Where is the Outrage?
Children’s lives and futures are being destroyed!
by Mike Madigan
“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.”
~Frederick Douglass July 4th 1852
Frederick Douglass’s words rang true in 1852 – do they still ring true today?
In the city of Buffalo fifty percent of ninth graders drop out before attending tenth grade from East High School. Two out of ten Hispanic children graduate from Buffalo’s Lafayette High School. Less than three out of every ten black students graduate from Riverside High School. In the entire Buffalo School District, less than two out of ten black males graduate. In the City of Buffalo, tens of thousands of children over multiple generations have been sentenced to a cruel life of dependence and associated enslavement to the government, as a result of the failure of our public schools.
The impact of this failure to educate is that Buffalo is the third most impoverished city in the entire country, and it is getting progressively poorer, as this vicious cycle spirals out of control. Unemployment for certain minority groups is over 50% and dependence (enslavement) on government for survival is at a record high and is only getting higher.
Where is the outrage? Politicians who should be raising awareness and proposing solutions get re-elected time and again by the very people who suffer most from their negligence. A co-dependent culture of secrecy seems to have developed based on the almost total absence of any discussion of this tragedy by most of our elected officials.
This tragedy impacts over 15,000 of the 32,000 students per year in the Buffalo School district. These students may not be able to vote, and they and their families may not be able to afford to donate to campaigns, but they are still constituents that deserve representation.
One would think that with such shockingly disturbing numbers that there would be outrage, and that our public leaders would be standing on the mountaintops shouting and seeking immediate and decisive corrective action. A few public leaders have stepped up, but far too few. A complete absence of engagement has been seen on the Congressional level, apparently due to other more pressing priorities than the destruction of thousands of children’s lives and their futures.
The ugly truth is our corrupted political system has enabled certain politicians to gain and retain their power through enslavement of these citizens who fail to graduate, and who must rely on the government to survive. They do this by emphasizing that their opponents will cut the meager government payments they depend on for their survival. Such politicians focus on maintaining the status quo rather than fixing the problem at the root cause, because there is no incentive to fix that which brought them into power.
The education system has degraded into the current state through years of progressive policies and regulations at the federal, state and local level. An example of this degradation is the surrendering of all bargaining power to the delinquent authority of the Buffalo Teachers Federation (Union), to the point where they now have veto authority over any and all proposed fixes, and they do not hesitate to use that authority in order to maintain the status quo.
The poverty culture must no longer be accepted, and federal, state and local authorities must work together to achieve this culture change. Parents must become obligated to send their children to school, truant officers must enforce this requirement, teachers must be evaluated, administrators must be assessed, and politicians must be held accountable. School vouchers and competition must be introduced to drive quality improvements and to quickly save children from failing schools.
Buffalo should no longer allow the silence to continue. A proper education abolishes oppression, and as such, we must show our outrage and call out that a moral and ethical crime is occurring against children in the inner city. Looking the other way and ignoring it is no longer acceptable.
Mike Madigan is the Vice-President of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York, and the Republican, Conservative and Independent endorsed Congressional candidate for the newly formed District 26.