Are you willing to write off an entire generation? Forget about it? Wash your hands of it?
Neither are we.
In our six-year history this is the most important issue we have published. No coincidence that it is about the most important issue facing this city in the Eighties.
Our public school system is a mess. That’s not a surprise to anyone. We’ve become inured to the tales of woe that spill out of our school system. We’ve become so inured, in fact, that most of us flip past the headlines to the sports pages. Fraudulent contracts, fat-salaried bureaucrats, untrained teachers, illiterate students, and a school board that rivals the Borgias in its politics and the Keystone Cops in its competence-no wonder when a prominent school board member says it will take fifty years to make public education work again, the rest of us just shake our heads at the futility of it and go about our business.
But the editors of D Magazine want to let you in on a secret. That school board member is wrong. The nay-sayers are wrong. The racists who think a minority-dominated district can only be a black babysitting service are wrong.
We can make the Dallas public schools work, and we can make them work when they open their doors this month. The problems are complex, but complexity has become a lame excuse for inaction. To all the problems there is but one answer the public needs to give: We want any student who walks away from one of our high schools with a diploma to be able to read and write.
To accomplish that, we need to put citizens in power over the system who will enforce the public will instead of thwarting it. We need to give steady and unyielding support to Superintendent Linus Wright and to let him know he will be measured by the goal we’ve set.
Most of all, we need to get rid of the notion that nothing can be done, that the effort is useless, that the problems are too much for any city. Because that is a lie.
I urge you to give special attention to each article in our section on the Dallas schools. I hope these articles will upset you. In fact, I hope they will enrage you. I hope they will enrage you enough to get you to stand with us and declare as a city with a single voice that this chaos must end.