Rapper: You’ve earned a worthless diploma

Black male graduates of Chicago high school are “four, five steps behind people in other countries,” rapper Lupe Fiasco told young men at a Mass Black Male Graduation and Transition to Manhood ceremony.

The local rapper began by saying, “Congratulations, you have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world. You have just spent the last . . . 12 years receiving one of the worst educations on earth.”

. . .  “Transition to manhood is the most important thing that’s going on right now. The caps and the gowns and your tassels and your honorary blah blah blahs don’t mean nothing. . . . They just represent to someone else that you’ve achieved something. But then when you look back at it, what have you achieved?”

The rapper, a product of Chicago-area schools, told the young men to earn and maintain their manhood, “one of the last things that we can control.”

Philip Jackson, the event’s organizer, called the speech a needed “dose of reality.”

About Joanne


  1. Mike in Texas says:

    That 12 years in Chicago schools would have been spent under the control of “reformers” like Arne Duncan.

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      Right. Arne Duncan that Rethuglican racist enthrall to Wall Street. Because Chicago’s issue BEGAN under Duncan and not decades ago. A characteristic I admire in you Mike, if not your intellectual honesty, is a single-minded consistency in turning every post into an opportunity to take a pot-shot, apropos of nothing, at that mythical creature you call “reformer”. Duncan served as CEO of Chicago public schools from 2001-2009.

      • Anyone care to bet on the political party and ethnicity of the vast majority of the School Boards and City Councils in Chicago over the last 30 years?

      • Mark Roulo says:

        Things were fine in Chicago schools until Bush was elected and the Republicans managed to get Arne Duncan in charge. Sheesh.

      • Mike in Texas says:

        So you don’t think Joanne and the “reform” crowd has been taking potshots at teachers for years?

        Since by your own admission Duncan was in charge from 2001 – 2009, then yes, those graduating seniors spent years in his system.

        • But previous to 2001 everything was just peachy?

          Uh, no.

          CPS schools were so lousy, and demand for alternatives had grown so noisy, that in 1997 the Illinois legislature passed charter legislation.

          Of course in you world Mike, parents should shut the heck up and deliver their children into your uncaring hands to be educated or not as you see fit. Like in the good, old days before charters, vouchers, et al.

          You might want to start collecting memorabilia then because the good, old days are going away.

          • Mike in Texas says:

            No, previously CPS was run by Paul Vallas, another deformer. Check with the folks in New Orleans and Philadelphia to see how they feel about him.

          • Got it.

            It was Vallas and Duncan who were bad but previous to those two everything was peachy, right?

            You think maybe Vallas and Duncan had some sort of franchise operation. Detroit, Washington D.C., New York and, oh, lots of large, urban school districts really suck and have sucked for a long time.

            Boy, it sure seems like there’s something in the water, hey?

            But maybe we’re going about this all wrong. Perhaps Mike, you should name a district, and a superintendent, which in your estimation *are* peachy. Against what you seem to feel is a uniform backdrop of evil reformers who want nothing so much as to torment teacher there’s got to be one, bright, shining light.

            Be a good thing and give us a name.

        • Stacy in NJ says:

          Joanne hasn’t been taking pot-shots at anyone. She’s critical of a great many aspects of public education – appropriately.

    • President Obama doesn’t share your view of Arne Duncan nor, to significant extent, your views on public education. For reasons I find mysterious Obama seems to feel teachers ought to be answerable for job performance and schools ought to be accountable for *their* performance.

      Care to to turn the spotlight of your piercing intellect on that conundrum?

      • Mike in Texas says:

        That’s an easy one Allen. Obama is like all politicians, he does his owner’s bidding.

        • And yet in speech and deed Obama, and by extension Duncan, bow at the alter of virtually every left wing trope. With the exception of public education.

          So maybe it’s not such “an easy one”. It’s the only response possible, other then acceptance, to the bitter realization that you’re losing even the left.

          But it’s not all bad.

          You were around, I believe, for the collapse of international communism and the Soviet Union. Now, with a bit of luck, you’ll be around for the collapse of the public education system.

          • Mike in Texas says:

            He does? Hmmm, last time I checked, Guantanamo Bay was still open, the govt. was still spying on US citizens, and our troops were still in Iraq and Afghanistan. Weren’t those all started under George Bush?

          • That’s nice. Doesn’t have anything to do with what I wrote but then when you’ve got no response to make you can be relied upon to hope a red herring will do.

            It won’t.

            Obama’s a lefty in all areas but education and people just like you, who see the public education system as a sinecure, are the reason for the exception.

        • Roger Sweeny says:

          Mike, And that owner (those owners?) would be?

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      I would be interested to know just what the reforms were that Mr. Duncan actually initiated. What you call yourself, and what other people call you, may not be terribly helpful for drawing policy lessons.

  2. Ted Craig says:

    “12 years receiving one of the worst educations on earth.”

    Mr. Fiasco needs to get out more.

  3. palisadesk says:

    Didn’t Paul Vallas, that paragon of effective school administration (who has spread insolvency and chaos wherever he has gone, while raking in the big bucks) lead the CPS for some years before Duncan?

    Chicago has a looooong history of ghastly public school issues, multifaceted and compounded by a culture of corruption. There is no quick fix. My home district, DCPS, has had a similar history, some variation in issues and complexity.