Kafkaesque police capture boy & grill him for not saying his clock is a bomb

Ahmed and his clock
Photo composite courtesy wtvr.com
In a Kafka novel, a man is accused by the police of a crime that’s too top-secret for them to discuss or reveal which government department has brought charges against him – and that’s the whole novel. In a similar circumstance, 14 year old Ahmed Mohammed from Irving, Texas brings a home-made clock to school to show his engineering teacher and she accused him of making a bomb to threaten her. The police arrive to handcuff, arrest and then grill him for hours because Ahmed wouldn’t say that his clock was something other than a clock. Because it’s a clock. read more

Are New Jersey gentrifiers taking us for a ride?

1934 school bus
1934 Chevrolet Schoolbus by DBerry2006 via Flickr
Believers in gentrification understand neither fairness, nor justice. Yet, since Christie signed bill A-355 into law in 2010, they’ve been provided with yet another powerful arrow in the arsenal of neighborhood destruction and running the vulnerable out of town. This is a racial issue in New Jersey, since our poor are mostly urban Blacks and Latinos.

Christie’s education voucher law allows public school students to attend schools in another district, with your tax dollars paying the receiving school’s tuition fees and the complete bill to, “provide and pay for students’ transportation to new schools up to 20 miles away.” Sounds a bit like specially chartered buses and other things extraordinarily expensive, doesn’t it? Wowza! read more

Hah – every school year should start like this!

teacher flash mob singersFaithtap asks the right question! “What better way to kick off a new year than with the spread of joy and enthusiasm?” Flash mob of singing teachers does exactly that. And they sound good, too!

The Desmoines, Iowa flash district teachers performed ‘One More Day’ from the hit Broadway musical Les Miserables. Not all are music teachers.

US Colonel: slavery was the SINGLE reason for the Civil War (video)

North was agrarian tooColonel Ty Seidule, Professor of History at the United States Military Academy at West Point, sets the record state on the question of what the reason was for the United States Civil War. In this interesting short video Col. Seidule makes the case that the single reason was slavery. Does a good job with it, too.

Here are some highlights:

The buzz term “States’ Rights” was coined by Southern state residents and referred to the right they believed they possessed, to continue slavery. read more

10 ways well-meaning white teachers bring racism into schools

cultural sensitivity components
Photo credit: uvm.edu
I’m blown away by this great list of 10 ways well-meaning white teachers bring racism into schools. Number 2 is my favorite:

2. Being ‘Race Neutral’ Rather than Culturally Responsive

In my work with teachers, I sometimes meet teachers who claim that they “don’t see Color,” both in naïve attempts to be “progressive” but also in an ill-advised attempt to avoid tracking students based on race/ethnicity.

But our students don’t need a “race neutral” approach to their education. read more

Disturbing: Google is promoting hatred of Jews by skewing search results

Anti-semitic statisticsI was searching for a graphic depicting the fundamental unfairness of bashing Israel for defending itself against Arab attacks and increasing, global anti-semitism. But Google wouldn’t let me find any of those images: it just let me find images of Israelis unfairly attacking Arabs.

I don’t believe that the poor Arab, ugly Israel propaganda promoted by Big Media is the real truth underlying today’s Middle East conflict. But it’s quite apparent that this is what Google wants people to believe. By skewing search results to feed anti-Israel sentiment, Google is practicing fundamental unfairness and injustice. Shame on you, Google. read more

Thousands join mayor’s Occupy the City rally on Saturday to support Newark, youth & to stamp out violence

Mayor Baraka and CommonLed by Rapper-activist-actor Common joined Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Municipal Council and actor-rapper-activist Common, thousands of Newark residents united to “Occupy the City” on Saturday, August 8, meeting at a designated location in each of Newark’s five wards at 3:30 pm and marching to the City’s historic downtown “Four Corners” at Broad and Market Streets for a huge anti-violence and community support rally.

Building on the success and support from Newark residents during his “Occupy the Block events, Mayor Baraka hosted the “Occupy the City” event to unite residents against despair, violence, and crime in Newark and to promote love, hope and empowerment. “Occupy the Block” is a community engagement tool modeled after the historic “Occupy” movement, which advocates the social disruption of harmful or ineffective social constructs. Marchers wore purple t-shirts specially made for the occasion. read more

Obama at Georgetown on breaking the cycle of poverty. Real talk.

Obama at Georgetown Poverty SummitAt the Georgetown University #PovertySummit President Obama made some very real comments, tying his own background to modern society’s challenges in the areas of education and social investment; access to jobs, internet, transportation; mentoring, youth, fatherhood, families and community:

I am a black man who grew up without a father, and I know the cost that I paid for that. And I also know that I have the capacity to break that cycle, and as a consequence I think that my daughters are better off … For me to have that conversation does not negate my conversation about the need for early childhood education, or the need for job training, or the need for investment in infrastructure or jobs in low-income communities… read more

Who is Chris Cerf and why do the Feds want him kept away from Newark students?

NJEdDiagramChris Cerf planned to replace Cami Anderson as Newark Public Schools’ state-appointed superintendent, but following his attempted return to New Jersey schools the Feds are scrutinizing his record, and they aren’t pleased with him. Let’s take a look at who this man is:

Mark Weber writes

In many ways, Cerf is the prototypical education “reformer”: he never taught in a public school, never earned a degree in education, and never ran a school building. More accurately, perhaps, Cerf is the prototype of a new sort of reformer, one who leaves a groundswell of resistance in his wake. read more

Booker attempts to whitewash friend Cami’s black NPS record

Booker and CamiFormer Newark mayor Cory Booker, a close friend and former employer of Cami Anderson, did not resist the temptation to try to inject positive spin into Cami’s recent removal from Newark Public Schools. Anderson is the New Jersey appointed Newark Public Schools superintendent who just left Newark in the wake of widespread protests for all the damage she’s caused to the students and schools she was hired to serve and protect.

Asked about the politics surrounding Anderson vacating of the position, Booker said “I’m happy with her contributions, things we should all be appreciative of.” read more

Christie’s dismal record on union/labor rights just got worse

Christie, sweeney, bookerChristie has assaulted vulnerable New Jersey residents and labor rights all the years of his governorship. Next City shares the low-down on what Christie’s gotten away with, and how he’s done it.

Take public education: having promised when he was campaigning to take care of New Jersey’s teachers, after getting into office Christie proceeded to systematically destroy public ed, along with teachers’ and students lives and the bloodshed is far from over. Newark and Camden have been among the communities hardest hit. read more

Don’t be fooled – Christie’s still bent on destroying public ed & New Jersey

Christie IHOPIt’s more than laughable that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is suddenly trying to show the nation that he cares about public education and the teachers whose lives, finances and careers he’s been systematically destroying ever since taking office two elections ago. It should be next to impossible to show something that isn’t real, but we’re talking about a public relations genius who got elected in 2013 on the strength of mistruth whoppers, namely:

  1. Christie hugged Obama to make himself look like a moderate Republican ready to reach over the aisle to form an alliance with Democrats to care for the people of his state when tragedy struck.
  2. Christie acts like he cares about New Jersey residents hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.

The facts are that Christie has no love for the President. He hasn’t “done a good enough job distributing the (Sandy recovery funds) New Jersey has already received” and he refuses to release $500 million of federal recovery funds to applicants that have been qualified as eligible for help. Christie’s political grandstanding also arguably cost New Jersey schools hundreds of millions of dollars. 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. read more

Politico’s attempt to make fun of Baraka is an utter #fail

Ras BarakaMatt Bonamo tried pretty hard to discredit Ras Baraka in his March 19 Politico Magazine article. He failed, because Ras is good at being good – but not for lack of trying.

Ras with finger alongside noseFirst, look at the photo Mark chose as his lead: why is Baraka’s face contorted, and his finger laid alongside his nose? Only one logical answer: the photo is meant to be demeaning. In the article’s wrap-up, Bonamo quotes Ras using syntactically regional language. Again, why? Why list every one of Booker’s impressive educational credentials and then contrast that with a quote showing Baraka being loose with his grammar? Again, the reason is clear: Bonamo obviously meant to discredit Mayor Baraka. 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. read more