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It's All About Race
Photo provided by The Black Star Project
by Michael Holzman
provided by Eric J. Cooper
May 12, 2015
Many are trying to spin the
events following last month's tragedy in Baltimore. From the black mother who
pulled her teenage son out of the street, hitting him "upside the head" in the
literal fashion, to the state's attorney who brought charges against several
police officers for the killing of Freddie Gray, they want to assure the public
that what has happened in Charm City is "not about race." Wrong. It is, and remains, about race.
Maryland incarcerates 1,437 of every 100,000 Black
residents -- four times greater than the rate for whites. This is not unusual.
In fact, it is business as usual in America: the mass incarceration of African
Americans, specifically young Black men, to enforce caste boundaries,
impoverishing their families in the process.
Public education is supposed to be the answer. We hope
that the yellow brick road out of poverty and onto the sunny uplands of
post-racial America runs through the schools. But does it? Let's look at what happens to Black
children in Baltimore's schools.
- In 2013, just 13 percent of Black eighth graders read at or above grade
- Just 8 percent of eighth-grade Black males read at or above grade level.
- Just 7 percent of the Black males in the eighth
grade who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program read at grade level
(according to the U.S. Department of Education's National Assessment of
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 35
percent of Baltimore teachers were absent more than 10 days of the school year
in 2009-'10 -- an extraordinary and unacceptable level of teacher
The Baltimore schools' drop-out
rate for Black students was nearly 30 percent for the class of 2013, according
to the 2014 Maryland Report Card. Half of those graduating go to college. Just
half of those who go to college are still there after the first year.
Compared with residents of
Maryland as a whole, twice as many of Baltimore's Black residents over the age
of 25 have not graduated from high school. Half as many have graduated from
college. Eleven percent of Black men in Baltimore have graduated from college,
compared with 48 percent of White men, according to the U.S. Census' 2013
American Community Survey.
You might think that poor Blacks
-- especially poor Black males -- in Baltimore read these statistics and get
angry. But when 93 percent of poor Black males in
the eighth grade cannot read well enough to read a newspaper or this
article, what do we expect them to learn?
Here is what they do understand: The intersection of the
criminal justice and education systems works very well to police the boundaries
of caste in this country. Just look at Ferguson, Missouri, or Chicago, or New
York City or Milwaukee. Or Baltimore.
Why Are All the
Photo provided by The Black Star Project
By Christina Berchini
I am a white teacher. Growing up in the '80s and '90s in Brooklyn, N.Y., I do
not remember having a single teacher who did not look like me. Every teacher
I've ever had represented "me" in some way or another.
By virtue of being born a white
child who spoke English as her first (and only) language, I was fortunate. I had
my pick of mentors, my race was represented in most-if not all-curricular texts,
and I excelled in school year after year. My academic fate was sealed in the
most predictable of ways.
Not only were my teachers
homogenously white, but in my 13 years of compulsory schooling, I do not
remember being assigned a single text authored by a person of color.
Indeed, I was already at a social
advantage long before my teachers even knew my name. My family and I were not
tasked with learning what Lisa Delpit has famously coined the "culture of
power"; as a typical neighborhood white kid, I was not ignorantly considered a
cultural anomaly, nor was I a threat to the tried, "true," and impenetrable
pedagogies, practices, and policies of my teachers' classrooms and those of the
schools I attended.
My parents never, not once, not
for a nanosecond, would have to worry about how my teachers and administrators
chose to relate to me-or worse yet, treat me-because of my race, culture, or
primary language. My parents did not have to worry about the potential for
racist policies and practices to impact my outcomes.
As a white child, I would not
have to endure a single micro-aggression by some adult who should have a) kept
their mouth shut, and b) read a book by Lisa Delpit, bell hooks, Tim Wise, or
other brilliant thinkers who have made it their life's mission to understand how
race-including whiteness and white privilege-and the dominant culture impact
day-to-day life in this country and its schools.
Click Here to Read Full Article
I may have been from a
working-class community, but I had it easy. The fact of the matter is that
schools were set up by
people who looked like me for
who looked like me. And as Motoko Rich illustrates in her recent article, "Where Are the Teachers of Color?
despite an ever-increasing racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse student population
, not much
has changed in the racial makeup of the teaching force.
Information Reveals Convicted Atlanta Teachers Are National Educational
New evidence shows that Atlanta
Public Schools' Black students excelled and out-performed Black students
throughout nation. These Atlanta Public Schools' educators (above), while heroes
to their students, were convicted of racketeering.
May 11, 2015
The prosecutor of the Atlanta
Public Schools (APS) 12, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, is opening
the Redemption Academy to help students who don't need his help. Black Atlanta
students have made phenomenal progress over the past 13 years, which is part of
the reason that Black teachers in Atlanta were accused of cheating. The verdict
against the teachers, who helped Black Atlanta students earn some of the best
academic gains in America, proves that efforts to successfully educate Black
students in America are still illegal practices. If Black students had not done
so well, this district probably would not have been flagged for cheating and the
APS 12 would not have been convicted of wrongdoing. Is this a warning to other
Black teachers not to do too good a job teaching Black students?
Let's look at the hard academic
facts of the APS by analyzing Atlanta's National Assessment of Educational
Progress (NAEP) scores, the gold standard of educational testing in America. In
a comparison of grade 8 reading assessments for Black students in Atlanta, in
Georgia and in the United States between 2002 and 2013, the U.S. percentage of
Black students at or above grade level increased from 13% to 16%, the Georgia
percentage increased from 14% to 17%, but the APS Black students increased a
stellar ten points, from 5% to 15%. According to these NAEP scores, the most
rigorous evaluation of student achievement in America, the APS team, under the
leadership of former Atlanta Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall, did an outstanding
job of educating Atlanta's Black students!
If the APS system had massive
cheating, as we were led to believe during this trial, then it would follow that
cheating would have elevated grades during the cheating, and, when "cheating"
stopped, the grades should have gone down dramatically. Instead, after a small
decrease, the scores continued to rise because of the groundwork, momentum and
educational reforms instituted by Dr. Hall and the whole APS educational team,
signaling real and substantial learning! You can't make the kind of progress
produced by Dr. Hall and her team by cheating! Based on the NAEP scores and the
progress made by Black students in Atlanta, these educators should be going to
Washington to run the U.S. Department of Education, instead, they are headed to
A few questions not answered
about this trial: Did other big-city school districts have similar levels of
cheating? Answer: Yes. Did other school districts in the state of Georgia have
similar cheating events? Answer: Yes. Is cheating a statutory crime in Georgia
that requires a court case or prison term? Answer: No. Was any other school
district in this country or that state treated like Atlanta Public Schools?
Answer: No. So the cheating in Atlanta was no better or no worse than anywhere
else in Georgia or in the United States? Answer: Correct. That being the case,
all things considered, cheating or not, did the Black students of Atlanta
dramatically out-perform Black students in the entire state of Georgia and in
the United States. Answer: Yes. Then why did we allow Fulton County to convict
and sentence (up to 20 years) 1st- and 2nd-grade teachers and other educators,
who refused to plead guilty to cheating? Answer: ???????
According to the scores reported
by NAEP, Dr. Beverly Hall and the APS 12 are national educational heroes for
their indisputable success at educating Black students in America! At the very
least we owe them all an apology for malicious prosecution in addition to
restitution for court costs and reinstatement into the jobs they loved and at
which they were great!
1) Click Here to
Part One of Justice for the APS 12 on WVON Radio, and you make the decision of
their innocence or guilt. Click Here to
listen to Part Two of Justice for the APS 12.
2) Click Here
to ask President Barack
Obama to send in the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate why 12 innocent
educators were found guilty and ask him to overturn this America travesty and
free the Atlanta 12.
3) Click Here
to contribute financially
to the fund to support these teachers.
4) Share this information with all of
your friends, family, associates, colleagues and church members and call The
Black Star Project at 773.285.9600 to find out what you can do to help the
Atlanta 12 or to set up a "Free Atlanta 12" site in your city.It is still not
| Fellowship Programme for People of
African Descent in the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commission
for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland
Applications 1 June 2015
The Fellowship Programme for
People of African Descent provides the participants with an intensive learning
opportunity to deepen their understanding of the United Nations human rights
system, instruments and mechanisms, with a focus on issues of particular
relevance to people of African descent. The Fellowship Programme will allow the
participants to better contribute to the protection and promotion of civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights of people of African descent in
their respective countries.
The first Fellowship Programme
for People of African Descent was launched by the Anti-Racial Discrimination
Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
in 2011 in the context of the International Year for People of African
In the framework of the Programme
of Activities for the Implementation of the International Decade for People of
African Descent, this year the programme will coincide with the first session of
the UN Forum for People of African Descent. This will enable the fellows to
attend and contribute to the work of the secretariat of the Forum and to the
The Fellowship will be held from 2 to 20
November 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Each fellow is entitled to a
return ticket (economy class) from the country of residence to Geneva; basic
health insurance; and a stipend to cover modest accommodation and other living
expenses for the duration of the Programme.
Positive Black Men Asked to Volunteer as
1340 W. 71st Street
Any Day in May 2015
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