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Dream Deferred:  Is the USA
Leaving Black Students Behind?

Inequitable Distribution of Quality Teachers Bespeaks
A Horrible Cultural Narrative about Teaching Black Kids.

July 27, 2013

yellow bird Are minority students more likely to have ineffective teachers?  In an article published by Huffington Post, writer Joy Resmovits answers yes.  Black students in U.S. public schools, she writes, often get "shortchanged on teacher quality.  As a result, black students, especially older ones, frequently struggle to perform at the same level as their white counterparts."  Under-funded school districts and racist perceptions about black youth contribute to cultural dynamics that keep better teachers from seeking employment in schools serving poor and minority students.  "Despite the disadvantage, black students in earlier grades have made great strides in closing the so-called achievement gap between black and white students, particularly in reading," Ms. Resmovits writes.

"Dream Deferred" is part of a Huffington Post series "examining the state of Black America."  To read the article, kindly click the yellow bird on its perch.


On the Road to 'Return' Banned Books

Librotraficante Caravan Travels to Tucson
To Protest 'Raw, anti-Mexican Racism' Embedded in New Law

March 26, 2012

rooster on the run The Tucson Unified School District (TSUD) book censorship debacle continues.  In response to Arizona's House Bill 2281, the TSUD banned the Mexican American Studies classes and removed all textbooks related to the courses from the classrooms.  The TSUD took this action to comply with the legislation under threat of losing state funding for education.  HB 2281 prohibits public and charter schools from instruction that "a) promotes the overthrow of the United States Government; b) promotes resentment toward a race or class of people; c) is designed primarily for people of a particular ethnic group and d) advocates ethnic solidarity instead of treatment of pupils as individuals."

In response to the severe and insensitive law and the actions taken by TSUD officials to implement the law, a group of activists organized a protest road trip, the Librotraficante — the book trafficker — from Houston to Tucson to "return" the banned books to the Tucson Unified School District.  An article in the El Paso Times of March 14 delved into the issue with some depth. To read the article, kindly click the rooster.


Black History — It's Your History, Too

Why deprive young students of a truth that should be known?
What good does it do?

February 1, 2012

umbrella Rosalyn Taylor, columnist for The Arkansas Traveler, explores the meaning and ramifications of Black History Month in her opinion piece for our student newspaper. Why, for instance, should study of the enslavement of Africans and African Americans be a crucial part of the history curriculum? What role does African American studies play in one's university education? How can we as citizens of a multiracial and multicultural nation better embrace our unique differences?

To read Rosalyn's article, kindly click the umbrella.


Racial Issues, Perceptions of Progress

Racial Attitudes In America:
Post-Racial In The Age Of Obama Fails To Exist

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A timely research project conducted by University of Arkansas faculty reveals pertinent information regarding racial issues and perceptions of racial progress from the perspective of African-Americans and Latinos. The study, referred to as the Blair-Rockefeller Poll, found that racial stereotyping remains strong despite perceptions that the country's election of a biracial president implies a more mature attitude toward race relations in the social and political arenas.

zebras Four political science professors from the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society at the University of Arkansas — Todd Shields, Pearl Ford Dowe, Angie Maxwell, and Rafael Jimeno — received over 3,400 responses to the poll from a national sampling, including under-polled groups of African-Americans and Latinos. The poll identified socio-cultural influences on political values across the United States with particular emphasis on the South.

To read the complete report about the Blair-Rockefeller Poll, "Racial Attitudes in America," kindly click the zebras.


Arizona Law Ends Mexican Studies Program

Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Is Removed from Classroom in Response to Prohibitions

Monday, January 30, 2012

"Arizona bans teaching courses that breed resentment of a race or class of people or advocate ethnic solidarity," reads the headline above Maureen Downey's column Get Schooled  (Atlanta Journal-Constitution of 30 January 2012). The ban is one of several striking consequences of an Arizona statute passed by a reactionary state legislature eager to make a political statement about the supposed dangers of ethnic studies programs in K-12 public schools.

"I have spent the morning looking at the law, its origins and the public debate around its passage," Ms. Downey wrote. "I agree that the broad language of the law cactus on brick wall creates minefields for teachers." The column includes an analysis of the issues by prominent Georgia educator Alyssa Hadley Dunn, who participated in a teach-in at Georgia State University to make people aware of the ban.

To read Maureen Downey's column, kindly follow the link embedded in the cactus against the wall. At the end of Ms. Downey's piece you'll find several links to other responses to Arizona's banishment of ethnic studies programs. One directs the reader to commentary by Rethinking Schools editor Bob Peterson, who surveys the "still unfolding" list of books now banned in some Arizona public school classrooms. The list includes Sherman Alexie's Ten Little Indians, Jonathan Kozol's Savage Inequalities, Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States, and the anthology Rethinking Columbus. One report notes that books were taken from classroom shelves, packed into boxes, and carted away to banned-book purgatory while students watched.