Is Our School System Failing Our Youth?

I recently read CBS correspondent Byron Pitts’s admission that he was found to be “functionally illiterate” when he was 12 years old. This propelled me to write about something dear to my heart: education. I have always emphasized that everyone should get a good education and become financially secure. While this journey may be easy for some, it can be more difficult for others.

Statistics, in America’s capital, show that a majority of fourth- and eighth-graders are failing to read or do math at basic levels. It is estimated that four in five schools are not meeting achievement goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law and only 43 percent of students graduate from high school in five years. Low voter turnout for school board elections and sagging test scores have generated a movement for mayors to take control of schools in their respective cities.

One must ask: Are the mayors equipped to take on the communities, the high turnover rates associated with school boards and the superintendents who report to them? Is this takeover contributing to our children’s future?

Of course, we must be cognizant that not all of the blame falls squarely on our school system. Parents must take on some of the responsibility in mentoring their children and preparing them for the future.

Byron stated that he is not angry about the school system failing him. However, he did have advocates and a parent who realized he had a fine analytical mind but poor training. But he is one in a million. He succeeded against all odds. How many others without parental support or advisers have slipped through the cracks and encountered teachers who have failed them without giving them a chance to succeed?

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