Everyone that works in education knows about the war currently being waged against public schools. This isn’t a political blog entry. I’ve been ranting enough about politics lately, including The Betsy DeVos Disaster of 2017, etc. Rather, this is a message of inspiration and positivity.
This is Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, also known as Chance the Rapper, respectively.
Last week, he met with the Governor of Illinois regarding education in the state. After that didn’t go well and he didn’t get any real answers to how the Governor was going to help with the funding issues with Chicago Public Schools, this week he pledged to give $1,000,000 to CPS. Specifically, he’s giving $10,000 to 100 different schools and he’s using this as a “call to action” to ask others to contribute as well. If you head to chanceraps.com, you have the option to help out Chicago Public Schools on the front page.
I tried listening to Chance's latest album, Coloring Book, and I’m pretty open minded about music. I enjoy listening to all kinds of music, including Christian rap artists like Andy Mineo and LeCrae. I used to listen to gangsta rap artists like Snoop Dogg, Bone Thugs 'n Harmony, and Tupac. But Chance's album is an interesting dichotomy of positive songs like “Blessings” with lyrics like "When the praises go up, the blessings come down" and others like “No Problem” that include plenty of cuss words and the n word, my least favorite word of all time. Of course, Chance's philanthropy cannot be negated because I don't agree with all of the messages in his music, and I’m inspired when celebrities use their platform to impact today's youth in a positive way.
The challenges of what today's youth listen to bring to mind Mr. Baruti Kafele (@PrincipalKafele), who I had as a guest on my podcast way back in Episode 35. You can click here to listen to his inspiring words during my interview. Mr. Kafele is the author of several highly recommended books including The Teacher 50, The Principal 50, Closing the Attitude Gap and Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life. He also has developed hundreds of videos on YouTube entitled "Message To Your Son" that seek to help young African-Americans understand their history and how to truly be a strong male in today's society. Principal Kafele also often discusses the impact that negative music has on our youth.
Being able to give away a million dollars is something that anyone reading this blog will probably never have the ability to do. But we all have the opportunity to make a difference. Educators often struggle financially and have second jobs. I’m currently applying to drive for Lyft as a second job. Even so, this also isn’t a post about low educator wages. Educators work to make an impact while also making a living.
All teachers are celebrities for their students. Principals are celebrities for their teachers.
How are you making an impact? What’s your “million dollars”? My million is consistently putting myself out there in the classroom and beyond, doing my best to reach all students, including humor whenever I can and asking students if there’s any way I can do a better job for them.
Principal Kafele in the video below asks the youth and really all of us, "What will be your legacy?"
Take care and God Bless!