Issues and Solutions

It’s time now for us to unify and take a stand:

  • For our Families
  • For our Faith
  • For our Future

1. For 3rd Grade Literacy

Third grade literacy is a critical measurement of how successful or not successful Shelby County is educating our children. From K-3 to 3rd grade, students learn to read. from 4th grade to 12th grade, students read to learn.

Currently, Memphis-Shelby County Schools are instructing at a 16% 3rd grade literacy level. That translates to 84% of our 3rd graders are not reading at grade level. 

The number of students that are not literate by third grade, also predict the number of students that will potentially become dropouts as well as will eventually be arrested. That number is approximately 50%. If we were to again extend the criticality of this metric, we find that over 70% of the individuals that are incarcerated in Shelby County never graduated from high school or are not reading on the grade level, in which they were last in school. Therefore, we can see a distinctive link between third grade literacy and the increase in crime, especially juvenile crime, in our city.

The Solution

The road to increased 3rd grade literacy begins at birth, in the home. We must develop opportunities and programs for parents to begin what I call early literacy, which initially consists of reading to our children before they can read. If parents are not able or available, then faith community and grassroot community organizations must intercede on behalf of those students that are bereft of parental assistance. Then, the  Memphis-Shelby County School System must reconsider and re-evaluate the use of phonetically based teaching models and move away from primarily sight word memorization. It is a wholistic approach that I feel ameliorate the level of competence in which we educate our children, thusly increasing that critical third grade literacy metric.

2. For Decreasing Crime in our Communities

Enforcing the law and holding people accountable for their actions must always be a priority for the police and the justice system. I believe that the new “Truth in Sentencing” statute will ensure that the most violent criminals will complete the entire period of incarceration. I also believe this statute will eventually become a deterrent to those that are contemplating committing felonious crimes.  
 
While we look for solutions, we know the answer to safer communities will likely include longer incarceration sentences for repeat and serious felonious crimes, as well as the hiring of more police officers and an increase in salaries and benefits. 
 
Solutions
 
What I am proposing is a system of policing that is inclusive rather than exclusive. It’s called Community Policing. Community Policing will decrease the combative relationship that now exists in many, of our communities.
 
The solution starts with grass root efforts to recreate a level of respect and trust between the people and the police. It will include:
 
The return of MPD COACT (Community Action) Units
COACT Units are police substations that are located mainly in community centers. The officers that manned the units, often led many of the athletic and community programs that involved the community youths.
 
Officer Friendly Program
An MPD/SCSD officer that visited elementary school, establishing positive relationships between the people and law enforcement. 
– Law enforcement sponsoring periodic neighborhood town hall meetings and being very visible and thereby forming positive relationships in the community.
– To show up, Not just when tragedy occurs, but to encourage when times are good.
 
I believe that these changes will result in better community communication, solving more crimes and officers really understanding the people in the community in which they patrol.
 

3. For Economically Empowering our Neighborhoods through Increased exposure to Technical and Vocational Training 

Blue Oval City is coming to the Memphis area. This mega campus is envisioned to be a sustainable automotive manufacturing ecosystem. The $5.6 billion battery and vehicle manufacturing campus will be the largest for Ford Motor Company and is being built for the next century.

Solutions

Memphis must be academically, vocationally and technically ready to take advantage of this great opportunity to increase personal income, but also to increase the effects of increased income on individual communities. An increasingly educated population will draw more businesses to the city and further enhance this wholistic reformation that we are attempting to develop.

Ford Motor Company and their auxiliaries are committed to being a good neighbor in West Tennessee. They plan to connect the community to training opportunities through high schools, TCAT’s, colleges, universities and other community organizations. They will be hosting and participating in events that will connect job seekers and youth to the advanced manufacturing careers, education opportunities and exposer to a growing and exciting industry.

Blue Oval is simply the largest, but not the only industry that will be ameliorated by an enhanced focus on workforce training. Better jobs create better neighborhoods and better neighborhoods create better cities. Together let’s be faithfully focused on making Memphis that Greater City, that I know we can be!

One Mind. One Mission. One Memphis