NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! CHICAGO – On the 68th day of his 100-day rooftop vigil to build a community center designed to provid
NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
CHICAGO – On the 68th day of his 100-day rooftop vigil to build a community center designed to provide opportunities to his community, Pastor Corey Brooks discusses how parents must step up when it comes to educating their children.
What follows has been lightly edited. We strongly encourage you to watch the accompanying video so you may hear the pastor in his own words.
In an earlier Rooftop Revelation, I spoke about the need to have school choice. And I spoke about an elementary school that is only two blocks away from where I sit. Only 6% of the kids at the school are proficient in reading, and only 4% of the kids are proficient in math. This is simply outrageous and mind-boggling. While I believe that school choice is the key to free up our kids to attend better schools of their choice in the city, I cannot ignore the issue of parents.
In many ways, we have become a nation of excuses. We say this person cannot do such and such because of — you-fill-in-the-blank — excuses. Now, I’m not saying this to be mean or judgmental. I’m talking from the world of reality.
Sometimes excuses simply cannot be used to explain failure away, especially when it comes to an innocent child. That child is an innocent child. That child knows nothing about why the world they live in is the way that it is. That child depends on the parent. And no excuses should be allowed to undermine that.
Several weeks ago, I had a woman on the Rooftop Revelations who lost her husband to a brutal murder by a gang. She had five children. She had a job. She was going to school, too. She raised all five girls because she never allowed herself to fall back on excuses.
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I speak of excuses because there is simply no reason why parents should allow their kids to go into a failing school that has such low proficiency numbers. Why aren’t the parents boycotting? Why aren’t they demanding accountability? Well, I hate to say it, but perhaps there is no accountability at the school because there’s no accountability in the home.
I’ve seen a lot of these families, and I’ve seen how they live. I’ve seen them not put in the work into the kids. I’ve tried to counsel them into doing better, show them a way that is better.
Sometimes I get through, but it’s difficult. Some of the parents also went to these very same failing schools so they are undereducated themselves. Even the generation and the generation before them. This cycle is brutal. This cycle is vicious. My family came out of slavery, and even they came out of better conditions than some of these homes.
I say all of this out of empathy, not excuses. I’m done with excuses. All it does is enable the cycle to continue. We — and what I mean by “we” is the parents — have to put the brakes on the vicious cycle. We have to stop the excuses. We have to go to the school and demand accountability. We have to educate our kids in our own homes, before and after school.
Education must be number one. When someone says, “I can’t,” or gives an excuse, we must tell them they have no choice but to be better. The very life of the child depends on that.
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Think about it. If we make these chances, take charge of our own fates, the children will grow up seeing the changes we are making. The child will come to know that as part of their world, that they can’t make excuses. They will come to know aspiration. They will know the feeling of what they have achieved and the tests they have passed. They will know the joy of graduating. They’ll know the feeling of buying their own home, of having a successful family. They will know that opportunity means what it means in uplifting them.
Isn’t that a far better way than the world of excuses and poverty that they know now?
It begins with the parents. It doesn’t matter if it’s only a father or a mother or a grandparent. It begins with the family. Once you decide to take charge, the doors of the world will open. I know this because that was part of my life. Even now, my mother, who is battling cancer, she calls me every day, and she ends the conversation the same way I’ve heard her for many, many, many, many years as a kid: “Corey, no excuses.”
Follow along as Fox News checks in Pastor Corey Brooks each day with a new Rooftop Revelation.
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Eli Steele is a documentary filmmaker and writer. His latest film is “What Killed Michael Brown?” Twitter: @Hebro_Steele.
Camera by Terrell Allen.