Thursday, July 30, 2015

Marie Corfield: My Review of the documentary 'Heal Our Schools' #EdBlogNet @idraedu

Marie Corfield: My Review of the documentary 'Heal Our Schools': Pick up a newspaper or turn on the television and reporters and other talking heads describe the grand experiment that is corporate educati...

Monday, July 27, 2015

Education, Inc. A documentary about how money and politics are changing our schools.

Education, Inc. A documentary about how money and politics are changing our schools.

ANNOUNCING Education Inc.
National Grass Roots Screening!
American public education is in controversy. As public schools across the country struggle for funding, complicated by the impact of poverty and politics, some question the future and effectiveness of public schools in the U.S.
For free-market reformers, private investors and large education corporations, this controversy spells opportunity in turning public schools over to private interests. Education, Inc. examines the free-market and for-profit interests that have been quietly and systematically privatizing America’s public education system under the banner of “school choice.”
Education, Inc. is told through the eyes of parent and filmmaker Brian Malone, as he travels cross-country in search of the answers and sources behind the privatizing of American public education, and what it means for his kids. With striking footage from school protests, raucous school board meetings and interviews with some of the most well known educators in the country, Malone zooms out to paint a clear picture of profit and politics that’s sweeping across the nation, right under our noses.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

making police departments accountable

making police departments accountable

A friend posted this on Facebook:

1. Independent evaluations of practice and procedure for every police dept that receives state or federal funding.

2. Daily report cards of how many people are stopped- disaggregrated by race. The technology is trivial to make that a reality.
The only way to fix this is to make police departments accountable. And the only way to do that is to find the places where police departments are profiling.

It's not sexy but it's tangible.​

Monday, July 20, 2015

From the Cradle to the Grave The Delusion By Rodolfo F. Acuña

From the Cradle to the Grave
The Delusion
Rodolfo F. Acuña
I have read and reread 17th century Spanish dramatist Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s La vida es sueño countless times to remind me that my life is an illusion, and that false dreams prevent my waking up -- so much so that my illusions become delusions.
            The United States is not the greatest nation in the world. This is a dream that prevents change. Americans believe, for example, that they have the best medical care in the world, which is true only if you have money or the standard is the worse.  
            Our bodies are chemistry labs, and we ignore patterns that are dangerous to society’s health. Everything is cured as long as there is a pill that will cover up or “aleve” the symptom. In the past 50 years, I have seen an increasing number of my students suffering from anxiety and depression. Everyone knows it, but Americans remain ignorant of mental health to the point that I have I heard explanations such as “It’s All a State of Mind.” True but what is causing the pain? Why won’t it go away?
            In 2013 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were 41,149 suicides in this country, the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. Someone died by suicide every 12.8 minutes. Most were not high profile suicides such as that of Robin Williams, and went unnoticed. TPublic awareness of the risk of suicide poses is similar to some Americans who have a gay child and rationalize it is all a state of mind.
            Middle-class Americans live under the illusion that their Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) provider will take care of the pain. They never awaken to the reality that health care in the United States is based on profit, the maintenance or the management of illness, and not the cure.   
            As I have mentioned the number of my students suffering from depression and anxiety has grown. We know that "Both depression and anxiety carry a high risk of suicide." Mark Pollack, MD, ADAA President and a Grainger Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center, says that "More than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable illness such as clinical depression …. often in combination with anxiety or substance use disorders and other treatable mental disorders."
            At CSUN we have a good counseling center that is overwhelmed. Dr. Jose Montes reaches out to students, but a limited staff prevents adequate care for thousands of Latino students lacking insurance. Resources are diverted to programs that benefit the few.
            Suicide affects all age groups.  The Centers for Disease Control reports that more people die from suicide than from automobile accidents. The problem is that it is only the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and Americans seem to be waiting for it to reach the top three for it to become important. The tragedy is that few diseases are as preventable; more than 40,000 deaths a year is not just a state of mind.
            I was under the illusion that my family was getting good health care. Over the years I have been a member of Ross Loos, Cigna, Blue Shield and the granddaddy of the HMOs Kaiser Permanente. They all manage health care and do just enough to keep you alive; however, for the most part they are not in the business of curing you. Even prescription drugs are dispensed according to the profit margin with generics used even when ineffective.
            At Kaiser the response to mental illness is to try to manage it.  In a recent case, a patient sought help on four separate occasions: he committed himself, pleading with the provider that he needed help, fearing that he would commit suicide. In each instance he was sent to a mental health care facility, kept for three days and released.  They told him to go to a Kaiser Outpatient facility where he would receive care. In each case he went and asked for a psychiatrist. He initially saw one but only to get meds.  He was then assigned to a psychiatric nurse who led classes and group sessions. He was not given individual therapy, although he requested it as did his father.  
            The patient became discouraged, his cries were ignored and he ceased attending. Meanwhile, his family waited for the next relapse. There was no follow up by Kaiser. Totally discouraged he drifted between his parents’ homes. Kaiser did not respond to complaints and the pain grew intolerable and the young patient jumped off a bridge.
            Kaiser is not the only failure. The patient had a brilliant mind. He was a talkative and a happy child until middle school when he grew quiet. The schools did not challenge him; they did not stop bullying although his father complained nothing was done. The failure was the failure to communicate – it was not a state of mind – pain never is. “People do not die from Suicide. They die due to sadness or hurt”
            But death does not end the pain for loved ones. Death was very important to Mexican workers and their families.  The principal reasons they joined mutualistas (mutual aid societies) was a burial insurance that insured the socio would not be buried in a potter’s field and that his family would be sent back to Mexico.
            Driving along a Southwestern or Mexico highway, you often see makeshift graves marked by crosses and flowers indicating where life had ended. Often people do not have enough money to even cremate the deceased. Today a burial on consecrated ground (a Catholic cemetery) is to too expensive for the average worker. Death has been privatized.  
            In 2013, the Los Angeles Times wrote “Los Angeles Archdiocese Gutted Cemetery Fund to Pay Sex Abuse Settlements.”  (Feb 11, 2013). Allegedly the Los Angeles Archdiocese gutted cemetery fund to pay sex abuse settlements.  Since at least the 1990s Catholic cemeteries in Los Angeles have leased out mortuary services, and they have been converted into fast food-like franchises.  Just to buy in, it costs $7000 depending on where your new barrio is located. Then the incidentals are tacked on --- th total $12,000 or more.
            The illusion of a premier or even adequate health system is exposed as a delusion. When medical establishments cannot recognize simple symptoms like a patient losing interest in things he/she used to care about, makes comments “about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless, talks about suicide”, and the system’s response is routine with the psychiatrist prescribing pills, assigning him/her to a class, and has him attend group therapy instead of talking about the causes of the pain then the nightmare begins – and if we can afford it, we move to a new barrio in a green cemetery.  The more you pay, the better the neighborhood.
            We are unequal even in death. The only equality is in our dreams.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

How to Keep Our Black Boys Alive: Channeling the Rage - Child Watch - Marian Wright Edelman

Mrs. Edelman's Child Watch Column also appears each week on The Huffington Post.

How to Keep Our Black Boys Alive: Channeling the Rage 

The recent spotlight on systematic racial profiling and police brutality against Black boys and men has exposed a painful truth long known in the Black community: just about every Black youth and man seems to have a story about being stopped by the police, and all live daily with the understanding it can happen to any of them at any time.
Dr. Terrell Strayhorn is Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise at The Ohio State University and a Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Studies in the College of Education and Human Ecology. He also has faculty appointments in the Ohio State John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Department of African American and African Studies, and Education Policy, Engineering Education, and Sexuality Studies programs. But none of these credentials mattered one bit when Dr. Strayhorn was pulled over by a White police officer a week before he spoke at the June Children’s Defense Fund training for college-age students preparing to teach at CDF Freedom Schools® sites across the country this summer. He shared this story with the 2,000 young mostly non-White leaders because it was an integral part of his message for the young teachers in training: “How to Keep Our Black Boys Alive.”
tarrell newsletter.jpg
He’d just bought a beautiful new car. “So I’m driving my really nice car because that’s what you can do in this country, right? You can work hard and you can make good money, and then you can use your money to buy a car…So I’m in my car, in my good hard-earned money car, and then comes a blue light in my rearview mirror.” The promise of the American Dream was gone in an instant. Instead he wasn’t even sure whether he would “live the next couple of minutes”—“because my nice car, and my nice degree, and my nice money, and my nice bracelet, and my nice looks, and my nice feel, my nice shoes—none of it, none of it, none of it, none of it, none of it is a panacea for the problems that we have in this country. And I watched an officer who does not know me come up to my window and say, ‘Mister, I need to see your license and registration.’ And I got ready to reach for it, and he reached for his gun—and I said, ‘Oh, my God. I know how this ends.’”
Dr. Strayhorn had to make an immediate decision about how he would respond. “I put my hands back and I said, ‘Do I have permission to do what you just asked me to do?’ And the cop said, ‘Yes, you can now move.’” Only then did Dr. Strayhorn go ahead and pull out his registration and license, along with his university identification card, though the officer didn’t seem to care. “He said, ‘Do you know why I stopped you?’  I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Because you don’t look old enough to drive this car.’ It sounded like a compliment, but then I had to remind him—in my head, not out loud—that in this country actually, [when] you get a driver’s license, you’re free to drive any car.”
Dr. Strayhorn knew he’d been stopped for no legitimate reason—a version of the “show your papers” demands Black men have faced since slavery—and he was furious. But he also knew that in that minute he couldn’t show it. That was part of the lesson he wanted to share with our young leaders: “When you are mistreated, deemed guilty before you are innocent, and oppressed by that form of unbridled, misused power and authority, it is infuriating. It is offensive. It is enraging…The rage just started in my pinky toe and it climbed all up my body. But, thank God, I had what I’m going to say is the number-one thing: if you’re going to teach [our children] anything—teach them literacy, teach them numeracy, teach them vocabulary, teach them history, teach them political science, but listen—teach them how to control their rage.”
He explained what he meant: “Don’t deny the rage …but teach them how to control it. How do I control it? How do I channel it? How do I redirect it? Because the word ‘rage’ means violently angry. But I love the second definition of the word ‘rage.’ The second definition of the word ‘rage’ is impassioned enthusiasm. You’ve got to teach them that there is ‘something inside so strong’ [the Freedom Schools theme song]. Tell them, ‘I know you can make it. I know. I know it’s rough sometimes. I know. I know, I know, I know, I know it’s unfair how police officers treat you, how some teachers treat you, but control and redirect that rage.”
He went on: “We’ve got to remember that while we’re teaching them how to control their rage, giving them the language to have that conversation, they need words for that encounter with the police officer, that encounter with the neighbor. The reason why people fight is because words are not present for them to have the conversation. Give them the literacy tools so they can have the conversation. Teach them rage is natural; rage against this thing; rage against inequality—but control it in the face of authority that can take your life, because the end of the thing is we want them to live.”
Self-control over rage at the right moment might help save a Black boy’s life, though even that has certainly never been a guarantee. But no matter what, the critical next step still has to be channeling rage at deeply embedded structural racism and blatant injustice into “impassioned enthusiasm” for the larger fight. That larger fight can and must start with all of us by getting ourselves organized and providing our children positive alternatives to the miseducation in so many schools and the dangers on the street from law enforcement agents. Dr. Strayhorn said: “What allows a young man to [have enough control to] sit there and say ‘hands up’ is that he knows that while his hands are up, someone else’s hands are on the job. I’m willing to put my hands up if I know your hands are on something, right? So I’ll put my hands up if your hands are on the educational problems in this country. I’ll put my hands up so long as your hands are on the problem of inequality in neighborhoods. I’m willing to put my hands up so long as my Black sisters and my White brothers and my Native American brothers and my Latino sisters and brothers are also putting their hands on the problem of racism … We fight for their freedom, and if they know that we are fighting for their freedom, they are more willing, they are more capable, they are more empowered to go through what they have to go through.” 
And, Dr. Strayhorn concluded, this all-hands-on-deck call to rage against injustice and fight for freedom is for everyone: “We’ve got to pursue freedom and justice not just for Black people, but pursue freedom and justice for Latino folks, pursue freedom and justice for Native American people, pursue freedom and justice for gay people, for LGBT, for poor people, for rich people, for tall people, for short people, for people who don’t have anything at all, for first-generation people, for welfare mothers, for everybody. Freedom and justice for all.” 
That’s the message every child of every color who is “different” must internalize to break the vicious cycle of deeply embedded cultural and structural racism that pervades so many American institutions including those too prevalent in the criminal justice system that too often takes rather than protects lives.

Click here to share your comments and find out what others are saying.

Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children's Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mass Teacher Layoff Letter: Stuart Egan, North Carolina teacher/parent about

Stuart Egan, a high school teacher and public school parent in North Carolina, wrote the following letter in response to the legislature's mass layoff of thousands of teaching assistants in the state's elementary schools:

When public education has to defend itself against the state’s General Assembly in order to function effectively, those in government should reassess their priorities as elected officials.
Take for instance the political cartoon published in the Winston-Salem Journal on July 9, 2015 which parodies the iconic advertisement for the movie Jaws. It brilliantly depicts the NC Legislature as the man-eating great white shark lurking in the waters ready to devour public education. John Cole, the artist from makes reference to the battle over charter schools, vouchers, veteran teacher pay, retirement benefit cuts, and the latest development in the assault on public schools: the elimination of teacher assistant jobs.

Arika Herron’s front page news story in the same edition of the WSJ states, “By some estimates, the Senate cuts could mean as many as 8,500 fewer teacher assistants in elementary classrooms” in the state of North Carolina. When study after study published by leading education scholars (Ravitch, Kozol, etc.) preach that reaching students early in their academic lives is most crucial for success in high school and life, our General Assembly is actually promoting the largest layoff in state history.

As a voter, I am disappointed that the last three years with this GOP-led NCGA has fostered a calculated attack against public schools with more power and money given to entities to privatize education. By eliminating teacher assistants, the NCGA would simply weaken the effectiveness of elementary schools further and help substantiate the need to divert my tax money to segregate educational opportunities even more.

As a teacher, I am disheartened that my fellow educators are being devalued. Yes, teacher assistants are professional educators complete with training and a passion to teach students. With the onslaught of state testing, curriculum changes, and political focus on student achievement, these people fight on the front lines and advocate for your children and your neighbors’ children.

But as a parent, I am most incensed by this move to eliminate teacher assistants because my own child has tremendously benefited from the work of teacher assistants. Even as I write these words, my seven-year-old red-headed, blue-eyed son, who happens to have Down Syndrome, walks through the house articulating his thoughts, communicating his needs, and sharing his love to explore. And I give much of that credit to those who teach him in school: his teachers and their assistants.

When my wife and I explored educational pathways for our son two years ago, we talked to both public and private schools about how they could serve our child. Interestingly enough, we were informed that really the only option we had was public schooling; most private schools will not take a child with Down Syndrome. Simply put, they were “not prepared” to teach him. But his current public school not only welcomed him, they nurtured him and valued him. And it is because of the people – the teachers and the teacher assistants.

The rationale for eliminating teacher assistant positions actually reveals the disconnect that our elected officials have with public education. Last month in the Greensboro News and Record, Sen. Tom Apodaca said, ““We always believe that having a classroom teacher in a classroom is the most important thing we can do. Reducing class sizes, we feel, will give us better results for the students.” The irony in this statement is not only obvious; it is glaring.

That’s what teaching assistants already do. They mitigate class size by increasing the opportunities for student interaction. More prepared people in a classroom gives more students like my son the opportunity to learn. Sen. Apodaca suggests that having two classrooms of 25 students with a teacher and an assistant is weaker than having two classes of 22 students with just a classroom teacher. That’s not logical.

Oddly enough, Sen. Apodaca and his constituents should already know the value of assistants. He himself has three on staff according to the current telephone directory of the General Assembly. Sen. Phil Berger has fifteen staff members, three with “Assistant” in their title and five with “Advisor”. Maybe dismissing some of these “assistants” would offer some perspective.

Public schools are strongest when the focus is on human investment. People committed to teaching, especially experienced professionals, are the glue that holds education together. Eliminating jobs so that some political agenda can be fulfilled really is like forcing a bleeding public school system to swim in shark infested waters.

And we already have had too many shark attacks in North Carolina.

Stuart Egan, NBCT
West Forsyth High School
And Parent

Friday, July 3, 2015

Latino Employment & Unemployment - The News Taco 7/3/15

FRIDAY July 3, 2011

Good Friday morning!
Here’s all you need to end your week and get your holiday weekend started.
►Friday’s numbers
6.6 – The June 2015 unemployment rate among U.S. Latinos
5.3 – The June 2015 overall unemployment rate 
1.73 million – The number of unemployed U.S. Latinos
66 – The rate of U.S. Latinos either employed or actively looking for work
1.34 million – The number of U.S. Latinos not in the labor force
633,000 – The number of unemployed U.S. Latinas, 20 years of age and older
245,000 – The number of unemployed Latinos of both sexes between the ages of 16 and 19
1.9 – The percentage decline in month-to-month construction unemployment
2.9 – The percentage increase in month-to-month agriculture unemployment
Source: Bureau of Labor statistics



Thursday, July 2, 2015

National Hispanid Media Coalition NHMC Continues To Advocate Despite Trump's Lawsuit Threat

July 2, 2015
Marium F. Mohiuddin
Director of Communications

NHMC Continues To Advocate Despite Trump's Lawsuit Threat

(PASADENA, Calif. - 7/2/15) -- This afternoon, Thursday July 2, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) received a call from The Trump Organization's chief counsel threatening a lawsuit against NHMC if it does not cease its advocacy efforts. 

NHMC will not stand down in its defense of the American Latino community, especially against the racist statements Trump made during his June 16 Presidential announcement.
Tom Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), has agreed to defend NHMC against any litigation threats.

The NHMC is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Learn more at Receive real-time updates on Facebook and Twitter @NHMC and Instagram @NHMCorg.


Demand an end to the inhumane detention and deportation of LGBTQ immigrants. #ImmigrantJustice #HumanRights #LoveWins

It wasn’t easy coming out twice -- once as undocumented and also queer.  I had to live with the constant fear of deportation to a place that would never accept me and with the constant fear of the abuse I could face in detention. Since then, I’ve received my green card, but the reality remains the same for the more than 267,000 people who identify as both undocumented and LGBTQ.
So while last week’s marriage equality announcement means that my own marriage to my partner Isabel is now not only recognized by the both of us, but by every state in this country- it isn’t enough.
That’s why on Tuesday, I joined more than 70 protesters in front of the White House to demand an end to LGBTQ detention and deportation.
Now it’s your turn to stand with us.
6 of us blocked the busiest DC intersection (and we’re arrested!) while nine others staged a “die-in” to symbolize the undocumented LGBT immigrants who have died while in detention and those who have lost their lives after ICE deported them to their countries of origin.
For LGBTQ immigrants, deportation isn’t just separation from friends and family, it can be a death sentence. More than 80 countries around the world criminalize same-sex relations, and many more countries offer no institutionalized government protections for LGBTQ immigrants.
And in detention, transgender immigrants are often tortured by being placed in solitary confinement for their ‘protection’ or continue to be placed in facilities with the inappropriate gender where they are sexually harassed and even raped.  This is unacceptable and has to stop.