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Smithsonian African-American Museum Opens

The National Museum of African American Culture and History has opened. Love the idea, but really am no fan of the building architecture, which is both decidedly visually unexciting, and unlike the Native American Museum seems to have no visual cultural clues as to it’s function.

National Museum of African American History and Culture; (NMAAHC) construction site - Conststution Avenue and 14 th Street image taken on Conststution site October 23, 2015.

 

Smithsonian’s National African-American Museum opens at last

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture was over a century in the making. In 1915, black Civil War veterans collected funds they later put toward creating a museum on the National Mall that would celebrate African-American achievement. In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed Public Resolution 107, establishing a commission to plan its construction, but the project went nowhere. It took a renewed effort by lawmakers and African-American leaders beginning in the 1960s, and then decades of planning and proposals, before President George W. Bush signed legislation in 2003 authorizing the museum, which is set to open September 24, steps from the Washington Monument.

“It’s one of those sites and projects that comes about only once in a generation,” says the lead designer of the building, David Adjaye. “It’s always magical to complete a project, but to complete this one on the National Mall, it’s very profound. It’s very humbling.”

Construction on the exterior of the building, a glass structure wrapped in a three-tiered bronze-colored scrim that’s meant to recall a motif in African sculpture (it looks like boxes stacked on a figure’s head), was completed in 2015. Curators are now filling the galleries with artifacts from a collection of some 34,000 items spanning centuries or longer. Museum Director Lonnie Bunch says the exhaustive preparation and organizing is “really almost like planning a military exercise.”

Larger artifacts already in place include a 1944 training plane used by the black military pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen; a once-segregated railway car and a guard tower from the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, both of which the museum lowered in place with cranes before constructing the roof; a 19th-century slave cabin from South Carolina; and Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac.

“When I walk through, I feel the weight of my ancestors,” Bunch says. “I feel an amazing sense of joy that we are close to giving to America, giving to the world, a gift. A gift of understanding who we are as a people in ways that we haven’t before.”

The museum’s nine floors contain three history galleries covering slavery through present day, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement; a theater named for donor Oprah Winfrey; culture galleries featuring African-American icons of music, theater, film and television; and a Contemplative Court, where visitors can reflect on what they’ve seen.

Adjaye has said “there’s triumph and there’s also incredible tragedy” in the history of the African-American experience. Bunch agrees: “You cannot tell stories of celebration and resistance without understanding the trials and travails.”

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2016 in Black History

 

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Racism At Public Elite High Schools

Conservatives set up the racist testing system to eliminate black and Hispanic Students. What Uncle Toms like Ward Connolly either didn’t realize, or didn’t tell white parents was that eliminating black and Hispanic students via high stakes testing wouldn’t mean their white kids would get in. Many if not most of these schools are now massively overbalanced with Asian students, whose special test prep classes have rendered the testing bankrupt.

Hostility towards the few black and Hispanic students who do make it through the tests is fairly endemic at many of worst balanced schools. My own daughter refused to go to our Elite school, which is consistently ranked as one of the 3 best in the nation – because it was an uncomfortable place for black students. The school is 70% Asian in a country which only has 12% Asian population. Less than 3% of the students are black or Hispanic.

Prior to the conservative racist organizations, AKA the Federalist Society and the misnomered “Center for Equal Opportunity” fighting and suing to have only high stakes testing as the key determinant of acceptance for the school, the population generally represented the population at large. The minority population was small, but the county had attempted a solution much like “One Texas”, where the top students from all of the schools were eligible for admission. The idea that this would raise the number of black and Hispanic students to anything approaching the general population sent racist conservatives into apoplexy.

Another failed system brought to America by racist conservatives.

Being Black at America’s Elite Public High Schools

The complacency and inaction of school administrators following incidents of racism isn’t confined to colleges campuses.

On Martin Luther King Day in January—a day set aside to honor a man who fought against racial injustice—two black students at Boston Latin School (BLS) launched a social-media campaign to expose the racially hostile school climate they say exists at America’s first and oldest existing public school. #BlackatBLS soon cast a spotlight on a string of shocking alleged incidents: from verbal slights that disparaged black students’ intelligence and identity, to classmates posting racial slurs on Twitter and Facebook and “saying nigger without fear of being reprimanded,” according to a YouTube video posted by two members of Boston Latin School’s Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge.

The resulting social-media storm touched off a range of responses. Mayor Marty Walsh promised to investigate the allegations. Boston schools superintendent Tommy Chang called for systemwide professional development to train school officials to respond to and handle complaints of racism. “In recent months, BLS has taken steps to improve cultural proficiency at the school,” said a spokesperson for Boston Public Schools in an email. “This has included providing educational opportunities for students, faculty, and families to engage in dialogues around issues of race, diversity, and social justice in safe spaces; improving procedures to report bias-based incidents; and mandatory professional development on cultural proficiency among other efforts.” And the U.S. attorney’s office in Bostonannounced an independent probe into possible civil-rights violations at Boston Latin School. Meanwhile as the events in Boston unleashed a series of difficult conversations on racism and campus climate, the national dialogue on black and Latino students in highly selective high schools remains centered on access and admissions.

In March, New York City’s Department of Education released the demographic breakdown for next year’s freshman class at its eight “elite” public high schools, where admission is based exclusively on test scores, and the numbers continued adismal trend. Black and Latino students comprised a tiny fraction—according toPolitico New York, just over 3 and 5 percent respectively—of the students admitted, in a school system where black and Latino children are 70 percent of all enrolled students. An unscientific analysis by Slate found similar patterns in other districts, such as New Orleans and Fairfax County, Virginia. Black and Latino youngsters were vastly underrepresented in selective high schools as compared to their numbers districtwide, and Asian students were significantly overrepresented—underscoring the complexities among student-of-color groups. Yet as educational-rights activists and elected leaders focus on diversifying enrollment in highly competitive schools, scant attention is being paid to the racial and cultural atmosphere in these institutions, and how welcome black and Latino students are made to feel once admitted to some of the country’s most elite public schools.

Omekongo Dibinga graduated from Boston Latin in 1995, and said up until the 10th grade he felt invisible. “I barely had any black teachers. The only time I seemed to get attention was if I was getting in trouble.” He moved from year to year “unnoticed and unacknowledged” until his sophomore year when he got more involved in student leadership. By senior year, Dibinga was the president of the student council and recounts his last few years at BLS as “unapologetically black.”

However, when he ran for senior class president, things took an alarming turn. As he wrote in a January blog post, on election day some of his white classmates allegedly put white sheets on their heads—distinctive attire worn by the white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan—to protest his candidacy. “A typical day at Boston Latin for me does indeed dovetail with what I read from current students,” he said, including the complacency and inaction of school administrators following incidents of racism like he experienced.

Earlier this year, similar accusations were leveled by black students at New York’s Brooklyn Technical High School—a highly ranked selective public high school—who charged the principal and faculty with minimizing acts of racism at their school. In the aftermath of #BlackatBLS, headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta apologized for her “lack of urgency in addressing racial tensions” and reaffirmed her commitment to providing a safe and discrimination-free school environment…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow

 

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Guns for Toddlers

In response to the recent theater mass shooting in Louisiana, on the 237 Republican clowns residing in the Clown Bus came up with “More guns in civilian hands is the solution!”

How that works…

In the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the National Rifle Association proposed putting more guns in schools. After a racist shot up a Charleston prayer group, an NRA board member argued for more guns in church. And now predictably, politicians and gun rights advocates are calling for guns in movie theaters after a loner killed two people at a theater in Louisiana.

The notion that more guns are always the solution to gun crime is taken seriously in this country. But the research shows that more guns lead to more gun homicides — not less. And that guns are rarely used in self-defense.

Now a new study from researchers at Mount St. Mary’s University sheds some light on why people don’t use guns in self-defense very often. As it turns out, knowing when and how to apply lethal force in a potentially life-or-death situation is really difficult.

The study was commissioned by the National Gun Victims Action Council, an advocacy group devoted to enacting “sensible gun laws” that “find common ground between legal gun owners and non-gun owners that minimizes gun violence in our culture.” The study found that proper training and education are key to successfully using a firearm in self-defense: “carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level,” the authors wrote in a statement.

They recruited 77 volunteers with varying levels of firearm experience and training, and had each of them participate in simulations of three different scenarios using the firearms training simulator at the Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland. The first scenario involved a carjacking, the second an armed robbery in a convenience store, and the third a case of suspected larceny.

They found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people without firearms training performed poorly in the scenarios. They didn’t take cover. They didn’t attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy — they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough — they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at…More

And if you are wondering about that open carrying a gun while black thing…

Now, those of you who know BTx3 know I am not anti-gun…But I am anti-stupidity. I grew up with relatives in the mountains and farming community, who owned guns and used them in hunting. So having guns in the house was no big deal. Having guns safely stored in the house, out of the reach of the little ones was. Wasn’t unusual to see a shotgun mounted on a rack above the back door in rural homes, especially by the older folks for several reasons. One, protection of the farm animals from predators such as foxes, hawks, and snakes, second for protection from the local KKK whack jobs real or imagined threat.

Carrying a gun on the street is a whole different animal. Just as the guys in the country were better hunters than we “city-slickers”, Cops are better at it than some jumped up civilian exercising his questionable “Constitutional Rights”. The simple reason is training …Not just once in a Concealed Carry Course..But over and over again in situational mock ups. Despite all of that, Cops still make numerous mistakes. I can’t imagine the carnage some John Wayne wannabe would unleash trying to confront a crazy shooting up a movie theater.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Re-Education – Louisiana Style

During the Communist era and Russia and China, and again during the Pol Pot Dictatorship in Cambodia – millions of people were sent for re-education or re-programming. Communism may be dead in most of the world – but the Republicans in Louisiana have fully embraced reprogramming as a way to ensure future loyal followers. This isn’t dissimilar to the Hitler Youth, and Stalin’s education of children to be good communist robots…

“Christian math”? Does that mean that numbers past 10 aren’t taught – because if God had wanted us to count past 10…

He would have provided us with more fingers? Set Theory is “un-godly”? You don’t need no Geometry and Trig – much less the Calculus to be properly “learned”!

Which gets to the point of whether the State Tests are also going to be dumbed down enough so these modern Luddite Youth can pass an exam which means anything to anyone outside of Louisiana.

Louisiana’s bold bid to privatize schools

 Louisiana is embarking on the nation’s boldest experiment in privatizing public education, with the state preparing to shift tens of millions in tax dollars out of the public schools to pay private industry, businesses owners and church pastors to educate children.

Starting this fall, thousands of poor and middle-class kids will getvouchers covering the full cost of tuition at more than 120 private schools across Louisiana, including small, Bible-based church schools.

The following year, students of any income will be eligible for mini-vouchers that they can use to pay a range of private-sector vendors for classes and apprenticeships not offered in traditional public schools. The money can go to industry trade groups, businesses, online schools and tutors, among others.

Every time a student receives a voucher of either type, his localpublic school will lose a chunk of state funding.

“We are changing the way we deliver education,” said Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican who muscled the plan through the legislature this spring over fierce objections from Democrats and teachers unions. “We are letting parents decide what’s best for their children, not government.”

BIBLE-BASED MATH BOOKS

The concept of opening public schools to competition from the private sector has been widely promoted in recent years by well-funded education reform groups.

Of the plans so far put forward, Louisiana’s plan is by far the broadest. This month, eligible families, including those with incomes nearing $60,000 a year, are submitting applications for vouchers to state-approved private schools.

That list includes some of the most prestigious schools in the state, which offer a rich menu of advanced placement courses, college-style seminars and lush grounds. The top schools, however, have just a handful of slots open. The Dunham School in Baton Rouge, for instance, has said it will accept just four voucher students, all kindergartners. As elsewhere, they will be picked in a lottery.

Far more openings are available at smaller, less prestigious religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students.

The school willing to accept the most voucher students — 314 — is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.

The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students, worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.

At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains “what God made” on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

“We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children,” Carrier said.

Other schools approved for state-funded vouchers use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don’t cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution. Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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Occupy Baltimore Gets Support of Police and Firefighters Unions

One of the things being challenged by Occupy Baltimore is the failure of the Education System…

The Occupy Movement evening meetings appear to be the only place democracy is actually working in America anymore. There certainly isn’t any democracy left in the big marble buildings just 30 miles down Interstate 95 from Baltimore.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Occupy America

 

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