Segregation in a school may not be a result of the ethnic composition of its attendance zone #p2

Interactive NYC schools map
Source: Map created by Center for NYC Affairs Center
The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs new report Are Schools Segregated Because Housing Is? It Ain’t Necessarily So, calls into question the assumption that highly segregated school populations reflect the resident population of their attendance zone. The results of the research which includes interactive maps shows:

… there are dozens of high-poverty elementary schools that serve mostly black and Latino children that are located in far more racially and economically mixed neighborhoods. read more

Must watch! The cutest munchkin versions of famous woman professionals

Viola Davis
Source: YouTube Fast-Forward Girls 2015 video by GoldieBlox
GoldieBlox’s Fast-Forward Girls project celebrates superstar women and the girls they inspire – 10 women role models who have “broken the mold, blazed a trail, and made it happen in politics, entertainment, sport, and STEM. Each superstar is played by a mini-superstar in the making…” and these girls are cuties!

Grown ups portrayed:
Amy Schumer: #iLookLikeAComedian
Hillary Clinton: #iLookLikeAPresident
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: #iLookLikeAJustice
Isis Anchalee: #iLookLikeAnEngineer
Beyoncé: #iLookLikeAnEntrepreneur
Nicki Minaj: #iLookLikeASuperstar
Jen Welter: #iLookLikeAnNFLCoach
Viola Davis: #iLookLikeAnEmmyWinner
Misty Copeland: #iLookLikeAPrincipalBallerina
Abby Wambach: #iLookLikeAWorldChampion read more

Release of video showing 17 yo Laquan being killed have Chicago police all jittery

Chi police on high alert pending shooting video release
Facebook post by Cynthia OneDay Flood
Facebook wouldn’t let me share Cynthia Flood‘s post about Chicago police gearing up for a high-alert, increased police presence in readiness for today’s release of the patrol car dashboard cam video footage of 17 year old Laquan McDonald being fatally shot 16 times by a police officer on 20 October 2014. A judge ordered the video to be released by Wednesday.

Poor boy. He was apparently high on PCP but exhibited no violent behaviour.

The officer who mercilessly and without provocation executed Laquan is being charged with murder. I wish for Laquan’s mother, family, friends and community – peace, comfort and healing. read more

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

U Missouri Race Issues
Source: found at local8now.com
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

MIT hosted a city-wide biannual breakdance competition for a decade

Breakonomics at MIT
Breakonomics Competition 2009 sponsored by MIT’s Imobilare crew
My Aunt June told me about the breakdance competition she helped to found at MIT, the world’s best tech university. People don’t think of Breakdancing and performance art as typical geek activities but at MIT the arts are celebrated. Its Immobilare crew sponsored Boston’s biannual Breakonomics breakdance competition for about a decade, with the last competition taking place in 2011.

MIT’s Imobilare breakdance crew also held regular bboy practices on the MIT campus from 1998-2009: read more

I can’t stop crying, thinking about police brutalizing girls in classrooms. We must vote.

SC police officer brutalizes student
From video on CNN website
I just read José Luis Vilson’s piece giving his opinion on why adult complicity through inaction – sitting quietly by while big, strong, heavily armed policemen brutalize girls in school classrooms – is inexcusable. And I started crying again. This time I haven’t been able to stop, tears are running down my face as I’m writing.

Edited to add: I just learned that the assault victim is a girl who was recently orphaned.

Where did we go wrong, my friends and neighbors? I want to ask, to scream, to demand answers. How did we get to the point where we not only allow armed law enforcement officers into our children’s schools to serve as para-security guards … but beyond that point, to where we are today: where the same men who shoot pudgy grown men in the back because they failed to pay child support and band together to choke the life right out of a New Yorker for selling loose cigarettes, are let loose in our babies’ classrooms to brutalize, terrorize and humiliate them and after they do haul them off, no doubt, to lock them up in jails or detention schools or juvenile halls – to make them look the wrongdoers. read more

Teen tells how he repeatedly hacked CIA director’s email

John Brennan - Director of the CYA by DonkeyHotey via Flickr
John Brennan, Director of the CYA by DonkeyHotey via Flickr
Wired reports on a high schooler who contacted the New York Post in mid-October to tell them how he hacked into the CIA director’s personal AOL email and what he found there:

..sensitive government documents stored as attachments in Brennan’s personal account because the spy chief had forwarded them from his work email … and the sensitive 47-page SF-86 application that Brennan had filled out to obtain his top-secret government security clearance.

The privacy of one of the country’s highest ranking security officials along with sensitive US government data, was compromised by a teenager. SMH. read more

Social Justice Challenge competition: entries open till Oct 16

social justice wordleThe Social Justice Challenge (SJC) is a student competition initiative that allows students the opportunity to generate ideas for innovative projects that respond to significant social justice issues currently affecting youth and young adult populations and compete for seed funding to launch and/or expand their ideas.

Any organized activity intended to address a social justice issue affecting youth and young adults will be considered for the award. (Please note: At least one member of each student team must be affiliated with either a Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) member program or an Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) member program). read more

Don’t let the door smack you too hard on the way out, Traitor Duncan

Arne Duncan cartoon
Caricature Credit: DonkeyHotey
Good news today for people who care about students and the state of public education in America. As HuffPost put it: Arne Duncan Resigns Amid Legacy-Threatening Student Debt Crisis. And this summer, the Center for Media and Democracy wrote this about Duncan’s failed initiative to replace public schools with charters: Charter Program Expansion Looms Despite Probes into Mismanagement and Closed Schools.

Developer-owned charter schools are publicly funded but managed privately, without the obligation to provide any public accountability for either their teaching methods or financial expenditures. Not surprising that they’re a virtual breeding ground for a level of corruption so exaggerated that it turned GW Bush’s former Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch, into one of the country’s leading public education advocates. read more

Obama’s FAFSA filing date change will make student aid application process easier and more helpful

Changes in FAFSA reporting requirementsPresident Obama is working on removing barriers to students obtaining financial aid for which they qualify. Changes to the FAFSA filing period’s submission date will make the application process faster, easier and enable students to get earlier financial aid award notification. This will provide graduating (and transfer) students with valuable information they can use to help identify the best college match.

The transition means that:

  1. For the 2017-18 school year, students can submit the FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016 (two months ahead of the current submission date).
  2. Students will submit their 2017-18 school year FAFSAs with year 2015 financial information.
  3. 2017-18 school year is the first year that “prior-prior” (in other words, 2 years back) financial information for parents and student will be used for the FAFSA.
  4. Most parents and students will be able to use the IRS automatic retrieval tool to import tax return information directly into the FAFSA without needing to type it in (because 2015 tax returns filed by April 15, 2016 will have been processed by October 1, 2016).
  5. PELL grant award information will become available to graduating high school students (and college transfer students) months earlier in the college application process. This will aid families in selecting a school that offers the right combination of academic and financial opportunity for the student.
  6. In order to accommodate the new FAFSA submission date, filing students will fill out two FAFSAs in calendar year 2016:
    1. The school year 2016-17 FAFSA after the old submission opening date on January 1, 2016;
    2. The school year 2017-18 FAFSA after the new submission opening date on October 1, 2016. (See chart above.)
    Year 2015 financial information will be used for both the 2016-17 school year and the 2017-18 school year. (See chart above.) Year 2016 financial information will be used for the 2018-19 school year FAFSA. (See chart above.)

    From the Federal Student Aid website:

    On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process that will impact millions of students. Starting next year, students will be able to do the following: read more

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

The cost of “tough on crime” is $1B each year of your taxpayer money

people in prisonvlogbrothers has created a sobering video about the “massive $75 BILLION per year failed experiment” we’re living in – which is what it costs American taxpayers each year to keep almost 1% of our neighbors in prison.

The video’s done in a light-hearted animation style and is under 4 minutes long, but pay attention to the scary statistics:

Video brought to you courtesy of Natalie Hussein Wells‘ link to attn:‘s informative article. And remember, if you don’t want to support and pay for this crazy system, vote for politicians that favor reducing our incarceration rate, like 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. 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.

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