Categories
Charter Schools Equity and Justice School Choice Teaching and Learning

New York City Specialized High School -BS-

The commitment to diversity in New York Specialized High School is B-S.  These students deserve better.  They deserve our attention.

If this latest Varsity Blues scandal combined with the abysmal acceptance rates of Black students in New York Specialized High Schools isn’t a wake-up call, what is?

Varsity Blues Scandal.

In light of the Varsity Blues scandal, we’ve had to stare privilege in the face and admit that the mighty dollar can buy school choice. Hollywood heavyweights were caught in a pay to play scheme that gave their children a competitive advantage in college admissions over Black and LatinX students. The Varsity Blues scandal should not come as a shock. Our educational system has always been this way.

New York City Specialized High School is B-S.

The NYC Specialized High School admission process may not be the same as the Varsity Blues scandal, but I will be darn if there are not any similarities. The Have’s are still in positions to benefit immensely from admissions. While the have nots struggle to make decisions about where to send their kids for high school. In Stuyvesant High School, there were 895 spots open to the incoming freshman class, only 7/895 of the admitted are Black. That’s .0078.

 

It’s insane and deserves political outrage. I believe this deserves a “Public School New Deal.” Hell, we can even make the deal green too, if it’ll make people act on it.

Truly Commit to Diversity.

The system needs fixing. Instead of talking about a system reboot, put in the work. Instead of catering to the affluent, let’s commit to creating an equitable system. Any other talk about building diverse systems is fluff. Black and LatinX folks are tired of the dust. We are tired of the sit back and wait your turn type attitudes that the affluent inflict upon the poor.

If the System Remains Broken.

If the system remains broken, and the Haves continue with their dominance, we should not dare blame parents for expressing a need for choice. Charter schools provide PoC hope. Our current educational system is bleak. The proof is in the results. We are not going to wait around while you all figure this out. We are going to make the best decisions for our children. You can judge all you want, be we won’t be sitting idly by while you fix the problem that you created. New York City specialized high school needs a reset.

My concluding thought is simple, fix the system. But until that system is problem free, please don’t you dare tell us where to send our kids to school.

Categories
African American History Black Culture Education Education Reform Equity and Justice Parenting Teaching and Learning

The Day We Cape for a Quality Education for PoC; Instead of Caping for Jussie and the likes. ‘No Cap’

Eight Million:

If we could “Cape” for our students of color the way we “cape” for actors and athletes, 8 million students would be better off.

Imagine a world where we advocate for the education of the poor and disenfranchised, No Cap.

There are Eight million students of color, currently receiving less than adequate instruction in the United States. The areas most affected are centralized ‘urban cities’ or port cities. Please name me a port town where students of color are performing well academically. A port town where unemployment is equal to suburbia and crime is at a minimum. If you can find such a city, I will stop blogging.

Poor Jussie:

Moreover, we have enough to worry about in current day society. By in large, 400 years of physical and psychological trauma, enter Jussie Smollett, or Jamal as you Empire watchers like to call him. Immediately we took him at his word when he said the attack occurred. Any black male that questioned the attack risked accusal of exhibiting “Toxic Masculinity.”

Toxic Masculinity:

fullsizeoutput_15a9Toxic masculinity, in theory, can’t be every time black males do not agree with the mainstream. Currently, it is over usage diminishes its value. Overall, there was nothing toxic about feeling like this story was “fake news.” People continue to remain silent, hoping that the results matched Smollett’s account. That story is now in question. We will continue to see how it plays out in the media.

Democratic Cap(ers):

Every major Democratic politician admonished the alleged assault against Smollett. Most if not all are very quiet as details surface around this being a staged attack. It is all the more reason for us to rechannel our energy.

Notwithstanding, this is more of a reason to make these candidates focus on issues that matter to us. In essence, if this were true, and Smollett experienced an assault. I would want nothing more than his attackers to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, if he is found to be “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” celebrity aside, Smollett deserves prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.

Lets Rep for These Eight Million Kids:

On the other hand, what’s not in question is the eight million students of color that are still in failing schools. Factually speaking, with teacher strikes are on the rise, and teachers’ unions complex strategies to pit traditional public schools against public charter schools. We have to fight for our kids.

In closing, let’s “Cape” for our kids the way that we “Cape” for these celebrities on TV. Our kids need us, and it’s time for us to take a stand, ‘No cap.’

My blog: EverybodyluvsRaymondsedblog.com

Podcast: https://audioboom.com/posts/7177506-blackface-black-history-and-black-education

Twitter: @Mr_Ankrum; @8blackhands1

Categories
Charter Schools Education Education Reform Equity and Justice School Choice

The Anti-School Choice Noise

Anti-School Choice:

Currently, there is much animus between traditional public-school pundits and advocates of school choice. School choice includes charter schools.  In today’s society, I’m not sure how you can be an anti-school choice advocate.

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Admittedly, those that oppose and advocate against charter schools have some legitimate concerns. I consider them Anti-School Choice.

This post serves as advice on how to address the major concerns of those that are anti-charter schools.

Concern One: There is a shortage of African-American school leaders that run charter schools in urban areas. The lack of PoC in leadership positions is indefensible. Some folks are doing some great work around supporting leaders of color. One group that comes to mind is the National Charter Collaborative. This group’s very existence is to help charter schools’ leaders of color navigate in this space. I have not taken advantage of the NCC’s offerings.


Extending on Point One: A Charter School Rooney Rule:

The Rooney Rule requires that an NFL team with a head-coaching vacancy must interview one or more minority candidates for the position. Given the NFL’s woeful history of considering and hiring minority candidates to fill head-coaching slots until the implementation of the Rooney Rule, the question asked was whether Pittsburgh would have even considered Mike Tomlin as a candidate for the Steeler head job without the Rooney Rule (Proxmire, 2008).

Moreover, what about a Rooney Rule in public education? Meaning– really, organic, purposeful conversations centered on school leadership in areas that serve high poverty families of color. Urban school districts would benefit greatly from having more minority male candidates as teachers, leaders, superintendents.

Consequently, what if for every principal and school superintendent vacancy, urban school districts had to (in good faith) interview a qualified minority candidate? The action alone would mean the world to minority families that have lost faith in the system.


Addressing Concerns:

Concern Two: Two: Some charter schools are ill-equipped to deal with the psychological trauma experienced by its student body. No charter school is perfect, and yes, some schools are tone deaf when it comes down to measuring the needs of students beyond academic requirements.

Mental Health has been making headlines as of recent. It is particularly important for schools to equip themselves to handle all of the needs of the students beyond just their academic requirements. Charter schools should employ multiple Social Workers. If budget cuts are on the horizon, the last cuts are the school counselors. Often they are the first to be cut.

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Recruiting Diverse Staffs:

Concern Three: Charter School staffs do not reflect the student body of the students they serve. Charter schools are doing a better job with trying to recruit for diversity, but “trying to do, and doing” are not the same thing. Charter Schools need to commit to diversifying, and then become relentless about doing it. Diversifying is no easy task, but given the importance of the work we do, one can see the importance of hiring a diverse staff.


Concern Four:  Charter Schools have high teacher turnover.  images-6As a charter school leader, one thinks about teacher turnover a lot.  Leaders want teachers to be in good mental space.  Having a healthy work-life balance helps this tremendously.  For example, when we see teachers working late, we send them home.  There has to be some time dedicated to not thinking about work, to re-energize and center oneself on the difficult work that a teacher does.

Beyond teacher exit surveys, “WE,” need to do a better job at taking the pulse of teachers, and ensuring they remain happy in our schools.  Students thrive off of consistency.  Having a consistent face for students and families is meaningful.

Works Cited:

Proxmire, D. (2008). Coaching diversity: The Rooney rule, its application, and ideas for expansion. American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, 1-9.

 

Categories
Charter Schools Civil Rights Education Politics School Choice

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.

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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.

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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.

Categories
Charter Schools Civil Rights Education Education Reform Politics School Choice

Elizabeth Warren Pulls a flip-flop on School Choice

Senator Elizabeth Warren:

For those of you that do not know, before the presidential aspirations, the exploratory committees, the serendipitous DNA results, Senator Elizabeth Warren was once a champion for school choice.

In her 2003 book, “The Two-Income Trap” (co-authored with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi), Warren endorsed a school-voucher system to free children from the tyranny of educrats assigning them to schools based on where their parents can afford to live.


Senator Elizabeth Warren

Before the Flip-Flop:

It was during those times; I could see myself backing an Elizabeth Warren run for president. The forward-thinking, the honesty, the willingness to fight for the people was evident in the beginning stages of Warren’s political career.

In an article originated by the NY Post, Warren goes on to state, “With fully funded vouchers, parents of all income levels could send their children — and the accompanying financial support — to the schools of their choice.”

Senator Warren spoke to how zip codes should not be the determining factor of how parents select schools for their children. By selecting schools in this manner, the poor and disenfranchised would always be at a disposition. Schools for the poor are still less desirable than schools for the more affluent. In other words, parents shouldn’t have to buy houses that can’t afford, to have excellent school choices for their children.

Circa 2016, Massachusetts was at the forefront of the school choice debate. The citizens of Massachusetts had a ballot measure Question 2 that supported the expansion of ten new charter schools. Massachusetts charter schools perennially outperform Boston public schools. Adding twelve charter schools would have been a direct measure to level the playing field for the poor. It provides them with much needed school options.


Question 2 Massachusetts Charter School Expansion

No support on Q2:

Senator Warren refused to support the measure. Warren’s rationale for no was as follows, “I will be voting no on Question 2. Many charter schools in Massachusetts are producing extraordinary results for our students, and we should celebrate the hard work of those teachers and spread what’s working to other schools,” Warren said. “But after hearing more from both sides, I am very concerned about what this specific proposal means for hundreds of thousands of children across our Commonwealth, especially those living in districts with tight budgets where every dime matters. Education is about creating an opportunity for all our children, not about leaving many behind.”


Elizabeth Warren 2020:

That’s a direct contradiction to her initial support for school choice. I don’t know which Senator Warren we’ll get if she’s elected president. It is for that reason that During the early stages of the 2020 presidential campaign, I can’t throw my support around Senator Warren. It’s not to say that I won’t, but as an informed citizen I need to hear more. I have to know that Senator Warren will unconscionably fight school choice options for the poor under any circumstances, even if it means she doesn’t win the Democratic primary. It is then and only then will I be able to throw my support around Senator Warren.