By Brother Earl Muhammad, Chairman, Lowcountry Education
Many of us have read newspaper articles or assessments from prominent educators or heard via news and social media about the disparities in the distribution of resources in regards to either financial support, school supplies and learning tools or educators, from one district to another within the Charleston County School District (CCSD). From CCSD’s inception, they were not designed to justly educate African American students the way they need to be educated in order to be truly enlightened individuals.
Perhaps a few examples would help refresh our memory. It has been reported that:
- The Black suspension rate in CCSD is 13.2% and the White suspension rate is 2.0%, 42% of CCSD’s students are black but they represent 82.5% of students suspended. CCSD’s 2015 Graduation Rate: White students = 89.4%; Black students = 77.8%
- According to a 2015-2016 CCSD Fact Sheet, CCSD has 49,564 students enrolled. Black or African American enrollment is 19,895 while White or Caucasian enrollment is 23,077. There is 5,944 certified and support staff employed by CCSD.
- CCSD has 76.7 Black male teachers and 369.9 Black female teachers. While there are 515.9 White male teachers and 2,260.4 White female teachers. (Teachers by Race and Gender in Charleston County-SC Dept. of Education 2015-2016 report)
- On average, 39.8% of Black or African American students in Charleston County Public Schools fail to meet the SC Ready test standards. While at least 50% of Black or African American students fail to meet the SC Pass test standards (SC Dept. of Education 2016 Assessment of State Standard Test Scores). There is no indication that these numbers improved greatly.
Some of the alternative schools in which the majority of the student population is consist of African Americans, are doing a grave disservice to our children. By the time they leave these schools, many of the students have lost academically an entire advancement in their education. Many of these schools are nothing more than a warehouse where they are just containing them and “trying” to deal with behaviors. Their reading level continues to decline, they end up becoming more of a disciplinary problem, getting expelled from their home school and eventually end up dropping out of school. This system in essence begins the process we call, the Pipeline to Prison.
The Lowcountry Education (LCO) asks the question, how long will we stand by and allow our children to suffer in a system that does not have their best interests at heart?
What is the Lowcountry Education LOC?
The Lowcountry Education Local Organizing Committee (LOC) aims to be of service by providing a nurturing and superior system of education where family and community network to mobilize efforts that will prepare our children to reach the highest level of excellence going into the 21st century…”if you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”
We also believe as stated by Minister Louis Farrakhan, the convener of the Million Man March, that, “He who gives the diameter of your knowledge prescribes the circumference of your activity.” If you gain a limited knowledge, then you restrict the possibilities of what you can and will achieve. The capacity of man’s brain is infinite. Therefore, the greater one’s knowledge grows, the greater becomes one’s sphere of activity until it encompasses and reflects mastery of self and mastery of the universe.
The second purpose for education, after self-cultivation, is to teach us how to give proper service to self, family, community, nation and then to the world.
To help us to focus properly in the development of our children ,we held a series of Black Educator’s Think Tanks where we brainstormed solutions to the disparities in education of our children. You can review the questions we presented to the educators along with their proposed solutions on our website (http://www.lowcountryeducationloc.org).
The Lowcountry Education Local Organizing Committee (LOC) has recently implemented a Saturday School housed at Morningside Middle School. The classes are from 11AM-2PM. Our curriculum focuses on the areas of Knowledge of Self, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. We will also add an element where we work on raising the students reading level.
Thanks to Ms. LeAndria Dingle – our Technology Instructor, the students during the semester began a project designing a mobile application with the intention of participating in the Charleston Defense Contractors Association (CDCA) 7th Annual Mobile Application Competition.
Their application was submitted and evaluated along with others by a panel of judges from the CDCA. The applications were also displayed throughout the two-day CDCA Defense Summit. We are happy to announce that the team placed 3rd for middle school participants. Congratulations students, we are very proud of you!
The Lowcountry Education (LOC) looks forward to working with all who are actually making a difference as well as, with those who have a strong desire to contribute to developing and maintaining a viable community. As an African Proverb points out – “If you think you’re too small to make a difference you’ve obviously never spent a night with a Mosquito”. No effort is too small.
To learn more or to become a part of the Education LOC, visit: http://www.lowcountryeducationloc.org