The school consolidation in Memphis has been a subject that has constantly been on my mind being a graduate of Memphis City Schools. While I am constantly torn in between the idea of consolidation as an issue or as advancement, I do believe that some of W.E.B DuBois' arguments are relevant for today. In the text we read for class, DuBois believes that we must progress on our own and not rely on others to help us advance ourselves. He also states that ""hated here, despised there and pitied everywhere; our one haven of refuge is ourselves". This can be applied to this issue with the school system in Memphis because many people believe that the entire issue of consolidation boils down to the issues of race segregation and class differences.
While Memphis City Schools’ student body is predominantly African American, Shelby County’s school system is the exact opposite. Many times Shelby County School are placed higher than MCS due to their higher numbers in test scores, less disciplinary problems, and a host of other reason. What many people fail to realize and embarrass is the differences in the student body’s of both school systems. People are comparing apples and oranges when considering the outcome of test scores and the number of suspensions that each school system experiences. In some ways, Shelby County does not want to be affiliated with MCS due to the stigma associated with the school system in the city. In my opinion, I see this as a form of assimilation because I think that we are giving up on our kids and surrendering a charter to a school system who is doing all they possibly can in order to stay separated from the city school system. In the words of Malcolm X, “I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in the brotherhood of anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me.”I think this blunt rejection of wanting to be affiliated with MCS should be inspiration to try and change those negative perceptions that come along with the city school system. DuBois said that we must change on our own and stray away form so much whining and complaining. If the schools consolidate, we will not be combining ideals from both systems but surrendering to the structures of the county schools which will not be successful with the city’s student body. Different children require different structures and rules. While I am not completely sure where I stand on this issue, I do think both sides have very beneficial factors. March 3rd is the day I will be voting, wish me luck!