Some Say SBE chair Howard Lee Stepped in it…or did he?

Some would say that Howard Lee unknowingly stepped into a pile of muckety-muck.I’ll report, you decide.

The Wilmington Journal, the black-owned publication in Wilmington, reported recently that the State Board of Education chairman Howard Lee “blasted black parents for not having the educational support necessary so their children can become teachers.”

The Journal also inked a follow-up article looking at his recent comments in more detail.

Look at what he says:

“I don’t know that the [public school] experience itself is turning [Black students] off. I do know that when you’re in a home, and many of our African-American do not have the strong educational support that we need, and you don’t have the reinforcement – all of us live on reinforcement, somebody tells you you’re doing good, you need to do this, and keep beating it in – we don’t have that in many of these homes, that’s why the faith-based institutions must step up to help these kids see another side they’re not going to get at home, and the school itself does not have enough time to really reinforce.”

This, from your state board of education chairman.

Lee made these comments during a recent airing of NBC-17’s “At Issue” (NBC-17 is the NBC affiliate out of Raleigh).
This prompted a variety of opinions, many of them negative.

“My good friend, Senator Howard Lee, is the consummate ‘Black’ bureaucrat,” N. Carnell Robinson, a former educator, and president of the NC Black Leadership Caucus, said in a terse statement. “He is strategically positioned to make a difference and a contribution to the education of children who look like him and consistently are being failed by our schools.”

“Unfortunately, Lee suffers from cognitive dissonance.”

Robinson continued, “He well knows that Black and minority children are underserved and too often relegated to a second class status within our schools. The achievement gap, the drop out rate, high suspensions and expulsions are all indicative of the hostility and contempt our children meet in public schools on a daily basis.”

“Mr. Lee also proves that you do not have to be a racist to practice racism,” Robinson added. “When he blames the victim (students) saying what all educators say, “Parents have got to do more,” it is an abdication of both leadership and responsibility.

Is this what Deena Hayes is referring to?

But here’s my $.02 worth. Could chairman Lee be right? Because to me, it sounds like Mr. Robinson is making excuses instead of finding a solution.
You see, in my opinion, parents DO have the responsibility to step it up a notch. In fact, we as citizens, have the responsibility to ensure our children are being educated and that our public schools do their job, a job they obviously aren’t doing.

Our schools cannot be the babysitters, 24/7. They are there to make the attempt to educate our children and the caregivers should offer the supporting role. It is a partnership. And that partnership should be exploited. I don’t think it is much a color-thing as much as it is a societal issue.

Parents taking responsibility for their child’s education transcends color or race. There’s no racism going on here.

I’m about finding solutions, not making excuses. And before Judge Manning takes away our schools, we ought to be finding solutions very very quickly instead of making excuses.

E.C. 🙂


2 Responses

  1. Yes, I’d have to say that he did step in something — most likely a big steamy bowl of reality comes immediately to mind.

    Historically speaking I’d guess he’ll get the Bill Crosby treatment for speaking the truth.


  2. sadly, I’m forced to agree with you, Milo.

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