Part Two: Who’s To Blame?

In last week’s column, we considered why many of our most talented football players are unable to go to the next level in regard to their gridiron pursuit as a collegian to a 1A or reputable college or university.
In this week’s edition, we are going to use the same heading/subject and expand on it in reference to why so many of our young African-Americans males are failing in general to go to the next level once they graduate from high school.
Why are so many unemployed, idled, and loafers who are becoming easy prey and participants in drug trafficking, gangs, violence, and crime?
As always, my objective and motive is not to criticize, villainize, or assassinate anyone’s character, but to address the problems and life issues that so many of our youth are contending with in hopes that some of them (who by chance might read this piece) might be inspired and challenged to amend their ways.
For not only are far too many student athletes in high school failing to go to the next level, but far too many students period are not performing academically to the best of their ability. These underachievers (due to their own lack of discipline and effort) are being predisposed to fail as adults. Like last week, we ask the question, who’s to be blamed for their mediocre performance in the class room?
Again, just as the parents were the primary reason why their football playing sons are performing poorly academically, the same must be said about any student.
The shaping of a good student must start in a child’s early years as a toddler. If good study and reading habits are not instilled in a child’s life before the age of eight, for many, it becomes an uphill climb.
A few (like I was) can fake it and make it off of innate natural abilities until the chickens come home to roost (as they did me at the college level) where nobody cares about your popularity or academic filibustering.
You are on your own now and your failure to develop good study habits are kicking in to your detriment. You are academically ill-equipped to compete not because of a lack of sheer intelligence, but because of a lack of preparation and discipline.
Who’s to be blamed for students who ultimately come face to face with the reality that they are unable to pass entry level exams for certain colleges or certain high tech jobs in the military that is often the equivalent of a college degree and easily transferable into the civilian job market once they leave the service. Right here in our area with the arrival of companies like Wyman Gordon and Dillon Inland Port there are many good paying job opportunities that have come available, but some are either unable to pass the test to qualify for the job or unwilling to go to the local technical colleges to be trained for a position at the expense of the company.
The blame for much of the academic deficiency displayed by many of our youth is primarily the parents’ fault because they failed to discipline their children in early childhood to develop good reading and study habits.
When they should have been hitting the books and doing homework, they were playing video games, on social media, or indulging in something frivolous that had no significant or futuristic enhancement to them as adults. Then the blame is to be placed on the students themselves who as was stated in last week’s column, must at some point assume the responsibility for their own lives and future.
If some have enough foresight to discipline themselves to do well academically and plan and set goals for their future, then everyone can do it, except they fall into the category of being a special needs student with a learning disability that prevents them from keeping up with everyone else.
Right here, I want to interject something that is vital to students on every level if they want to succeed and go to the next level. Many brilliant and very academically inclined people did not fail because of poor grades, but because of having a bad attitude.
The old adage that is true that states: “It is not one’s aptitude that determines his altitude, but his attitude.”
The fellow who had the best GPA in my graduating class at Gordon High and should have been the valedictorian of our class had it stripped away from him because of his bad attitude and unruly behavior that kept him in trouble. His end result was that he got hooked on drugs, never lived up to his academic potential, and died somewhat a premature death.
How much blame must the school district, superintendent, principals, and teachers shoulder in regard to the academic deficiency and failing of our students, if any?
My wife was a principal within our district and my daughter teaches history at Darlington Middle School.
In light of these facts, I must tread softly and walk on some thin ice in my response to this question without violating both my conviction and conscience by stating the truth.
Though some of the blame must lie with the school district, the superintendent, the principals, and teachers, I am not in the number of those who want to place the bulk of the blame on educators when it is the parents and students who must shoulder the majority of the weight and reason why so many children are performing poorly at school.
When there is little or no discipline or emphasis for academic preparation and study at home, many, if not most, children stand a small chance of performing well in the classroom.
Though there will always be some exceptional and self-disciplined children/students with a knack for learning and an unquenchable desire to succeed through study and reading, the overwhelming majority fall into the class of being ordinary people who can achieve extraordinary and remarkable things with a little pushing, encouraging, and help at the right time.
I am certain that what you have just read came from the mind and intellect of such a person.