Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–February 9, 2017
Black people in the United States have long believed that education is the great equalizer. Despite persistent stereotypes and media portrayals to the contrary, black parents routinely encourageÂ their children to aspire forÂ degrees (whether they be high school, college or beyond) in order toÂ improve their chances in life. This is a commonÂ value which reaches across political ideology.
Given that, itâ€™sÂ interesting (to say the least)Â to read Omarosa Manigaultâ€™sÂ Black History Month take on blacks and educationâ€”specificallyÂ how, because of the presidentâ€™s commitment to education, blacks will do better than they ever have.
I am proud to serve under a president who has made it clear that the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no more, including â€” and I would argue especially â€” African Americans.
…His desire is for every disadvantaged child in the United States to have an opportunity to attend the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of theÂ parentsâ€™ choice. He believes this is the great civil rights issue of our time, and African Americans all over the country agree,Â as does our new Secretary of EducationÂ Betsy DeVos.
Access to quality education is most certainly a critical civil rights issue and school choice is worthy ofÂ debate. But it simply makes noÂ sense to support the idea of sending kids to private, magnet or charter schools withoutÂ addressing how we fix public schools. The Senate just confirmed an education secretary that has worked most of her adult life to funnel money away from public education. So any suggestion that this administration will prioritizeÂ improvingÂ public schools ignores facts and history.
The president has alsoÂ pledged to ensure fundingÂ for historically black colleges and universitiesÂ and to increase support for trade and vocational education, which will provide African-American students with the skills that lead to better jobs, higher wages and increased prosperity.
TrumpÂ hasÂ â€œpledgedâ€ lots of things, most of which will have a deleterious impact on many groups, but most certainly for black people. We have no reason to believe that the same man who doesnâ€™t seem to know who Frederick Douglass wasÂ and often seesÂ us as a monolithic group known asÂ â€œthe blacksâ€ will suddenly see the importance in investing in the sacred institutions of higher learning that educated blacks when no other universities in the country would.
Finally, Trump has onlyÂ shown that heÂ sees black students asÂ stereotypesâ€”violent criminals living in urban jungles who are likely bound for prison instead of college.
For instance, a team of researchers from theÂ Center for the Study of Race and Equity in EducationÂ conducted a study on young men of color attending 40 public high schools across New York City. We went to each of these schools, which were on average 94 percent black and Latino. None of us were shot or assaulted…
Trumpâ€™s mischaracterizations of majority-minority schools would lead most Americans to erroneously conclude that nothing good happens in them, little learning occurs, violence erupts every day and no one goes to college. Thatâ€™s not what we observed. Instead, we found hundreds of young men at these inner-city school sites who spoke extensively about goodness in their schools: teacher practices, peer support and other factors that helped them succeed. Theyâ€™re presently in college; one is at the University of Pennsylvania, the same university that Trump and his children attended.
In order to have a strong future, we need to improve the educational opportunities for blacks in this country. In fact, itâ€™s longÂ overdue. But Omarosa is not correct that those opportunities are likely to improve under Trump. AndÂ she, along with his egregious cabinet and administration picks, most certainly should not be leading the charge.