This I Believe

Bradford - Jacksonville, Florida
Entered on February 15, 2007

America, as a nation, has endured some humiliating periods like slavery and segregation. America has somewhat proven that it can rise above the legacy of inequality and injustice.

I find it interesting that the Florida Department of Education has placed labels on students in its K12 public school system. This department has designed a state standardize test – known as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). This test is used as tool to measure academic performance in schools.

Most schools that cannot seem to perform at a proficient level on the FCAT are those schools that have a predominantly African American student population. Each year the state increases the requirements for schools to be deemed as an “adequate” progress school.

Jean Ribault Senior High School, which has received four consecutive “F” grades from the state will be closed if it does not make a “D” or higher. Therefore, students, teachers, and administrators are all stressed with focusing on FCAT preparation material instead of the curriculum that has been designed for specific courses such as Trigonometry or American Literature.

As far behind as America currently is in Technology and Science, we cannot afford to educate our students based on state standardize test standards. We lack the needed competence in Technology, Science, and Mathematics.

I believe that American youth counterparts in other countries such as India will soon have all the high tech careers. I fear that there will not be room at the table for Americans if we do not prepare students to face the world of science and technology. We have truly become a nation at risk.

African Americans need more than a rapper or an athlete for a role model. The state does not reinforce this. Instead, Florida has chosen to allow students fall behind and not provide the needed resources for the academic progression of students in their school districts.

I believe that our African American youth are more than the criminials that we stereotype them to be. African American youth are more than the failures that we project them to be. They are more than the foster children we see them as.

We are all accountable for the education of youth. I believe that many of the persons that have “made it” in society do not give back to the community.

This is a good fight that America needs to jump in quickly.