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Letters to the Editor

Failed government systems


Mr. Freeman,

Thank you so much for such a well-written investigative look at how many poor minority youth are faring within our failed government systems ("The children left behind," cover story, May 7). Sadly, many of the people doing the most harm to these children are middle- and upper-income minorities, especially African-Americans. Many have been placed in pivotal political positions, yet choose to do very little to ensure successful outcomes for the majority of children entrusted in their care. Georgia's departments of Juvenile Justice and Family and Children Services, along with various school systems, are cases in point. Commissioners at both DJJ and DFACS are both African-Americans and the departments reek of colossal failures.

The recidivism rates of DJJ, the cycle of poverty that persists within DFACS, and the high dropout rates of African-American students in urban and rural schools beg us to question the capabilities of those chosen to steer the ships. I guess we keep forgetting the Titanic and the futility to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking ship. All we seem to do is transfer administrative failures from one system to another, but then we are not expecting real change because the victims are just poor minority children and who really cares!

Unfortunately, Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County Schools and many others where African-American students are not performing well suffer oftentimes under the "leadership," or should I say "bleedership," of African-American superintendents and principals. Silence is accepted simply because the majority of these children are poor and minority and, therefore, expendable. Alarms are never sounded loudly when this is the population in peril. Especially not by the middle-class benefactors of the Civil Rights Movement who now make a handsome living promoting failed policies for poor minority children. Many of these African-American political pawns have done as much damage to black progress as the Ku Klux Klan and other racists. I can barely tell the difference between them.

By the way, I am an African-American child advocate and have spent more than 25 years fighting for the survival and success of poor and minority children. Oh, the stories I can tell you about failed systems and the children they destroy! Perhaps one day soon we can talk.

– Lula M. Gilliam, Fairburn

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