Sen. Hank Sanders

Number 1567- June 21, 2017


              

I fight for public education. I understand how public education opens doors for so many, from the powerfully privileged to the penniless poor. I know from personal experience.  My life is a living example.  That’s why I fight for public education.

My father was unable to obtain an education. He did not complete first grade. My mother had to sign his name for him. If she was not present, he marked an “X” for a signature. My father was a very smart man, but he was unable to obtain an education. The doors of education were closed to him.  As a result, he was economically limited for the rest of his life.  That’s why I fight for public education.

My father wanted his children to have the education he did not have. Without public education, his children could not get the education he wanted them to have.  If they were not educated, they would face the same backbreaking, low-paying work he did all his life.  He really wanted more for his children.  That’s why I fight for public education.

My mother went to the seventh grade. She was proud of her seventh grade education. But she wanted more for her many children.  She was so proud that twelve of thirteen children graduated from high school.  The other child died while yet a baby.  Without public education, her dreams for her children could not be fulfilled.  She made certain that every child obtained at least a high school education.  That’s why I fight for public education.

            My mother did not fail to get a high school education because of her intelligence.  She was one of the smartest and wisest persons I have known in my soon-to-be seventy-five years.  My father did not fail to get a basic education because of his intelligence.  He was also one of the smartest persons I have known.  Society blocked the education door on my father.  Society closed the door on my mother.  And both paid the price for the rest of their lives.  That’s why I fight for public education.

I know that my mother and father were proud that 10 of their 12 living children attended college.  But they were more proud that all of their children graduated from high school. A high school education is not much these days, but it was something 50 or so years ago.  It was the necessary foundation for so many other opportunities, including college and law school.  That’s why I fight for public education.

            My mother had every one of our high school graduation photos lined up on a shelf in the kitchen-den.  It was her favorite room and the most used room in her home.  She smiled every time she looked at the graduation photos.  She saw her dreams being fulfilled through her children.  That’s why I fight for public education.

For years, our foreparents fought to make public education available to everyone. When my mother graduated from the 7th grade that was as far as Black children could go in North Baldwin County, Alabama.  There was no high school for Black children, but there were high schools for White children.  By the time her children came of age, there was a high school.  More doors were open for us than for my mother and father.  She made sure we entered those doors.  We are duty bound to keep these doors open.  That’s why I fight for public education.

I am pained when I see the myriad of attacks on public education.  Every time an attack comes forth, I am reminded how important public education was for my parents.  I am reminded what it meant to my parents and what it means to me.  That’s why I fight for public education.

It’s really terrible that the attacks on public education keep coming.  However, its even worse that the attacks come as wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. They pretend they are trying to save the least of these from education failure.  But they don’t care about public education.  They don’t care about the least of these.  They have other purposes.  So the many and varied attacks keep coming.  And they weaken public education.  That’s why I fight for public education.

When I was in Germany recently, the discussion was about making public education better. There was no movement to create alternatives.  Public education is very practical in Germany.  And it is free all the way through college and university.  I was out of high school three years before I went to college.  If we had the German system, I could have gone straight to college.  We can learn from Germany.  That’s why I fight for public education.

The debate should be about improving public education rather than creating alternatives to public education.  The ruse is always about diverting funds from public education to private education to help children in public education.  It makes no sense.  It’s peculiar that virtually all of those seeking alternatives to public education came over the public education bridge.  Now they want to burn the bridge that brought them over.  Does that make any sense?  I always remember the bridge that brought me over.  More importantly, I honor the bridge that brought me over.  I work to make the bridge stronger and wider so that more of those who follow can also cross over safely.  That’s why I fight for public education.

Some do not just divert funds from public education to private education; they divert such funds to a variety of causes.  This is just as destructive although less hypocritical.  That’s why I fight for public education.

When we see actions that do not make any sense, just follow the money trail.  It will lead us to the greedy wolves lurking in the forest.  It’s a never-ending struggle.  That’s why all of us must fight for public education.

Now on to the Daily Diary:

            Saturday, June 10, 2017 – I was still in Montgomery where I had breakfast with New South members.  I participated in various Alabama New South Coalition Convention events including making a presentation on the lay of the political land, two workshops and a luncheon.  I returned to Selma and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Dr. Roberta Watts, Roger Watts and Robert Avery of Gadsden; Dr. Carol Zippert, John Zippert and Judge Lillie Orsburn of Greene County; Shelley Fearson and Jeanette Thomas of the Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC); Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox; Former Alabama Supreme Justice Sue Bell Cobb; Everett Wess and Gloria Laster of Birmingham; Billy Beasley and Dr. Herman Mixon of Huntsville; Rev. Tonny Algood of Mobile; Judge John England, Maxie Thomas, Doug Fulghum, Danielle Fulghum, and April Caddell of Tuscaloosa; Esther Brown of Chambers County; Robert Turner of Bullock County; and Sharon Calhoun, Sharon Wheeler, Gus Townes and Gail Townes of Montgomery.

            Sunday – I did Radio Sunday School solo and Radio Education with Perry County Superintendent John Heard, III, discussed issues over dinner and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Minister Mae Richmond of Selma; Giles Perkins of Birmingham who is recovering from illness; and Faya Rose Toure and Ayira Fortier of Selma.

            Monday – I handled various matters, traveled to Lowndes County, returned to Selma, handled additional matters, spoke at the Memorial Services for Ethel Washington, traveled to Greene County, returned to Selma and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Greene County School Superintendent Dr. James Carter; Lowndes County Commissioners Carnell McAlpine, Dickson Farrior, Joey Barganier, Joshua Simmons and Robert Harris; Peggy Washington and other family members of Ethel Washington; Greene County commissioners Tennyson Smith, Lester Brown, Michael Williams, Corey Cockrell and Allen Turner, Jr; Carolyn Wheeler of Tennessee; and Paula Bird of Greene County.

            Tuesday – I handled many matters as I worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Representative Thad McClammy; Gloria Pompey, Veronica Williams and Edwin Ellis of Selma; B’Olivia Harris and a delegation from Dallas County; Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan of Tuscaloosa; Perman Hardy of Lowndes County; and Dr. Ester Hyatt of New York.

            Wednesday – I handled many matters, hosted Radio Law Lessons, participated in a meeting, traveled to Butler County and returned to Selma.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Lowndes County Administrator Jackie Thomas; Heather Gray of Atlanta; Alecha Irby of Miles College; Dr. Margaret Hardy, Karen Jackson, Carolyn Varner and Jasmine Walker of Selma; Radio Personality Dr. Feel Good; Franklin Fortier of WBFZ Radio Station; Susan Finkler of Monroe County; Cecil Gardner of Mobile; and Ainka Jackson of Selma.

            Thursday – I handled many matters and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Ted Quant of New Orleans; Alfred Smiley of Montgomery; and Shelia Morrow of Selma

            Friday – I read Sketches on Faya’s Fire, handled many matters and worked into the night.  Among others, I communicated with the following:  Earl Hilliard, Jr. on his birthday; Youlanda Curtis of Washington County; Marion Town Councilman Willie Jackson; and Amadi Sanders and K.C. Bailey of Selma.

EPILOGUE – It is so easy to take for granted that which has served us so well.  That which we take for granted, others see as lucrative opportunities to enrich fellow travelers.  We must protect public education.