Dr. Walter E. Williams: No Hope for Urban Schools
BALTIMORE (WBFF)-- Across the world, he is known for his works in the field of economics. But now, Dr. Walter E. Williams has a serious message for inner city public schools, like those in Baltimore.
Williams is known for many things: World-renowned economics professor at George Mason University, veteran, author, documentarian and syndicated columnist who says what he sees.
“The education that white Americans receive is really nothing to write home about, but the education that black kids receive is a national tragedy,” Williams told Project Baltimore. “Politicians are looking for votes. I’m not looking for votes. So, I can be honest.”
Williams has built a reputation using data to deliver harsh realities. Williams came across a recent Project Baltimore investigation, which found 13 high schools in Baltimore City that, last year, had zero students test proficient in Math. That eye-opening discovery became the focus of his column, “Black Self-Sabatoge”.
Stated Williams, “If you were the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and you wanted to sabotage black excellence in Baltimore, could you find a better means to do so that they public school system? I say no, you couldn’t.”
Now, 81-years-old, Williams grew up in inner city Philadelphia. He was the product of a public education, he says, did not have the problems urban schools have today; for two main reasons. First, when he was growing up there was rigid discipline, which often involved a ruler and his knuckles. A method he says works.
Second, Williams says most all his friends had two parents. He cites statistics that show only 20 percent of African American children came from single parent homes in the 1950s. Today it’s 75 percent.
“For somebody to do well in school, somebody needs to make him to go bed on time and get a good 10 hours of sleep. Someone must make him do his homework. Somebody must feed him breakfast in the morning and somebody must make him mind the teacher,” explained Williams. “If those things are not done, I don’t care how much money you put in the school system, education will not occur.”
Using examples of school violence, low test results and lower graduation rates, Williams ends his November 29 column asking, ‘How long will black people accept the educational destruction of black youngsters?’ But he doesn’t give an answer. He doesn’t think there is one.
When asked why he has such little hope, Williams responded, “Because I think I’m realistic. If someone could tell me there is light at the end of the tunnel, I would need someone to describe to me the light at the end of the tunnel. And I don’t see any.”
Williams went on to say, the realist in him realizes that urban schools cannot save every child. So, he favors a system that saves those who can be saved with expanded school choice, vouchers and tax credits so parents can choose their kids’ school.