Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Bad Report

Numbers 13:32
And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the Land they had explored. They said, “the Land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are great size.

Men Lie. Women Lie. Numbers don’t.

There has been much debate over the surrender of the charter of Memphis City Schools and the merger of the two school systems. Much of the rhetoric from those opposing is nothing more than fear mongering. “There will be chaos, people will lose jobs, our children will suffer.” All those things are already happening in a school system that is failing our children. 87% of the students in Memphis City School system are economically disadvantaged while in Shelby County School system there are only 37%. Memphians currently pay for schools through county taxes and then again through city taxes. WE graduate 50% of our students. It’s time to move forward with consolidation so that we can create a school system that is best for all of our children. When Memphians’ vote yes on March 8th it will be our best chance to stop Shelby County from creating a special school district to wall in economically disadvantaged students from getting a quality education.

There are so many progressive minded people in Memphis who want to go forward to create a more equitable and efficient school system by voting yes for a merger but there is another group against it that keeps spreading a bad report.

When Moses had the 12 spies to go check out Canaan, the Promised Land, they found evidence (giant clusters of grapes and pomegranates) that the land was flowing with Milk and Honey. There is only one problem, the land was still inhabited. That’s why it was called “the Promised Land.” It was a promise to Abraham but now his descendents had to come up with a plan for the Promise. Part of the argument for not going forward with the surrender of the charter and the merger of the two school systems is that there is no plan. God had the plan for the children of Israel, he just sent 12 representatives to look at the potential of the Promise. They surrendered their charter when they left the oppression of being slaves in Egypt.

They came back with evidence that the promise was true; Two big clusters of grapes that took two men to carry. We have over 150,000 students in Memphis and Shelby county. The children represent the fruit of our future. It’s going to take two systems coming together to carry this fruit! The problem wasn’t the fruit; the problem was the people who reported back to Moses and the people. Ten of the men told Moses, “the people are too large for us to take the land.” Joshua and Caleb were the only two who said, “we can take this land!” In order to prevent the people from going forward the 10 intimidated leaders/spies put out a Bad Report.

We have come too close to the Promise to let a bad report stop us from moving forward into our Promise Land of a better Educational Plan for our children. Education is the Number One Civil Rights issue of the 21st century. If we don’t vote on March 8th for the surrender of the charter we could see ourselves rich back in 1963 with a school system that is separate but not equal. Opponents to the charter surrender are telling Memphians, “if you don’t know vote No!” that’s not faith nor factual. That is Fear! If you don’t know then you owe it to yourself and your children to arm yourself with accurate information. If you vote no, Shelby county will form special school districts that Memphians will have to pay for in taxes.

Whose report shall you believe?

Do your research. Go to and get your own opinion. If you don’t have an informed opinion somebody else will give you one.
You can go early vote now or vote yes on March 8th. My fear is that Memphians are going to stay home on March 8th and we go backwards instead of forward.
Educate other people about this issue.

I believe that voting “YES” on march 8th for the surrender of the charter will put Memphis and Shelby County in a better position to put our students in a place where they will have a better chance to succeed locally and globally. I believe by consolidating the school system that the dollars needed to educate economically disadvantaged students will get to them and help end the cycle of poverty. I believe by voting “YES” we will give Memphis a better chance to draw in more companies to create jobs because our talent base will increase due to the fact that we will be graduating a higher number of students. Don’t let a bad report keep you at home on March 8th. A Bad Report will continue to give Memphis Students a Bad Report Card.

Dear God,
Help the citizens of Memphis to make an informed decision come March 8th. Dr. King was right the night before he was assassinated in Memphis, “I’ve been to the Mountain top and I’ve seen the promised land, I may not get there with you but we as a people will get to the Promised land!” God give us the courage to fulfill Dr. King’s dream and not waste his sacrifice. Give us this mountain and help us take the Promised Land of Education Equality.

In Jesus Name,


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