(Readers: Please note the blog is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, after reading a few recent entries, you might want to start at the beginning. More about the blog and about the author. )

Scene:  JC, Greenie and Jordan continuing conversation about higher education.  Start of conversation entry #80.

Greenie:  “I think most everyone wants teachers and productive members of society, 122813_2140_15Education2.jpgnot prisoners.  But when all is said and done, how are we going to make this happen?”

JC:  “Jordan, I agree with Greenie.  This idea seems too ethereal to me.  The concept is great but are the concrete steps to implement?  We need a simple plan.”

Jordan:  “It is a big, abstract idea.  But we’ve already laid out two steps.  #1 is stop busing and use tax dollars for teachers.  #2 is trade the cost of incarcerating someone for more teachers.”

k14630609JC:  “So, back to my question.  What are the concrete steps to implement the two ideas?”

Jordan:  “To me the first step is for those disadvantaged to begin saying ‘Stop busing.  Use the money saved to improve our neighborhood schools.”

Greenie:  “Then what?  Each situation is going to be different, so the residents need to realize they might end up working closely with the school board.”

122813_2140_15Education1.jpgJC:  “Residents might have to work with the courts also.  Remember busing started implementing Brown vs. Board of Education (Topeka) and the repeal of Plessy vs. Ferguson (separate, but equal).

Jordan:  “Speaking of Ferguson…Ferguson, MO might be a good place to start this project.”

Greenie:  “Excellent location, if nothing else for the publicity.  Someone needs to check how much busing actually goes on in Ferguson but I like the location.”

JC:  “Residents are probably open to most any idea that gives them more control.”

Greenie:  “Plus the Justice Department is already investigating Ferguson so they might be open to the idea as well.”

Jordan:  “So now we have one possible location for a pilot program.  We need some more locations.”

JC:  “Jordan, what about getting with Justice for ideas?  Surely they have a ‘watch list’ for school districts that are not complying with the law.”

Jordan:  “Alright.  I’ve got a contact there I’ll call.”

Greenie:  “You know what I like about this idea?”

JC:  “OK, what do you like about this idea?”

Greenie:  “OK, wise guy.  The plan puts more control back with parents and the school district.”

JC:  “I like more control with parents.  But some of the school districts do not want integration.”

Jordan:  “This plan might give some districts an out from forced busing, which they should support.  I can’t blame parents for not wanting to have their kids bussed.  Busing is a waste of time and eats into kids’ study time and free time.”

School-Bus-ClipartGreenie:  “Tell me about the disruptive part.  My kids were two blocks from the neighborhood school and ended up being bussed.”

Jordan:  “How long was the ride?”

Greenie:  “30 minutes each way.  60 minutes each day on some bus when the kids were two blocks from school.  A lot of kids spend even more time on the bus.”

Jordan:  “You know what might help get the effort going?  A template for parents to follow.”

JC:  “Why not publish a template?  Conservative political groups have templates for legislators.  Aren’t they running the NC House and Senate?”

Jordan:  “Seems like it.  More ALEC templates than any home-grown legislation.”

Greenie:  “These groups are effective.  And they must think the public is incredibly stupid.  In the 2014 mid-terms Republican candidates in three different states ran TV ads their Democratic opponent was the last vote that made Obamacare law.”

JC:  “Being last three times on a single vote is hard to do.  But, hey Republicans have their own math.”

Greenie:  “Now, now.  Be nice.”

Jordan:  “I’ve got another one.  The Charlotte Observer published a letter to the editor from someone I know.  He is CEO of his father’s business.  The son can’t string two sentences together, let alone a coherent letter.  He used a template for the letter and added a few names to make it local.  And the paper published it.”

Greenie:  “Not often do I admit learning something from far-right Republicans, but in this case, we should take a lesson from them.”

JC:  “Let’s use their template idea.  We need to make sure the tone and text focus on moving forward and not rehash old issues.”

ladderGreenie:  “If we’re not careful, we’ll spend too much time talking about why the black community remains at the bottom of the economic ladder and not enough time looking at solutions.”

Jordan:  “What do you mean?”

JC:  “How many times have you heard or read that blacks were slaves, then subject to Jim Crow Laws.  As a result, blacks lost self-esteem and blah, blah, blah.”

Jordan:  “JC, aren’t you being overly harsh?  Isn’t a lot of that true?”

JC:  “My point is what you keep preaching, Jordan.  You can’t drive very fast looking through the rear-view mirror. “

Greenie:  “But all the info is true.”

JC:  “And so what?  Every other ethnic group has been discriminated against.  And guess what?  Every other ethnic group has moved on.”

Greenie:  “Point well taken.”

boiling_potJC:  “Put all the information, arguments, blame and whatever else you want in a pot, turn the heat to high and wait for it to boil.  When it’s finished boiling, there’s one thing left.” Jordan:  “That one thing is.”

JC:  “Personal responsibility.”

Greenie:  “Seems to me we are back to the adage ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

JC:  “That’s exactly where we are.  Nothing of significance is going to happen to get blacks off the bottom rung of the economic ladder until the black community stands up and says, ‘We want to change.  Not whites want you to change.  We, the black community, want to change.  We would others to help us.”

Jordan:  “The first project could be rebuilding neighborhood schools.”