Day One was dominated by opening statements and partisan bickering.
Although it’s been more than two months since Kagan’s nomination was announced, 81 percent of Americans don’t know who she is, according to a C-SPAN survey.The National Bar Association and some civil rights groups want to know more about Kagan’s stances on civil rights, diversity and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
As far as I know, not one black woman has endorsed her nomination.
Kagan’s black male supporters, including Harvard Law Prof. Charles Ogletree Jr., point to the faculty chair she assumed during her tenure as dean of Harvard Law School as evidence of her commitment to racial equality.
For many African Americans, that’s pretty thin gruel on which to endorse a lifetime appointment to one of these chairs.
The Congressional Black Caucus has asked Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to pose the following questions to Kagan:
Black folks will be listening to her responses.
Today is the last day of school for New York City schoolchildren.
Back in the day, the Board of Education was headquartered at 110 Livingston Street.
Students celebrated the end of the school year with this little ditty:
No more pencils. No more books. No more teachers’ dirty looks.
With states and cities threatening layoffs, teachers may be giving their principals dirty looks.
The teachers unions are lobbying for a $23 billion jobs bill that would save up to 300,000 education jobs nationwide. With growing concerns about deficit spending, the bill is not likely to pass.
But a teacher bailout with no strings attached would represent a missed opportunity to reform teacher seniority rules. The “last hired, first fired” rule consigns too many children to classrooms with ineffective teachers.
I am a product of the NYC public schools, but seniority rules are not unique to the Big Apple. Indeed, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter recently signed into law Senate Bill 191, which ties teacher tenure to students’ performance.
Modeled after the annual conference for the study of the “Negro Problem” that Dr. W.E.B. DuBois convened at Atlanta University, the charrette brought together African American leaders, including Dr. Mary Frances Berry, the Rev. Al Sharpton, former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume and futurist Nat Irvin II, to identify solutions to the black-white achievement gap.
For more than 50 years, a lot of smart folks have thought about education reform. Fifty years later, there are nearly 2,000 “dropout factories” – 12 percent of the nation’s high schools – where fewer than 60 percent of students who start as freshman make it to their senior year.
According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, 28 percent of the nation’s students of color are enrolled in one of these dropout factories. These lowest-performing schools account for 58 percent of black high school dropouts.
It’s time to go back to the future when educators like Mrs. Williams, who taught at P.S. 3 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, inspired students to succeed.
And principals knew what worked -- qualified teachers, high expectations, safe schools and parental involvement.
Dr. Berry stressed the “need to look at the fabric of what’s going on in the community…It depends on what’s happening in the schools and what is happening in the surrounding community.”
She noted that studies show academic achievement doesn’t improve with charter schools or vouchers. Instead, they’re “a political solution not a reform initiative. They’re not performing any better than the schools they were intended to reform.”
Rev. Sharpton agreed that “the whole community does matter. Parents have to be engaged, empowered and not dismissed.”
Irvin reminded us that “the future may be closer than you think it is.”
With that in mind, the thought leaders issued a call to action:
For all of these reasons, we call for the convening of a national charrette on the problems of black schoolchildren that will bring a broad cross-section of stakeholders together to design a comprehensive rescue plan.
A national convening is not about more talk. Rather, it is about mobilizing stakeholders to focus like a laser on the crisis of black public schoolchildren.
The future has arrived. The Class of 2020 will enter second grade in the fall. It’s time to get back to what works.
Tags: Black-White Achievement Gaps, Charter Schools, Dropout Factories, Education Reform, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), School Vouchers
The Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network will remember Michael with a brief memorial service, at which Sharpton will reflect on the King of Pop’s life and legacy.
There will be a moment of silence at 5:26 p.m. (the exact time of Micheal’s death).
Rev. Al Sharpton, National Action Network, and other community supporters and leaders
Harlem State Office Building Plaza
163 West 125th Street, New York, NY
Friday, June 25, 2010, 4:30 p.m.
From Rolling Stone to a rolling stone in less than 48 hours.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s dissing of President Barack Obama and his national security team has led to his dismissal by the Commander-in-Chief:
Today I accepted General Stanley McChrystal’s resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. I did so with considerable regret, but also with certainty that it is the right thing for our mission in Afghanistan, for our military, and for our country.
But war is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general, or a president. And as difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security.
The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding general. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.
It is also true that our democracy depends upon institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command, and respect for civilian control over that chain of command. And that’s why, as Commander-in-Chief, I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy.
Obama replaced McChrystal with Gen. David Petraeus.
McChrystal, who “used to laugh about,” is now on his own like a rolling stone.
Check out the event summary:
Although the foreclosure crisis hit communities across the country—and homeowners of every race and ethnicity— research indicates that African-American, Latino and other minority homeowners suffered disproportionately, as have communities of color. With a revitalized civil rights focus at the federal level, the time is ripe to examine the role that lending discrimination and civil rights violations have played in this crisis and to consider how a civil rights perspective can help address immediate, critical needs in these communities and the longer-term solutions needed to rebuild struggling communities.
The panelists include:
The “Inc. Fund,” as it is called, is not affiliated with the NAACP.
In any case, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization has other priorities.
The event is TODAY from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., at the Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, located at 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC.
To register for the event, go here.
Mortgage fraud ruins lives, destroys families and devastates whole communities, so attacking the problem from every possible direction is vital.
Also last week, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) released a report on the depth and disproportionate effects of the foreclosure crisis.
The report, “Foreclosures by Race and Ethnicity: The Demographics of a Crisis,” details the disparate racial impact of subprime mortgage lending:
First, not only were borrowers of color more likely to receive subprime loans than white borrowers, but within the subprime market, borrowers of color were more likely to receive the most expensive loans and were more likely to receive subprime terms associated with increased default risk, such as prepayment penalties. Previous research has shown that African-American and Latino borrowers were about 30% more likely to receive the highest-cost subprime loans relative to white subprime borrowers with similar risk profiles and that subprime loans in communities of color were more likely to carry prepayment penalties than subprime loans in majority communities.
CRL estimates that 11 percent of African American homeowners have already lost or are at risk of losing their home.
Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement:
The findings in this report describe the devastating impact that the casino culture of Wall Street and the mortgage industry is having on communities of color. Instead of owning a piece of the American dream, these hardworking families have borne the brunt of an anything-goes regulatory system that has turned a blind eye toward predatory lending and the needs of vulnerable consumers, who may never recover the wealth they have lost.
Where is the NAACP?
Has the civil rights organization’s “partnership” with Wells Fargo caused it to turn a blind eye to the foreclosure crisis that will drain $193 billion from the African American community by 2012?
The NAACP claims Wells Fargo’s signature on its banking principles commits the subprime lender to monitor its policies and practices “to determine overall, and within the subprime community of loans issued by the institution, that its neutral practices do not have an unlawful adverse impact based on grounds of race, sex, color, or ethnicity.”
The NAACP says its partnership with the subprime lender is about the future. But Wells Fargo has one of the worst loan modification rates under the Treasury Department’s foreclosure-prevention program.
With “millions of foreclosures still ahead,” the NAACP’s silence is deafening.