Brett Fuqua's college education crusade

Tom Jackson
Mar 23, 2010

I spent a good chunk of Thursday evening attending the Ohio Commission on African American Males. It was very interesting being one of the few white people in the room and learning what it's like to be in the black "reality tunnel," as writer Robert Anton Wilson would have said. I've written an article about it that should run in the paper this weekend, but I had three points I wanted to get off my chest here:

1. Anyone who has worked at a newspaper knows how hard it is to boil hours of information down into one newspaper story. There were nearly three hours of testimony Thursday, and much of it was moving or insightful or both. If you said something good Thursday night and it didn't make it into the paper: Yes, I know, and I regret I can't get everything in.

2. Many of the problems facing African American men would be reduced by persuading more young black males to go to college and stick it out to obtain a degree.

Brett Fuqua, a Sandusky city commisioner, hit this theme hard Thursday. Fuqua pointed out that while many black teens think of athletics as a way to go to college and get ahead, there are many more other scholarships.

Fuqua said he tells young people, "It is much, much easier to get an academic scholarship." And he said he's taken boys to the library to show them scholarships are available.

I also liked Fuqua's story about how he got into politics, illustrating that a little good advice and encouragement can be helpful.

A friend asked him, "Don't you have a degree in political science? You need to use it."

3. Here's a partial biography of Vicki Slaughter's determined march to becoming an assistant principal at Sandusky High School: Became a teacher's aide at an elementary school under a program designed to give minorities a chance. Became an elementary school secretary. Became a junior high secretary. Got her credentials in college, became a teacher, taught for nine years. Took a job outside the district to gain experience as an administrator. Returned to Sandusky to become assistant principal.

The executive director of the commission, Samuel Gresham Jr., took this in and remarked, "You did it the hard way, didn't you?"

Slaughter said she badly needs men to step forward and serve as mentors for black teens at her school. Anyone want to volunteer?

Comments

Anonymous (not ...

This is indeed a racial problem, but not an exclusive American black or white one.

I recently read that when comparing the U.S. in the areas of math and science to the rest of the world, we are the equivalent to the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team of a few years back. We are wholly inadequate in the education arena.

I enjoy a saying by the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping:

‘Poverty is not socialism. To be rich is glorious.’

Does the U.S. have a future in the global economy when the Chinese promote capitalism and we preach the socialist qualities of sacrifice and altruism for the good of society and denigrate individuals seeking wealth as being greedy?

In a very short period of time, the Chinese have brought the greatest number of people out of poverty in the history of the world.

Perhaps their 'capitalist' methods would be something for the U.S. to explore?

Anonymous (not ...

I'm reminded of the adage: If you think education is expense, you haven't priced ignorance lately.

Anonymous

...Mr. Fuqua's behavior at SHS games and public events! What a roll model.

Anonymous (not ...

If you've never read it, I recommend that you read 'Up From Slavery' by Booker T. Washington.

Mr. Washington taught that by learning a trade and being proficient at it, the Negro would eventually supercede the race issue.

He said, that if you're a 'plumber' for example, be the best plumber in town and the white man won't care about your skin color when hiring you. In fact he will seek you out.

Unfortunately Mr. Washington's approach differed from that of Mr. W.E.B DuBois who felt the way to equality was by way of the ballot box and political action.

Over the past decades, Mr. DuBois' approach has been predominate with most civil rights leaders and Mr. Washington's approach has been too far neglected.

Anonymous

I can't wait until Fuqua is elected to County Commisioner in 2012!!!

Anonymous

The biggest problem is parents....or lack of parenting and it doesnt only apply to blacks.....if parents dont support their kids or on the flip side of that, support them to the extent that they make cops out to be the bad guys. When children get in trouble for screwing up, they need to be punishded. Those of us who are in our early thirties or older know that when we got spanked by our parents, we learned what we were not allowed to do and those we hated our parents at the time, we learned valuable life lessons. Well that doesnt happen anymore. Plus you take God out of schools and teach Safe Sex as opposed to abstinence....there is more blame to go around for this than you could ever imagine. Then we all sit back and ask why kids are the way they are. There are HUGE GAPING differences in the way things are and the way they were.