Fix the schools or the villages?

Published 9:31 pm Monday, February 12, 2018

By Joe Bass

The media often reports many negative issues regarding schools, including violence, shootings, misuse of weapons, bullying, disrespect of teachers and staff, student hunger, parents not paying required fees, and so on. Millions of government and non-profit dollars are spent in attempts to overcome these problems by “fixing” the schools. But are schools really the problem?

The above problems and others did not exist in schools or society in general during the late 1940’s, ‘50s, and early ‘60s. What major social changes were made during this period?


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A study of history establishes two major social trends during this time.

NAACP efforts to undermine the legal gimmicks used to keep black Americans in a submissive state were beginning to bear fruit. For example, the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. Support for Klan terrorism was declining, and support was growing for an armed revolution among more radical, black activists.

In 1964, a socialist program was passed into law that was, and still is, identified as the War on Poverty. This was done even though the poverty rate had been declining from 32.2 percent in 1950 to 17.3 percent. The rate continued to decline to 14 percent by 1967, where it continues to stagnate, even though more than $22 trillion have been spent on poverty programs.

Of course, black Americans represented the largest percentage of the poor because of Jim Crow legal gimmicks and Klan terrorism. That was the case in 1950 and 1964. But it is still the case today.

How can anyone consider the War on Poverty to be a success for black Americans? In many ways, many of them are worse off today than in 1950. Some consider today’s society to be the “New Jim Crow.” There have been significant legal improvements, and some have benefited economically, but socially and economically too many continue to lag behind the rest of America.

And what impacts did the “war” have on schools that in 1950, although wrongfully segregated, were safe places without the negatives witnessed today?

Regarding schools, it is important to know that the population of a school reflects the village where the students grow up. It is also significant to recognize that students that experience the most negatives, the negatives that did not exist previously, live in villages where the greatest amounts of war on poverty funds have been and are being spent.

Schools do not need fixing. To overcome the new negatives found in adult society today, war-on-poverty programs must be examined to determine the causes of the problems. When fruitful efforts are implemented to address adult challenges, the children will improve along with the schools they attend.

My next article will deal further also with this issue.

Joseph L. Bass is the executive director of ABetterSociety.Info Inc., a nonprofit organization in Hobson. Email him at