Blackboard Wars is a new reality show currently appearing on the Oprah Winfrey network.

I have watched a couple of episodes. What struck me about the show is the tension between the community and the charter school corporation from California that runs the school.

It seems to me that every time a failing school is bought to the attention of the public, school administrators and politicians are quick to blame this failure on the lack of parental involvement

Well, this is not the case at John McDonogh High school in New Orleans. Parents and activists constantly clash with the principal of the school and the CEO of the charter corporation. The strife between these opposing entities became so bad, that one of the activists was forcibly removed from the school.

My sympathies were immediately with the community. However, I gave considerable thought to the situation brewing at this school.

One of the activists from the community is a veteran educator with 18 years’ experience. He is a math teacher. In one poignant scene where he addresses a member of the student body he says that he cares and he wants to make a difference. The student however, informed him that the charter corporation and the principal have made significant changes in the school and the lives of the students.

And, I though wait a minute….. It seems that the students and the school administrators are in sync.

As residents of the community in which the school is located, I understand their concern. Why can’t they just give the charter school a chance? It was further revealed in the telecast that the community had tried to get a charter but they were denied. Then, here comes this charter corporation from California.

The community members are predominately African American and the CEO of the charter corporation is white. Could it be that the animosity is tied to the idea that some in the African American community harbor the belief that the education of black children is the responsibility of the African American community?

Is the California charter corporation a bunch of interlopers?

Furthermore, one of the members of the community in a board meeting expressed his sentiment that he is tired of their children being constantly used as experiments in the quest to improve public education.

The sad reality is if the charter corporation is not a success then the children will eventually be the ones to suffer. As already documented, school failure is a pipeline to prison.

I believe that both parties involved have an agenda. I think the community is angry and embarrassed because of their failure to help with the school’s improvement and thereby prompted new leadership from the outside.

I feel that the charter school in a small measure has usurped the power of the community and by failing to make them an intricate part of the plan for the school’s turnaround, will hinder any progress that they will make.

Our children are the future of our community. Yes, we are all a part of the American family, but, it is through our children that we will survive as a race.