By Willie Bradford
Caddo Parish is too often several communities: rich and poor, black and white, rural and urban, one at peace with itself and one in turmoil.
But perhaps most of all, we are a parish dangerously split according to the condition of our children. The inertial forces seem plain; Children from intact households end to prosper, or at least have a fair shot at prosperity. The support components are here. But children born into single-parent or nontraditional households more often than not are born into poverty and tend to stay there; the support components are not always there.
Back in the 1960’s most of the people I knew were poor, but escaped poverty. How? Through education. Historically, education has been the gateway to better life for all Americans but especially minorities and the poor. While the culture of this generation is entirely different then it was 40 or 50 years ago, the need to provide all children of Caddo Parish, regardless of where they live, the opportunity to get a good education. Additionally, the need for a good education today is ever more important then it was 40 or 50 years ago. In today’s economy, education is a pre-requisite for an opportunity, let along equal opportunity. Forty or 50 years ago there were at least some jobs in which a high school diploma was not really a necessity, but now even a job at a fast food restaurant requires some skills. For many, education is the only real pipeline to a better quality of life. Economics and the school system cannot be separated.
I unequivocally support and will vote “Yes” for the Caddo Parish School Board millage renewal on April 9. And urge all citizens that understand the importance of having a good education to vote “Yes” also.
Sadly, there’s an ongoing campaign by some to defeat the millage renewal. Why? – Some believe education if too expensive. While others are disgruntled with the Superintendent and the CPSB administration. The questions I ask are; “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” And why the students must be penalized because of your disgruntlement with the CPSB administration.
Of course there are challenges within the Caddo Parish School System. There’re challenges in School Systems throughout America, but the CPSB administration, local schools administrators and principal are working hard, students are improving, and school test scores are improving.
If we truly believe that children are our most valuable resource, and it’s our responsibility to prepare them for the future, why can we even think of killing their funding? And deny them the opportunity to get a good education. This is not the time to gamble with our children’s education.
I don’t know what world some of these nay voters are living in. Because in the real world we’re losing too many our young people to gangs, drugs and poverty. They desperately need to be school and educated. And it’s our responsibility to ensure that they receive the best education that we can afford them.
Please join me in voting “Yes” on Saturday, April 9.
Councilman Willie Bradford