Saturday, December 14, 2019

Hope for Public Education- Right Here in the Bronx

Today, I was the guest on a great public radio show "The New Orleans Imperative" hosted by Ray Sanders. We were talking about the future of public education, and I told him that if you want to see what is possible to accomplish in public education in high needs communities, you need to head to the Bronx and visit PS 55, led by Principal Luis E Torres. Located in the middle of the poorest housing project in the poorest Congressional district in the nation, this school is a beacon of light and energy and hope. It features a full service medical clinic, a school based agriculture and science instruction program, the Green Bronx Machine, with a world wide reputation; championship basketball softball and step teams, and a hip hop pedagogy program featuring old school legends like Grandmaster Caz and Melle Melle! It also features parent education programs and close ties with local officials from the Borough President on down.
Most importantly, this is a public school, not a charter school, that is open to all children in the community.
It's wholistic approach is the one we need to give hope and agency to our young people who suffer the wounds of uncontrolled testing as well as the wounds of poverty.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Coming To Terms With Our History of White Supremacist Violence

If you know our history, our present reality shouldn't surprise you. Nearly 4 decades after slavery ended, the nation was the site of the creation of a system of color caste, reinforced by acts terror and intimidation that ranged from night riding and lynching to pogroms and massacres. Most of this white supremacist violence never made it into our history books, but it is painstakingly being reconstructed and commemorated today by survivors, civil rights leaders, and courageous race scholars. When the full story is told, the resurgence of white supremacist violence in the US today will seem less like an aberration that a re-emergence of powerful forces which were never fully accounted for, and whose victims were never recognized. To repeat the famous adage- those who don't know their history are destined to repeat it. The battle against white supremacy has to be fought on many fronts, one of which is the building of monuments to its victims and the creation of new historical narratives