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Friday, July 2, 2010

What does it take to make a Great City? Detroit Public School students studying Math, Science, and Swimming

The Friends of Cushingberry
July 2,2010
By TFOC Blogger Richard Clement


Summer is here and it’s that time of year again to hit the pool for cool swim. The young adults and children are out of school and enjoying their time off. Myself and the chairman were driving by a closed down Johnson Center in the City of Detroit and we started to wonder where all of the children are going for recreation. Seeing my former place of employment made us pretty sad because we all learned how to swim in City of Detroit pools with classes taught by us lifeguards.

When we worked there the Gym was always crowded and the pool was relatively quiet. There was an un-written law in the neighborhood that everyone (especially the males) played basketball and if they happened to go to the pool, the deep end was out of the question. On occasion we would have to jump in and grab a non-swimmer out of the deep end of the pool.

What does this have to do with the 3R’s of education (Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic)? Perhaps there should be an S added on the end of that statement for swimming. In order to sustain a great city, the citizens should have equal access academic tools and public swimming pools as a part of the educational process. Detroiters by the droves are being disadvantaged by the lack of facilities and the dwindling resources in the neighborhoods. When the park and recreation department starts laying off employees and closing pools, the youths start beating up the senior citizens and doing other stupid things.

Studying math and Science is very important but too many smart African American kids end up as organ donors being scooped up off the bottom of pool floors and lake beds because of the lack of knowledge of water safety. Studies show that 80% of African American children do not have access to a swimming pool. That same number is steady when you look for African American children studying math and science. Why is this? Everyone can’t be a rapper, singer, or athlete. Numerous statistics point out that less than one half of %1 of all children who play high school sports EVER make a living at professional sports. The energy and time spent to practice throwing the ball, shooting the ball, and running has to be multi-tasked with an educational commitment. Looking at others who have decided to study these disciplines from the community is necessary to show the youth that yes you can be anything that you want to be.

The fear of failing a class and having an inflated GPA by taking courses that are not as challenging is a big barrier and a hindrance to the full development of young children. Children must be encouraged and pushed at young ages to study math, science, and swimming. This would include swimming as a graduation requirement for high school and middle school children. We can no longer allow this situation to continue because we will lose a number of extremely talented students to failure and drowning. Out of concern and looking for a solution, I interviewed our friend George as he was exiting the House Chambers one Thursday morning about what can we do as citizens of Detroit to correct this situation.


TFOC: Why should students study Math, Science, and Swimming?

George: For far too long African American boys and girls avoid these subjects like the plague. And far too often the kids do not realize what they have avoided until much later in life. In the case of swimming the usual reasons are, not wanting to get their hair wet and, perceiving swimming as a “white man’s sport”. Some of them end up becoming organ donors because they did not give themselves a chance to swim or there was no one there to lead them to the pools. In a majority of cases, the parent can’t swim either.



TFOC: What can we do to interest young minds into science, math, and swimming and how will that benefit the community they live in?

George: By studying these areas of skill students will be setting themselves up for careers that will translate into sustainable income. Organizations such as the US Navy, Detroit Police Detroit Police and Michigan State Police recruited former Detroit Public School graduates for jobs. Our youth will be better in all ways because I fully believe in the each one reach one to teach one concept. I want to “impart” and share some of the knowledge and skills that we have with young. Once we retire we are hoping that the people that come behind us don’t make the same mistakes that we and others did regarding math, science and swimming.



TFOC: Regarding Math and Science our urban children seem to struggle with these subjects. And by listening to the news about Detroit Public Schools, it gives the impression that NO one is learning anything. I don’t believe that and I hope you don’t either. What can we do to highlight the good in the Detroit Public Schools and the neighborhoods?

George: We have some excellent young people in the City of Detroit. They are as smart and capable to handle complex tasks and make something of the opportunities available. Now Richard I understand that you teach sometimes and you tell the students to take the hardest classes in high school now because you will see them again when you go to college. This is a good thing because our children need to be exposed to these opportunities. If they fail and they have the desire to succeed, they will take that class over again until they get it right. Failure is not an option!



TFOC: What is the benefit of learning research techniques?

George: Our young people need to study research because an educated mind is a key to the survival of a civilization. A researcher is a person who is consumed with finding the facts behind the causes and effects of different things. Just look at the study of stem cell research and all of the benefits of taking unused stem cells and using them to cure various diseases such as Parkinson’s, sickle cell anemia, and others uses of the cells. Research techniques include listening to the pros and cons of a situation and determining the best possible procedure to take for the best outcome. Some of the reasons that stem cells were not researched were because of religious reasons. Richard you know that I am a true man of GOD and raised in the church. There are biblical reasons that stem cells would benefit people if used wisely. The main argument that people use against stem cell is that it can be used for cloning humans. This is not true because the cells being used for research are already dead an unused from the mother’s placenta. The ability to determine right from wrong is essential to a person making wise choices that are free from prejudice and manipulation.



TFOC: What are some of the qualities of a good researcher?

George: A good researcher is someone who likes to look for solutions to problems. A lazy person has good research skills because they are always looking for the easy way out and by doing that, they find out that there is no other way out. Or they find a better way to do things and this takes practice to test the methods being researched to see if it IS the better solution. A good researcher is free of bias and can look at things from both sides to determine a course of action. Having an open mind will allow a researcher to filter out information that is not true or inefficient in the terms of a cost benefit relationship.



TFOC: Thank you for your time Mr. Chairman

George: Thank you Mr. Clement and keep up the work you do in education and politics. We and the citizens of Detroit appreciate your dedication to your causes.




Privatizing the closed Park and Recreation centers may be an option that needs to be explored because we are losing too many of our children in drowning accidents and not taking their education seriously. It is not cool to be a fool and ignore the rules because it will all catch up with you in the end. The people that are drawing on the walls of freeways should be directed into fields such as graphic art and design. A second look at some of the graffiti shows that these people take a lot of time to draw their work. Some of them make excellent use of drop cap shadowing and making sure that their letters are all the same shape and height.


A public school system that can produce Grammy award winning gospel artists, jazz musicians, doctors, lawyers, automobile workers, engineers, educators, and outstanding citizens, shall not be shut down and sold off for the benefit of a few for profit organizations. If you want to support the effort to re-direct the minds of our children, please use our blog to contact us and offer some solutions that we can use.

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