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Why are so many African Americans against school choice when it is a viable option to educate the children who are being underserved by the education system in this country?

Many have said supporting alternative educational systems will somehow destroy public schools, but Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now says, “Tell that to the kids that are not getting an education right now.”

Martin displayed a school feeder pattern which details how students in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, Atlanta, Georgia and in Nashville Tennessee funnel students from failing or low proficiency elementary schools to failing or low proficiency junior high schools to failing or low proficiency high schools.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a staunch proponent for school choice, called the feeder school systems highlighted by Martin as being in “crisis.”

“It’s unfortunate that a lot of families and communities don’t understand it. How can you go to a failing elementary school … and then you feed into a middle school … You have no choice but to end up in a failing high school.”

Johnson continued, “We’ve got to be able to have our families understand what’s at stake. We need our families to be able to have choices.”

“It is so important to be able to put our kids first, to make sure you have quality teachers in the classroom, but parents have to have choices and it’s not an either or. In this world it’s parents have to have choices, you cannot be trapped in failing schools and that is what choice is all about and the African American community going back 40, 50, 60 years ago we were for choice, we were for options.”

Later in their discussion, Mayor Johnson discussed the impact low proficiency in reading saying, only 20 percent of our children are reading at the correct grade level.

“That means you’re not going to graduate [from] high school. It means your not going to get a good job. It means you have to be very creative on how you earn a living. You’re not going to be able to do it and be able to have a meaningful job and employment.”

He added, in America when an individual graduates from high school they will make $300,000 more over the course of their life than someone who does not graduate from high school. When an individual graduates from college, they will make up to $1.5 million more over the course of their life than someone who has not graduated from college.

Watch Roland Martin and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson discuss the need for school choice and making more educational options available to families in the video clip above.

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


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