Ying and Yang

The ying and yang of accountability enlightens and baffles. We are enlightened by data that pinpoints what students know and can do. It is baffling that insights that confirm what many have known has not resulted in affirmative actions to correct disparities.

The mantra that the world is flat because of the digital connectivity that originated in the U.S. bellows inequality. It is obscene that children, families, and communities are without high-speed connectivity because the tools have been monetized beyond their financial reach. In an earlier century, the electric light bulb and its generators were a novelty that J.P. Morgan monetized. Later the Tennessee Valley Authority engineered universal access to electricity as a utility. So should be the case for digital tools essential to citizenship in the 21st century.

No child, school, or community should be without access to the super highway and the information it transmits. Every household must have a digital appliance that supports interaction with the flat world. Such tools are critical to education, entrepreneurship, cottage industries, innovation, and civil society. Transforming the legacy of a permanent underclass depends on the willingness of business and government to leave no child or family or community in the 20th century as the information epoch unfolds and morphs every 18 months.

Had the leadership of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries viewed women and people of color as resources instead of chattel, the inequalities that are the scourge of the federation would not be. Repeating the errors of bygone eras is mindlessness. There is gold in the hearts and minds of those previously, and intentionally, left out of periods of bounty and innovation. What worked for the privileged of yesteryear is not a prescription for 2115. Like the birth and transformative power of Hip Hop and its derivatives, the future resides with a new demographic that must be connected now.

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