Why Ray Ray Can’t Read and Very Few Seem To Care

By Reverend K.P. Tatum, Sr.

Last week, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, the Fort Worth superintendent and business leaders from throughout the city launched a new partnership to address the creation of a reading initiative to address the chronic educational crisis within our public schools.

While we honestly appreciate the acknowledgment of the problems, unfortunately many of us who have been working for decades to alleviate the failure to educate children in public schools, especially African-American students, were not invited to the meeting. Personally, I am not sure how you can honestly address these issues of importance without having all hands on deck and giving new stakeholders
a seat at the table.

This must be a bipartisan approach education reform.

Please allow me to express my frustrations with the current process of reform in Fort Worth and across the state and country. With all due respect to Mayor Price, in her call to action, she stated that over 70% of 3rd graders can’t read on grade level and only 16% of African -American students are reading on grade level. That means “eighty-four percent” of our black babies do not have a basic understanding of English comprehension.

This is a critical crisis in our city and a major failure for Fort Worth.

To solve the problem it is going to take a deeper, more comprehensive and coherent approach to seriously address the disproportionality and disparities within our community’s systems of care, especially within our public school systems.