A few days ago I read an intriguing column by Indy Star Columnist Erika D. Smith in which she drew attention to the ongoing problems involving young black males in the city. She focuses on data available to Tanya Bell, President of Indiana Black Expo to thoughtfully consider the issue. I did not hear what I expected.
She credits Bell with having an insight to the problem. Bell has witnessed the task forces and committees of the past to study the problem, collect data and draft a plan to address the issues that arise from their work. It seems that most of the plans are crafted by well-meaning community leaders then filed away never to be seen again. This is clear evidence that people on such task forces rather deftly can identify and define problems and then devise a plan of intervention. The difficult aspect is to energize people to do the trench work to follow through. That is the most difficult aspect of all groups. Bell tells about meeting with over 100 community leaders on how to implement the plan. I wonder how many of these have served on previous committees. But I still did not hear what I expected.
Undaunted Bell is forging ahead with the goal of helping the youngest among us. Smith cites the $40 million preschool plan by Mayor Ballard that was finally approved. This she feels is a bold move to help toddlers of poor families in acceptable ways and could be more effective than helping teenagers who already have a record with law enforcement agencies.
Bell has been working with community non-profits, foundations and others to provide funding and leadership. She is also looking for a dynamic director to give the plans life. I did not hear what is usual.
It was refreshing for me that I did not hear one thing. It was extraordinary. This alarming oversight from the usual and customary conclusions reached by think tanks, task forces, the media, politicians, committees, law enforcement and the court system, left me speechless. How could this happen? What was she thinking that caused her to overlook the obvious. It is one thing to give a cause or culprit short shrift but something else to have a person totally ignore the obvious aspect that is the "Cause For The Problem."
I am talking about the public school system. Nearly all of the problems of society are traced back to public schools as Hansel and Gretel were guided by the bread crumbs. The mantra is ubiquitous: Public schools are the source of all problems and they don't know how to repair the problems. And if they did they would not do so because they are only there for the money. Blamers often claim to have the answer to the problems. However, they will not leave life in the ivory tower to address the issues.
This is such a glaring, ghastly oversight that I must go lie down and take a powder to recover. It may take me several months to cope with this conundrum.
Larry Vandeventer grew up North of Calvertville and Graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State. Contact him at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656.