The heart of the issue
I was blown away by Mary Carey’s piece in the Wednesday DN ( bit.ly/1E1FEaV). It was truthful, thoughtful and powerful. The abysmal literacy statistics for African-American male teens just stunned me – how can this not be news every day? Ms. Carey’s brilliant suggestions about how to support UNC athletics (by tutoring a struggling reader or donating to the local Augustine Literacy Project) were simple and inspirational.
I hope that the university will also take her advice and peel away a part of every single check that comes into the Rams Club and ticket sales, and turn those dollars into donations that will directly support the academic growth of the student athletes who need and deserve it the most. Not only would that be the right thing to do, it would likely help polish up the school’s badly tarnished reputation.
Thanks for giving this piece the front-page placement it deserved. In all the coverage of these problems over the last many months, I haven’t read anything better in terms of getting to the heart of the issue and proposing a positive, proactive and powerful solution that we can all be a part of, starting today.
Reading is the foundation
Mary Carey’s article “Asking the big Why” (DN, bit.ly/1E1FEaV) misses the larger issue when she says “we as a state and as a nation don’t teach black boys how to read.”
The critical question is: why do we allow ANY student to progress up the grade ladder if they can’t read at grade level?
Reading is the foundation of all education, yet we now allow students without adequate reading skills to fail upwards. Why are we afraid to hold these students back and demand that they perform? School Board head Jamezetta Bedford is puzzled on this point as well, so let’s ask some teachers. Why do you allow your weakest students to progress to the next grade level?
All students in grades 2 through 12 should be required to read aloud from time to time to demonstrate proficiency. Stand up and read well, or be held back. Read well, or you can’t even try out for a sport let alone join the team.
Yes it would create havoc for a while to hold back those who can’t read, but the word would spread and performance would improve. This “radical” reading program would cost zero dollars and get the results we seek – boys and girls who can perform in the classroom before they get anywhere near the athletic field.
Will teachers and parents and administrators get on board, or will we continue to look the other way and pass the problem up to the collegiate level?
So many guns
Editor’s note: Our report on four students being investigated for allegedly bringing a gun to Northern High School last month (DN bit.ly/10RMDai) generated these online comments:
Bruce Lightner: Holy Moses. We really need to get a handle on so many guns especially those that young people can get their hands on. This is not an NRA issue but rather one of common sense.
Graydon Stephenson: Some gun control advocates seek any opportunity to commend an anti-gun campaign. The US Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms. Illegal and irresponsible use of guns does not justify undermining this fundamental right.
Alan Magid: They obtained this weapon from an adult. Discover who, seize all their weapons, put them on a never to go armed list, and enforce with kind of fervor reserved for the drug war madness.
Gracious good time
Recently I went to vote. Never in my many years of voting (I’m 86) have I experienced a more gracious and pleasant time voting. Everyone from the people outside who were advocating a certain person or issue to those inside who directed us to the proper station for voting was most gracious and professional.
What a pleasant experience!
I’ve voted in Michigan and Illinois over many years, and none compared with this fine process. Thanks to all who contributed to this moment!