Lieutenant Herrold's thinking is a shining example of that which has been lost in Berrien County through a decades old propaganda campaign. Racism is "manufactured", as the American historian, Howard Zinn, teaches. Racism has been manufactured in Berrien by the business "elites" for their purposes. How many people would one have to interview in this county to find a person who isn't racist in their thinking? Who believes Benton Harbor needs assistance, and the people are worth helping? Who believes that it's nearly impossible to pull one up by one's bootstraps if their boots have been taken from them? Herrold is right about the river, but there is also a monstrous force with financial power keeping the divide fiercely in place. It speaks volumes about this power structure that WP CEO Jeff Noel so casually commented to the U. of Mich. Business School students several years ago that if you're a corporation wanting land from a poor community and you have the peace & justice people "on your back", all you need to do is bring in Habitat for Humanity and build a few homes to facilitate a land grab. If he dared speak those words in public, it's not difficult to imagine what's being plotted inside WP Corp. And the barbarous actions taking place daily in the courthouse go unquestioned by county residents. Combining the school systems would be a no-brainer if the populace understood that for this blip in time we exist on the planet, there is no greater purpose than to help each other in ways which actually make a difference. Thank you for your kind, generous, and humanitarian letter, Lt. Herrold.
St. Joseph should do more to help BH schools
I grew up in the area but have long since moved away. My parents routinely send me articles of friends in the news and other newsworthy articles to keep me up to date on the local area. The most recent article I received was about the Attack of the Killer Bison in St. Joseph in April. Though it was humorous, what really caught my eye were the MEAP scores on page A5.
I was embarrassed at the disparity between the scores achieved by St. Joseph and Benton Harbor school districts. The two cities are labeled the "Twin Cities." But the MEAP scores of the two schools show that the cities have nothing in common with each other. Last time I checked the only thing that separates the two cities is a river. Nothing else. It's obvious that St. Joseph has the resources and qualified teachers to motivate their children to perform far better then the state average. If the St. Joseph district has these resources, then why can't it use them to help better the children in Benton Harbor schools? After all, they are the "Twin Cities."
As the two school systems grow older and the need for new buildings becomes an issue, my suggestion would be to combine the two schools. In doing so, you could spread the resources and qualified teachers throughout St. Joseph and Benton Harbor and allowing more of the populace to perform better on MEAP tests, graduate from high school and possibly get college degrees. Right now the resources are there. The only thing that separates both cities from performing above the state average is a river. Nothing else.
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Ridgecrest, Calif. HP, 6/5/09