- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The message: “If you go to the hospital now, you find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines. And no offense, but let’s grow our own teachers, let’s grow our own nurses … so that we don’t have to be scrounging around in our community clinics and other kinds of places [and] having to hire people from somewhere else.”

The messenger: Former Mayor and current D.C. Council member Marion Barry.

The problem: How the messenger delivers his messages.

The solution: The media.

The facts: The first big wave of nurses from the Philippines occurred in 1948, and thousands of others migrated in the 1960s and 1970s, becoming an integral part of the U.S. health care system.

“For decades the Philippines were the number one source of foreign-trained nurses in the U.S., and the trend has continued into the 21st century,” according to the website minoritynurse.com, which also reported that “a whole new generation of Philippine nurses is coming to America to seek educational and career opportunities unavailable in their homeland.”

Mr. Barry’s bone of contention: the media.

“I’m sick of you all,” he told a reporter.

My bone of contention: Mr. Barry beats up on other ethnic and racial groups in his attempts to lift up blacks — and his target of late has been Asians.

In his attack on Filipinos, Mr. Barry alluded to growing our own nurses and teachers, a very worthy and timely message.

Fortunately, the Barry watchers are keeping pace.

Unfortunately for him, the messenger keeps garbling his messages.

Growing children

On Thursday, Mayor Vincent C. Gray unveiled the Early Success Framework, his ambitious incubator-like plan to raise healthier and smarter children by simultaneously pollinating a cross-section of city agencies with the business and philanthropic communities.

A dozen offices and agencies are involved, ranging from education and health care to housing and employment services.

The framework, which specifically targets children from the cradle to age 8 but at several junctures includes all school-age children and their parents, is needed because “many parents are unable to work because they can’t find quality child care,” the mayor said.

“Let’s get it right the first time,” he said.

And many parents and child-focused organizations would agree with him.

But let’s hope he does not lose sight of the operative word: “quality.”

The District has an abundance of government-run baby sitters, day-care providers, child-centered programs, recreational offerings and summer jobs, all paid in full and/or subsidized with public and private dollars.

Yet even the mayor himself made a point of using the word “quality” on several occasions, such as when he acknowledged a “challenge to meet measurable outcomes in the areas of quality standards” regarding city programs and access to “high-quality programs for low-income children.”

Indeed, ensuring “quality” programs and positive outcomes are jobs No. 1 and No. 2, and even more so with so many moving government parts and an academic measuring stick mired in such factors as a child’s emotional well being. Moreover, funding is still up in the air.

The mayor also used the word “coordinate,” a word often considered a pejorative by organized labor and bureaucrats. So if Team Gray, which gives bear hugs to unionized workers, thinks he can coordinate agency work simply because of his mayoral pronouncement, he’ll soon learn it ain’t gonna be easy.

For the children’s sake, several of his supporters at the announcement said they hope his plans mean D.C. government worker-bees are up to his challenge.

But frankly, that’s like wishing on a star that quarterback Robert Griffin III will whisk the Washington Redskins to the Super Bowl in 2013.

The odds are simply overwhelming.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide