We thought the worst of climate change would not be felt until sometime in the future. And while that is still true, what is happening now around the world is bad enough and yet is only an omen of what is to come. And while storm waters are raging across the planet from Texas to Nigeria, storms are raging in the hearts of young people, brought into the country illegally by their parents, and now because of the threat of ending the DACA immigration program, fearing deportation to ancestral countries they don’t know.
This is a stressful time in the country with so much incoming and all of it marked urgent. North Korea with the H-bomb and an ICBM to put it on. A delusional president who believes anything he says is true, although others, looking at objective facts see the lies. Climate catastrophes around the world, in places where there are not resources to protect or recover that the U.S. has. All of this goes along with the war in Afghanistan, which has itself receded to background noise, except when someone local is killed.
And while all of this is going on, there is a category five hurricane implicit in the reading and math scores recently released by the State. the percentage of black students who meet reading standards in the city is 28.9% a 2.3% increase over last year. At this rate of increase, it will be decades before scores are at a competitive level. In this really the best the city can do? According to international tests, the United States itself has traditionally had dozens of countries ahead of it in math, reading and science. Our public schools are ranked among the worst in the state in a country that is ranked among the worst in the world. How can we expect our young people to compete when the best of those from abroad, want to live in Brooklyn?
The state of education for African-Americans in the city is a catastrophe of the first magnitude as hundreds of thousands of lives and futures are misdirected and lost just as surely by poor education as by a storm surge. And as with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, emergency funds have to be allocated and the same passion and intensity of effort as storm recovery is needed by all of us.