Easy as ABC’s & 123′s

I encounter beautiful black children in my travels. Their coconut brown, amber, almond, yellow and vanilla faces often stay in my memory, and my prayers are with them. I pray for them because I know the dark future they may encounter if they are not properly prepared.

Preparation through education is the key that will unlock boundless opportunity for them, yet they live at a time and in places where education has become a broken relic, a ruin of black people’s past glory. Public schools are named for relics, great African-American educators and emancipators like Frederick Douglass, Benjamin E. Mays, Martin Luther King Jr. and others.
The buildings named for them have become holding cells that detain our children for four years or so and release them unprepared and ill advised to prosper in the real world. Truthfully public schools are barely giving them the most basic of coping skills: reading, writing and arithmetic.

We all know the problems. We all know the cities that host the problem of under educating our young: Atlanta, Little Rock, Detroit, D.C., Newark and the list continues to grow. I want to talk about solutions.

African-American children are in dire need of intervention. The schools must be fixed or closed. When Dead Prez rapped “Fuck They Schools,” we all should have listened.

Neal Boortz and Sean Hannity advised their W.A.S.P. listeners to pull their kids from public schools. They know the American public school system has become the feeder program to welfare and prison. The proof is in the pudding − where education fails, crime prospers and gangs prevail.

Babies were once fatherless in the 80s and 90s; now they are completely parentless. No homework help, no assistance with school projects, and now, no dreams or goals grow in these homes. Can parents who were failed by public schools help public schools succeed now? Yes!
Parents must first join the P.T.A. The Parent Teacher Association is the easiest way to directly affect school policy. Meet your child’s teacher and engage him or her often. This includes being present at the school for special events and functions to aid teachers on a daily basis.

The increased adult presence will help to restore order and provide an environment where focus is possible. It will also serve as a watchful eye on what the administration is or is not doing to ensure the best quality of education possible for our kids. This can be done in shifts to protect parent employment.

School board meetings should look like the club on a Saturday night. 100 percent of P.T.A. parents should attend and make concerns, needs and wants known for their home schools and the entire district. The loudest wheel gets the oil. Our kids need us to be loud right now.
Next is homework − two hours of no TV; the entire house must engage in homework. The kids will do required work, and the parents can read self-help books, study guides or fiction, so long as the children see them reading.

Children who see parents read become readers. Black pulp fiction does not count. What you read reflects your aspirations, get rid of the “locked in the game” street novels. Also do homework parties with their classmates and have the teacher’s cell on standby in case your kids lie about not having any like my kids do.

So now you are active in the school and the school board, and study time is a staple in the home. What next? Next is Saturday School. WHAT?! Yup, Saturday School. We are so far behind the curve now that we have to look to other communities for effective ways to further our children’s education. Our Jewish brothers and sisters have the answer, Saturday School! Our schools and churches can easily be used for three hours on Saturdays to bring in young talented college students to tutor in math, English, science and also foreign languages. This will not be easy, but it will be worth it. With the 10 hours of homework a week and an additional three hours on Saturday, our students will begin to “180” within weeks, not months. The strongest learners will help with the slower ones, and all older grades will be required to assist younger ones. Parents also can use these resources to do online college courses and earn GEDs for those who may need them. Learning must become the culture of our entire community again.

Lastly, make school the biggest deal in your household. Sheer enthusiasm for good grades and the expectation of a solid parent can feed the ambition in a child that will create a drive to excel well beyond all imagined expectations.

If we can do these few things consistently and nationally in the black community and create partnerships with HBCUs, we can reverse the last 30 years of public school neglect by the time a ninth-grade student graduates from high school. Public schools can be saved; it will take the public to do it! Our children are not lost when we guide them.

I gotta get some rest now. Aniyah is expecting me at her school in the a.m. Fin. -It’s Bigga!

BTW, kids … I believe there is a direct correlation between the dropping literacy rate and the rise of dumb rap. You cannot appreciate lyricism if you cannot read. So, I guess my challenge to the hip-hop generation is to make sure our children are literate, which will help them appreciate lyricism and ultimately will make rap better.

  • lol

    first

  • Lunatikstwocents

    “So, I guess my challenge to the hip-hop generation is to make sure our children are literate, which will help them appreciate lyricism and ultimately will make rap better”.
    I agree with that bruh,or in the words of Bun-B “Read a book you illiterate son of a bitch, step up your vocab”

    • Smel

      Or as Bomani says, “READ A BOOK! READ A BOOK! READ A MUHFUCKIN BOOK”

  • Grimey G

    Its so true alot of these inner city schools are a joke. The kids get no real educational value that they can use to get jobs or whatnot. Instead they get training at being better criminals. They learn how to get over on authority figures- be it through charm, intimidation, avoidance or any number of ways. As soon as they can count they are capable of being elevated from lookout to the guy on the stash. And quite frankly alot of them don’t realize the gravity of life in prison or death so there really isn’t any hinderance to becoming a drug dealer and getting money in their minds.

  • Mike Bigga

    Thank u all 4 reading as always i appreciate all comments!

  • Apollo Moses

    Another wise drop…everywhere I turn I see this progression towards anti-education and dumbing down our youth, not to mention how many folks getting left behind in the always evolving job market and competition…we gotta rise and grind.

  • MelbossAtl

    Dam if y’all can’t see how intelligent this man is he is the worlds nightmare an educated articulate black man! I remember when you came back to Doug in 94 after the mays Doug incident and your words stuck with me ever since. Anyways your are right in everything you said and it’s sad because our standards are so low in comparison to other races and other countries we are not up to par and we need to stop putting all the blame on the teachers. The school my son goes to the require a certain amount of parent participation. Thank you for the blog sometimes we need reminders of how important it is to nurture our young ones. You have definitely motivated me today :)

  • Mike Bigga

    @ Apollo Moses

    I have to Borrow that Rise and Grind Line sir. with your permission of course?

  • $ykotic/Don McCaine

    Good drop Mike. You said it all.

    BTW the community board meeting is 2nite so I will be there to propose my after-school organization to help some of the kids get home safely(the D. Albert blog).

    And also, how coincidental is it that there’s a Wayne “lyrical” fascination on the other blog today?

  • DV8

    i wish everybody could read this and take action.

    im tired of having SMH moments everytime I see these kids make bad decisions and rejoice in their ignorance as if its the thing to do. It all starts at home and school.

    “Big Brother” hired “The Pied Piper” to lead the black youth astray (Think about it)

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      ““Big Brother” hired “The Pied Piper” to lead the black youth astray (Think about it)”

      HAHAHAHAHAHA

      On another note, what’s up with that house in Cleveland? Po-po found more bodies. The count is up to a dime…

      • DV8

        Big Brother = The government and/ or powers that be

        The Pied Piper = all major outlets of entertainment media

        these kids are living in fantasy land for real.

        Ive missed the Cleveland situation. Ill have to look it up and get back to you.

        • Chilly Willy

          ““Big Brother” hired “The Pied Piper” to lead the black youth astray (Think about it)”
          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

          Hilarious !!!!!!!!

          Mostly because the first thing on my mind when I read this was ” Goddamn !!! I think the album was named Best Of Both Worlds….”

        • DV8

          i dont mean no harm but you just proved my point. Instead of thinking about the original story of the pied piper and making the relation of how he played his music and led the children astray, you automatically thought of R.Kelly first. Again im not taking a shot at you just pointing out an observation.

        • Chilly Willy

          No harm, no foul, DV8

          But that was such an obvious reference that I had to let it out. Just take it both as a proof and a comedic relief.

          We cool !

  • Apollo Moses

    no doubt man…I got it from my dawg…ball player Carlos Powell…my bruh Gutta copped that Underground Atlanta disc and he said it’s banging in the Charger, we got the same ear so I’m fa sho picking it up today…nice move getting back up with Slimm Calhoun

  • Victoria Page

    Good drop.

    As a parent, I agree with everything you wrote. What stuck with especially is letting your children see you read. I have always made a point to push reading in my home. Reading builds vocabulary and comprehension. When I was younger I would always get compliments on my large vocabulary and it came from reading everything my I could get my young hands on. I encourage my five year old daughter to read and we make Saturday at my house Library Day. We hit the library and I get a book and she gets one too. I think parents have come to rely on the schools to do all the work. You are your childs biggest and best teacher. If you don’t read or better yet if education is not important to you, then why would it be important to your child? It is time for parents to begin to parent again and not rely on others to do it for them.

  • Moving Sideways

    My girlfriend is a teacher at an ‘urban’ elementary school and she is very good at her job, sometimes tutoring students on the weekends to help out with their work. However, that isn’t enough without having the desire to learn at home.

    By the way, when has it ever been cool to be so ignorant? Kids who don’t know shit about history, the arts, science, math, English should be ridiculed openly.

    • Victoria Page

      Exactly. I am wondering too when it became cool to be ignorant. I guess it’s the same as when I was in school and you were considered to “act white” if you did your work in class. Once again, I think it all goes back to the parents. If my mama and daddy thought that being ignorant was cool then I probably would too.

      • Chilly Willy

        I hear ya, Victoria !

        I’m black, but I don’t think it started only with “act white”. Notice how all the clever kids in school are the outcasts (no left foot luscious)?

        Those who succeed actually are the kids who doesn’t want to go to school because being smart is somehow confused with being a freak. How twisted is that shit ?

        And those who fail are the “cool kids” because “they don’t give a fuck about school” so they’re so fuckin’ cool…..

        The real problem is that our society, at some point, valued accidental success and praised miracles so much, that we don’t give no reason for kids to try to be good in school anymore. I’ve met some of my nephew’s classmates when I go over to my cousin’s house from time to time. I talk to them, and one of them actually said that as an ultimate goal, he wants to be a star, and that no star in the world has been smart in school so he don’t give a fuck… I was shocked! I said a star of what ? He just said “I don’t care, just a star, man !!! Learning is so old-school.”

        I said to my nephew, if I ever hear you fail in a test, I’m on yo ass…..

  • HNIC

    “I believe there is a direct correlation between the dropping literacy rate and the rise of dumb rap. You cannot appreciate lyricism if you cannot read. So, I guess my challenge to the hip-hop generation is to make sure our children are literate, which will help them appreciate lyricism and ultimately will make rap better.”

    This statement is fascinating that you’ve mentioned it, considering that you’ve made songs with both, Gucci Mane & OJ Da Juiceman, who in my opinion, are lacking, when lyrical content is examined, as it should be. No shots; merely an observation.

  • Brooklyn

    i can testify to the fact that inner city schools are bullshit, i went to school in the hood for twelve years, and most of what i learned i learned outside of those buildings. i have to credit my mother, because she saw in me the desire to learn very early, and she encouraged that. she had me reading and writing at 2, and by the time i entered kindergarten i was reading on a 3rd grade level and was the only student who knew how to write in cursive. my mother read a lot; books by sidney sheldon, dean koontz, john grisham, and guys like that, and that influenced me because i read a lot too. what i learned was largely what i was able to teach myself, because i always felt like my education was inaccurate.

    also, the school systems today are mad soft. they want to make it easy for all the students. i agree with the people above that said that ignorant children should be ridiculed, but the school system doesn’t allow that. when i was a kid, we got in trouble when we laughed at the dumb kids, because we were “making them feel bad.” unfortunately, this is the reason why my generation is so damned lost, because our teachers were more concerned with our feelings than they were with our learning.

  • mikebigga

    @HNIC

    Please note i was really rapping and i also rocked with Tlaib and Hov and Bun and Kast and Ryhme fest and many others

    • HNIC

      I feel you, Mike Bigga. Your lyrical skills & creditials have never been questioned. You always bring something to the table, with your lyrical content, flow, delivery, punch lines, the whole nine… I just take issue with Gucci Mane & OJ’s content, or lack thereof. But, I understand that you gotta eat. So, I’m not knocking you.

      • SouthCakC23

        Do you share the same disdain for Eminem that you do for Gucci and OJ? At least the topics that Gucci and OJ rap about are their REALITIES. Mike’s point is that rappers are dumbing their LYRICS down because kids don’t possess the vocab to keep up with the lyrics they are CAPABLE of putting in their songs. Mike just refuses to dumb down his lyrics AND ESPECIALLY his content for the hope that rap fans will get off the boo boo and support REAL HIP HOP.

        @ Mike Bigga, another great piece homie. When are you going to write a book and get it published?

  • http://4cryinoutloudentertainment.blogspot.com jacinta

    great piece, mike. parent involvement is key.

  • BIGNAT

    ” I believe there is a direct correlation between the dropping literacy rate and the rise of dumb rap. You cannot appreciate lyricism if you cannot read.” that is so true i can like a song by almost any artist. if i don’t understand something he said it called play that shit again. like that jay eletronica song exhibit c. i had to play that back a couple times i am actually bumping that joint right now. pull out the dictionary pull out the thesaurus learn something. also if i am not playing your song back again after i just heard it. i think you are making disposable music. to me the majority of singles that are made today are disposable. that is the problem get people hooked on a chant or the music but it’s empty. then when a artist we really like but don’t support like we should. makes a song that will get him some ring tone money and radio spins we get mad. yet the man is just trying to make a living off his dream. for rappers i have the question at the end of the day. do you want to be the known as the most lyrical rapper? or as a rapper who has made lots of money but when the topic. of top five dead or alive comes up. people will laugh if anyone puts you on that list.

  • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

    I’ve been active in my son’s education since preschool. I see the difference between him & most of his peers who don’t have that motivation. The schools need reform, better yet, tear them down & start anew, but you hit the nail on the head in regards to the parents.

    Children mimic & imitate, & if the parents don’t give them ample opportunity to see what an education can do for them, a teacher (the authority in the parents’ absence) won’t be able to either. My son’s been blessed with teachers who genuinely care about the students, conferencing with me regularly, sending home notes & answering any questions I may have. That communication is lost nowadays. The parents don’t care, & the teacher don’t get paid enough to go out of their way, so this is the rut we’re stuck in.

    Babies had babies 15 years ago then wonder why said babies (now young adults) are having such a hard time in life. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but it could also provide the necessary information & knowledge to help the present generations adapt to current circumstances. We need not only school education, but life education, about the prospective pitfalls of sex, drugs, how to be successful, parenting classes, etc. I think it’s beyond just the kids, because the adults seem to be as much of a hindrance. Perhaps the junior & senior year curriculums should consist of something more than electives.

    I have so many nieces & nephews without guidance that it’s scary. Unfortunately, I can see where their lives are headed. When I was growing up, 5th graders didn’t get ‘F’s. That wasn’t accepted. Plus, parents were still able to whip our asses without being arrested, so that made a difference also.

    You made some great points, Mike. & the commentors as well. Hopefully, all of our clamor will breach the threads & get some balls rolling.

    • GIBZ

      1000′s!!! wuts good witcha??

      I’m posting under your comment ‘cus I’m at work, and had all this shit written out, and then someone closed the window I was on, so as I’m on here again, I see that basically everything I had to say, you just touched on. So no point in addressing it again. The point that we really had in common was “kids havin kids.”

      Some parents nowadays weren’t raised with an active parent in their life either, so they dont even know where to start.

      Bigga I really love this post man ‘cus it’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one that thinks this way, but honestly, (I hate to be the negative nancy), but I dont see this happening. I feel generations are lost man. They dont value anything anymore, except for the materialistic shit. Like u said in one of your earlier posts, these kids don’t even know the meaning of culture, so how are they gonna value themeselves, if they dont even value where they come from? Movies, rappers, sports all glorify some “wonderland” where u get paid to do nothing. Kids nowadays dont know the value of hard work. In a era of “instant” info, and “instant” food, they want instant wealth. Not only that but we got other countries goin to school for mad long, goin in at 8am, off at noon for a cple hours, then back in from 2pm till like 6pm. Americans? they go in at 9 off at 3, wtf is that????

      Honestly, I believe there is something else at work. DV8 put it perfectly with the “pied piper” line. It is in someone or some organization’s interest, to keep us dumb and ignorant. For what?? I really dont know, but we will all soon find out. Maybe it comes down to just plain ol money. The same reasons the hospitals are in the business of keeping us sick. So insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies can make millions. Same goes for education and the poor. Not a race thing, its a classism thing, the poor vs the rich. Keep the poor dumb, deaf, and blind. and its working too, millions of young men and women wasting away their lives, its really sad.

      But great post nonetheless.

      • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grands

        GIBZ! Whatupdoe?!

        That “rich vs poor” is the basis of a lot of societal pitfalls. Classism is the new racism, & the schools are the frontlines. Home SHOULD be the frontline, but the state that it’s in makes it far from a reliable source of productivity.

        The US public school system has bigger problems, such as limited funding & overcrowding to be attempting to correct the errors that should’ve been quelled generations ago. The private school system, on the other hand, is a nation unto itself. They float will “we” doggie-paddle into obscurity. The cycle continues…

  • Mike Bigga

    @ HNIC

    Thank u 4 comment and your observation homie. I even understand why u take offense to my Homies. I jus believe if i wanna get thru to their supporters we gotta make music 2gether. i listened to as much Too Short and Ghetto Boys as the next kid in the 90′s having Ice Cube rock with them and Chuck D helped me understand the duality i would later embrace in my own work. Again thank u 4 the comment and convo!

    @ Brooklyn & Moving sideways: like the comments. Weirdly enuff i went to hood school but the Kids in my class Punished u for “Dumbness”. Being a dummy was never respected among my class and would get u Joned (teased) big time. i got lucky in that way. Shouts out to Frederick Douglass High!

    @ $ktotic Ah man THANK U for doing that based on that D. Albert Blog it matters to me that we make all these comments realities. You are a Hero homie!

    • $ykotic/Don McCaine

      So it went well. A couple of store owners, homeowners & retired fire dudes are willing to try it out.

      My hood has more problems with child abuse & abductions than crime. I didn’t know, but glad I do now.

      20 mns b4 the last bell, a couple of people walk with ‘em, automatic crossing guards on the strip, when they walk by the stores they have an opportunity to snatch some free snax(if ushered by the group) and seen by the 2nd or 3rd eyes, walk by the houses the other eyes are on ‘em.

      If someone is peeping/stalking them they see adults around. If kids are being abused they will be fearful of going home, we’ll pick up on it early. By 3:30 it’s a done deal.

      Test runs start next week. If it works well the school board can implement it in their “danger zones” where it’s really needed(gang areas). Then community centers and school facilities can be used(county/state funding, which 4 this is minimal).

      All I am is Joe 6 pack who’s willing to share a beer.

      It was done for me like this. Why not do it for the next kid?

      But I will say this looks like $yk’s intro into the state/county political structure world…where we need more cats involved, HOOD CATS with their heads screwed on right, putting that work in.

      PEACE

    • nicholasdelorejo

      First off Bigga thanks for comming to the Morehouse Homecomming concert. You and B.O.B. were the shit that night. Second I think you’re school was a major exception. When I was in high school the dummies were the most popular. Why? because they were the funny, charasmatic, and had all the girls sewating them. And I think that’s the major issue here. It’s not really black women that are failing education. Hell I’ve heard the majority of black people in college are the women. I think black men are failing because in order for women to think their appealing, they must be free spirirted and swave rather than being responsible and educated. I think if we want education to be appealing again, we need to demand that the women to stop making the dude with the fresh gear as a prize and value a dude with career aspirations

  • http://www.myspace.com/emcdlthemusicprofile EmCDL

    “Also do homework parties with their classmates and have the teacher’s cell on standby in case your kids lie about not having any like my kids do.”

    My mom did the same thing to me when I tried to lie about not having homework! Crazy strict on me, but at the end I turned out pretty good. Now if more parents nowadays could follow that quota, public schools would be in a much better position than they are now. Seems like the parents and teachers can give a rat’s ass about their child’s education….its gotta change people, its just gotta change…

    Great blog by the way dawg keep em comin!

  • westcoastaggie

    It takes a village to raise a child. The sooner we get away from the individualistic values we have in America, the better the children will be in all aspects of their young lives.

  • capcobra

    any of y’all seen that “my baby can read” infomercial?…well it really works…my daughter 15 months and reading..she can read 20+ words easy and she can barely talk…sound crazy but it’s true..because what they doing is starting the kids off with the flashcard words/slide out pics..so instead of alphabets she learning actual words and actions..it comes along with 5 stages of dvd’s/books/games/cards etc..you also get blank flashcards and erasable markers..so you can write words and names that y’all use often and they can learn those words as well..it’s a good xmas gift fellas because most of us ain’t learn how to read til we got in school.REALLY..and til this day reading still provides that getaway…preciate the blog and comments..figured i’d share that wit y’all since we building on educating the kids.

  • http://www.djtrackstar.com Trackstar the DJ

    IMO:
    The solution has to start with leadership, even quiet leadership by example. EsPECially if you’re in entertainment or sports and have an automatic in with the kids through your position. Do what you can, go speak to some kids somewhere, show a good path and open up the choices they see. Doing nothing is so normalized, it takes seeing someone actually being active with the youth to push people to realize they can do something themselves.

    “School board meetings should look like the club on a Saturday night.”

    Brilliant. Quote of the day.

  • ConnoisseurATL

    This is undoubtedly the most significant blog post i have EVER read on XXL…EVER!!! Props to Killa Kill. Hell, my Mom and Godmother made me bring all my books home in elementary school EVERYDAY. Godma had me reading at an 8th grade level by the time I was 7. Pops had me doing homework in middle school before I could even think of going outside. By the time i got to high school, homework was finished before the last school bell rang. It’s called family support and reinforcement, and though I’m not a parent (knocks on wood), best believe, I’m implementing similar practices in my house. That’s the only way my child(ren) will be more successful than I, which should be EVERY parents duty to their child.

  • Avenger XL

    Mike you never stop amazing me with these thought filled post on such a mindless site. You need to get your own site/blog popping asap and I want to see you do a whole theme album you are waaaaaaay more intellegent than your music portrays.

  • Darth H8ter

    Glad to see Maseratti…Killa…Mike Bigga living up to his potential. Speaking of Dumb rap, no more Gucci Mane. Keep at it though. I thought Ludacris would be a rapper leading the way. I am pleased to see mb taking charge.

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