Home > Uncategorized > Obama, “50 Cent,” and Education

Obama, “50 Cent,” and Education

The morning news carried two stories today that were strangely connected, and that should give parents a lot to think about. Both involve the education of our children, and both reflect a disturbing trend in America. We are all familiar with the constant parade of statistics that tell us how poorly our children are doing, so I won’t belabor the fact.

The first story was that the Rochester, N.Y. school district reading list contained two books by that international man of letters, Curtis James Jackson III. For those of you who are not up on current “musical” trends, he is the rapper who goes by the alias “50 Cent.” You may be familiar with some of his literary gems, which include song lyrics like:

“Nigga front on me, the goons and goblins come out
Wishmaster hundred shot drums’ll run out!
They dumb out, you heard of me”

Or the ever popular:

We gon’ fuck, I just popped this little blue pill
You can leave but wait, I gotta shit on you still
Let me shit on your chest and if some weed comes out
Just guzzle it down, just guzzle it down

There are two books listed by the school district authored by this wordsmith. One is “The 50th Law,” which purports to be a self help book. The other is allegedly his biography, entitled “From Pieces to Weight.” The funny thing is that the school district lists the biography under the heading of fiction. One can only wish that the whole person were fiction.

School district Administrator Beth Mascitti-Miller, who acknowledged she had not read the 50 Cent book, said that district staff picks books for the list that they think will appeal to teens and reviews them to make sure they are in line with the state’s curriculum. We know what appeals to teens; the goal of education is to change that into things that are culturally valuable. Teens, especially girls, like books about romantic vampires. Teens don’t like Bram Stoker’s take on the vampire thing. The goal is to teach them why Bram Stoker is superior to “Twilight.”

Curtis Jackson appeals to teens. Fine, I get that. But really, shouldn’t the schools be the place where we say that good people don’t kill niggas and shit on people? Aren’t schools in the business of inculcating a civic more; developing a sense of cultural continuity with the values of western civilization? If we want our children to act like animals, why not save the money we spend on “educating” them, and just let them run wild?  Because, after all, that is what ghetto thugs like Jackson are advocating. The law of the jungle, kill or be killed.

The school board just sits back and does nothing.

“I’m not exactly a big 50 Cent fan,” said School Board President Malik Evans. “He’s not the most positive person. Too many of our kids are emulating these rappers. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t have it on there. But we don’t want to censor things. This is a democracy. We want the kids to be free to read.” The president of the school board, besides having atrocious grammar, believes that if he weren’t to recommend a book, he would be censoring it. Talk about a lack of critical thinking!

The other education story comes out of Washington, D.C. In a bold move, Barack Obama has called for the firing of bad teachers. In the interview, the president said he wants to work with teachers unions, and he embraced the role they play in defending their members. But he said that unions cannot and should not defend a status quo in which one-third of children are dropping out.  One wonders how you can support a union, and, at the same time, call for the firing of the members of that union.

He did, however, also announce a goal of recruiting 10,000 teachers over the next two years. At the same time, the president acknowledged that many poor schools don’t have the money they need and he defended federal aid for them. But Obama also said that money alone won’t fix the problems in public schools, saying higher standards must be set and achieved by students and teachers alike. I can only guess that he hasn’t looked at Rochester’s reading list.

The president also acknowledged that his own daughters couldn’t get the same quality education at a Washington, D.C. public school that they currently get at their private school. The Obama girls attend Sidwell Friends School, an elite private school in the Washington area.

“The DC public schools systems are struggling,” Obama said, though he added that the school district has, “made some important strides over the last several years to move in the direction of reform.” Public schools in Washington have long faced criticism for their low test scores and high dropout rates.

This year, approximately 540 billion will be spent on education. That figure includes everything from teacher’s salaries to notebooks bought at Target and Kmart. With all of that money being spent, the results are continuingly dismal. Obama’s kids are the beneficiary of a fine education that is denied other parents because of the administration’s opposition to vouchers. Your kids are stuck with “professional” educators who believe that reading about “nigga killing” and defecating on people is to be recommended.

The answer is simple. It’s not money, it’s parents and voters. Tell the federal government to get out of the education business. Tell the local educators to stop trying to be popular, and educate. And tell your children that the Curtis Jacksons of this world are not role models and have little, if anything, to teach us. And remember, the goal of education isn’t to make money, any more than it is the goal of life. The goal of education is to make people complete human beings who recognize that every human being is worthy of respect and dignity. And that the only culture to consistently teach that has been western Christendom.

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