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Tuesday July 14th 2020

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Open Letter to College Board CEO David Coleman, and Advanced Placement head Trevor Packer – and the Board of Trustees: Where are the Black Literature and History programs in the AP catalog?

By Don Allen, Senior Columnist – Our Black News (MN)

It’s probably better to get along.

Directly after the murder of George Floyd, many major firms went under a ‘pander-demic,’ citing they would make sure that at the foundation of their best practice there would be fair and balanced roles of Equity for Black and Brown people. The most important group in education, besides our state department of education  that has not complied is the College Board who controls AP English and other courses. This is my letter as suggested and edited by the Black AP organization.

Dear Mr. Coleman and Mr. Packer:

My name is Don Allen, M.A.Ed./MAT. I am a high school English teacher in a school that is 100-percent free or reduced lunch and 95-percent minority-ethnic and I care deeply about the future of our students. I am writing this letter to strongly encourage the College Board to develop an Advanced Placement Black American Literature and Composition, Black History, and Black Studies course. We have all heard the old adage that each successive generation should and will be better than the previous, and I am calling on you to make that a reality. My telephone calls to the College Board have been met with harsh disdain and non-reponse, and maybe it’s because of the leadership of AP and the College Board – see here. I understand you don’t speak the same language as the scholars in the inner-city, but author James Baldwin knew it to0: “…the subduers don’t speak the same language as the subdued.”

Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist – Our Black News. I do this for free – over 12-years.

Advanced Placement programs play a vital role in developing our students into more educated, thoughtful, and analytical citizens. I believe that such a goal can only be achieved through showing students that racially-based narratives can – and should – change. I believe that academia must evolve, and that begins with amplifying Black voices and narratives. What voices are we silencing by denying a platform? If you offer college-level courses, you must offer college-level discourse. I am imploring you to use your incredible platform and massive influence over student decision-making to create an Advanced Placement Black History Course.

Your own AP Equity and Access Policy states, “We encourage the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP for students from ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented.” Representation begins with education, but education is still controlled by those in power. I am asking you to take a stand for those very students who, by your own words, have been “traditionally unrepresented.”

Black history has been sanitized in traditional curricula. In order to engage fully and deconstruct prejudice, it deserves more thorough exploration. You have a unique power to provide students with the knowledge and context to be – put simply, better.

You have called for equity, and now you are being called for representation. Imagine the generational ripple effects of a world educated about Black History. I envision a more tolerant, compassionate, and energetic society. One that is focused on equity. One that recognizes the atrocities that have been committed against the Black community. One that gives them a voice to share their own experiences. One that seeks to uphold the values we have already laid claim to, and failed thus far to achieve.

College Board, you have an amazing power to begin a process of healing and connecting. You have the opportunity to take an important first step to dismantling systemic racism in our school systems. Education may not be the ultimate answer, but this is a chance to build a foundation to reach one. It is a travesty that we as a whole are ignorant to a rich and important history that has molded and shaped our present society. Do not continue to perpetuate white silencing of people of color, especially Black male educators.

Thus, I am proposing that the College Board take a stand and create an Advanced Placement Black American Literature and Composition, Black History, and Black Studies course. Your literature cites that students who take AP classes are more likely to be successful in college. I believe that students who take AP Black American Literature and Composition, Black History, and Black Studies courses will be more successful in alleviating racism in the world.

I eagerly look forward to your announcement of a course(s) in development with a committee composed of respected scholars in the field. Anything less is inequitable. 

Sincerely,

Don Allen, M.A. Ed./MAT

AP Literature and Composition Teacher 

/da 

Black on Black Crime and Fixing the Police

The iconography of a cold dead Black body lying on a tarred road covered with a sheet, hanging from a tree, choked to death by a policeman, or burned alive by a mob creates a seductive voyeurism which has been a part of American history and culture as long as there has been such. A historically designed “picnic” of the most irregular making.

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist – Our Black News

How different would it be if this were the case? (Photo: Fair Use – Google Search, Facebook)

America’s law enforcement has always been the legal arm of the American sanitation of Black and Brown bodies. What took place in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and what continues to be the juggernaut of American normalcy past, present and future is the targeted and designed intellectual marginalization, arresting, imprisoning or killing of Black men by some type of law enforcement, be it the police in the streets, or a boardroom. In the broad sense, these killings send a disturbing message on many fronts: 1. Self-destructive behaviors are not always Black and White; and 2. The same reasons some white police kill black men is the same reason black men kill Black men; they see no future or value in the Black body. To understand the meaning of the civil war raging in the Twin Cities, we must be clear on how flat characters fit into a thick plot charged with white privilege, race-baiting, and racism.  We must begin by defining the meaning of normalcy in a manipulated society within a dominant-white patriarchal construct that cannot rescue nor redirect itself from historical assumptions of the Black body. For example, saying a Black male is “angry” has a far different meaning from saying a non-Black is “angry.” If a Black person can identify a flaw-in-process to find a better way to complete a task, he’s trying to pull a fast one. If a non-Black student sees the same flaw and works in an attempt to fix it, the response is: This guy is great! We should get him a job in the boss’s office. In the one case, a single consciousness rewards privilege. In the other case, many are damned by the double consciousness about Black people that becomes the normative historical target of fear-generated assumptions; and yes, I might be smarter than you – so you not wanting to work with me because of my skin-color makes you an idiot.

Questionable deaths, especially the deaths that provide a platform of tension and propaganda between Blacks and Whites make for good television news ratings. Like the police, the mainstream media has done a great job of hyping up the assumed non-normalcy of Black men. At this point, it is highly unlikely to separate real news from high-impact television and print news sensationalism. Today, news is not ‘news,’ it’s style and who does it best.  

This is my reflection on what’s happening after talking to dozens of high school students out in the street protesting, watching three Black teenagers car-jack an older white woman in daylight hours, and seeing youth that look like me looting the Midway Footlocker. Yes, I know that Mr. Floyd should not be dead and his death represents many layers of generational and structural racism that have never gone away; man-made, taught, and practiced in the high levels of organizational communication. But how do we address the black and brown bodies that still cause community damage in the form of perverse actions that include the rejection of education?

There are many inside the Black Lives Matter movement, the NAACP and the Urban League who will deny that black-on-black crime is even the issue. One might argue with the exception of BLM because of no formal 501(c) 3 status, the NAACP and the National/Local Urban Leagues can benefit from protesting police murders more than black-on-black crime simply because structural and institutional racism do not want to deal with this embarrassment. This was seen earlier in the week when Minnesota’s governor and lawmakers went public on wanting to look directly at an issue put in front of them many times in the last two-years: the blight of Black Minnesotans in Minnesota. In any case, structural racism wins again.

This is a message to all high school seniors (and their parents). If you were planning to enroll in college next fall — don’t.

by Diane Klein

1. No school will be “back to normal” in fall 2020.

2020 is a wash…

No one knows whether colleges and universities will offer face-to-face instruction in the fall, or whether they will stay open if they do. No one knows whether dorms and cafeterias will reopen, or whether team sports will practice and play.

It’s that simple. No one knows. Schools that decide to reopen may not be able to stay that way. A few may decide, soon, not even to try. Others may put off the decision for as long as possible — but you can make your decision now.

Even if some face-to-face instruction resumes, no one knows if it will last for the whole semester or all year. If there’s anything worse than resigning yourself to a freshman year spent online, it would be moving across country or across town, into a dorm room or an apartment — only to have to move out weeks or months later, with no guarantee of any refund, with further disruption and dislocation. Or worse yet — going back to school, only to have a family member fall ill, or to get sick yourself, when COVID-19 makes a resurgence, as it almost certainly will until there is a vaccine — which in turn is unlikely before January 2021 at the soonest.

Even if schools offer in-person face-to-face instruction this fall, don’t imagine it will be just like last fall. In fear of enrollment declines and loss of endowment values, schools are cutting expenses now — freezing all faculty hiring, and preparing to raise faculty course loads and class sizes, even as they shrink course offerings. Minimum class sizes will go up, meaning specialized and small courses may disappear. Many classes that “migrated” online as an emergency measure in March 2020 may never come back. Faculty members forced to teach this way may find themselves required to go on doing so — regardless of whether they were ever trained to teach effectively online.

Will schools budget fully for the extra- and co-curricular activities that make campus life the memorable and unique experience that it is for so many? I wouldn’t bet on it. The same goes for the support services so crucial to success for first-generation students and others from historically underrepresented groups.

If you wouldn’t be satisfied with the bare-bones, minimum-contact all-online remote instruction being offered at the institution right now — don’t assume things will be any different, or any better, in fall 2020.

2. This is no time to be making one of the largest financial commitments of your life.

The United States economy has suffered a massive shock, and the consequences are ongoing and unknown. Even before this crisis, college students could not be confident they would be able to get a job after graduation that would enable them to repay a six-figure debt. Student loan debt is a huge political issue, and it is possible that the way we finance higher education in this country may change a great deal under a different presidential administration. But this, too, is unknown.

Most schools will allow you to defer for a year. Consider taking them up on it. And if they won’t let you, well, a school that admitted you once will probably admit you again (or a different one will). Declining numbers of college students also mean that schools that can afford it may offer more favorable financial aid packages in a year’s time. Those who have sat out a year may find themselves in a better position to finance a college education in a year’s time than they are right now, when so many families are facing serious financial uncertainty.

3. Let go of FOMO.

There are other important, worthwhile things to do if you take a semester or even a full year off. Here are just a few of them:

Work on a political campaign. There’s an election in November 2020, have you heard? If you care about what the world will look like when you’re an adult in it, get involved. Don’t like any candidates? Then get engaged in issue activism. Like student loan debt, health care, the environment, women’s rights, voting rights. Find something you care about.

Up your technological literacy. Yes, yes, we know everyone under 20 is a “digital native,” but my academic colleagues have found that many college students are actually not as familiar with digital educational technology platforms as many of us assumed. Even when in-person instruction resumes, it’s a safe bet that many more classes will be delivered online. Those with greater fluency in these platforms will be better prepared for that future. For example, how are your Blackboard skills?

Develop more life skills. This tip is not directed at the many, many American teenagers who already have jobs and significant domestic responsibilities as well. It’s directed at the hothouse flowers who arrive at highly selective institutions having won the science fair or debate tournament but never done a load of laundry or cooked a meal. Now is the time to learn.

Get a job (or volunteer). The coming economic downturn may be very severe, and I am not suggesting that teenagers compete for minimum-wage jobs with workers who are primary earners in their families. (And I know many high school students work already.) There are all sorts of work that can be done. Help homeschool younger siblings or become an online tutor. Free up working adults in your household, who may be out of sick leave or other support and must return to work. Get involved in community groups — online, if necessary; in person, when that becomes possible.

As an admitted freshman, it is not your responsibility to spend a fortune or go into debt to help a cash-strapped financially-mismanaged institution stay afloat. If they won’t be around a year from now without your tuition dollars, you’re better off finding that out without enrolling and accepting the substandard education that will be the best they can do under these circumstances.

You’ve already had some precious parts of your senior year stolen from you by this virus — sports championships, the prom, graduation. And if you’ve spent the past few years of your life looking forward to starting college in the fall of 2020, it’s understandable that you are still hoping it will all work out somehow, and you’ll be able to go. If you do, the school you attend may be like something out of The Leftovers, at best, a faded version of what you saw in those glossy online brochures, at worst, a decimated institution with a demoralized and shell-shocked remnant of faculty, staff, and students. If you defer or postpone, what’s the worst that can happen? Your dream school reopens in the fall, and provides in-person instruction all year without any problems. And you miss it, and become a member of the class of 2025, instead. That doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

Part One – North Minneapolis: Will bad public-policy choices continue to influence poverty, blight, and unemployment in the future?

Emerson Avenue - north Minneapolis (photo: City Pages - Fair Use 2019)

I haven’t written an editorial opinion in awhile; the reason being is the academic world keeps me writing and thinking about new and exciting ways to look at the world through a spatial – or 3D lens. So, with that said, I’m going to attempt a wrap-around of North Minneapolis, it’s people, nonprofits, and defining funding moments to ask, “Will bad public-policy choices continue to influence poverty, blight, and unemployment in the future?”

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist

          In the early twentieth century, North Minneapolis was known as a place where marginalized people came together. Restrictive housing covenants prevented both Jewish and Black American citizens from buying homes elsewhere in Minneapolis, so the Northside became an area where residents from different backgrounds cooperated, built friendships, and even intermarried. After World War II, however, trust between the two groups began to erode. As overtly anti-Semitic practices declined, housing options and job opportunities opened up more readily for Jewish citizens than for Black Americans, straining relationships between previously friendly neighbors (Marks, 2015).

          Historian and multi-media platform host Ronald A. Edwards said, “Since I’ve been here (Mr. Edwards is 80-years old), Black-Americans on the north side suffer from insufficient housing and jobs, he said. In the early days, garbage often went uncollected. That is the history of North Minneapolis (Edwards, 2019). Note: Mr. Ronald A. Edwards was the longest seated chairman of the board for the Minneapolis Urban League when they had over 200 employees, two-schools, housing, and many other functioning programs – unlike 2019.

           Civil rights leader W. Harry Davis described the same unrest in his 2002 autobiography. North Minneapolis in the 1960s, he stated, was no longer the quiet, isolated small city of his youth. The anger over racial inequality that bubbled to the surface in places like Los Angeles and Detroit was also present in Minneapolis. Though some scholars refer to the events as riots, others argue that they were a series of criminal activities. Many, however, use terms like “uprising” and “rebellion” that suggest a strategic response to social injustice; the city had two major incidents of civil unrest on the Northside in the 1960s. The first, in 1966, involved looting and arson on Plymouth Avenue. Arthur Naftalin, the city’s first Jewish mayor, acknowledged the lack of opportunities for Blacks in the neighborhood and promised change in response. By the summer of 1967, conditions had not improved, and Black residents’ frustration was stronger than ever (Davis, Sturdevant, 2020).

          This has been going on since the 1960s – why? In North Minneapolis the status quo (bootlicker’s) are encouraged and rewarded for their cheerfulness, which seems void of ethical practices in community outreach and engagement. I mean really, who do you call as a Black American in Minnesota when you need assistance dealing with race and class issues? The bottom line is that I do support the Minneapolis Urban League – but not the political posturing; less than 20-years ago, the Minneapolis Urban League was a force to recon with, but now, with allegedly taking on short-term loans from other nonprofits to assist in operational obligations, there is a systematic challenge that should be addressed.

         We are dealing with a theory – maybe two very important theories: Occam’s Broom, attributable to a man named Sydney Brenner who describe the process in which “inconvenient facts are whisked under the rug by intellectually dishonest champions of one theory or another” (2013); and Hanlon’s Razor,which at its core means tonever attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity (Steele-Raymond). It’s a philosophical razor which suggests a way of eliminating unlikely explanations for human behavior, like a mental model.

A mental model is simply a representation of how something works, or doesn’t work.

          So, is it crazy to push a citywide statute against take-out containers and straws? Well of course – but when elected officials are treated as celebrities, those who look at the world with a 3D lens have to say, “they don’t know any better, poor souls.” The mythology of banning flavored and menthol cigarettes (under the pretense that it will stop teenagers from smoking is one of the stupidest ideas ever), plastic bags, straws, takeout containers are all easy and decipherable misdirection’s – things they can “fix” – not like people challenges. If the people in the Black community are not organized and focused, the politicians know it and proceed forward with very arrogant and dismissive public policy for those zip codes.

          Simply put (not theory), in interests of a clear interpretation of a messy reality, the systems that govern North Minneapolis – poverty, unemployment, Black people, and Black sustainability have seen fit to keep this area as a Petri dish of disparities for generations on how poor people interact with advanced system-policies that are not in their best interests, geographical factors, political influences, and the lack of selectivity in picking what leader(s) to follow. North Minneapolis’ systems have been a beacon of death for Black-progress for generations.  

           The reasons why both of these theories are representative of North Minneapolis and a large majority of the situations the people are in is because someone – organizations and policy-makers are not being truthful within the systems and decisions made where in most cases are baseless and unhelpful to build human capital in that area. The media generally cites newcomers and a poor and unemployed minority in North Minneapolis as the cause of the violence. Some local press addressed systemic causes—including alienation and racism– and called on community leaders and policymakers to prevent future violent incidents (Marks).

If there are no community leaders and policymakers, what happens?

  • North Minneapolis Part Two: Searching for the “Missing Middle”

References

(2013, July 3). Occam’s Broom. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/occams-broom-2013-9

Marks, S. (2015). Civil Unrest on Plymouth Avenue, Minneapolis, 1967.

Davis, W. H., & Sturdevant, L. (2002). The autobiography of W. Harry Davis. Afton, MN: Afton Historical Society Press.

Edwards, R A. (2019). The Minneapolis Story. http://theminneapolisstory.com   

Steele, G.L.; Raymond, E.R. eds. (1990-06-12). “The Jargon File, Version 2.1.1 (Draft)”. jargon-file.org. Retrieved 2017-07-19.

I oppose MN HF 1329; it’s not about more Teachers of Color – the focus should be on the K-12 scholars!

Related stories: Why are schools and teacher preparation programs still using the Danielson Framework?

Below is my correspondence with Kaohly Her, MNState Representative, District 64A – St. Paul Vice Chair of Rules and Legislative Administration Committee

Dear Representative Her,

A Bad bill for future MN teachers. This bill moves great people out of the classroom!

As your constituent, I’m writing today to urge you to oppose HF 1329. This bill would strip school leaders of flexibility to hire the best educators, push many teachers of color and indigenous teachers out of the classroom, and ultimately force Minnesota students to lose out on great teachers. 

Minnesota’s previous teacher licensure system was broken, pushing out experienced, effective educators through bureaucratic, confusing, and arbitrary rules. After years of compromise and hard work, state policymakers overhauled this broken system to ensure that Minnesota students never again lose a great teacher due to needless licensure barriers. The state’s new, straightforward tiered teacher licensure system respects school leaders and experienced teachers as professionals, and considers the many skills, experiences, and pathways that can make a teacher great. 

This new tiered system just went into effect in the fall of 2018, and is already benefitting many teachers, schools, and, most important, students. Yet, HF 1329 would take us back to the broken system it replaced. It would make it harder for schools to hire educators with unique backgrounds, out-of-state teaching experience, and specific content knowledge, and also make it harder for those educators to stay in the classroom, even after years of successful teaching. Perhaps most egregious, this legislation would have a disproportionate impact on teachers of color, who are much more highly represented in Tiers 1 and 2. 

Instead of re-erecting licensure barriers for educators, we need to focus on better supporting and retaining them. Please oppose HF 1329 and instead work to improve on-the-job supports and equitable professional development opportunities for teachers so that they can grow professionally and have the greatest possible impact on Minnesota students.

State representatives response:

Dear Donald,

Thank you for contacting me about legislation related to K-12 teacher licensing. I appreciated your taking the time to be in touch about this issue.

As you know, after considerable debate, the 2017 Legislature created a new tiered teacher licensure system. The tiered system provided four options (tiers) for licensure for individuals hoping to become a teacher in Minnesota and did away with the special permissions and non-licensed community experts; going forward, all teachers will have to have licenses. The changes were prompted in part by concerns that schools and administrators were relying too heavily on non-licensed personnel as a way to employ less expensive staff. 

The teacher licensing issue is generating discussion and debate again this session. On March 4, the House Education Policy Committee (on which I serve) discussed the bill you referenced, HF 1329. Provisions from this bill were subsequently folded into the Education Policy Omnibus Bill, HF 1711, which was unveiled in the committee on March 11. 

With regard to Tier 1 licenses, the omnibus bill in its current form would allow one renewal, along with subsequent renewals if the employing school district can show good cause. The bill would also allow a teacher with a Tier 1. license to be included in the teachers’ bargaining unit. In addition, it allows only two renewals of a Tier 2 license; removes the pathway to a Tier 2. license for individuals with a content-area master’s degree; and removes the coursework requirement for candidates for a Tier 2 license. The bill also contains various changes related to Tier 3 and Tier 4 licenses.

Proponents view the proposed changes as important to ensuring that teachers receive sufficient preparation prior to receiving a teaching license that can be renewed indefinitely. On the other hand, opponents testified with concerns similar to those you expressed, arguing that it would exacerbate current teacher shortages and leave Minnesota with a less diverse teaching force. 

As the session moves forward, I will continue to discuss issues around teacher licensure with colleagues and constituents, and I will certainly keep your comments in mind as I do so. Again, thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention. Please keep in touch; I welcome your feedback and input.

Sincerely,
Kaohly Her

Kaohly HerState Representative, District 64A – St. PaulVice Chair, Rules and Legislative Administration CommitteeAddress: 100 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Saint Paul, MN 55155

Email: rep.kaohly.her@house.mn

Phone: (651) 296-8799Social Media: FB | Twitter @kaohlyvangher
Website: www.house.mn/64a


WHY IS THE DANIELSON FRAMEWORK STILL BEING USED?

IBNN in collaboration with Our Black News provides this very important article with the permission of Dr. Andrew Johnson. Originally published on March 13, 2019 via Linkedin. The most important question: “Why are schools and teacher preparation programs still using the Danielson Framework?

By Dr, Andrew Johnson – Posted with permission

Andrew Johnson (photo: Linkedin Fair Use)

The Danielson Framework (1996) has been around for over 20 years. It is still being used in various forms in many schools and teacher preparation programs. Charlotte Danielson attempted to deconstruct what she perceived as professional teaching practice by breaking it down into four domains: (a) planning and preparation, (b) classroom environment, (c) instruction, and (d) professional responsibilities. These four domains were broken into 22 components and then into 76 tiny elements. Danielson also included a rubric for each of the 76 tiny elements that described four levels of teacher performance: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient, and distinguished levels. 

In designing this framework, Danielson selected the elements that she decided were important for being and becoming a professional educator. She purported to offer educators a platform to create conversations about the elements of good teaching. In reviewing the 76 tiny elements, there are indeed many that can contribute to important educational conversations. (There are also some that are highly subjective with supporting research that is, at best, peripheral.) However, conversation implies a two-way flow of ideas. When rubrics are created and levels of performance are described, there is little, if any, room for conversation.  What is created instead is an evaluation tool, variations of which are being used today in teacher preparation programs and public schools to create a certain type of teacher with a set of values and teaching philosophy that somebody other than the teacher being evaluated has determined to be appropriate.

A Subjective Display of Objectivity

Although the framework might be perceived by some to be an objective examination and application of empirical research, Danielson’s description of professional practice is highly subjective and parochial in terms of the elements that were selected for consideration as well as the limited depth and breadth of research that was examined. It represents a fairly narrow, reductionist theoretical perspective. If a more expansive set of data were examined from a wider variety of fields related to human learning, and if a more inclusive lens were used to interpret this data, a much different set of domains and components would certainly be included. If this perspective was used, it is highly doubtful that the state of being and becoming an effective educator would be reduced to 76 tiny elements. It is doubtful as well that each of these 76 tiny elements would be put on a four-point scale and used to evaluate teachers.

Research-Based?

Danielson claims that her framework is research-based (Danielson, 2007); however, this is a bit misleading. While research can be found to support many (but not all) of Danielson’s 76 tiny elements, putting these 76 tiny elements together in a single framework does not mean the framework itself is supported by research. It just means that it is a list of 76 tiny elements, some of which are supported by research. There is no comparative research suggesting that the Danielson framework is more effective for enhancing the professional practice of pre-service and practicing teachers than other frameworks, checklists, rubrics, models, sets of dispositions, standards, assessment devices, professional development strategies, or reflective practices. 

Unstated Purpose

As well, there should be no doubt that the current unstated purpose of the Danielson Framework is to enable the educational industrial complex to generate greater profits (Brightman & Gutmore, 2002). If instead the purpose of the framework was to actually improve education, a set of domains and components would be also be included for principals and administrators, schoolboard members, legislators, professors at teacher preparation institutions, scholars, and anybody else making decisions or recommendations about schools and classrooms. Such domains, uniformly applied, would invite all to begin to explore a wider range of research and ideas related to education and human learning. This type of application would have the potential to evolve our current educational system and be of benefit to those other than a few financial stakeholders. However, this is not the case. Since the framework was introduced in 1996, additional domains have not been included.

A Solution in Search of a Problem

• The framework has been accepted as being the answer to a problem that was never defined. Effective problem solving of any kind is dependent on first defining the problem. What was the problem for which the Danielson Framework was thought to be the solution? 

• Effective problem solving also involves generating a number of ideas before selecting a solution.  If there was a problem, was the Danielson framework the only solution that was considered for this undefined problem? Was it the best solution to this mysterious problem?  

• Use of the Danielson framework is another example of a solution in search of a problem. The only problem it really solves it this: How can the educational industrial complex continue to generate profit?

REFERENCES

Brightman, H.J., & Gutmore, G. (2002) The Educational-Industrial Complex. The Educational Forum, 66 (4), 302-308, DOI: 10.1080/00131720208984848

Danielson, C. (1996). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Danielson, C. (2007). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandria, Va: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

The Last Day of Black History Month: Is the “Dream” still deferred?

I had an idea about how the dream looked, I saw it in many forms of media (print, television, and radio + culture) from the 1960s up to now – but if you take a closer look, the dream might not ever arrive…and this time, it’s not your fault.

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist

Editorial Opinion: To tell you the truth, I don’t know which version of the dream I like best – it could be too many.

How do you destroy a monster without becoming one? (Photo: Fair-Use)

Money, cars, trips, people at your beckoned call, political favoritism, a house, car, job, peace, quiet, an acre of land? God knows what and how this dream is defined – but one thing for sure, problems are a big part of any dream. There are so many dreams talked about, I wondered what I would want from “my dream” because I think every person is unique, an exquisite one-of-a-kind mold of an individual meant to do great works.  But there’s a caveat, if we as a nation of Black men and woman do not create an agency of successful-individualism, then how can we perform as a collective to move our agendas of the dream forward?

I would like to make this perfectly clear; in no way shape or form am I disrespecting the late and honored Dr./Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s memory, legacy or existence, because I’m not qualified to do that. I am asking you to think past the 1960s into today – look for the dream wished for and promised, but never developed – like a bad Polaroid, repeatedly.

When I hear super-rich music celebrities like Pharrell and Common talk about the New Black, who according to Common the New Black doesn’t blame other races for our issues, it makes his argument on blackness into an ignorant mentality that undermines the Black body. Pharrell said in an interview posted on the Daily Beast, “The New Black dreams and realizes that it’s not pigmentation: it’s a mentality, and it’s either going to work for you or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re going to be on.”

What I know is the historical and relevant ‘Ole Black’ has one side, its survival.

Common and Pharrell’s lack of clairvoyance distributed internationally from the White mainstream media platforms sends the Black body back to “Colored Only” drinking fountains and bathrooms. White political outrage over Black disparities does not fix Black fear of living in New-racist, post-truth America – it just extended conscious concern about the race-terrorism in the dismissal of the dream; from the burger joint to the board room.

Reality check: There is a fear in spaces dominated by powerful White people, and it can’t be captured on video. Black folks and other people of color will understand the fear, but over this month of February, Black History Month, Black people continue to be the targets of extreme institutional and structural injustices and deadly social-violence, outsourced, pandered, and delivered to us via superficial community conversations with “safe Blacks” that will not ask historical questions about the Black body in White spaces moving the focus of leadership and equity to a state of being persona non grata in this version of the Dream.

Okay – it might sound like I’m angered, but I’m not. At this point knowing that if we don’t put petty stuff aside, our life’s will become mechanical – a daily drive by of pre-set markers that we have to hit in order to survive. A Dream would mean you have markers that you control, change and update. Yes, I have a Dream, but I see people on television acting it out – we can life imitate art inside the construct of a Dream, my Dream, your Dream?

THOR Construction: The Gods of Nothing #BlackLIESMatter

I apologize if someone thinks this critique is wrong. Black Minnesotans don’t have time to for theory when practice is the necessary pathway to prosperity.

“Anything times zero, is zero.” -Math

By Don Allen, Senior Editorial Columnist – Independent Business News Network (Editorial Opinion)

Really, you going to do “what” with the money?

You petty bourgeoise Black Minnesotans walking around ignoring what’s really happening in favor of your social statuses have done it again. While THOR Construction have the two most likeable Black leader’s in Minnesota, something went very wrong. Local black-owned media, and the mainstream perpetuated a lie to promote the new THOR Construction headquarters in north Minneapolis causing ripple effects that will lead to the closing of the Wirth Co-op, the new Black Museum, and other small organizations in north Minneapolis that we allege are mismanaged by people that don’t have the acumen to bust-a-grape. The Star Tribune, Minnesota’s largest paper mentioned that Minneapolis Economic Development Association’s director, Gary Cunningham, (the husband of former Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges) was working to negotiate between Target, Hennepin County, and other interested parties; if this is truth can someone remind me what Cunningham has done for the Black community in recent years, let alone what will soon be a $100 million-dollar sink-hole in north Minneapolis?  Respectfully, I wish him well – but he’s never call me, Lennie Chism, Ron Edwards, or Larry Tucker – this is the issue: Corrective actions (resets to fixes), do not reside in one persons head.

On March 28, 2018 myself and my BlogTalkRadio co-host Mr. Ronald A. Edwards interviewed a man by the name of Jake Johnston from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, DC. The CEPR promotes democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives. The CEPR is, and has been committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better informed; the key word: Informed.

The reason we interviewed Mr. Johnston was that we became aware that the CEPR had done a story in 2015 about Minneapolis’ THOR Construction and some of the sub-standard housing they (THOR Construction) built in Haiti, and the local mainstream media in the Twin Cities was too busy celebrating the new “THOR Construction headquarters” to stop and take a look at some factual information that might (did) change the trajectory and outcomes of this massive new sight in the middle of one of the poorest neighborhood in Minneapolis (second to the Phillips neighborhood).

The story reads: “On February 3, the US-based company Thor Construction was suspended from receiving government contracts because of its work in Haiti. Another contractor with close ties to the Haitian president has so far escaped punishment. In April 2012, Thor received $18.4 million to build 750 houses at a site on Haiti’s northern coast called Caracol-EKAM, part of the international community’s high-profile reconstruction project at the Caracol Industrial Park. At a star-studded inauguration of the park in October 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toured the new buildings and spoke of “affordable homes with clean running water, flush toilets, and reliable electricity… built to resist hurricanes and earthquakes (Johnston, 2015).

Say that everything printed and broadcasted prior to last week (January 14-18) about THOR Construction were true; new economic diversity (opportunities) in north Minneapolis to include new small businesses (not nonprofits), employment opportunities like Compensated Work Therapy programs with major corporations where residents worked 20-hours a week (paid by those companies), and after 6-months of a solid work history, residents were given the option of taking a full-time job, or going out on the job market with their new skills. But the lie didn’t format in the drive correctly, now we have a situation that has many asking “What went wrong?”

THOR Construction was presented to us in the Twin Citiee as this “beacon of hope” for a community riddled in gun violence, death, homelessness and low graduation rates, and double-digit unemployment. But now, some community stakeholders are telling community members that THOR Construction was “never Black-owned,” and allegedly functioned as a pass-through for minority hires. Does this explain the lack of community members working on U.S. Bank Stadium, the Light Rail Lines, and the many city projects where you’d find yourself hard-pressed to see a Black man or woman working on these sites?

Let me explain a few things:

1. I understand some people…I understand people make mistakes, I make mistakes – but the biggest difference I think is that I learn from the mistakes I make and try to adjust, key word: “try.”

2. To tell you the truth, Thor, the Marvel Comics character is my favorite in the Marvel Universe. This should let you know that this editorial opinion is not about that Thor, but a Thor that is not just, honest, nor fearless.

3. The mainstream newspapers (white people) are not “attacking” anyone. They’re just doing what Black Minnesotans should have done after some of us figured out that the THOR Construction pipedream in Minneapolis was just another bunch of the usual suspects patting each other on the back and metaphorically shoving big wads of money in their safety deposit boxes – no one meant to help the community.

Then we have the challenges with the local bank: “Sunrise Bank (Minneapolis, MN.), alleges Thor is generally not paying its debts as they become due, including payroll obligations to its employees and its debts to [Sunrise].” In requesting a general receiver, the bank alleges Thor does not have sufficient liquidity to continue to operate, and multiple creditors might attempt a “free-for-all” liquidation of the company (Star Tribune, 2018).

How is it you don’t payback a $3 million-dollar loan for more than 9-years? Us regular folk could never do that.

The challenge in north Minneapolis as well as other areas of the Twin Cities is that the folks that need to be at the table, are minimized, disregarded and demonized by those currently seeking a payday. The dehumanization of black people in the Twin Cities take power…this power is motivated, pushed, distributed and outsourced to a few currently at the table. We already know there is not one Black MN organization, leader, or group the white mainstream respects. The power has been gone for a long time and further separates a structure that has been fractured at its core by corruption and malfeasance.  

Help wanted…it’s gone before it started.

Don Allen and Mr. Ronald A. Edwards are the host of BlogTalkRadio’s “The Ron and Don Show, Saturday’s at 9:30AM

Is the New MN Black Power, Non-Power?

By Don Allen – Senior Editorial Columnist – www.ourblacknews.com

Don’t start no stuff, won’t be no stuff. (photo: Fair Use)

It’s not every Friday night I get to take slow walk in the warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis. This night was rare. After having dinner with the family I was phoned for a meeting that I was told would change the thinking and dynamics of black people…it sounded interesting, let me explain. I stopped attending community meetings back in 2009; it was a choice between contributing great ideas with the acumen to pull them off, or watching people (black) with the intelligence of bean-sprout walk my ideas to their handlers and through some amazing magic trick, self-appointed leadership that never graduated from high school or knew what the word syllabus meant were mysteriously funded to do work in the community they had no business doing. It didn’t matter, from crime to some tornados, the wrong black group always got the money; kept their personal lifestyles and the community was warned that anyone who challenged them was either on medication for number of mental illnesses, or this person is trying to disrupt the Black community and he or she are “toxic.” There I sat – my associates too…crazy, marginalized outcasts who for whatever reason did not fit inside the construct of the circular conversations, secret glad-handing and political head-nods limited to black community insiders.

I walked closer to the establishment where the meeting is being held, I looked around at the people walking on the street, smiling, holding hands and having those Friday night conversations about the work week. As I strolled by one outdoor sidewalk patio bar, a woman, around 40 with blonde hair and medium-build, or the typical Minnesota-type with strong but feminine features shouted, “It’s Friday! Two more days and we start all over again.” Her friends looked at her, laughed, held their glasses up in the air and toasted, “…to Monday!” I smiled as I made eye-contact with two of the people gathered as a non-verbal communique, as if to say, we all know you can relate. Read the rest of this entry »

Black Silence: When will we address the opioid epidemic?

by Ron Edwards – republished with permission of www.TheMinneapolisStory.com

There continues to be a very frightening silence in the Twin Cities’ African American communities regarding the spike of African American deaths from drug overdose and what to do about it.

check out www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.

While it affects all races, colors, and creeds, people of color are disproportionately represented. The Minnesota Department of Health’s “Race Rate Disparity in Drug Overdose Death” report showed that African Americans were twice as likely to die of a drug overdose than Whites — the second worst race disparity in the country.

For perspective, 12 years of the Vietnam War resulted in 58,220 death, which averages out to 404 a month. Those 404 who died each month were accompanied by protests and riots on college campuses and in the streets.

In 2017, 72,306 people died from drug overdoses for an average of 6,025 deaths per month. Of those deaths, 49,608 were from opioid overdoses, for an average of 1,891 deaths per month.

In the case of Vietnam, we actively challenged U.S policy. Yet, there are no protests or neighborhood and community campaigns anywhere regarding drug overdose deaths. Will we remain quiet in the face of U.S. policy related to this epidemic of death?

Silence regarding this drug overdose epidemic is everywhere, including from elected officials, political leaders, clergy, media, neighborhood and community groups, etc. The silence during the weeks prior to writing this column has not only been frightening but also emotional as we shed tears for those who died — it has also been spiritually troubling for those of us trying to find meaning and comfort in it all.

It was three years ago that now-outgoing Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek began to call attention to this deadly epidemic’s rise across the Twin Cities’ African American neighborhoods and communities. He took it upon himself to hold meetings in neighborhoods across the county.

Stanek challenged neighborhood leaders to be aggressively consistent in dealing with this drug overdose epidemic. Yet, save a few whispers, silence remained regarding this epidemic, and the death toll continued to rise. He was not re-elected.

All African Americans, regardless of gender and age, have been impacted. For those who may doubt the word “epidemic,” I urge you to speak to your elected leaders and to the Minnesota Health Department.

Many know, yet remain silent, about far too many people of color dying from this epidemic. For example, the drug conditions in the homeless tent camp along the East Franklin and Hiawatha corridor has been a red flag since the early spring of this year. Too many quietly watch as the increase of fatalities from illegal drugs and overdoses surge ahead.

The deadly silence will do more to create fatalities and anxiety and fear than having no plan of action.

Do we act or wait quietly with our intentions regarding this epidemic of drug overdoses, claiming it is due to mental health failings so there is nothing we can do?

The Supreme Court and mental health officials have shown and ruled regarding the importance of public health regarding drug use, drug abuse, and overdose deaths, as well as whether the use is for medicinal purposes such as prescriptions and painkillers or the new categories related to drugs used for pleasure and for religious uses. Will mental health become a cover even for intentional users?

At some point, neighborhoods and communities must step up to the plate and insist that effective plans of response be implemented to curtail drug deaths.

Justice Thurgood Marshall warned in 1989 that as “action against the drug scourge is manifest, the need for vigilance against unconstitutional excess regarding civil rights is great.”  That is also true today. Now, what do we do?

Stay tuned.

Ron Edwards is an author and hosts radio and TV shows.

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