I echo the clarion call for a return to all-Black, neighborhood schools. Yeah, and I am as serious about it as cyanide.

Based on a CNN report, I ask: Why should Blacks attend schools where they are unwelcomed?

I know they are unwelcomed because of the increasing number of segregated schools and neighborhoods in America, and not just in Red States. Whites buy the fiction that Blacks destroy schools and neighborhoods.

For Blacks, attaching our fortunes to white institutions has always been a bad bargain. We should build our own schools, making excellence our aim in much the way that it is for white parents.

My late father made that his.

An eighth-grade dropout, he thought his children would find excellence only at a white school. He came to that conclusion – wrongly, I would add – from remembering the wretched schools he attended as a boy in Mississippi. All were separate; all, unequal.

He sent me to a “loosely” integrated school, which I’ve talked about often once. On Day 1, I was greeted with graffiti that told me where I stood at a school of over 5,000 whites.

The graffiti struck me like a taser as I hopped off the bus I rode there. In big, white letters, someone painted on the facade: “Niggers Go Home.”

I wish I could have.

Today, our public schools are no different.

Seventy years after Brown v. Board of Education ushered in integrated education at public schools, we might need to accept the fact that the Fuller Court got it right in Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 decision that made “separate but equal” legal.

Despite hardships after the Plessy ruling, Blacks made their institutions work. When given funding, they built solid schools. Black educators in all-Black schools proved they could teach their youth just as effectively as white educators could teach theirs.

Even more, all-Black schools created a nurturing environment that was more welcoming to Black boys and girls. None of them had to hop off a school bus and look at language so foul that it lingers in a man’s mind decades later.

Money owed Blacks can pay for these schools.

I wish I could make a case for real reparations. I cannot. For even so-called “white allies” oppose them. I will insist that, as a better-than-nothing compromise, America makes a legitimate financial commitment to educating Black children. They are its future. If we can get Black youth on equal educational footing, they might bridge the centuries of racism that kept their people from chasing and catching the American dream.

To be sure, what I am suggesting borders on heresy to many Black progressives. Yet I would counter their concerns by saying what we have done with public education – busing, federal mandates on testing, et. al – has led to perdition. Black students still achieve at lower levels than whites.

That fact alone ought to embarrass school administrators.

From my background in education, I know a commitment to excellence comes with a price tag. It is a price we must pay, particularly if “quality” public education is the great equalizer experts claim.

For if white America is not willing to pay its debt – 40 acres and a mule, plus interest – it must do well to offer Black children the same access to excellent education as white children.