Making the grade

Mar 26, 2003 at 12:00 am

The kids at Ross-Hill Academy in Detroit received a lesson in current affairs from a former schoolteacher: Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Last week 3rd, 4th and 5th graders attending a Detroit City Council meeting lit up when the big man in the blue suit showed.

“Good morning, mayor,” they declared in unison. A couple kids, drumming to their own beat, made Kilpatrick chuckle when they shouted, “Hello, Kwame!”

In his usual motivational-speak, the mayor told the smiling faces that Detroit has the best kids “in the world.” Then added, “With God, you can do anything but fail.”

Big cheers abounded. But it was the brief pop quiz that had the little people wound up and anxious to please.

The Kwamster sat next to Councilwoman Alberta Tinsely-Talabi, who chaired the meeting, and announced that the mayor had a few questions for the kids.

With hands raised, children shot out of their seats, hoping to be called on when Kilpatrick asked, Who is the president of the United States?

George Bush,” answered 4th grader Andrew Baker.

(Sad, but true.)

The mayor then tossed out a toughie: “Name three City Council members.”

Some shouted, “Gil Hill.”

(If this isn’t proof that Hill’s campaign for the open council seat is working, nothing is.)

When the full council was eventually introduced, Barbara-Rose Collins made the schoolchildren repeat her name twice.

Asked who heads the country the U.S. is fighting, 5th grader LeMaia Schaffer answered, “Osama bin Laden.”

(It’s only fair that bin Laden should be credited with this title, given that more than half of the public blames Saddam Hussein for the Sept. 11 attack, according to recent opinion polls.)

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