Our Black News – Critical Thinking for the Advancement of Colored People
Tuesday March 26th 2019

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Summer is here, school is out; how can we help K-12 learners retain knowledge during summer break?

Not every child in poor communities will take summer school classes. Community members must support summer programs that engage parents and families.

Check out "To Succeed You Must Read" summer programming. For more information, call (469) 387-1929.

Check out “To Succeed You Must Read” summer programming. For more information, call (469) 387-1929.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

In this modern world filled with thousands of technological distractions, it is becoming very difficult for students to focus in their educative processes without falling for the temptations of using free wifi or instant messaging.  What can we do to help students keep their attention on the important things and contents that will be essential for them in the future in an attractive way? How can we incorporate meaningful activities during summer breaks in order maintain their interest and mindset around their education?

First of all, we need to acknowledge the fact that learning should be a cyclical process based on scaffolding. Most teachers and professional trainers become inefficient to some degree because they fail to recognize this basic truth, and do not apply the right procedures that will help them avoid the classic forgetting curve, which is a fundamental truth in memory theory. The key element to make sure the retention of knowledge happens successfully in our students by applying constant revision in regular doses to consolidate their memories.

Second of all, we must make sure students keep contact with at least some of the most important part of every subject during summer time. Let’s be honest: it’s very difficult for most kids to even open a book in their free time, so it seems impossible to make this happen. How do we proceed under these difficult conditions? If we want to make a difference here, there must be a shift in our approach on the situation: instead of giving students lots and lots of boring and difficult material they have to do, let’s give them small spaced doses of knowledge over a period of time to elaborate and allow deep processing to fix long-term memories. If we do this, they won’t feel the pressure of the assignments and the increase in the productivity of learning will be gigantic.

The other main aspect to consider is the fact that during summer, students are on their own: they won’t have a teacher that will be guiding them or helping them with their doubts, (or to act as a positive role model and supervise the kids during the summer months-keeping them out of danger and away from crime) so we must prepare students and give them the right strategies that will allow them to ensure their own learning. This is a very beneficial measure to take: it will help them to gain control over their own learning process, which will benefit them not only during the summer, but in every educational task they undertake in the future. The most important step we must follow is teaching students these strategies during the school year and give them the right opportunities to put them to practice during their free time. Some of the best strategies we can teach them are: Self-rehearsal, Blogging, and Games pedagogy.

Self-rehearsal gives students changes to go over the information many times and create a pattern of reinforcement. Besides, everyone can adapt it to their own needs or schedules, so it’s very approachable for most people. Blogging will let students share information with other students and even their teacher while they are away, so the flow of the learning process never gets broken. This is also a way to include the new technologies in education that is becoming more and more popular in online courses, and with good reason: it conveys a repeated consolidation and feedback which promotes retention. Games pedagogy is a must, if we want students to use their time to learn during the summer. Good games that allow for repetition and let you progress according to your proficiency level of the subject, while being fun are probably the best way to include those modern tools that sometimes we consider enemies, as our best allies.

The benefits promoted by all these constructivist and modern methods in retention work together, so the more chances students get to manipulate, develop, understand and practice with their own methods, the more and better results they will obtain. Long term memory is built by experiencing something many times, familiarizing with it and creating emotional ties with it, so let’s show every single child and teenager the right way to make the best of their summer and still have fun.

Press Conference: Minnesota’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Friday June 12, 11:00 AM


The Minnesota chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will hold a press conference on Friday June 12, 2015 at 11:00 am in front of the State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd to demand Senator Tom Bakk, Senate Majority Leader, Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House and Governor Mark Dayton  agree to finance an audit during the special session to ensure equal opportunity compliance in state government operations. The request is in response to a recent report by the Council on Black Minnesotans that uncovered decades-long lack of enforcement of the state’s contracting, affirmative action and human rights acts.

Please see the attached press release for details. Contact:

Edward McDonald 651-770-9364 or

Patwin Lawrence 612-206-2961


Designer Poverty: Come to the Twin Cities – we do it right!

You know who you are…yes you; the people who run nonprofit agencies in the poorest part of town and wouldn’t be caught dead walking in the streets after 7 pm. You have designed and maintained a system of check and balance that only assist the people who work in your office…

By Donald Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Minneapolis, Minn. – There is something to be said about organizations, politicians and community spokespersons who become ingrained in a process of using humans as a way to gain access for funding and dismissing the notion of helping their cash crop to become stable and acquire some type of standardized normalcy.

Minnesota Nice, the best of the Twin Cities.

Minnesota Nice, the best of the Twin Cities.

Author Ralph Ellison wrote, “All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried telling me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory” (Invisible Man). In the Twin Cities some are “told” what they are, where to go and who they can be. This is a sad documentary on defining humanity, culture and identity in 2013. The status quo of poverty in the Twin Cities is to let those in poverty stay lost within their environments, undeveloped, misinformed and of course misguided.

Residents of the Twin Cities, especially those residing in areas with large populations of blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Somali, and the poor have seen a down-tick in proactive engagement and services. In most cases the right process would lift service-dependent clients up from current norms into an abnormal hemisphere of self-sufficiency while stabilizing their foundations into a station of strength, solidarity and forward progress. For that to happen, poverty in the Twin Cities would need to have an expiration date – an elimination of life-disrupting incidents brought on by circumstance, environments and the political infrastructure.

The protagonist blocking the success of the lower one-third and middle-class in the Twin Cities are those who operated in the areas of non-profit organizations whose life’s-blood depends on the next grant; number of poor, homeless, unhealthy, unemployed, untrained, uneducated and of course poor children. I need to make it very clear; there is a need for these agencies, but not at the current levels. A consolidation of repeat programing could form a cohesive tracking of those in need to the next level of personal success versus the multifaceted referral system, which in most cases has too many interconnected loopholes that leads to missing those who really need the assistance.

Another part of this puzzle is the lack of community engagement. The Star Tribune posted a story this week, “Where’s the community and the engagement?” – citing, “Community engagement seems to be all the rage these days as a buzzword at 1250 Broadway, headquarters of Minneapolis Public Schools.” Again, one of the many protagonists in Designer Poverty is the public school system. Community engagement does not mean asking teachers unions, hiring people who can’t read a book, write a proposal, talk in a sentence to do outreach – which the school system is currently doing. This unfavorable one-sided process is masked in conflict, irony – foreshadowed by a process that will not ever provide great outcomes. This is the true meaning of Designer Poverty.”

Other examples of origins of Designer Poverty and how it is created can been seen in real time by local agencies to include, but not limited to: Minneapolis Urban League, Minneapolis Foundation, Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce, NAACP-MN, African-American Leadership Forum and of course, any political organization who takes their constituency for granted – this goes for the Minnesota DFL and the Minnesota GOP. Politics have not been a good bedfellow for those in poverty. In minority-ethnic communities, it is only a few that come to the table or organization, outreach and information. The usual suspects are encouraged and in some cases make WAM (walking around money) to redirect poverty-stricken residents into hopeless engagement similar to telling them, “If you buy a lottery ticket, you could have the winning ticket.” Perpetual anxiety, mixed with the promise of a “new tomorrow” complicates comprehension of the basic needs of humans who suffer.

Designer Poverty in the Twin Cities is a multi-billion dollar business. The people who benefit, for the most part don’t live within the boarders of the Twin Cities. To stay in business, successful measurable outcomes must be limited; focus must be narrow and the usual suspects must develop a secret agenda absent of the mainstream.

The ideology of non-profit social service agencies have been replaced with a “bank-like” operation that in most cases only helps itself.


The Urgent Need to have African American male teachers in Elementary Schools in the United States

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan set a 2015 goal to bring more black male teachers to U.S. schools. “We want to have world-class teachers in every classroom, there is nothing more important, but for me, it’s also important that those teachers reflect the diversity of our nation,” Secretary Duncan told NBC News. So Secretary Duncan, what happened in Minnesota?

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Heinz Endowments-supported efforts to increase the number of African American male teachers, which include the Black Men Teaching and Heinz Fellows.(photo: Fair Use)

Heinz Endowments-supported efforts to increase the number of African American male teachers, which include the Black Men Teaching and Heinz Fellows.(photo: Fair Use)

Teachers are essential in our society: they represent one of the first formal role models children experience in their lives; a living example of how human beings should interact with each other and the environment they live in. They accomplish many multi-faceted parts: professor, psychologist, counselor, mediator, and entertainer; sometimes even the friend role. Teachers are the basis of society because in their hands, the minds and the values of millions of human beings are going to be molded and defined, something we sometimes take for granted.

As a multicultural civilization, our goal is to open the mind of every student and allow them to understand and embrace all the differences, the particularities and the unique features from each culture. African American culture and its legacy probably represent one of the biggest cultural heritages in our country and the inclusion of more African American teachers, particularly male ones, in our elementary schools is definitely one of the many things we still haven’t done in order to make sure this happens. It is very common to see female elementary school teachers, but when we talk about the male African American version of this job, we find ourselves in a very, very worrying position.

Why is this something we should be really worried about? Aren’t female teachers just perfect for children? Consider the following: we are talking about giving our children, especially our African American childhood, a genuine role model they can relate to. Humanity is filled with lots of prejudices and racist mindsets towards African Americans, some of them reinforced by the media and the authorities, which usually relate them with crime, street gangs and drugs. This is an extremely sad picture kids get from their own people in a daily basis, one that shows them as incapable of doing great things and get ahead in life; one that creates the ill-formed idea that they will never be able to achieve their dreams just because of their race and the their origins.

Once the African American youth have the chance to see a black male teacher leading their class, a change will occur: They will acquire the incredible opportunity to see a person who is just like them doing a positive deed, defending constructive values and giving them the advice and the confidence they needed. It is about feeling represented: realizing that in most of the times, the stereotypes established by our biased ways of thinking are completely wrong and that they have a real prospect to attain greatness and live a full life, because they finally had someone to look up to. Those kids, who are being tempted by the wrong things in their difficult neighborhoods and sometimes their difficult home circumstances, will finally have a reference to follow, a ray of light to guide them in these modern times of uncertainty.

Once we show them that in our nation every person, no matter what race or opinion they might have, has a true chance of being treated like a respectable citizen and build their life and ideas, we will be giving them the precise representation they crave for. African American male teachers in elementary schools should be a breakthrough we should all be fighting for, because it means fighting for a much more equal and tolerant world; a world where African American young people will have someone to look up to, and everyone else realizes they have to stop looking down upon something so natural and human: diversity. The example is not only for African Americans, but for everyone in our country.


Why African American and African studies should be a requirement in Twin Cities Public Schools

It’s been over a month since I sent my CV to a local nonprofit agency that was searching to hire Fellows to work on a brief in support of African American studies in the public school systems. I never got a response, but that will never keep me from championing causes I believe in. Of course this nonprofit might be like others who talk a big game, but when it comes down to pushing an agenda for black learners, they are in lock-step within a political infrastructure led by their friends…they would never push against that, even if it is the right thing to do.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News (Twin Cities)

Twin Cities public schools do not teach the greatness of our black forefathers, nor will they acknowledge the greatness of the black body. (photo: Tumblr - Fair Use).

Twin Cities public schools do not teach the greatness of our black forefathers, nor will they acknowledge the greatness of the black body. (photo: Tumblr – Fair Use).

Every man and woman in existence has a vast story behind then and a bright future to come, but in order to understand where we are going as a society, we need to trace our past steps and learn from the rich experience of our ancestors. African American culture is an integral part of the American culture as a whole, and if we don’t embrace properly, it will be impossible to understand our nation and the incredible contributions that African Americans have had to science, politics, civil rights, medicine, art, jurisprudence, music, diplomacy, literature, military, sports and education. The study and analysis of African American history and issues, is the key to a multidimensional view of humankind.

In this current time where the controversy of racism covers our justice system, it is essential to comprehend the fact that the way to overcome this hideous belief and vanish it from society is through education. Educating our generation about the history and the struggles of African Americans, not only in our country but around the world too, will provide humanity with the right perspective and the well-deserved respect these citizens merit. Knowledge is the light that will shine through the darkness of racism and violence, and it is our duty as a nation that defends the values of freedom and equality, to make sure our youth recognizes this truth.

African-American and Caribbean cultures, which have a lot of African roots, traditions, and values are crucial to develop the appreciation of how important Africa is as a major player in this age of global interdependence. Making students from public schools think about the many and countless achievements of our African-American community traduces into the empowerment of young people, particularly those who live in neighborhoods with high populations of African-American learners, since they are ones who historically have the less means to get ahead in life. We are talking about providing truth and meaningfulness to their efforts and origins, in order to create well-educated and mature human beings and Americans.

History is filled with lots of white men, but we hardly ever focus in the all the things African-Americans have done for the world. We know about the relevance of Martin Luther King or Malcom X, but do we really have a deep understanding of the things they stood for? Moreover, do we really know and value the role of many other African-Americans in every aspect of our culture? What would be of us without their influence in sciences or sports? Are we really a complete society if we don’t include them? The mission that public schools should undertake nowadays to change this is incredibly difficult and complex to carry on: disarm the current established cultural mindset that rejects the inclusion of African-American legacies and embrace them all equally for the well-being of our country.

Public Schools have the challenge to effectively include these studies in their policies and their syllabi as a mandatory aspect to cover in class. If we really strive for people to create a new world order determined by peace, solidarity and the true understanding of each other, then we should start by creating the right conditions: It’s time to start taking into practice fairness and give the African-American culture its rightful place in history and education; it’s time to build the new foundations of our society based upon new, redefined and improved standards of human rights and the way to begin that change is by letting our youth know that we trust them and we are assuming the defy of doing better things for the world.

Minnesota: When can Black Minnesotans be recognized for bravery and be trans-formed?

Many people are saying Bruce Jenner is brave and courageous but you don't see too many people sharing LT.Colonel.

Many people are saying Bruce Jenner is brave and courageous but you don’t see too many people sharing LT.Colonel.

No schoolteacher in Minnesota should have to explain the transition of Bruce Jenner to his or her students until black history, race and caste politics becomes a core standard in Minnesota’s public school system. Can we get back to making black lives better?

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Black Minnesotans again, have been given the short end of the stick. Black Community members from all across the United States supported same-sex-marriage on behalf of their LGBTIQ friends, families and co-workers with hopes black Minnesotans would get the same support. When legislation was passed making same-sex-marriage legal, a deafening silence replaces marches, protests and lobbying on behalf of the black body for civil rights issues of equity. No…the LGBTIQ community never came back to assist; so why must we (blacks) celebrate without question the ungodly pop culture sensation Bruce Jenner?

Congressman Ellision said...(Photo - Facebook fair use)

Congressman Ellision said…(Photo – Facebook fair use)

On June 1 at 1:55 p.m. Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison posted this message on his Facebook page: “Thank you for your bravery, Caitlyn Jenner. I hope that sharing your story will help change hearts and minds so we can address violence against the trans community, especially trans women of color.”

The problem with congressman Ellison’s statement is one of looking the other way and not really taking care of business in his own back yard. This becomes problematic when talking about bravery and trans women of color in Minnesota that are affected by the same type of prejudices every other black person deals with here (ACLU).

Across the street from the congressman’s north Minneapolis office located inside the Minneapolis Urban League is a health clinic were according to Hennepin County (Minn.), over 91 percent of the resident who use the clinic are more than 200 percent below the federal poverty line (2012 Hennepin County). I do not feel Ellison’s statement was one of sincerity when in his own district, under his watch structural violence in the form of arrests of blacks with no accountability (in some cases they did not commit a crime), unemployment numbers, gaps in education between whites and black learners; and the housing for the homeless are at some of the highest levels in the United States. In Minnesota some areas have turned into a concentration camp of perpetual blight with black-on-black shootings and killings being the main attraction for local media. There can be no bravery in a community where poverty, political exclusion and bad systems of education control information.

I understand why the congressman posted on Facebook about Bruce Jenner’s bravery and transformation, it was to stay in step with the liberal machine of checks and balances that will win the hearts of the blinded masses (and maybe a presidential election for Hillary Clinton).

In reality, I do not give a damn about Bruce Jenner and his pop culture circus with the Kardashians. What confuses me terribly is the fact, based on history, black lives (circumstances) do not matter.

Teachers complain, chaos reigns as St. Paul schools spend millions on ‘white privilege’ training

Video posted by Our Black News – Louis CK, “Being White.”

by Steve Gunn, Editor-in-chief of EAGnews – OBN Guest Contributor

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Have the taxpayers of St. Paul spent nearly $3 million over the past five years to bring chaos and danger to their schools and students?

Apparently so.

In 2010, the St. Paul school district began a contractual relationship with the Pacific Educational Group, a San Francisco-based organization that tries to help public schools deal with achievement and disciplinary issues involving black students.

PEG packages and sells the concept of victimization, for a very high price.

It claims that the American education system is built around white culture, tradition and social norms – aka “white privilege” – to the unfair detriment of black students.

PEG believes that black students will only achieve if school curricula are customized to meet their cultural specifications. It also rejects the concept of using suspensions or expulsions to discipline black students.

The relationship with PEG has been costly for the St. Paul district, in more ways than one.

According to information provided by the district to EAGnews through a freedom of information request, St. Paul schools spent at least the following amounts on PEG consultations services over the past five years:

* $137,720 in 2010-11,

* $366,800 in 2011-12,

* $598,900 in 2012-13,

* $489,150 in 2013-14 and

* $285,895 in 2014-15.

The district also reported spending “matched amounts” of $132,072 (2010-11), $363,260 (2011-12) and $537,900 (2012-13) on PEG, without explaining what that term means.

Not long after PEG started working with St. Paul school officials, crucial policy changes were made, according to various news reports.

Special needs students with behavioral issues were mainstreamed into regular classrooms, a position openly advocated by PEG.

Student suspensions were replaced by “time outs,” and school officials starting forgiving or ignoring violence and other unacceptable behavior, according to various sources.

“The disciplinary changes came out of meetings with an organization called Pacific Educational Group, a San Francisco-based operation that has been consulting with the district dating back to 2010,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The result has been general chaos throughout the district, with far too many students out of control because they know there are no real consequences for their actions.

A  local publication called CityPages recently told the story of Becky McQueen, an educator at St. Paul’s Harding High School.

“Last spring, when she stepped into a fight between two basketball players, one grabbed her shoulder and head, throwing her aside,” the CityPages article explained. “The kid was only sent home for a couple of days.

“In March, when a student barged into her class, McQueen happened to be standing in the doorway and got crushed into a shelf. The following week, two boys came storming in, hit a girl in the head, then skipped back out. One of them had already been written up more than 30 times.

“Yet another student who repeatedly drops into her class has hit kids and cursed at an aide, once telling McQueen he would “fry” her ass. She tried to make a joke of it — ‘Ooh, I could use a little weight loss.’ Her students interjected: ‘No, that means he’s gonna kill you.’”

McQueen now has her students use a secret knock on the classroom door, so she will know who to allow in, the article said.

“There are those that believe that by suspending kids we are building a pipeline to prison. I think that by not, we are,” McQueen told CityPages. “I think we’re telling these kids you don’t have to be on time for anything, we’re just going to talk to you. You can assault somebody and we’re gonna let you come back here.”

There are similar horror stories from many other school buildings in the district, according to CityPages:

At John A. Johnson Elementary on the East Side, several teachers, who asked to remain anonymous, describe anything but a learning environment. Students run up and down the hallways, slamming lockers and tearing posters off the walls. They hit and swear at each other, upend garbage cans under teachers’ noses.

Nine teachers at Ramsey Middle School have quit since the beginning of this school year. Some left for other districts. Others couldn’t withstand the escalating anarchy. In mid-April, staff at Battle Creek Elementary penned a letter to their principal over “concerns about building wide safety, both physical and emotional, as well as the deteriorating learning environment.”

A week later, the principal announced that he would be transferred next year.

One despondent teacher told CityPages, “We have students who will spend an hour in the hallway just running and hiding from people, like it’s a game for them. A lot of them know no one is going to stop them, so they just continue.”

The families of the district have clearly had enough.

Over the past four years, as PEG has cast its influence in St. Paul, the number of students living in the district but attending non-district schools, has increased from about 9,000 to 12,000, according to Joe Nathan, executive director of the Minneapolis-based Center for School Change.

Two-thirds of those students come from low income families, or families of color, so it’s not just a typical case of “white flight,” Nathan said.

“The most basic thing our schools must offer is the safety of the children,” Nathan told the Star Tribune. “A significant number of families are saying their children do not feel safe in the schools. They don’t feel safe even going to the bathroom.”

The situation came to a head in April when members of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, who organized under the name “Caucus for Change,” convinced the powerful Democratic Farm Labor Party to withhold its endorsement from three incumbent school board members who had planned to seek another term in the November election.

The three, who have supported the superintendent’s relaxed disciplinary policies, will reportedly not run without the party endorsement. The party has endorsed four new candidates to fill the upcoming vacancies on the board.

That means the St. Paul school district will likely have four new members on its seven member school board, and perhaps the new majority will do something to restore discipline, order and sanity to the schools.

But what about the district’s relationship with PEG? Will officials continue to waste taxpayer dollars on an organization that pushes policies that destroy any hope for creating or maintaining a productive learning environment?

As one recently published story on better-ed.org put it, “Given the recent (and probably ongoing) turmoil in St. Paul Public Schools, it’s time to ask questions about Pacific Educational Group.”

Minnesota Department of Education Parent Information Focus Groups scheduled

Our Black News – Community Alert 2015 

*See Letter to Parents and Guardians below

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 9.41.46 AM

A perfect opportunity for parents to give feedback.

Letter to Recruit Parents-Focus-Groups The Minnesota Department of Education is working on a redesign of the Individualized Student Reports (ISRs) provided to parents or guardians each year with test results on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs). We are recruiting parents or guardians in your region to participate in a focus group to provide input on the report mock-ups being considered for reporting 2016 results.

The goal of the redesign is to deliver improved student reports that provide clear, concise interpretive information as well as a more graphical presentation of the test results.

We are asking for feedback about which elements are easiest to understand, which elements provide the most beneficial information, and what additional information can be provided to help with the interpretation and usefulness of the reports.

State Area Parent Focus Groups (Click on Date to RSVP).

Monday 6/15, Rochester, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday 6/16, Brooklyn Center, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday 6/16, Duluth, 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday 6/17, Bemidji, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Thursday 6/18, Marshall, 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Thursday 6/18, St Paul, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Please RSVP online with the appropriate location RSVP link above or call Pearson at 1-888-817-8659 to RSVP.

Governor Mark Dayton’s Pre-K Plan (information) is purposely being kept away from Black Minnesotans

Governor Mark Dayton's plan is graded. (Photo: "F" - Fair Use).

Governor Mark Dayton’s plan is graded. (Photo: “F” – Fair Use).

The evolution of Jim Crow seems to follow black Minnesotans into employment, economic development and education. The governor’s universal preschool plan for 4-year-olds will drive every program created by people of color outside MN’s public education system out of business. Cultural competence is being met by political bamboozling. 

By Don Allen, Publisher –Our Black News

I was inspired to write this piece after hearing reports on Minnesota Public Radio and just recently reading Joe Nathans piece, “Column: Four requests of the governor, state legislators.”

Again, I am put in a tough position trying to explain to my brothers and sisters about what is happening at the state legislature without our consent, which will lead to the further destruction of our black youth in the public education system. The Pre-K bill that the House and Senate produced is one of political favors and a payback to Minnesota’s public education system for some deed done that was aligned in lock step with the Democratic Farm Labor party (DFL). Governor Dayton wants to make free all-day kindergarten available around the state and spend more than $100 million on preschool programs for 4-year-olds in public schools…free sounds great, but because of the programming done to black Minnesotans this free will cost us dearly.

If an expert says Dayton’s plan is no good, then why are black Minnesotans not talking about it? (Jim Crow training.)

An expert on the guts of this bill Art Rolnick, the former research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis who supported Dayton’s previous efforts to expand learning for the youngest children, now a policy fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, has made researching early childhood education a big part of his life’s work doesn’t back the governor’s universal preschool plan for 4-year-olds. Rolnick prefers an existing scholarship program that pays for needy children to attend Head Start, a childcare facility or a public school program that meets quality standards. He said Dayton’s plan is misguided because it would subsidize early education for all kids rather than target low-income children who need early education the most and are the least likely to have access to it (MPR).

The other catch 22 is if passed, this bill will put most private pre-K educational facilities like Montessori schools out of business. This means, a program ran by black Minnesotans, for black (or children of color), low-income, poverty stricken will have to enter into a system that has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that black bodies do not matter and educating these bodies, based on Minnesota school systems continuing decline means nothing. Of course, the African American Leadership Forum fully endorse Dayton’s plan, which should be telling in itself. A black organization supporting more failure for black children…think about it. (There has always been overseers.)

Let me remind you; white students sit in the same classrooms besides our failing black students in Twin Cities and manage to maintain a passing grade. The public school system was never set up with a cultural competence piece to teach black students.

Dr. Paul Farmer an expert on structural violence would say this in light of what’s happening to black Minnesotans

Structural violence is one way of describing social arrangements that put individuals and populations in harm’s way… The arrangements are structural because they are embedded in the political and economic organization of our social world; they are violent because they cause injury to people … neither culture nor pure individual will is at fault; rather, historically given (and often economically driven) processes and forces conspire to constrain individual agency. Structural violence is visited upon all those whose social status denies them access to the fruits of scientific and social progress.

The catastrophic failure of Minnesota’s public education system has roots that reach from the training of new teachers to testing. Minnesota has looked the other way when Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education in a visit to Minnesota suggested more black male teachers in the classroom might be a start to close the gap. The Minnesota Board of Teaching, who controls the Minnesota Teachers Licensure Exam (MTLE), has continued to let what I allege is the racist organization Pearson dictate testing in Minnesota from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Pearson’s farms out its testing development to another firm in the same state. What we get in Minnesota is a test where the first few question is about Hitler’s drive into Europe (Allen 9/13).

The state of Minnesota is not complicit alone in its social arrangements. There are several politically driven “educational nonprofits,” which maintain their non-partisanship demeanor, but their actions aligning with DFL tactics show otherwise.

The Minneapolis Foundation, Charter School Partners, Educators for Excellence, Education Evolving, Migizi Communications, Minnesota Business Partnership, MinnCAN, Parent Aware for School Readiness, and Put Students First Minnesota all need to be questioned about their intent. All listed agencies are well-established, stocked with white females, but yet do not have a plan to assist black bodies failing in the public school systems – but think governor Dayton’s pre-K bill is a formula dropped out of Mount Olympus.

Another piece of this pre-K puzzle is the voice of our black elected officials. Senators Bobby Joe Champion, Jeff Hayden and state representative Rena Moran have remained virtually silent about Dayton’s pre-K bonanza. Black people in the black community do not know enough about this bill other than if Dayton says its good…its good; he’s a democrat, president Obama is a democrat…the bill must be good. The step and fetch-it mentality of the black community will be their undoing unless we start to pay attention when these white men and women talk about spending and re-routing billions and not one red cent will touch the black community, or its children in the public school system.

What should happen at the end of the day is that if a universal pre-K bill is passed, parents and legal guardians should be able to chose where the money goes. So if I want to send my 4-year-old to a Montessori program, the voucher I have will direct money to that program because I feel strongly this is the best option for my child.

Minnesota state government is not a parent of your young pre-school children. Do not let them start now.

Structural violence has a chokehold on black Minnesotans.

Is Downtown Minneapolis is safe…do black youth have summer jobs? (No)

If young black at-risk students do not have summer jobs to look forward to, downtown Minneapolis will become the mecca of hanging out, which leads to nothing but bad things. Come on, we have seen this too many years in a row.

By Don Allen, Publisher – Our Black News

Yes, downtown Minneapolis has a lot to see and offer. But city officials don't offer it to their own. (photo: Minneapolis skyline - Fair Use)

Yes, downtown Minneapolis has a lot to see and offer. But city officials don’t offer it to their own. (photo: Minneapolis skyline – Fair Use)

In the career long tradition of former Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, the city of Minneapolis police chief, mayor and city council want residents, visitors and business people to know downtown Minneapolis is safe. This announcement published in the Star Tribune earlier this week is only a metaphor from city officials who do not have a clue as to what it is that keeps the shootings, stabbings and robberies in downtown Minneapolis a focal point of concern.

If Minneapolis is so safe, then why the need to make a public spectacle of the area? I’ll tell you, Minneapolis is far from being the sanctified grail of fun and excitement it used to be. As someone who is very interested in restaurants, shows and people watching, it is very clear, when in downtown Minneapolis, especially at night, you do not walk into crowds of youth and expect not to be disrespected, asked for money or called an Uncle Tom or sell out because you’re wearing a suit that you worked very hard to buy and these thugs and thugette’s (black and white) wouldn’t know the first thing about doing something meaningful in terms of pulling up their bootstraps and applying a little sweat equity to get what they need.

Minneapolis’ mayor Betsy Hodges has failed to focus on programs like the very successful Neighborhood Youth Corps, employing youth 14-21 in meaningful roles in Minneapolis. From building cement trash cans for Nicollet Mall, cutting the grass for Minneapolis’ senior citizen population, or making wood chip trails down by the banks of the Mississippi River, the creativity of employing Minneapolis’ most critical population to deter crime is met with more police. A challenge that will bite the mayor and police chief right in the behind once the Aquatennial and city block parties start to happen.

We all have heard the news reports. Shootings at Target Field, robberies in downtown Minneapolis and many deals gone bad that never get reported to the police, its only a matter of time before that wife, child or visitor to downtown Minneapolis becomes a statistic and city, including its Department of Civil Rights will be forced to deal head-on with what they do not want to happen…the successful and part-time gainful employment of Minneapolis at-risk youth.

With less than $1 million, the city of Minneapolis could hire 500 youth from north and south Minneapolis at minimum wage to work at least 25-30 hours per week in programs connected with leadership from the public school system, police department and Minneapolis’ health department. The work could range from door-to-door lit drops, to beatification projects in Minneapolis Parks. However, this takes creative planning and I feel the city has run its course of creativity, intention and ethical behavior in this matter.

Personally, when I go downtown – it’s in and out…anyone reading this should plan your trips accordingly. #willnotbeaDTmplsvictimofviolence

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