Philadelphia public schools are in dismal shape. Compared to suburban schools throughout the Delaware Valley, inner city schools are failing. Why? Well, lack of funding seems to be the obvious choice.
Many people claim that the almighty dollar is the source of blame for children not performing to standard levels of achievement, and it’s about time to demand more money for education.
Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, heard those demands and allocated a billion dollars for scholarships, much of which is aimed towards assisting inner city youth.
William Gray III, CEO of the United Negro College Fund could not have been happier. Mr. Gates gave him a $50 million annual fund with which to go to financially assist inner city schools.
Who would be a better candidate to oversee this project than a man such as Mr. Gray who said, “The biggest barrier to minority educational attainment is not family values. It’s not grades. It’s money.”
Sorry Mr. Gray, but right here in Philadelphia a man named George Weiss proved that statement wrong years ago.
Back in 1987, Mr. Weiss, a wealthy humanitarian, decided to “adopt” 112 inner-city sixth grade children, the majority of them from broken homes.
Mr. Weiss guaranteed a fully funded education through college for each one of the students. He even provided workshops, tutors and counselors as well as after-school and summer programs.
There was only one catch. In order to receive the free college education, students had to refrain from unwed parenthood, drug abuse and crime. In other words, they needed to enact discipline, values and moral behavior in order to succeed.
So how many success stories were there after so many long years of hard work, dedication, and most of all, money? Hardly any.
Out of the 112 students adopted, forty-five never graduated from high school. Of those forty-five, thirty-five had dropped out, and five passed away. Out of those who graduated from high school, standouts include 12 college dropouts, six trade school dropouts and five who received no further education.
What’s even more shocking is that out of the 67 boys, 19 are adult felons. The 45 girls decided to have 63 children, with more than half of the pregnancies occurring before the age of 18.
But apparently, Mr. Gray and the many parents who constantly moan about public school funding didn’t read those statistics.
Granted, schools need money to operate and to provide their students with ample resources.
But, even more important than the money flowing through the veins of schools is love flowing through the veins of parents. Ultimately, love from a stable two-parent is needed to instill values in our impressionable youth.
Best-selling author Larry Elder address the problem, “What do we make of this? The answer is simple: It ain’t about money. It’s about values. It’s about discipline and application. It’s about character, working hard when you don’t want to. And these values are instilled in the home.”
The decline of the traditional nuclear family and horrendous divorce rates do nothing to assist children of any school, inner city or not. Money helps, but it is not the answer.
Children need a mother and a father a lot more than Ben Franklin’s face on a piece of paper.
Brandon Lausch can be reached at Goskateboarding2000@hotmail.com