Fix Poverty, Fix Education or Fix Nothing | Tony Allen | TEDxWilmington



I'm gonna do a first ever at TEDx shout outs shout out to Jim Gilliam rest in peace cap shout out to my wife Rena Harper Allen who's not here shout out to Ray Avery my inspiration around every educational piece of work I do who's in the house and shout out to one of my best best friends who came all the way from Philly dr. Quinn Etta Roberson who has also done a TEDx at Villanova University and she's up top here we go fix poverty fix education or fix nothing I don't know the answer but in Delaware I do know the status quo and after many years of commissions and reports and analysis and statistics and impassioned pleas and weary warriors shouting from the rooftops since Chancellor cites an attorney Louis Lewis reading set the precedent for Brown very little has happened in a way of achievement for any kid in poverty in our central city many would say that that was not always the case but such is the case today and who cares anyway a common retort often in quiet tones among middle-class families and friends of all races and ethnicities go something like this what should you expect the school system to do with the kid whose parents don't care who has dysfunctional behavior all around him or her every day and it's so far behind academically that catching up in any given year is nearly impossible here's what one citizen expects I expect in a free democratic society where quite literally our mission is Liberty and justice for all that that society should accept it bear responsibility it's more than hosting a canned food drive or a coat drive during the holiday season it's more than volunteering as a coach or mentor in the hood just to say you checked off your box on civic duty it's more than thinking that the plight of those kids has nothing to do with your own kids I expect that an educational system with for traditional school districts one Boateng district 13 charter schools 11500 city of Wilmington children and millions of dollars in resources should do better than a 60% high school dropout rate I expect that the link between academic and aptitude and the Prison Pipeline is more than interesting dinner conversation and I expect that the notion that poor parents don't care about their kids is widely dismissed as a pedestrian example from uninformed citizens who use their one experience with one poor family as the rule in a state with a million people less than a million a hundred thousand school-age kids reasonable Minds should be able to figure out that after 40 years of busing seventy years of an antiquated funding system a hundred years of analysis that we could in fact provide quality education to the least advantaged children in our community and that's so doing is not impossible but rather quite possible if we give a damn in the first place but maybe we can't or maybe we won't several weeks ago I was inducted into the William Penn High School Hall of Fame class of 1988 I grew up in the colonial school district and I'm very proud that when they inducted me it had nothing to do with sports because I would not have been inducted colonial has only a smattering miss mattering of city kids half of whom actually choice out to surrounding districts many of whom go to charter schools in that community which leaves them with about a hundred and fifty 175 kids recently they cited some data that suggested that their low-income kids did better than similarly situated kids in other districts I was proud I was proud of my district for that reason until I found out that they didn't isolate the city kids when you isolated the city kids they were actually the worst-performing district among similarly situated districts now I don't know what the thinking was at that moment but what I can tell you is if we care about city kids and their education then the folks who run these school systems and teach those kids have to think differently otherwise the answer is in fact fix nothing but here's what I think the beginnings of fixing poverty and education look like a singular notion that equitable access to opportunity is better for all of us that equity means that no two people or no two communities are alike and where there must where there are inequities there must in fact be remedies and that not doing so quite literally threatens our personal security our community safety and our economic fortunes and in the education arena the only real investment that pays dividends is the one where we're all better off how many people in this room remember once upon a time somebody invested in them by show of hands keep them high all of you stand up stand up if you were once invested in once upon a time stand up alright get loose you're going to repeat after me okay I like that get loose all right when I say something you're gonna say what I say okay ready now that's weak this is TEDx Wilmington now more than ever all of us must come together common blood flows through common veins and common eyes all see the same now now now now more than ever all of us must come together my friends this is not this is not about fixing nothing we have the opportunity at this moment in time on the heels of attorney reading and Chancellor sites to fix it all god bless you you

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