to fail? Unh-uh, no. About the school administrators who are doing nothing about the sub-par teachers of their children? Nope. Possibly about their elected officials who are standing by and allowing this travesty to happen to those young formative minds who are supposed to be in the care of the school system? Negatory. Want to guess why? Five… four… three… two… one. Times up. They are mad because the State of Tennessee wants to institute charter schools in the place of the four failing schools and provide a decent educational experience for their children. No kidding. No, really. I’m not kidding. These individuals are smoking because someone outside of Memphis has informed them that their children are not going to make in this big ‘ol world with the type of mis-education they are presently getting. And these parents do not want to hear it… not any of it. They wanted to hear that their schools were perfect… just like their children are. Perfect, fine… perfectly fine. And they are ticked that someone told them differently. That’s their REAL complaint. They didn’t want to be told that their schools stunk to high heaven, or that their teachers were showing up just for their paychecks, or that there are probably more college-ready students from Antarctica than there are in those four under-performing schools. So, what is the first thing these people mention as a bone of contention? Well, they say they were lied to. Yep. The State of Tennessee just lied to them. They don’t say why? So I don’t know why. They don’t know why. Nobody anywhere knows why. They were just lied to. O-kay… Moving on, they say the State of Tennessee officials didn’t listen to them when they voiced an objection in previous meetings to having their schools upgraded to Education 2.0 Version. They still want to operate in the world of Diplomas for Dummies. These people are quite content to have their kids either be socially-promoted because of their age group, or else, drop out completely. Check. One might ask, why would the state officials listen to parents who are promoting a failed school system and seem quite satisfied with seeing their progeny’s opportunities being flushed down the toilet alongside their futures? Dunno. And the parents want an investigation into the matter. Investigate what, I’m wondering? Investigate the state regulations concerning minimal school standards, testing goals, teacher competency requirements, responsible educational goals and potential training to meet career and job opportunities? Investigate that? Again, no. They want to contest the entire notion of the state exercising its authority over the city entity that is Memphis. They would have Memphis schools sink in quicksand while the rising tide of competition for jobs, increased struggles for living wages, and economic stagnation take a stranglehold on this county. And that is the source of their protestations. But, what these parents refuse to recognize, is that the old standards don’t work anymore. And you can’t find your way in the 21st century with a throw-back mentality that is still operating in the 1930s. Time to upgrade, super-size, and throw away the rose-colored glasses. It’s a tough world out there. And when your children are under-educated, it’s even tougher for them.