by Fred Logan, For New Pittsburgh Courier
The next report card day for Pittsburgh Public Schools students is Friday, Feb. 7. Spread the word loud, clear, and long. Shout it in the streets. Put it online. Anywhere you can, at church, in the tavern, around the dinner table, on PAT buses, at card games, at motor bike clubs, at social service agencies—everywhere you can spread the word.
Put a sign in your yard that is “Courtesy of” you. Put a poster in your window “Courtesy of” you. Put a banner in your business, religious or social institution “Courtesy of” your institution.
Pay for it out of your pockets. You don’t’ need a bank loan, or a foundation grant. It won’t put you in debt.
Make each and every PPS Report Card Day a major event in Lincoln-Lemington, East Hills and across the city.
Friday, April 17 and Tuesday June 23 are the remaining Report Card Days for the PPS 2019-2020 school year.
Let the African American students at Westinghouse in Homewood, at Weil in the Hill, and at every public school in Pittsburgh know that the Black community is on the case. Put the Pittsburgh School Board and the district administration on notice. Put the Pittsburgh powers-that-be on notice. Most important, put the Black community on notice.
From report period to report period, scrutinize to see if the aggregate Grade Point Average of Black students in every grade level is rising, falling, or stagnant. And, in mass, demand answers in plain everyday language, not in bewildering academic jargon that even the people who talk it each and every day really do not understand.
This alone will not increase the aggregate GPA of PPS Black students. Black Pittsburgh still must do all that is doing to fight for public education in Pittsburgh, and it must do all that is not doing.
This will be an important step in the struggle, if, and only if, it comes from the masses of Black folk, from you and your family, friends, church members, club members, and from Black motorbike clubs, and Black-owned taverns—who for years have been sponsoring community activities for Black youth.
If this comes from City Hall, or the Pittsburgh school district it will, at best, ebb and flow with who, at the moment, is in City Hall or on the school board. Even then, it will be, at best, just another mainstream commercial novelty like Christmas is. The Black community must initiate it and not let “Mainstream America” Pittsburgh claim it.
Look over the last 50-some years at the African American holiday, Kwanzaa. It was created by Black people, the Los Angeles-based Us Organization, without the consent or knowledge of the U.S. ruling elite. For years, it grew and was celebrated by millions of African people worldwide before it was “discovered’ by White America. Kwanzaa is a product of the Black masses. That’s its staying power, its resilience.
When you go out and spread the word, be upbeat, confident, and bold, no matter what the naysayers say!