Category Archives: Politics

School to Prison Pipeline: Getting PoC on a Track to Success.

From the Classroom to Prison:

Firstly, it starts with young PoC so parents, please prepare yourselves through awareness. The school to prison pipeline is real. We have to be intentional in readying our kids for college and life beyond school. These habitual failure mills are preparing PoC for prisons and a life of despair.

Moreover, the identification of black males as Special Education students is alarming. Special Education is a two-sided coin. By two sides, I mean parents are too identifying and recommending their children for special education.  They do this because of the financial benefits that come with raising a kid that receives additional services. That statement messed me up. I never thought of it this way. My heart still won’t allow me to believe this is true.

ADHD Diagnosis Must Stop:

Unfortunately, ADHD is a real problem.  This diagnosis haunts PoC. It allows folks to take the easy way out.  It’s done without determining the real reasons why students aren’t learning. Let’s say a parent medicates their child (which I am not recommending at all) because I’m not a doctor. However, post medication, the student still has difficulty learning. Then what? As educators, we have to put our prescription pads away and teach these students. We will reach them.

Consequently, Special Education when classes are disproportionately students of color and male, I start formulating questions immediately. For those of you visiting schools in hopes of replicating best practices, please know this isn’t a best practice at all. It may be one of the worst practices in education. Ensure all students receive an adequate education and they are ready to be productive society members.

Methods like overpopulating special education classes with black males are the infancy stages of the school to prison pipeline.


The Hard Data Facts About Targeting PoC:

By and large, evidence is strong that students with particular education disabilities are similarly targeted for school discipline.  The racial disparity exists across special education student populations as well (Rivkin, 2010).

Students of color are disproportionate in the diagnosis of specific special education categories. Categories such as mental retardation and severe emotional disturbances (Harry & Klinger, 2006), thus causing some to conclude that referral bias from school personnel is a causal factor (Adams & Meiners, 2014).

Similarly, minority students are the students that are most affected by “Zero Tolerance” school disciplinary policies. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Education identified in 2012 that in school districts with more than 50,000 students. African-American students represented 24%of enrollment but 35%of on-campus arrests, with lower, but still different rates for Hispanic students (McCurdy, 2014).


Statistics from Urban Cities:

Notwithstanding New Orleans, LA, the Orleans Parish School Board’s expulsions under zero-tolerance policies were 100%, Black.  67% of their school-related arrests being Black students. The RSD-Algiers Charter School Association had 75% of their expelled students without educational services black. Furthermore, 100% of their expulsions under zero-tolerance policies. 100% of their school-related arrests were all Black students.

Systematically, in St. Louis, MO schools, the Normandy School District’s 98% Black student population drew in the following: A high percentage students who received more than one out-of-school suspension. All of those who were expelled without educational services and 100% of those who were referred to law enforcement. In Missouri’s Ritenour School District, 67% of Black students vs. 33% white students were assigned to law enforcement. Above are expanded statistics pulled from the Civil Rights Data Collection, with the latest results from 2009. The school to prison pipeline is real.

Training your Staff:

Moreover, active professional development for teachers and administrators on improving classroom management and school climate has improved staff retention, student instructional time, and student engagement in learning (Browers & Tornic, 2000).

Unfortunately, when school personnel lacks training and resources, student academic achievement is lowered, inappropriate individual education referrals are increased, and references for student disciplinary sanctions become significantly greater (Donavan & Cross, 2002).

Restorative Justice:

• For the last few years, studies have used improved research designs and found continued positive outcomes for restorative justice programming, although a majority of these reviews are still only descriptive, making this a promising and not evidence-based course of practice (Minkos, Latham & Sugai, 2014).

• This  provides an example and context, over two academic school years the , four high schools in the Chicago Public School system that had implemented varying degrees of restorative programming including mediation, peer juries, conferences, and peace circles found up to 80% reductions in student misconduct and arrests and improvements in attendance (Hereth, Kaba, Meiniers, & Wallace, 2012).

For you Visual Learners:

Some people are visual learners, see video link: https://youtu.be/HoKkasEyDOI

Key Questions to ask folks that advocate for zero-tolerance school policies are as follows:

1. What exactly are these folks to do without an education?
2. What are their options?

 

Endorsement for Peter Lewis

I endorse Peter Lewis for City Council.

Endorsement Letter:

This is the first time that I am ever doing something like this.  I never thought I would be this emotional while writing it, so please bear with me.

IMG_1893I grew up with Peter Lewis. He’s my cousin, and I love him dearly. Although we aren’t as close as we were growing up, I still track his moves to ensure that he’s doing well. I’m not sure of the last time I told him that I am proud of him, but I am.

Peter has always had a fantastic soul. He will give anyone the shirt off of his back, that’s just the type of guy he is.


10 Facts About Peter:

Here are ten things you may not know about Peter:

1. He’s a fantastic father of three, (a single dad) that still continues to put his children first.
2. Peter is a graduate of CHS and SLU.
3. He batted over .300 on our little league team
4. He played the clarinet for Chief Sanders and Mr. Mouton
5. Peter is the go-to in our family in any crisis.
6. Peter loves Covington, and will always act in the best interest of the people.
7. He loves Dominoes pizza.
8. His nickname is Ted.
9. He was a pretty good marble shooter.
10. He will serve District A better than any other candidate.


IMG_1894 It is for this reason that I fully endorse Peter Lewis as the City Council candidate for District A.

Tone Death to Blackface in schools

Tone Death to Blackface:

Aren’t you tired of reading stories about white students in blackface? Don’t they know how offensive and hurtful these actions are? Do they even care? Are the tone death?

Blackface is the act of impersonating black people by painting your face black. Blackface became prevalent in the 1830s. Whites and other non-blacks used blackface to perpetuate stereotypes, many of which still exist today. Are we tone death to this type of racism?

The practice as a whole lasted until the early 1980s but has creepily become popular due to a sort of tone-deafness that is running rampant in our country. It’s not okay for you to use blackface to reenact the experiences of people of color. That’s our energy, let us have that.


And if you are questioning why blackface is offensive to PoC, you’re a “low key” racist.


Students of Color Step Up:

I commend these Brooklyn prep school students for using their voice to bring attention to these racist actions. No child should be subjected to this sort of trauma. We have been experiencing these types of trauma and systematic racism for over 400 years. Is there any end in sight? Why don’t our minds and lives matter?


Covington, Kentucky:

Insert the students in Covington, Ky. Much attention has been made about the standoff between Nick Sandmann (student) and Nathan Phillips (elder), that has received a ton of media attention, and one blog post won’t do it justice. However, what hasn’t be spoken about enough is the culture of the — school. We’ve seen countless pictures circulating that show a clear view of the disdain these kids and their school have for black lives, as they attend sporting events against African-American athletes while in blackface. Why aren’t we talking about this?


Selective Outrage:

I know it’s not all white people. I have some excellent friends and colleagues that are white. Their hearts are true. But honestly, these events are happening so much; I’m starting to lose track of who is who. I need more people, all people to speak up when events occur instead of remaining silent. Silence often equates to acceptance. I know most of you don’t accept some of the things that are happening, but why aren’t you speaking more loudly about these things?

Unfortunately, we live in a tone-deaf society. Often when we don’t address situations correctly the first time, we experience revisionist history. As a country, I don’t think we’ve ever effectively treated racism and injustice. Currently, any mention of racism and prejudice gets met with apprehension. There is this reluctance in our society to call things what they are. In turn, we dance around difficult conversations, until events come to a head and we’re forced to talk about things.

Open Letter to Cory Booker

Open Letter to Cory Booker:

Dear Senator Booker,

We follow your career. Four your time on the Newark city council to your time as the mayor of Newark, you have always put the people first. You were the first politician to use social media as a way to interact responsibly with your constituents. Your organic rise to Senator of New Jersey is a story that will be told for generations. You make us proud.

afp_jv43c

The Work Isn’t Done:

Moreover, the work isn’t done. We watch you on Capitol Hill day in and day out. You fight against the blatant racism the current Whitehouse exhibits. With numbers against you, we observe you interact respectfully with your Republican colleagues.  You come up with bi-partisan solutions to make our government run more efficiently. Your work noticeable, and it is appreciated.

Chris Christie, Cory Booker

School Choice:

Notwithstanding, as the keynote speaker at a recent school choice event in New Orleans you showed courage. Much like the Civil Rights leaders of yesteryear, you continue to show character and resilience. School choice is nothing new to you. Your work with Cami Anderson spearheaded to Newark Public Schools shedding state oversight.

cory-booker-john-lewis-jimmy-carter-e1548099562661

Your recent car tour with Civil Rights icon John Lewis was reminiscent of the Freedom Summers. The humility and respect that you show for the elders, both black and white is a trait that this country so desperately needs right now. Your interaction with former president Jimmy Carter and his urging you to run for president spurred me to pen this open letter to you.


Booker 2020:

All in all now is not the time to be humble. Now is not the time to allow friendships to interfere with your destiny.  I remember a train ride with H. Carl McCall, shortly after Elliot Spitzer won the governorship of NY.  I asked him candidly, “why didn’t you run”, he said because “Elliot was the guy.”  We all know how that story ended, and McCall missed his opportunity.

In summary, we need you as a candidate for the 2020 Presidential election.  With you as a candidate, it will shape policy, and make this a country for and about the people.  If you win, criminal justice reform, black unemployment, education reform will become staples of your administration.  We need this. Please consider this letter in deciding if you will run for president.

1.8 Million Reasons

Parishioners of these mega-churches, when will enough be enough?

Jon Gray does not under any circumstances deserve to live in a 1.8 million dollar home unless he purchased it himself.



Salaries for Clergy:

It took me a while to understand why the clergy had to be paid. I had finally come to a place of acceptance realizing that many clergies pour their hearts and souls into the message they deliver on Sunday, and the other countless amounts they do during the week in preparing.

Personally, I feel the CEO of the church should live a modestly simple lifestyle. Meaning, I don’t think the pastor should be struggling, but I also don’t think the pastor should be living like a pro athlete or a celebrity.

Some will make the argument that this is God’s will. That’s where the message gets convoluted. The Bible portrays Jesus as a man of modest means, he was a carpenter. Modest means should be the standard for someone delivering the word of Christ.


Lambo First Lady:

When you have the First Lady of the church driving a Lamborghini, it’s hard to defend that. So while this may be okay with some of you, this isn’t okay with me.

No to mention recent allegations of infidelity, which happens a lot in the search. I never understood how and why so much faith was put into the people delivering the word, without holding them to the highest of standards.


Not my Church:

So, as I think back to MLK JR., and the long successive line of clergy that has lifted the black church up, as well as its provisioners, I’m going to have to vote No on these mega-churches and the high salaries and fringe benefits that they pay their CEO’s.

I’m 100% positive that we are going to disagree on my take. That said, I’m okay with agreeing to disagree.

How School Choice Defeated Andrew Gillum

Andrew Gillum; School Choice:

Super-candidate and mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum brought high energy to his bid to become governor in his 2018 campaign. The HBCU alumnus of Florida A&M was electrifying. Gillum was a great orator, who ran on a progressive platform. He is a family man, who reached out to all demographics. One of the messages presented by Mayor Gillum that resonated with me, was when he stated, “I want to talk to all of the people because even if you didn’t vote for me, I’d still be making decisions within the best interest of all Floridians.”

2018 Florida Gubernatorial Race

Moreover, Mayor Gillum did not toe the line when it came to education issues in Florida. From the very beginning of his campaign, Gillum professed his love to the Teacher’s Union. He spoke to how teachers should earn more, and how charter schools were sucking the life out of public education in Florida. Gillum vowed not to expand charter schools, putting that finding back into public schools.


Pro School-Choice:

Meanwhile, Mayor Gillum’s opponent conservative Republican Ron DeSantos had a different time when it came to charter schools. DeSantis proposed expanding charter schools, vowing to give parents more choice in schools. “That distinction – rather than the personalities and ideologies involved – may have compelled about 100,000 African-American women, the vast majority registered Democrats, to vote for DeSantis over Gillum on Nov. 6, According to William Mattox, director of the Marshall Center for Educational Options Director at the James Madison Institute, (JMI), a Tallahassee-based conservative think-tank.”


School Choice Florida

Americans want School Choice:

According to Condoleeza Rice, school choice is a Civil Rights Issue. I could not agree more. The current education system fails PoC at alarming rates. People tend to forget the true origins of schooling and which schools serve rightfully in the United States. Mayor Gillum forgot this as well, and African-American moms reminded him in the Governor’s election.

So, when we look back to the history books, and we see this valiant effort, from a very electable candidate. Hopefully, there are lessons learned.

To the many candidates in the mix to be the Democratic presidential nominee in the 2020 election, let this be a lesson. Parents want a choice. So no matter how likable you are as a candidate, if you are not able to endorse school choice, there’s a high likelihood that voters who would typically vote for you will not vote for you.