Editorial: Keep focused as new school year starts

Editorial: Keep focused as new school year starts
August 11
05:50 2016

It’s back-to-school time. You can tell because of the number of back-to-school events popping up. Various things are promoted at these events. Some promote speakers, some promote fun activities and most promote the distribution of backpacks.

Organizations and churches gather items to distribute to students in need of items for school. A good question is, how many distribute what students really need for school, in fact, for life?

This is the 21st century, and many things from the past are no longer relevant. But we shouldn’t make reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic some of them.

The experts say newspapers are dwindling in circulation because people, especially young people, don’t read anymore. News reports say cursive writing is not being taught in schools anymore. Also, news reports say there is talk about bringing back geometry and algebra. Where did they go?

Audio and video rule these days. Students, from the youngest to the oldest, are using computers, tablets even mobile phones to learn and communicate. However, African-Americans need to remember their history. Many ancestors broke out of the chains of slavery by having the ability to read. Frederick Douglass is a prime example.

Reading material has taken on new forms, but the words still must be read. Many slaves learned how to read via the Bible. The Bible is still the same as it was during slavery times. People can still read the same Bible, but now they might read it on an electronic Bible, tablet, computer or mobile phone. The Bible also is now on audio devices, but reading helps augment understanding of the Bible. Reading helps the understanding of many things, but people have to know how to read in order to understand and gain that understanding. The Scriptures are projected on many projection screens in churches for congregations, and church officials believe members can read them, but how many members can’t read what is up there?

What if students can’t read a copy of the Constitution, such as the one Mr. Khizr Khan pulled from his pocket and offered to give to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention?

If students are not learning cursive writing, how are they writing their signatures? Have we reverted back to the time when African-Americans just signed an X as their signatures because they didn’t know how to write their names? Writing letters by hand used to be an art in some circles. Think about how much handwritten letters of our famous ancestors are worth now.

And ‘rithmetic is still needed. People use some all the time, like when we pay for items we purchase at retail outlets. We should be calculating the money we need to purchase items and how much we should be getting back from the retailer. It’s cumbersome to use a calculator for every purchase when we could just use the calculator we carry around with us all the time: our brains.

Even journalists, who mostly write for a living, use arithmetic, especially the ones who must design the news pages. They even use some geometry.

The point is that we have come to a bad place in the 21st century when at least one entire school has been designated as a literacy school because its students can’t read well enough to make the grade. We have got to get back to our roots, when teachers actually taught students what they needed to know to make it in the world and students were respectful enough to learn what was taught.

President Obama said: “If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible –from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.”

If we don’t get back on track, we could end up living in the dismal world Trump described during the Republican National Convention.

So, while we are gathering backpacks for students to use when they go back to school, let’s put something in those backpacks that will really fuel their futures: a book to read.

About Author

Donna Rogers

Donna Rogers

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