Roland Martin gives passionate argument for school choice, merit pay

Uh oh. CNN’s Don Lemon recently tried to start a conversation about the black community in which he urged children to pull up their pants and go to school. Remarks like that had him branded a “turncoat mofo” and a “dangerous talking head.” Will Roland Martin fare any better in his conversation about school choice?

That should preclude claims that Martin is just a success who’s now “cutting the rope ladder behind him.”

It’s a strange feeling, isn’t it?

Dr. Steve Perry is the author of “Push Comes to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve.”

For what it’s worth, there was one presidential candidate in 2012 who argued strenuously for charter schools and vouchers in his address to the NAACP, where his remarks received “polite applause.”

  • Maxx

    It’s refreshing to see these increasing examples of influential Black men refusing to accept the Pavlovian premise that minorities must all march to the incessant liberal drumbeat.

    Roland is spot on. Why continue to accept a status quo when it has failed you?

    Liberals use Blacks like Canadians use winter jackets.

    During an election year, they’ll promise you everything but the moon. “WE’RE THE PARTY THAT CARES ABOUT YOU!” they proclaim and yet, the day after the polls have closed…those victorious Democrats can always be counted on to put minorities back into their closet while they proceed to go about their business of preparing for the next round of elections…and promises. Tell me…how is that unemployment rate for young Black men doing since Obama and the Democrats arrived in 2008?

    I parallel the relationship of Blacks and the Democratic Party to that of a battered woman who refuses to leave the dirtbag who is beating her.

    • Clete Torres

      It is absolutely refreshing, but for every one of these voices in the wilderness, we have 100 screaming “racist” and all the other ‘blame-others-for-our-problems’ apologists. When – and only when – the voices of reason outnumber (or out-shout) the excuse makers, will the landscape change, and will ALL kids get the education they deserve, and desperately need to compete in the world. Once that happens, wages will rise, standards of living will rise, and inevitably, at least a few new Conservatives will be born from this rebirth.

    • Ben Bollman

      Sadly, this is a non-election year so these guys who are straying from the Democrat plantation like Don Lemon and Roland Martin will be back from the woodshed and in lockstep by the time campaign season rolls around.

  • Cy

    I agree 100% with everything he said except longer school days and year round school. Kids get burnt out with too much work. Recreation, socialization and free time are just as important to a kids development as good education. If you wanna get rid of the draconian 3+ hours of homework that middle school and high school kids get, then we can talk about longer school days or some kind of longer school year. For right now, smaller classes, longer classes (teach different subjects on different days), merit pay, different methods and teachers that actually care about teaching. And the most important: GET RID OF ALL STANDARDIZED TESTING. I went through every standardized test imaginable in school and literally all I learned was how to memorize enough information to pass a standardized test. And because the teachers never ONCE told us it wouldn’t count towards our classroom grade all it did was give us all something else to stress over when all we were freaking out about was making the teachers look good.

    • GreenEyedGal

      If teachers were actually able to teach and not have to deal with behavior problems, outbursts, interruptions and catering to individual students, it wouldn’t be necessary to give children three hours of homework every night. So much of school isn’t really school anymore. When my older boys attended school, they went to a private school and made sure they did their best to get their work done during class time so they didn’t have homework. They wanted to be able to play before dinner. When we switched to home school, if they didn’t drag their feet (and we had several days where they did) it didn’t ever take them more than four or five hours to do their work for the day. (My four year old only goes for 30 minutes and my husband thinks he can’t possibly be learning anything! 😉 ) There’s no reason to overload them with work in the afternoon, except teachers have too many other things to deal with in the classroom during the allotted class time.

  • Chrissy the Hyphenated

    The thing I never could understand is why any GOOD public school would fear charters or vouchers. If my kids had been thriving at the local public, as many kids did (just not mine), I wouldn’t have moved them to an untried school just because someone let ME choose where their share of the educational pie went.

    • keyboard jockey

      Competition only makes the product better in this case competition for tax payer dollars would see some schools improve, and other’s close.

  • tjack

    I believe Roland overwhelmed Goldie Taylor to the point that she forgot how to spell MoFo.

  • keyboard jockey

    That was refreshing.

  • Roy

    That Roland Martin is a turncoat mofo

    • JadedByPolitics


  • Jeremy

    He will get slammed by the race hustling pimps like Sharpton for daring to speak the truth about Charter Schools but,I am sure he is well prepared for that.I think it was very refreshing as well for him to use some common sense for a change.

  • americanexile

    Fool. The only thing you’re allowed to be pro-choice on is aborting babies. Not anything else.

    • Jeremy

      Yes indeed.You aren’t allowed step out out of those Democrat talking points.

  • AwakenNow

    The anti-America, anti-Capitalism, anti-Christian, socialism/communism, global warming hoax, indoctrination by Union teachers must end in all schools.

  • Gallatin

    Wow a lot of powerful truth in this post.

  • TocksNedlog

    This is — by a country mile — the most sensible thing Roland Martin has EVER said.
    Looks like Obama Fatigue Syndrome is starting to affect everybody.

    • Guest

      I agree with most of what RM said, except he still brought it back to race.

      • marcellucci

        Because the cause du jour is “Race…to the Top….of the Agenda”

  • Julie Nunn Robinson

    This is the best response to the issues on education for ALL our kids I’ve heard. All students would benefit and succeed with multiple options. So refreshing to hear! Now let’s get it done!

  • Markward

    We spend more per student than all of the world, yet we lag behind. Time to look at the money and ask “what are we doing wrong” rather than “Throw more money at it”.

    • marcellucci

      Because it’s only a glorified babysitting service……

    • Ben Bollman

      That money is going to public union slush funds, very little is actually going to education. That is why liberal meccas like Chicago have the worst education records, highest dropout rates, and the highest paid teachers.

  • Zach Brewer

    I’ll be … I agree with Roland Martin? Damn …

  • marcellucci

    Dear Roland,
    If you properly teach children, they’ll probably become conservatives…..
    THAT’S the Left’s biggest fear of school choice…..

  • DV S1EOG

    Education is like every other commodity. If schools have to compete for students, they will start offering better products for a reasonable price. With this competition, schools will also look for the best talent to teach in their schools so job performance becomes very important.

    • marcellucci

      You FOOL!!!….
      Whatever will become of tenured child rapists??????
      You want them unemployed???!!!!

      • DV S1EOG

        They can work at McDonald’s and protest only making minimum wage.

        • AwakenNow

          Right – or any other place where correct grammar or spelling is not required.

          • DV S1EOG

            Or real job performance/productivity.

    • catholic_citizen

      You will always end up with the ‘unteachables’ – the kids who come from such a screwed-up environment that education is a remote concern for them.

      I have spent a lot of time working with kids with deficient skills – a lot of the time it can take years before they ‘catch up’ and are working at an appropriate level. Under merit pay, I would have to take my talent to a performing school that will pay me and leave the kids who could use my experience and skills to the mercies of the incompetent or kids fresh out of college.

      This is the problem with merit pay – the best are going to follow the dollars and the kids will be stuck with the worst. And please don’t trot out charter and most magnet schools. Almost every one of them have very strict policies and guidelines about expected behavior and performance. When a kid screws up or doesn’t measure up, they get booted back to the neighborhood school. This is something that Michelle Rhee and all of those gurus like to gloss over.

      Successful schools happen when dedicated teachers get to do their jobs without interference from administrators (most who get out of the classroom because they sucked as teachers) and these ‘experts’ like Rhee. Successful schools happen when parents or guardians are involved as partners in their student’s education and work with the teacher and not against them. I find that having a parent as an ally is key to helping a child who is not learning. And a non-supportive parent is the kiss of death for a kid’s ability to learn. Successful schools use sports and extracurricular as a means to enhance a child’s experience and as a motivator to maintain high grades. If I had a nickel for every time I have seen the possibility of a sports scholarship put ‘game over grades’, I would be writing this comment from my luxury yacht off the coast of Nova Scotia or some such.

      I blame the entitlement culture whose seed was planted in the later New Deal Programs and bloomed with Johnson’s so-called ‘Great Society’ for the destruction of public education. When we look at the merits of holding kids and parents accountable for their performance – in the classroom and in life – we will see improvements not only in our schools but our society.

  • froggy19510

    It has been time for this conversation to take place for years. I am glad to see it now. I hope the “Black community” supports people like this and puts Al Sharpton in a cave where they belong.

  • catholic_citizen

    I have been a conservative since the 70’s when I read ‘Conscience of a Conservative’ in 7th grade. I am a teacher in an urban public school – why? Because a doctor goes to where the sick are. I am a proud to say that – despite working with and for rabidly liberal educators and administrators – I have stood my watch well and provided a quality education for the children who enter my classroom. If they want it.

    This is the problem I have with merit pay. I have to support my family; this means that I would have no choice but to go to a more ‘successful’ school where I will be able to teach students who are more prepared and willing to work at grade level. The teachers who will be left at the poorly performing schools will be inexperienced teachers or those who are so bad they can’t get a job anywhere else.

    I have saved children. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was approached by a man I didn’t recognize at first. Then I remembered him – that scrawny, dirty, foul-mouthed, ignorant 8th grader with a 3rd grade reading level was now a tall, strong, confident man proudly introducing his lovely little daughter to me. He thanked me, telling me that my persistence and unwillingness to give up on him paid off. I never saw it, but I laid the foundation for him to become successful in high school.

    Do I lose kids? God help me, yes. I read about my former students who commit crimes – sometimes crimes that don’t surprise me in the least. Or the kids on the street corner who dropped out and are working as street pharmacists. It wasn’t too long ago when I read about a student who was shot multiple times. These social problems effect my students in countless ways.

    Under a merit pay system, I would have been docked for this kid. This is why I continue to put up with hostile administration, why I work in a crumbling building, why I buy my own paper and supplies, and why I stay in this failing school. This is why I put up with the union and the idiots with a ‘plan’.

    Because I do change lives. While I support school choice and other programs, we have to address the reality of how to address the ‘unteachables’. Because they will be there, waiting for someone to teach them. And folks – the kids with the worst skills need the best teacher – not the washed up or inexperienced ones.

  • I M Free

    Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are in panic mode. They’ll be irrelevant after this and wont be able to make money from the black community. At lease Roland Martin finally seeing the reality…..Lets wait for the attack..on 3…2…1…

  • Sunshineandsurf

    Just wondering why Martin and Lemon are so vocal on this now. Was the catalyst O’Reilly’s rant last week? Or was the nation getting exposed to the Trayvon’s and Rachel Jeantel’s of the world education wise that caused them to snap out of their stupor and admit there is something wrong that needs to be fixed.
    Where is that brilliant Asian former Washington DC school Chancellor who was let go after a new Mayor and the Unions drove her out of town on a rail? She wanted to make drastic positive changes. Need more like her.

  • NCRelite

    ZOMG Uncle Tom!!!! /sarc

  • DiveCon

    WOW, Roland gets fired from CNN and embraces conservative school choice, hope is being renewed

  • DondaLonda

    not all failing schools are because the teachers aren’t working hard and aren’t good at their jobs. when kids aren’t learning, there’s often some other more-central need that hasn’t been met, such as food, safety, love, (read books by Dr Bruce Perry). Trying to teach a child the difference between “their” and “there” when they have nothing in the fridge at home and their mother hasn’t gotten out of bed for the last fortnight and their father is home sometimes, drunk, is nigh impossible and sometimes seems like the wrong focus.
    and then groups influence each other, so that when a majority is failing or not attaining, others in the class begin to fall behind too. I have worked with so many teachers who arrive at 6am and leave at 9pm, work Saturdays and Sundays with students who are “failing”. Is the teacher bad? No, the kid has a ton of things going on in his/her life. Times that by 30. Per class.
    I think publishing “failing schools” will just push the good teachers away from those schools.

  • Magnifico

    “I love those who say private or charter school is about business. You
    don’t think public school vendors don’t care about the $$$? Yea, right”

    Exactly! And contractors don’t clean up oil spills out of the goodness of their hearts. Hell, if I could make money taking a dump, I’d eat like a pig so I could crap more.

  • NachoCheese (D)

    Holy S**t!!! I actually agree with Roland Martin about something?!?!!! o_0

  • yourmamatoo

    Calling a truth teller these names, shows the utter hypocrisy of the left.
    They are shameful.

  • Paul

    whoops… the proggies and locking and loading their Uncle Tom Cannon as we type…

  • witchrunner

    Imagine that, a lib going against the grain, and a black one at that. In truth, he holds the secret to all of politics. Watch what the politicians do in their own lives and then you can determine the truth of what they say.