Liberals are being blamed for crime and violence. Conservatives are to blame in New York State and other states, especially in Republican GED Plantation states where the violence has spiked. There is that important moral issue: thou shalt not kill as well as love thy neighbor as thyself. And more! But money matters and the funding for high school equivalency testing has been insufficient for a long time (and the state administrator knows that and had to remain relatively silent about that). In the Bronx’s Rotunda of the Supreme Court a decade and a half ago she spoke out and asked people to advocate for more testing money. She also suggested that we do not mobilize more people since they had enough applications to process (based on the state funding at that moment). The lack of education has always contributed to crime almost anywhere.
She was wrong about that. Education should have mattered to all the youth who dropped out of school and there were things that could have been done back then. The Bronx could have been made much better back without the other steps taken to improve it. There was failure and I am ready to do zooms with important people about these things. Just ask me! And with elections coming up in New York City, people in the Bronx can lead the way toward making things better. This article will go out nationally as well, keeping in mind that Joe Biden has said that crime and violence are not the problems of Red States or Blue States. They are a problem for the United States. I wonder where he got that idea?
I went back to the mid-2010s to locate this information. I really do not delete emails. This information was sent to Cunningham and Pendergast, two reporters at the New York Post. And this kind of information never really was made mainstream. A decade or so earlier, we had read in the New York Daily News that several schools in the Bronx were graduating only ten percent of its high school students. Then the city entered a new stage called “school closings.” I traveled from Suffolk County to the Bronx to attend the school closing meeting (protesting it) of Alfred E. Smith High School which after a battle remained open because of its automotive program.
Here is what has happened in GED for decades. Let’s start with a period that I did not study until this week. From 1978-1987 there were 415,027 diplomas issued in New York. That’s an average of 41,503 diplomas each year. The numbers started to fall in 1986 during the crack epidemic in New York and dropped severely in 1989. From 1988-1997, there were 347,277 diplomas issued in New York. That is an average of 34,727. We can see a loss for the decade of 67,750 diplomas. Now we get to the decade 1998-2007. There were 311,942 diplomas issued during those ten years and an average of 31,194 diplomas per year. There was a loss of 35,335 diplomas for the decade. We are really not done. From 2002-2013 when the new, harder test was given and more people failed, there was an average loss of 27,720 diplomas.
Now we can subtract the losses, comparing both previous periods. The first period (1978-1987) shows a loss of 137,820. In comparing 2002-2013 with the 1988-1997, there was a loss of 67,750 diplomas for a ten-year period. That adds up to 200,000 extra people who possibly could have earned a GED diploma, but did not. Since 1993 the New York State Assembly has funded the GED test and largely underfunded it. That is why there really are so many losses.
Let us redefine the parent involvement and focus now. Students must pass their state tests and college placement tests (Suffolk County Community College has successfully learned how to drastically reduce failure on the placement tests and could be of great help to the DOE). Those who drop out of school must earn a high school equivalency fast. Students who have obtained “certificates of completion” must earn a high school equivalency and not go through life thinking that their certificate is a high school diploma. I wrote to de Blasio and Laticia James about this matter in the past. It can easily be demonstrated that parent involvement in most schools could go up one hundred percent or more overnight through technology and New York City can be a model for the rest of the nation. We can cut down on the incarceration of young people and maybe even their parents by redefining parent involvement. These cuts can include cuts in heroin and drug use as that is included in the discussion and parents show compassion for other parents in great need. The White House knows that there is great “summer melt” across the nation as students who are expected to go to college decide not to go. Taking action to prevent this will help keep the United States competitive in the global economy and reduce the need to import workers from other countries the way Donald Trump, President Obama, and Michael Bloomberg have done or will continue to do.
Now that you have read the statistics for New York State, think about the Bronx that could have been. New York State has ranked very low for the delivery of diplomas in general and particularly for African Americans. My article about GED Plantations shows though that Republican states (see my article about the Biden Latino Fair Shot) are in the lead with the latter (Alabama and Mississippi are right there with New York. Things have obviously gotten worse for adults and the Education Department of New York State knows that. Trust me because I had a top-level discussion last month where that was mentioned. That page also has an article on Giuliani and Big City Law and Order.
I support the police, but my reading of history and current events does not allow me to say I support them 100 percent. Throughout history police have been a major part of the world problem. Whether it is rounding up Jews in Paris (and elsewhere to sending them to concentrate camps) or killing people in our country including George Floyd, those police that perpetrate crime and those that help in some way or remain silent should never be supported. And I published this article in support of police everywhere. And I stand with the Bodegas and Small Business Association of New York City on this issue. And I know that my friends at the United Bodegas of America feel the same way. Frank Marte sent me this poster to share and we are planning to help the Bronx and much of New York right now.
Another way of putting it is to sing and believe in the lyrics of a song by Aretha Franklin called RESPECT. “Just a little bit” more respect will go a long way to helping all of US.
With that said I must state that I recently spent two hours with two police officers from Nassau County and I was told “emphatically” the reason why there is more crime right now. The answer was “bail reform” and the officer who stated that supported it by pointing to liberal cities such as San Francisco. I pointed out the spike in crime and gun violence in a specific “red” state and he mentioned that guns are coming in from that state that are affecting us here in New York. Without a doubt “bail reform” has added to the conditions, but police propaganda should not be tolerated by anyone. The truth should be told and half truths are wrong. I mentioned to those officers that I attended a meeting with former Commissioner Mulvey of Nassau County and that I also attended a meeting with community people organized by Sergeant Mike Marino (who knew then that most gang members had not completed high school), the detective who interrogated gang members. With that said we have just learned that there are at least 58,000 gang members in Chicago as Geraldo Rivera has spoken out. Geraldo cited that there were 117,000 gang members in that city, but the actual number may be close to or around 54,000. Do you really think that the police can handle those numbers to prevent crime? Geraldo asked more massive interventions by the state and federal governments and a return to “stop and frisk” among other things.
Geraldo is right about advocating for schoolyard programs, but he has been off target for a long time. Playing catchup now is difficult since the tests are harder to pass. Also as a GED expert who has written and held conferences or roundtables, I must add that it has been hard over the decades to maintain the good numbers, but community mobilization was missing and a lot of help could have been given to people who never asked for help or who got a little help, but not enough. Take as one example, many people who have called me after they failed the test where they live. This is a group of people that never even had a GED book to study from. The Literacy Program of the Philadelphia Public Library used to give out GED books for free. I learned that by making an appointment and visiting the director in Philly. And there have been lots of bad policies that need not be mentioned here.
Here is one more thing. A video that I made at City Hall when Bloomberg was mayor. Nobody really listened to me and note the number of views in that important video. Maybe Geraldo should watch it?
About Martin Danenberg
Martin Danenberg was a teacher on the Lower East Side of New York and then became a G.E.D. teacher until he retired in 2000. His work is now more known than ever as he has reached out to people in politics and more. His ideas about helping American recently surfaced in the Election of 2020 as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden spoke out to help people with education.
To learn more, please visit here.