Many stories in play behind U Missouri protests, football team boycott threat & president resignation

U Missouri Race Issues
Source: found at

ABC provides good framing for Pres. Wolfe’s resignation from University of Missouri: The Concerned Student 1950 campus group named for the year “the first black student was admitted” began a month-long series of protests that culminated in a list of demands calling for Wolfe’s removal…

.. as a part of a protest over the way the university handles racial harassment … (including a request) for a comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum, and an increase of black faculty and staff. read more

Newark Students’ May 22 walkout and protest over 2000 strong

Newark 1505 student walkoutOn May 22 2015, over 2000 students and supporters shut downtown Newark NJ down for several hours to create visibility and bring awareness to the horrors Newark students have experienced at the hands of Chris Christie, Cory Booker and Cami Anderson, who jointly created a plan to break the back of public education in this city.

Anderson’s “One Newark” plan has young children from a single family barred from attending the school local to their home and instead, being sent far outside their neighborhood to 4 different schools in different corners of the city. Each child must take 2-3 bus rides and spend an hour of commuting time each way to reach school. Throughout the city, public school students are denied books and sanitary food; the principals and administrative staff of the city’s most successful schools are fired; and police charges were filed against a PTA president for hanging flyers announcing the PTA’s next meeting.

As the walkout and protest clearly show, a growing number of students and their supporters are completely fed up. In the words of my esteemed friend and public education advocate Johnnie Lattner, “Enough is enough.”

Here’s some news coverage of yesterday’s walkout, many links courtesy of Bashir Akinyele, host of All Politics Are Local, America’s #1 political Hip Hop radio show

Students Say Record Protest Crowd Shows Strong Resistance to Superintendent’s Reforms read more

Newark students – heroes in spite of being deprived of books and food

Support Newark studentsThe Student Heroes of Newark is a phrase coined by Daniel Katz in a Huffington Post article on how Newark, New Jersey students are handling the challenges of being starved by the Christie Administration and Cami Anderson, Newark Schools superintendent for classroom books and even food.

One student explains that there may be four textbooks in a classroom of over 30 children. Another, that there isn’t enough food in the cafeteria for both lunch and breakfast: if the staff serve one meal, they run out of food for the other. Take a look for yourself at this 3 minute video – these young people are powerful advocates and know how to tell their story.


Join Newark students in mass rally & boycott for local control on Mon. Nov 4

Newark Student Union/No ChristiebuttonsThe Newark Students Union (NSU) organized a massive 1,000 student walkout last April and on Monday Nov 4, they will stage another mass boycott demanding that quality education be returned to Newark. The students want Gov. Christie to fund schools at court ordered levels and to repair school buildings, which are currently unsafe – two legal obligations which Christie has refused to honor. Spread the word about the rally and be there if you can. The social media hashtag is #npsboycott.

Boycott & Rally to Protest Gov. Christie’s Control of Newark Public Schools
November 4 2013 @ 9am
30 Clinton Street in Newark NJ

“The boycott and protest will demonstrate that Newark Public Schools students care deeply about our education,” says Luis Marquez, a high school senior and member of the Newark Students Union. “We’re rebelling against the control of politicians that don’t care about or respect for us. A few months ago Christie bragged, ‘I don’t care about the community criticism. We run the school district in Newark, not them.'”

Davian Rodriguez, a senior at Science Park High School, expands on this theme, “The education of Newark’s students directly affects the future of the city. Christie-appointed Superintendent Cami Anderson is purposely ignoring the cries of protest echoing across the city. She and Christie are in effect, condemning Newark to a perpetual cycle of state-sponsored ignorance and poverty. If the government won’t support the students it is legally pledged to protect and nurture, then we students need to come together and take the fate of Newark Public Schools into our own hands.”

“Students of the Newark Public School System have come together to speak with a single, clear voice,” says Josephine Stewart, a grandparent of one NPS student. “Our students deserve a seat at the table whenever decisions are being made that will shape their future. And, after nineteen years of political meddling it is high time for the supervision of Newark students’ education to be returned to the local residents who care deeply for our youth and have a personal interest in chaperoning them on to successful educations, careers and lives.”
The social media hashtag is #npsboycott

Free prom dress programs across NJ and US

Prom couple

Prom coupleApril is prom month. If you’re a young lady of modest means you can be the belle of the ball with a free or low-cost designer dress ($10 is low, right?) in beautiful condition from one of the prom dress giveaway programs in New Jersey and around the country. Act soon though. Giveaways are going on right now all over the New York/New Jersey area and in many cities across the country! Some programs provide accessories and shoes to match gowns … and they may share tasty treats and other gifts with “shoppers” and their moms, as well. The idea is, that every young person should have the chance to attend prom dressed fabulously and fashionably, whether they have lots of money or don’t.

There aren’t nearly as many resources for young men looking for a suit or help renting a tux, but that doesn’t mean help is not available! My own son was gifted a free tuxedo rental from Operation Prom, so we know that as of last week, this program was working great (see details below). Post-high school women can find a fancy dress at Catherine’s Closet in Newark, so if you are a woman past high school age, visit there or just ask other giveaway shops if they can help you out. There’s never any harm in asking.

If none of the resources on this page get you the results you need, don’t be discouraged. Keep looking! There are quite a few organizations providing free or low cost prom dresses in New Jersey and around the country. Students, also ask your guidance counsellor if they know of a local program which provides free or low-cost dresses, suits or tuxes, or try reaching out to a church or youth center in your neighborhood. Remember: help is always one ask away. If you spend some time searching the net, you may turn up some good resources (this is how I found most of what’s listed here). And consider enlisting the help of a reference librarian – they are extraordinarily good at this sort of thing and most of them are delighted to assist.

If you’re a person wanting to give away a fancy dress, prom dress, accessories, or you would like to volunteer at a prom giveaway drive, I’m certain any of these organizations would love to hear from you, so just reach out!

NEWARK – Catherine’s Closet, Inc.
Distribution at 550 Broad Street, Newark NJ 973-616-2060
On Two Dates from 8:30am – 12pm (noon)
Saturday, April 13, 2013 and Saturday, May 11, 2013 read more

Expanded student demographic data now on ELC website

chart of funding weighted per pupilOver the years, Education Law Center (ELC) has become the “go-to” source where parents, policymakers and advocates can find high quality, in-depth data and other useable information on New Jersey’s public schools. This organization is committed to continuing to provide timely and relevant data in a highly functional and interactive format and is pleased to announce that visitors can now find an expanded range of student data on their website: racial/ethnic composition, poverty rates, limited English proficiency rates, and special education rates of NJ public school students, whether enrolled in district schools or charter schools.

A visitor to the “Data & Research” page on the ELC site will see highly interactive charts and maps displaying student enrollment data by race/ethnicity for school districts across the state. Below that, a second data set displays enrollment in special programs. Interactive elements are in red.

The maps permit a quick scan of the current statewide landscape and identify spatial patterns. Bar charts, organized by District Factor Group (DFG; the classification system used by the New Jersey Department of Education to organize districts by socioeconomic status), illustrate how dramatically student characteristics differ by district type. Data can also be filtered by county, and charts can be sorted in multiple ways (for example, by district or by a chosen indicator in ascending or descending order).

The ELC website also makes it easier to examine historical trends by providing two options for viewing data. The first option compares counties, districts or schools within the same year, with over a decade’s worth of data. Using the second option, a site visitor can choose state, county, district or school level data in order to view longitudinal trends. Using the tabs at the top of the display, it’s possible to toggle between views. Any selections made on one tab will carry over to a subsequent tab.

Telling the Story with Data

The map displaying NJ’s diverse student population illustrates the high degree of racial segregation across the state. The DFG chart can be used to filter the data to show the interplay of geography, socioeconomic status and racial segregation. Filtering the map to view only DFG “A“ districts, for example, it is clear that these districts with the lowest socioeconomic status are predominately located in the northeastern and southern portions of the state and serve large numbers of black and Hispanic children. Alternatively, DFG “J” districts – the wealthiest in the state – are almost exclusively found in the northern part of the state and are more likely to be majority white districts.

The second tab shows student enrollments by race/ethnicity for counties, districts and schools from 1999-2000 through 2011-2012. For example, the data show that in 2011-12, Bergen County student enrollment was the highest in the state (over 130,000 students), while Salem County enrollment was the lowest (less than 12,000 students). Scanning the chart also shows that Sussex County enrolled the largest proportion of white students (88%) and Essex County the smallest (27%). The racial distributions of students in districts and individual schools are available in this view.

In the second set of charts and maps, the data show that while the number of students classified as free and reduced lunch or Limited English Proficiency is related to a district’s socioeconomic status, special education is more evenly distributed across the state. The second tab displays the three indicators together, making it possible to explore how these student characteristics are related. The chart can be expanded so that district data within counties can be viewed and then further expanded to show the schools within districts.

The third tab shows longitudinal data illustrating, for example, the recent increase in student poverty. The number of English language learners and special education students, for the years in which data are available, is more stable.

“The beauty of these data sets is that they make it possible to access over a decade of demographic data in one place,” said Dr. Danielle Farrie, ELC’s Research Director. “The information is displayed in an easy to understand format that can be manipulated by visitors to ELC’s website in order to find the exact data they need, whether they are looking for state level trends or the particular characteristics of an individual school.”