Handout v. Support

Last week I posted a report on the Wylie Youth Council which was formed by Wylie Councilman Bennie Jones.  The Wylie Tea Party had asked Councilman Jones to be a guest speaker at their last meeting. Shortly after my post, I received some comments and emails of concern.  One particular email stands out above all others because the person called Mr. Jones, “A bleeding heart liberal.”  I am not so certain Councilman Jones is a bleeding heart liberal so much as I believe he wants to better the lives of children.  After all, that was the platform that he ran on for City Council. 

“Let me point out something else while I’m at it, (no, my anger is not directed to you – it’s directed to the bleeding heart liberal). The minorities in our society are already handed everything on a silver platter, including COLLEGE TUITION!  I know this firsthand!!  My niece was married to a Mexican. They both applied for government grants.  She was denied, although her family was always below the poverty line.  HE got full tuition.  Did he use it? Hell no. Would he allow his white wife to use it? Hell no.  He blew the money – then divorced my niece.” 

OK, so this statement might sound a bit racist, but if you look at the numbers that back up these statements, the reality lived over and over again is that the minorities might potentially receive more support from Jones’ group than Caucasians. Though there is a fine line between handouts and support, if Jones wishes to support the children, how does he create a program that does not look like another liberal-backed handout for the minorities?  The minorities make up a hefty percentage of the underprivileged within Wylie.  Let us go back and analyze the facts I presented in a previous post about illegal aliens in Wylie.  According to WISD’s Economically Disadvantaged Students by Sex and Ethnicity report for 2011-2012:

Total number of students in WISD = 12,937

Hispanic/Latino 1131 Free, 215 Reduced-Price = 10.4%
American Indian/Alaskan Native 34 Free, 6 Reduced-Price = .3%
Asian 199 Free, 64 Reduced-Price = 2%
Black/African American 568 Free, 141 Reduced-Price = 5.4%
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 11 Free, 1 Reduced-Price = .09%
Two or More Races 50 Free, 4 Reduced-Price = .4%

White 838 Free, 285 Reduced-Price = 8.6%

There are 2424 minority students or 18.7% of the student population on the free or reduced meal plan within WISD as of October 2011.  There are 1123 white students or 8.6%.  We know from the TAKS tests that the minority students do not fare as well as white students.  http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/cgi/sas/broker According to the 2011 District Accountability Data Tables for Wylie:

Reading/ELA All Students 94%, Economically Disadvantaged 89%
Writing All Students 95%, Economically Disadvantaged 93%
Social Studies All Students 96%, Economically Disadvantaged 92%
Mathematics All Students 90%, Economically Disadvantaged 84%
Science All Students 89%, Economically Disadvantaged 81%

According to the TEA Snapshot for 2010 http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/cgi/sas/broker only 79% of African American students and 80% of Hispanic students were passing their grades in contrast with 88% White students passing. 

What do all these facts and figures represent?  After I received the email above, I called the individual who sent it to me for further clarification.  That individual said that they have seen these programs started over and over again and they end up helping only the minorities.  Given the statistics above, these will indeed be the students that would benefit from the Wylie Youth Council.  Or would they?  In my research, I discovered one tidbit of information that I found might just be a saving grace for this program. 

According to the 2011 District Accountability Data Tables for Wylie.  Last year, 25 total students dropped out of high school.  Of those, 6 were African American, 6 were Hispanic, and 10 were white. From what I can see, if Bennie wishes to help the students complete high school and become upstanding citizens within the community, his best bet is to go after those who are considering dropping out of school.   In this case the minority to white ratio was a lot closer to 50/50 than one might expect given the scholastic records above.  Twelve were minority and 10 were white.  If the Wylie Youth Council focuses on those students, I wonder if the complainant above would be able to claim this program will end up only helping the minorities. 

I have one final comment that I received about my report on the Wylie Youth Council.  An individual stated, “I don’t care to hear the words, “It takes a village” from Mr. Hillary Clinton-Jones. His goal may be noble, but from what I’m reading here, he seems to be just like Obama on social issues – a socialist.”  Well that was cause for pause. If Jones is a socialist/liberal, then why didn’t he vote to approve the Planet Kidz program that was being pimped to city council over the last two council meetings?  It was because he, like the other council members, does not feel it is the City’s job to raise everyone’s children for them.  Conservative dogma to be certain. 

Statistically, African American’s vote toward the liberal side of politics.  It must be a bitch being a conservative black person; ask Herman Cain, Colin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice who have taken their share of potshots for allegedly selling out their heritage, and more locally Katrina Pierson who is the spokesperson for the Dallas Tea Party.  All bets on, I will ante up Jones as wanting to be a conservative, but raise that it must be difficult for him to overcome liberal ancestral roots.

Where does that leave us?  My New Year’s wish is that the Wylie Youth Council turns out to be student led, more like the Boy and Girl Scouts where the children spend their time doing the bulk of mentoring, that the program seeks out those students who are about to drop out of high school, that the students helped are a good racial mix, and that the council may never ask for a handout from the City Council.

Only time will tell if this program ends up helping all students equally, or if it becomes another socialist program.