Coming Soon: Gemmie’s Charter School for a Better Tomorrow

May 11, 2011

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you may have witnessed my rant on education yesterday. It all started when my friend James tweeted, “We need year-round school to compete globally – #cnn“. An idea I’m all for–kids should be in school year-round!! This then prompted a discussion on privatizing grade school education. While I don’t think that privatizing K-12 education will solve ALL problems regarding the inadequacies of public education, but I do think there is something to be said about schools having more control over education to ensure our children are getting an effective education that will prepare students for college and future careers.

The truth of the matter is, our federal and state governments don’t seem to value education like many other parts of the world do. Education is simply another line item on a budget needed to be balanced, and thus subject to funding cuts like everything else. And when given the chance, governments are willing to give education the financial axe. How can we succeed as the wealthiest country in the world when we aren’t investing in education? What kind of future do we face without making education a priority?

In Pennsylvania, for example, Governor Corbett has proposed to cut $1.2B in funding to education. Meanwhile, Corbett has proposed to increase corrections funding by $600M. I think we can see where his priorities lie. But overall, it’s unfortunate that education is so expendable when money gets tight. And who suffers the most? Black/brown children in low economic communities.

How do we prevent our government telling us that investing in education is not as important as building more prisons (despite education being a preventative measure for crime)? Well there are two charter schools I know of that have taken matters into their own hands to make sure our black/brown children are not forgotten or overlooked–Capital Preparatory Magnet School (Hartford, CT) and Urban Prep Academies1(Chicago, IL). Both schools seem to be taking an aggressive and well-rounded approach to education. They believe in our children and challenge them to be great, in ways many public schools can’t or won’t.

Because I feel so inspired by the work done at Urban Prep and Capital Prep and the education discussion I had on twitter yesterday, I decided that I, Gemmie, should start my own charter school in a economically disadvantaged neighborhood somewhere in the US (I’m thinking Baltimore)!!! It shall be called, If You Believe It You Can Achieve It Prep2 (IYBIYCAIP for short).  Though I’m not an educator, I am very passionate about education issues and am determined to help make the world a better place. I have lots of connections and I’m a queen at networking, so I’m sure I could find funding to make this charter school a REALITY!! In fact, I’ve already enlisted the help of some of my dear twitter friends to serve in various roles at IYBIYCAIP…


As you can see, we’re going to need to more people to fill in as teachers and academic advisors to make this school successful!!! Feel free to contact me about a position!!

Tough some of this is said in jest, I seriously have the aspiration to found a 6-12 charter school in a community that is desperate for quality education!!! Parents shouldn’t have to pay for their kids to go to private school (and truth be told, many of our communities can’t afford it anyway!) or rely on the government to have mercy on public education (that’s usually crap to begin with).

So my readers, what do you think about education in this country? Can public education be saved (if so, how)? What is your take on [non-profit] charter schools? Would you accept a calling to work at my charter school, IYBIYCAIP, if when I start it? And if you were a big time corporate tycoon, would you donate to keep my school open?

I Luh Da Kidz,
~Gem, Future Founder & CEO of IYBIYCAIP

1Last year I had the pleasure to attend UP’s Convocation (since a dear friend of mine was a teacher there). Hearing those beautiful black boys recite the UP creed brought tears to my goon eyes.
2Or at least until I can come up with a better, shorter name. Any suggestions???

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  • Reply MsEvaHoney May 11, 2011 at 11:42 am

    This is an awesome idea! Turning goons into future leaders!

    • Reply gemmieboo May 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm

      Turning goons into future leaders!

      and you know this, man!!!

  • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. May 11, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Love the staff! i will glady donate some scratch to this school. How much money would I have to give to get my name on something. I would love for kids to eat healthy meals in the “Wu F. Young Sit Your Narrow A** Down And Eat Cafeteria and Social Center” .

    • Reply gemmieboo May 11, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      isnt my staff line-up great??? i would love to have you as one of our major donors. im not sure how much you’d have to give to get your name put on something, but as the time draws nearer id be happy to give you an estimate. probably in the 100,000s–ballpark figure.

      btw i loooooooooooooove this–> “Wu F. Young Sit Your Narrow A** Down And Eat Cafeteria and Social Center” we’d have the best cafeteria in all the land!!!!

      • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. May 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

        On the real something has to be done with the state of the nation’s schools. The year after I graduated high school South Carolina took over the school district that I attended because of mismanagement and all around suckage. (The sad punchline is that the SC Dept of Education was in no position to improve anything.)

        Nothing has changed and I think the kids are getting worse so it has been one sad cycle since 1998.

        Check out how bad off the rural schools in SC are:

      • Reply gemmieboo May 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

        sadly, there are lot of school districts who seem to be getting worse as time goes by. and that makes NO SENSE. if IYBIYCAIP is a success in Bmore, we’ll have to open another campus in SC.

        you’ll be my point man on that!

        and thanks for the link–ill check it out 🙁

  • Reply L Boogie May 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Gem…you don’t know how many strings of my heart you pulled with this post. I’m seriously enamored and fascinated by the work of Capital Prep, Urban Prep, and even the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York. I think it’s reprehensible that in 2011, much of a child’s success/failure is predetermined based on their zip code. I’m so with you on the fact that somebody needs to do SOMETHING to make sure the generations of kids we have now grow up to become successful. As Bill Gates has said so many times before, science and technology are the way of the future, and we are seriously lagging behind the rest of the world, even in countries that are less developed than we are! I entered into college wanting to be a teacher, knowing that that was the way to most directly make a difference…clearly my career path is not there as of right now, but it is definitely something that I still have a burning passion for, and something that I know needs to get rectified. Seriously, when you start this charter school (because I’m claiming it with you), sign me up to be a guidance counselor/college advisor…it’s a dream of mine to get children of color not only into college, but through college, and into graduate school, the workforce, or wherever their desires lead them to go. Great post!

    • Reply gemmieboo May 11, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      Gem…you don’t know how many strings of my heart you pulled with this post.

      L, you don’t know how many strings of my own heart i pulled writing and ruminating over this. im glad you (and perhaps others) can feel me on this!! it really is quite a travesty how much education in this country is lacking. it cant be that difficult (or expensive) to properly and adequately educate our children, considering there are so many other less wealthy countries who are doing it and doing it effectively/efficiently. what is the disconnect?!?!?! this lack of concern for investing in the FUTURE of our country is another reason i want to go into policy and advocacy work. gotta do something, i cant stand by and let this nonsense just continue.

      when you start this charter school (because I’m claiming it with you)
      thanks chica!!!!!! i’ve got you down for academic advising along with my brother!! we definitely could use you 🙂

  • Reply phidelity15 May 11, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I’m so down for the cause!! I think I would like a role in the education of these here chirrens’ lives as the school Librarian *cues BET’s Read A Book Campaign video* lol

    Naw but seriously our children are definitely at a disadvantage from other nations and that reality is very sad. But as you said, even though this post and idea may be semi-joking, its grassroots ideas like these that can exact change. I know I am definitely inspired and I would work at your school in a heartbeat.

    • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      LOL not the “read a book campaign video” love it!

      id happily install you as the librarian!!! we gotta enroll more sorors to join this cause too lol.

      thanks for reading chica and joining in on my grassroots vision!! im definitely trying to plants some seeds now, to see something fantastic grow in the near future 😉

  • Reply DQ May 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    So I didn’t see my name on the Staff list. I’ll assume that means I’m the Janitor or Top Flight Security.

    • Reply gemmieboo May 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      ummmm sir. you were too busy coming at my Platinum Goon membership card to worry about the children and their futures. so until you know how to ack, you will be the janitor and you will like it!!!! and them bathrooms better be spotless!!!!!!!!

      • Reply DQ May 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm

        Actually, while you were off tweeting and galavanting about the internet, I went ahead and made an executive decision… I’m going to be Top Flight Security. That way I can stay checking credentials of everyone who comes in the door.

      • Reply gemmieboo May 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm

        your “executive decision” holds no weight or credibility around these parts. you can either take this mop or you can have a _

      • Reply DQ May 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm

        Thanks but the chair won’t be necessary. Top Flight Security is always on the move, fighting for truth, justice, freedom, and the American way.

      • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

        DQ–you cant possibly believe the nonsense that comes outta your…. fingers, can you?

      • Reply DQ May 12, 2011 at 7:56 pm

        What I can’t believe is that everyone else is being given their slot, but I’m having to “pull myself up by my boot straps”. Everyone else gets affirmative action, I get ambiguous action

      • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 10:11 pm

        DEAD @ ambiguous action!!!

        well if you hadnt been comin at my neck all recklessly, i might put you on to something big time. but for now, you get to do the dirty work. hmph

  • Reply Slim Jackson May 12, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I’m just seeing this and lol at my role being miscellaneous. That could be anything between janitor and PE teacher. That’s cool though. At least I’m still part of the project. 🙂

    Also, shout out to Tunde representing the smart bruhz who read good…or do numbers good.

    • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

      uh sir. i gave you the option to choose ANYTHING you wanted. and did you give me any specifics? NO. so for now, you’re Misc lol. the janitor duty is already taken by DQ, so dont worry about getting stuck with that job…

      • Reply Slim Jackson May 12, 2011 at 7:51 am

        You are right. You asked and I didn’t come back with a solid answer. That is on me. Do schools need HR people? lol

      • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

        hmmmm we’ll just stick you in the office some where to run ish. maybe Vice Principal? lol

      • Reply DQ May 12, 2011 at 7:48 pm

        Waymint, waymint, waymint… how do you have a VP position open and I STILL get Janitor / Top Flight Security?

      • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm

        DQ–i have LOTS of positions open. whats your point?

  • Reply BigHomieLou May 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Since I wasn’t shown any love for staff/faculty/admin positions in your school, I’m hatin’. In fact, I’m on some Rodney from Baby Boy type ish. “So you built you a little school huh?” And you know the rest (LOL).

    • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 10:46 am

      lmao!!!! don’t be like that. you had to be part of the convo!!!!! clearly you’d be part of athletics too–for baseball. and idk what else you’d want to teach. you gotta give me something to work with damn!!

  • Reply That Damn African May 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Good post! It’s really disgusting when you look at how much people expect from schools and how little resources and leeway they’re given. You already know I’m trying to stay in academia when I graduate, so I’m all for this!

    • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      well ima make sure you have a good stable job. because we all know you arent going to be able to secure enough funding for your own lab. might as well work for ME!! lol jk

      i applaud your interest for staying in academia and teaching up and coming scholars in the ways of science. i imagine you’re a great teacher 🙂

  • Reply tdlove May 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm


    I would like to volunteer to be the health teacher- and not sex ed.. Okay maybe sex ed.

    I totally agree with you on elected officials priorities when it comes to education. In CA, public education is always on the chopping block, while at the same time they want to lure more companies to the state. HELLO!! Corporations would like to go somewhere where the potential for new-hires is great. They want local college grads (so they don’t have to pay moving costs). But they also want students with a good education. That makes it doubly important to support public education!!

    Anyway..let me stop ranting. I applaud this blog post, my tender-headed sister.. and looking forward to reading more. 🙂

    • Reply gemmieboo May 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm

      TONYA!!!! thanks for stopping by chica!! i just peeped your blog–LOVE IT!!! ill be reading more. esp since you have a passion for advocacy like me!!! *hugs*

      and yeah, i know CA is in trouble. im from there and it was bad then, so i can only imagine it now *smh*. it really is a damn shame. CA used to have one of the wealthiest economies in the WORLD and yet they think education is low on the priority list. makes no damn sense. ugh!!

  • Reply Cheekie May 13, 2011 at 11:15 am

    YESSSSS @ all’isss!!

    The Urban Prep story is one of my favorites of all time. It really was a beautiful thing and I remember when you were here to witness it because that was the epic time I wanted to meet you but couldn’t! Good thing we checked that off the bucket list since then. 😉

    I definitely have education on my mind now more than ever since recently seeing “Waiting for Superman.” Lemme tell you… (and only you, because I’m a babyfaced gangsta)… that joint had me BAWLING at the end. Just straight crying. I was frustrated, angry, happy for one of the kids… it was just a mix of emotions. Great film.

    And speaking of film, I’m definitely up for the film task! *gets out my pompous director cap so I look authentic*

    • Reply gemmieboo May 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      “Waiting for Superman” is on my netflix list!!!!! im not ready to bawl yet so ima wait til im emotionally ready. i can tell its gonna be an emotional rollercoaster ride.

      glad to have you as part of the team, cheeks 🙂

  • Reply Brian May 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    (Late pass. Just discovered the blog)

    But I’m in for anything to help better Baltimore. Holla if you need a computer lab teacher (or anything else along those lines).

    • Reply gemmieboo May 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      Brian–i def need a computer lab teacher!! LOL so i’d be happy to have you homie 🙂

  • Reply keisha brown May 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    this post. is sooo damn cute, poignant and full of awesomeness.
    i wont rally for a position (twss?) like my dude DQ.. but i’m all for special events and fundraising of said project 🙂
    lets make it happen!
    to quote kg: anything is possibullllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply The Insane Asylum (Mr. Chap) May 18, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Oh man! You gotta put me on the music staff! How do I audition?


  • Reply NY2VA May 18, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Lawd, I’m gon have my hands full with this staff! And Wu’s cafeterial name made me lietrally laugh out loud.

  • Reply Operation Save the Nation « That's What GEM Said July 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    […] my voting power by ranting to policy makers1.  I am determined to not simply say I want to open a charter school, I plan to actually open one. I am determined not to simply be outraged by the lack of urgency for […]

  • Reply School Days… | how this libra lives… August 29, 2011 at 12:16 am

    […] I really got inspired to start thinking about teaching again when I read my friend Gem’s take on how she would operate a charter school if she was ever in the position to run one. It’s really what got me to thinking on if I could go back to school after I’ve finished this […]

  • Reply Kids + Science + Rap = Awesomeness #ScienceGenius | That's What GEM Said June 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    […] to see this happen nation wide. Shoot, Science Genius BATTLEs will be a part of the curriculum of my charter school – any volunteers to help teach this […]

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